Transcript Of Tom Luicci Chat

Tom Luicci discusses the latest Rutgers recruiting class, impending QB battle, possible position changes, Stadium expansion and more.

2009 Recruiting Class
<RUMan79> Your overall eval of the class, Tom
<TomLuicci> i think it's a pretty good one. seems like it filled a lot of needs -- everything except
offensive linemen
<RUMan79> which will obviously be a focus for 2010
<TomLuicci> i have a feeling we will see quite a few of them play right away too
<RUMan79> especially at the WR and DB
<TomLuicci> maybe qb, which is important
<RUMan79> a given
<TomLuicci> the two DTs appear to be good ones as well
<TomLuicci> that will be a change -- massive, space-eating DTs
<RUMan79> Did Harrison and Williams pass their SAT's
<TomLuicci> have not heard yet
<TomLuicci> williams, when i spoke to him, said he was close
<TomLuicci> he just needs to get eligible
<TomLuicci> if he isn't ready, i think Savage gets a shot


QB battle
<TomLuicci> i think Natale starts as the QB
<TomLuicci> after that, it depends on how advanced D.C. is
<TomLuicci> if he isn't ready, i think Savage gets a shot
<TomLuicci> hd, they got two tes they like in this class

TE & transfers
<Hdeljerz> Tom could they move Morales to TE to add depth with Joseph coming in?
<27highstreet> Tom do you think there will be anymore transfers of current players?
<TomLuicci> so they should be ok at TE, even though we saw fewer TE looks in the bowl game
<TomLuicci> i think the transfers are done for now. have not heard otherwise from Greg


AD searching
<fire251> Tom, What is your personal and professional insight into what happened with Bob
Mulcahy?
<TomLuicci> fire, i have to recuse myself from that question because of the paper's involvement.
maybe someday when i retire i can answer that
<fire251> Good answer
<TomLuicci> i still get paid by the star-ledger. what can i tell you?
<TomLuicci> i think most of you understand my position
<fire251> fair enough. understood


Position Moves
<TomLuicci> RU man, have not heard about moving mason yet, but DB would be a good fit for him
<TomLuicci> i'll be honest here: we have not spoken to greg yet about any personnel moves or
changes for the spring. we usually do that a few days before the start of practice

DC Jefferson
<hern4144> Central FL guy here who used to do a little work in Winter Haven...that means I'm
rooting big time for DC...how much do you think he progressed in his redshirt season?
<TomLuicci> talented, yes. but raw
<TomLuicci> he can throw the ball 85 yards but struggles with the 10-yard pass and touch
<TomLuicci> RU man, have not heard about moving mason yet, but DB would be a good fit for him
<TomLuicci> and i am not sure what his grasp of the offense is yet
<TomLuicci> also, don't forget, he is still a true freshman who has not gone through even his first
spring practice
<TomLuicci> RU man, have not heard about moving mason yet, but DB would be a good fit for him
<RUMan79> it will be interesting RE: Jefferson
<TomLuicci> i think by the middle of the summer we will know if DC is ready to play this year or if
it is another year of waiting


Stadium Expansion
<tappan1> Tom do you have any word on what is being left out of stadium expansion
<TomLuicci> tappan, just some ameneities, including the new media room
<TomLuicci> i think a locker room area, media room area, reception area
<TomLuicci> mostly bells and whistles. this will just be the basics, with room to add those things
later
<TomLuicci> we really wanted the media area, i can tell you that
<TomLuicci> RU man, have not heard about moving mason yet, but DB would be a good fit for him
<tappan1> Tom do you have any word on what is being left out of stadium expansion
<TomLuicci> so we aren't happy about the scaled back stadium. lol


Injuries
<PWayFred> Hi Tom: any news on the injury front (Witherspoon's shoulder and Kordell's knee
back to 100%?)?
<TomLuicci> well, to be fair fire, we need to see Kordell healthy for an entire year
<TomLuicci> i think each back brings something a little different
<TomLuicci> is Kordell the workhorse? I don't know yet
<RUMan79> Kordell cannot be used on the goal line
<TomLuicci> he needs to stay healthy. actually, he needs to prove he can survive an entire year
<RUMan79> that is joe's job


RBs
<PWayFred> Hi Tom: any news on the injury front (Witherspoon's shoulder and Kordell's knee
back to 100%?)?
<TomLuicci> well, to be fair fire, we need to see Kordell healthy for an entire year
<TomLuicci> i think each back brings something a little different
<TomLuicci> is Kordell the workhorse? I don't know yet
<TomLuicci> well, kordell was never really healthy
<TomLuicci> there was always something nagging with him
<TomLuicci> so let's be fair and see him healthy
<RUMan79> understand RE: Kordell
<TomLuicci> jourdan, to me, has to be more natural running the ball. he still seems too
concerned about fumbling
<TomLuicci> RU man, have not heard about moving mason yet, but DB would be a good fit for him
<tappan1> Tom do you have any word on what is being left out of stadium expansion
<PWayFred> Hi Tom: any news on the injury front (Witherspoon's shoulder and Kordell's knee
back to 100%?)?
<TomLuicci> well, to be fair fire, we need to see Kordell healthy for an entire year
<TomLuicci> i think each back brings something a little different
<TomLuicci> is Kordell the workhorse? I don't know yet
<TomLuicci> RUman, he didn't fumble a lot last year


Scott Vallone
<PWayFred> Hi Tom: any news on the injury front (Witherspoon's shoulder and Kordell's knee
back to 100%?)?
<TomLuicci> well, to be fair fire, we need to see Kordell healthy for an entire year
<TomLuicci> i think each back brings something a little different
<TomLuicci> is Kordell the workhorse? I don't know yet
<PWayFred> QB question: Will only Natale and DC see the bulk of reps in spring or will Shimko
and Warren get shots?
<TomLuicci> i think it will mostly be natale and DC
<TomLuicci> greg has to get one or both ready to play
<TomLuicci> he can't waste those 15 practices tinkering at qb
<TomLuicci> we know who the guys are. he has to get them ready
<TomLuicci> last we heard from greg, he seemed optimistic about vallone -- who was actually
doing some work in bowl practices. so we'll see
<TomLuicci> vallone was limited in practice during the final months but he did do some work with
the team
<TomLuicci> RU man, have not heard about moving mason yet, but DB would be a good fit for him
<tappan1> Tom do you have any word on what is being left out of stadium expansion
<PWayFred> Hi Tom: any news on the injury front (Witherspoon's shoulder and Kordell's knee
back to 100%?)?
<TomLuicci> well, to be fair fire, we need to see Kordell healthy for an entire year
<TomLuicci> i think each back brings something a little different
<TomLuicci> is Kordell the workhorse? I don't know yet
<TomLuicci> vallone was limited in practice during the final months but he did do some work with
the team
<TomLuicci> so we saw him out there

RBs
<PWayFred> Hi Tom: any news on the injury front (Witherspoon's shoulder and Kordell's knee
back to 100%?)?
<TomLuicci> well, to be fair fire, we need to see Kordell healthy for an entire year
<TomLuicci> i think each back brings something a little different
<TomLuicci> is Kordell the workhorse? I don't know yet

WRs
<tappan1> what wr will step up Wright,Cooper,Stroud to go along with Brown and Campbel
<RUMan79> Hopefully harrison
<TomLuicci> tappan, that's a good one. You would hope stroud would
<fire251> Tom, youv'e seen 2 big guys, wayne thomas and desmond wynn in practices, what is
your opinion, why no playing time/
<TomLuicci> maybe Hayward helps right away too
<Hdeljerz> 1,0Stroud looked good in the spring game
<hern4144> another WR name...how will Hayes fit in?
<TomLuicci> don't know fire. not sure if it's the conditioning or the general ineffectiveness. i know
they have gotten chances to show what they can do and haven't performed
<TomLuicci> Julian Hayes will play a lot. he may be the third or fourth guy, depending on who
steps up


Defense
<TomLuicci> i think this team will be very good defensively. the d-line should be excellent. once
they find a replacement for malast, the LBS will be good. half the secondary is back
<TomLuicci> yes, i think it will be a very good defense


Offense
<hern4144> ...and would you also share the optimism about the OL and running game going into
'09?
<TomLuicci> as long as rutgers keeps winning and going to bowls and syracuse does neither, the
new coach won't have any affect on rutgers
<TomLuicci> well, the O-line has to at least be as good, right? all five starters are back
<TomLuicci> the running game, if williams is the real deal, will be excellent as well
<TomLuicci> rutgers should be able to run the ball. natale is the best passer right now
<TomLuicci> they don't need a guy who has to throw 35 times a game. just someone who can
manage the game
<TomLuicci> i think natale is best suited for that until savage is ready


Scheduling
<RUMan79> Tom - scheduling seems to be a problem. Teams like USF are playing Miami and
FSU and we are having trouble getting teams - can you ellaborate on scheduling issues?
<TomLuicci> the biggest problem with scheduling is because of the big east
<TomLuicci> unlike other leagues, there are only seven league games. some have eight -- or nine
<TomLuicci> so big east schools need an extra non-conference game
<TomLuicci> and no one wants to play on the road
<TomLuicci> so it becomes a big issuei
<TomLuicci> and now the sun belt, which will play on the road, is charging $1 million per game
<hern4144> is ucf just a nonstarter because of usf
<TomLuicci> they are holding schools up. so is the MAC, which is why i know a lot of people were
ha;ppy their commissioner stepped down
<ruprincess> Do you hear any talk of the Big East expanding at all?
<TomLuicci> they won't exapn in football just to solve scheduling. that's the league's stance
<TomLuicci> so it is something every school has to deal with every year
<TomLuicci> here's the problem: rutgers needs home games now to pay the bills
<TomLuicci> the new stadium bonds have to be paid off
<TomLuicci> six home games is the minimum
<TomLuicci> seven is ideal
<TomLuicci> eight, as was the case two years ago, is a home run
<TomLuicci> rutgers needs to generate revenue and greg knows that
<TomLuicci> so other schools have rutgers over the barrell
<TomLuicci> that's why this has been so tough'
<fire251> how about 2 straight away games at ND... RU collects a million each time?
<TomLuicci> if you see, FIU is on after dropping USF -- and because Greg has a relationship with
the FIU coach
<TomLuicci> also because rutgers will go to FIU in 2010
<TomLuicci> fire, there's a belief at rutgers -- this is what they feel, not me -- that BCS schools
shouldn't "sell" games
<TomLuicci> here's the problem: rutgers needs home games now to pay the bills
<fire251> how about 2 straight away games at ND... RU collects a million each time?
<TomLuicci> fire, there's a belief at rutgers -- this is what they feel, not me -- that BCS schools
shouldn't "sell" games
<TomLuicci> so they won't sell a road game for $1 million just for the sake of collecting the money
<TomLuicci> that's why rutgers wouldn't go to arkansas. arkansas was offering big bucks
<TomLuicci> but the perception that rutgers was being bought didn't sit well with the people at
rutgers
<RUMan79> was arkansas a 1 and 1
<tappan1> fiu will come to nj this year we go tofl in , we need to in year usf is home2010
<TomLuicci> no, arkansas was one-shot i believe
<TomLuicci> i think the florida thing is set with two trips to florida in 2010
<TomLuicci> i was told with the expanded stadium that Rutgers can generate $1.2 to $1.4 million
for home games now
<TomLuicci> so what would it take for a road game to be as profitible -- minus travel expenses?
<TomLuicci> $1.8 million?
<TomLuicci> 2?
<TomLuicci> that just isn't happening
<TomLuicci> so rutgers wants and needs a home game
<fire251> simply ask ND, USC, Texas for 2 mill to play games at their house only.
<TomLuicci> nd, usc and texas don't need to pay rutgers $2 million to play
<TomLuicci> that's the other problem
<TomLuicci> they can get anyone to play for $1.2 or so
<RUMan79> agreed
<TomLuicci> so why do something for rutgers at a higher payout?
<TomLuicci> so that's why the schedule is a mess
<TomLuicci> i knwo they are working hard on it
<TomLuicci> and i was told there's a chance people may be happy with what they come up with

Jamal Wilson
<fire251> have you seen ol prospect jamal willson tape? whaddya think?
<TomLuicci> have not seen jamal, but i have heard good things. he gets the benefit of
redshirting a year too

H.S competition and successful in college
<RUMan79> tom, are u concerned Poly plays in a weak league and it may be a struggle for
him at the D1 level?
<TomLuicci> no RU man, because i have seen too many players from NJ play at Group 1 schools
and be successful. George Johnson, for one
<TomLuicci> what kind of competition did martinek play against in h.s.?
<TomLuicci> it's the player, not the competition
<RUMan79> well put, like players from the Penns Groves and Kingsways of the world
<TomLuicci> i think abreu needs to be more consistent, because if he isn't damaso will continue
to play a lot
<fire251> martinek played against G2 teams in a G2 league..... a man amongst boys... you could
see he was special
<TomLuicci> manny just needs to relax and play and maybe not think as much all the time out
there
<TomLuicci> well, robert joseph was a 220-pound corner in brookly
<TomLuicci> so he was a man among boys too
<RUMan79> indeed, fire, indeed
<TomLuicci> anf really, can anyone come from a smaller high school than Brian Leonard?
<TomLuicci> brian played against no one
<RUMan79> I stand corrected - lol
<TomLuicci> i think if you cherry pick the right guys at these smaller schools you are fine
<TomLuicci> that's why i'm not worried about him
<RUMan79> Tom, what do you think of Mariani hire


New hire
<RUMan79> Tom, what do you think of Mariani hire
<TomLuicci> well, let's see how long he lasts. the last guy looked to be a good hire and lasted
about a month
<TomLuicci> greg can be tough to work for -- though people sewar he won't ask more of you
than he asks of himself
<TomLuicci> to me, that's a good boss

Teel and Savage
<RUMan79> Tom, what do you think of Mariani hire
<hern4144> much has been made of the "gym rat" comparisons between Savage and Teel...how
would you compare them as prospects coming to RU?
<TomLuicci> teel didn't have many offers out of high school. he just played at a super power
<TomLuicci> and he managed games well
<TomLuicci> i think we saw that at Rutgers
<TomLuicci> savage is more of a playmaker than teel
<fire251> very true


Recruiting in Fla
<tappan1> do you think we will recruit FL better next year
<TomLuicci> tappan, the funny thing is, people were asking when greg would recruit south
jersey. so now he's doing that
<hern4144> ...not to belabor the DC question, but as raw as he is, it sounds like he's bigger,
faster, stronger arm, etc than Savage
<TomLuicci> and now, because florida falls off a little, they're asking about florida
<TomLuicci> i think greg and his staff realized the talent in south jersey is just as good for their
needs as florida -- and much more gettable
<hern4144> I love this class...I don't care if they all came from Canada!
<TomLuicci> exactly hern


Offense
<TomLuicci> if you are asking me, i think so
<TomLuicci> as i said, with the O-line and the RBs, rutgers just needs someone to manage the
game until DC or savage are ready
<furmo> i like him-hungrey senior
<RUMan79> and the key is the receivers as well
<RUMan79> to keep the d honest

Special Teams
<tappan1> do you think we will recruit FL better next year
<RUMan79> Tom, when you get the chance, please give me your opinion on this - I FOUND
IT FRUSTRATING LAST YEAR THAT OUR KR AND PR WERE APPREHENSIVE TO CATCH AND RUN -
will that improve?
<TomLuicci> well, i think the KOs improved when Jason McCourty took over
<TomLuicci> i would like to see dennis campbell be more aggressive on punts, but greg would
prefer no mistakes to some mistakes in exchange for a big return
<RUMan79> Also, we need Teeddy to be more consistent - can that be helped with some
competition?
<rutgers03> I'd like to see them give Hayward a shot at returning kicks.
<tappan1> do you think we will recruit FL better next year
<TomLuicci> dom hadn't played in two years, that could be why
<TomLuicci> i thought dellaganna came on to have a solid year
<TomLuicci> it was his first year as a starter
<TomLuicci> the kicking game should be good


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