Friday Practice Report

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Progress and health certainly please Rutgers football coaching staff. The two attributes distinguish Scarlet Knights' training camp, which ended on Friday, from previous seasons.

"I think we made progress," head coach Greg Schiano said. "Everyone stayed relatively healthy, which was good. We're still long ways off from being the team I think we can be. But once the first week comes, we'll play the best we can against the team we're playing, then move on."

The results thus far have satisfied Schiano.

"We're not quite clicking," he said. "That's OK. It's the entire operation. We do some things well and other things we don't do so well."

The Wyckoff, N.J. native said he assigned praise to the usual standouts, fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Teel and his receiving corps of Tiquan Underwood and Kenny Britt, all three instrumental to the Knights' success this season.

But Schiano commended some additional units on Friday.

"(I am) pleased with our skilled guys, our passing, pleased with our secondary, pleased with our linebackers," he said. "The defensive line- some guys have come back and played well this camp. The offensive line is progressing."

That offensive line has welcomed recent changes due to Kevin Haslam's lingering right ankle. "Kevin's injury has allowed some other guys some shots they, maybe, wouldn't have," Schiano said. "Howard Barbieri is pushing everybody."

Schiano said he is "not certain but confident" in Haslam's return for Labor Day's season opener against Fresno State.

The backfield competition has also intensified throughout camp, as expected. While tailback Mason Robinson will likely start on Sept. 1, Kordell Young, Joe Martinek and Jourdan Brooks may also see action in that contest.

"I think the running backs, we still have a very intense competition," Schiano said. "That's gonna be one that not's decided coming out of camp, so we're gonna use them in certain ways to their strengths. What that is yet, I'm not sure."

True Freshmen David Rowe, Patrick Kivlehan and Marcus Cooper received accolades from Schiano, who restrained from any guarantees and only ensured opportunities to compete.

"David Rowe, Kivlehan, Cooper, some freshmen are gonna have a chance to be. I don't know if they'll play, we'll see," Schiano said. "But they'll be in the mix, and if you're in the mix, you have a chance to play."

Overall, Schiano said he worked his players "awfully hard."

"I think it was a good, solid camp," he said. "I think we worked them awfully hard.

"I think that it's very important in how we do things moving forward, and we will be. That's all part of the plan. It's a good group. People make the camp. These kids have done an excellent job, the staff's worked hard."

Rather than reflect, Schiano heads to the video conference room to watch and study film for the Bulldogs.

"It's fun now to click, change gears and get into game preparation."

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