Rutgers Football: Tuesday Practice Report

The day before the second scrimmage of summer camp, HC Greg Schiano talked about the offensive line and strong safety races. Kevin Haslam was injured last practice with Howard Barbieri serving as the replacement. The safety race has also been the talk because Joe Lefeged and Zaire Kitchen are neck-and-neck for the starting job.

The talk after camp was again focused on the offensive line and safety spots.

Guard Kevin Haslam was injured in practice on Monday and didn't participate in yesterday's due to an ankle injury. Head Coach Greg Schiano didn't sound worried when he was asked about Haslam's status and expects him to be fine before the season.

"I think he's going to be alright," Schiano said. "He's hurt, but I think he's going to be okay." "Howard's earned it, he would be the next guy."

The next man up is Howard Barbieri. To help the depth chart, Schiano said he would use him as a two-way guard to play either side when necessary. With Haslam out, the head coach said he's proven to be a worthy replacement.

"Howard's earned it, he would be the next guy," Schiano said. "Howard has a great opportunity now."

Caleb Ruch is a player Schiano wanted to get more of a look at before the end of camp because he hasn't seen enough of the young lineman.

"He's young," Schiano said. "He hasn't played a lot so we have to make sure he's the best."

The strong safety position has been a hot topic because it's the closest competition left in camp. Joe Lefeged and Zaire Kitchen are basically neck-and-neck, but haven't really made it public that they want to be the starter. Schiano knows they're both eager to be the leader; they're just not trying to overshadow the team.

"Rest assured they want the job, believe me," he said about his two competing strong safeties. "They're fierce competitors, all these kids. What they're trying to do is not let their own competitive want, overshadow the team. That's a tricky balance."

Schiano noted that both guys are really good players and he would have to use both. Lefeged can make an impact in nickel and dime situations so even if he didn't get the starting job, he would get his share of playing time.

"He fits right there even if he wasn't [the starting strong safety]," "We end up playing six or seven DBs at times."

NOTES:
Rutgers will hold the second scrimmage of camp on Wednesday. Schiano couldn't give an exact number of plays, but said maybe around 80-120. He also said that everyone will play and there is no focus on the first, second or third team.

Wednesday will also be a good barometer for Mason Robinson and Kordell Young. The coach has made it known that the scrimmages are the best way to get a feel for who's the leader at running back because of the contact and situations.

"They're making progress," he said. "They're doing a nice job. Tomorrow will be good because we don't tackle live very much in practice so the scrimmages are the best place to tell."

There are high expectations for Kevin Brock this year after his 2007 season saw him catch 23 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't start playing until his junior year of high school, so Schiano said he still needs to keep an eye on the fifth-year tight end because he's so raw.

"Kevin is so new at this," he said. "He doesn't have much equity built up so everyday he has to go out there and earn it. That's the trick with a guy who all of a sudden it clicks. It can click off as fast as it clicked on."

For the recruiting junkies out there, Frank Edgerly was hired to be the Director of Football Recruiting Operations near the beginning of the month. This move is expected to free up Recruiting Coordinator Joe Susan.

"He's going to handle all the off the road, off the field type recruiting stuff," Schiano said about the team's new hire. "That's going to take a great burden off of Joe, and let Joe be close to me and try and improve our recruiting effort."


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