A Typical Second Day?

With apparently no one informing mother nature that spring had come to Piscataway, the Rutgers football team took to the field for its second day of spring practice. Temperatures were in the low 40's with a steady 10 mph wind making it feel much colder. The players were undaunted and didn't seem to mind the cooler temps in the least.

With much pent up enthusiasm and the energy that comes from the off-season, the Rutgers football players went through their warm-ups and drills neither unfazed nor seeming to notice the less than ideal outdoor conditions.

"Typical second practice," stated Rutgers Head Football Coach Greg Schiano when asked how the second day of practice went as the team prepares to take a week off for spring break. "Nothing horrible," he added as he continued to describe how the second practice had unfolded.

As coach stated in his spring press conference in reference to spring ball, the order of the day was fundamental player development. With key positions on the depth chart still open it is easy to see why Schiano's stated objective in spring practices is such. Not the least of which is of course at the QB position.

Domenic Natale showed the poise and confidence he has developed while awaiting his opportunity to prove himself. A highly recruited QB transfer from Michigan State, Natale seemed well prepared and comfortable with his dispersal of the football both on the ground and through the air. Meanwhile, Steve Shimko, a redshirt freshman, showed consistency and continued improvement in this his second workout in the battle to become Rutgers' starting quarterback. The long anticipated and very athletic D.C. Jefferson was quite active in as well. Many Rutgers fans have wondered where the cannon will be located once the ongoing expansion at Rutgers Stadium is completed. Not to worry Rutgers fans, the cannon will be located on the field, attached to D.C. Jefferson's shoulder. D.C. truly possesses one of the strongest throwing arms this reporter has ever seen and is quite exciting to watch. All three players will make for a very competitive spring battle for the top position on this years Rutgers team.

One notable positional change this year is Mason Robinson to the wide receiver position. "He looks natural out there and he brings speed, ball skills, and is an incredibly hard worker," said Coach Schiano when asked about Robinson at the wide receiver position. Indeed, Robinson did impress on the field today garnering words of praise from his head coach on several occasions, making one particularly special shoe string catch midway through practice.

When asked about the depth at long snapper aside from Andrew DePaola Coach responded succinctly: "Udovich and D'Imperio". Coach also went on say that today the coaching staff was trying to simulate some game day situations for the younger players.

"I think you've just got to challenge them", he continued. "We've got some young guys who are trying to play for us. You can never simulate it to the extent it will be on game day but we've got to make it tougher. Training camp won't be enough for some of the young guys. We've got to amp it up in the spring."

Coach Schiano also added that Rutgers would be announcing that Brian Jenkins (Louisiana -Lafayette) had been hired as wide receivers coach. When pressed about what the new addition to his staffs' title would be, Schiano responded that Jenkins would indeed be a coach and not a graduate assistant (thus allowing Coach Jenkins to be an on the road recruiter as well).

Rutgers will be on spring break next week as will its football team having just completed its first full week of spring practice. SOR will be bringing you ongoing coverage of spring practice culminating with the RU Spring Game on April 18.

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