For the most part, it was the defense that dominated the scrimmage, allowing a minimal amount of offense in the three hour scrimmage. With all eyes on the quarterback spot, the 45+ mile per hour winds got the better of the three contenders for the starting job.
Senior Domenic Natale, who played with the first team, was the most successful of the three, completing about half of his pass attempts to go along with the only passing touchdown on the day.
"It's a tough day to be a quarterback in this wind, but I thought that they competed their rear ends off so to me, that's the positive," head coach Greg Schiano said. "They've got a lot to learn."
Natale definitely wasn't immune to the treacherous winds at Rutgers Stadium.
"We were sloppy," Schiano said on his impressions of the team's first scrimmage. "We played hard, but sloppy … Penalties and procedural things [were sloppy], but that's why you do it. It's practice. We have to clean it up."
The only surprise on the offensive first team for the first scrimmage was sophomore Desmond Stapleton who got the nod at right tackle for injured senior Kevin Haslam.
Tim Brown, Julian Hayes and Mason Robinson all played with the first team at wideout with Brown leading all receivers on the day with a handful of catches.
Sophomore running back Joe Martinek ran the ball effectively out of the backfield and staked his claim to recieve a good portion of the carries this upcoming season.
On the defensive first squad, junior Brandon Bing played alongside senior Devin McCourty at cornerback as sophomore Patrick Kivlehan started at safety for the injured Joe Lefeged, making heads-up plays on the ball.
For the most part, the defense held the offense in check all day. Redshirt freshmen D.C. Jefferson and Steve Shimko had a bit of dificulty combating against the harsh climate. Jefferson had a relatively rough day but was able to make plays when the opportunities presented themselves while Shimko, who saw minimal time, completed half of his passes, but was sacked four times.
Linebacker Damaso Munoz stood out throughout the day making plenty tackles and a couple key interceptions in coverage.
But as the passing game struggled, the running game (minus Jourdan Brooks and Kordell Young) thrived behind an offensive line led by Anthony Davis that opened up enormous holes all day long.
Walk-on sophomore running back Tyrone Putman stepped up big and brought a spark to the second team, running for a ton of yards on a good amount of carries.
"I wasn't used to [that many touches] at first, but as it went on, I just kept going," Putman said.
Putman, also a triple jumper with the Rutgers men's track and field team, said that he sees the spring as a great opportunity for him to show what he can do.
"We've got a lot of great running backs here," Putman said. "It's great working with Mason, Jourdan, Joe, so the spring basically gives me an opportunity to play so when I get in, I do my best."
Running back Ben Boursiquot also found success,taking advantage of his opportunity to shine against the third-team defense.
Robinson, who played at both wide receiver, running back and on special teams, had the play of the day offensively when he broke a 54-yard run down the sideline, eventually leading to a Robinson touchdown run.
Both wide receivers Marcus Cooper and Eddie Poole can be added to the injury concern list for the Scarlet Knights.
Schiano said that Cooper injured himself in a non-football related accident and his status for the spring is not yet known.
Poole injured his left ankle today in the beginning of the scrimmage while blocking on a Boursiquot run, but Schiano said that his previously injured knee is fine. Schiano added that he's not optimistic about Poole's health for the spring.
First Scrimmage is in the books ...
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