Rutgers Football: Day 13 Notebook

This time when Dom Natale sat down on the benches, dripping wet from another ice bath after a three-hour training camp session, things were different.

It wasn't the swarm of reporters around him. He knows that comes with the territory of being a starting quarterback.

And it wasn't the aches and pains - he was used to that too after three grueling weeks. The big difference for Natale this time, was that it was his last time, because the Scarlet Knights break training camp Sunday night and move into game mode.

"I think overall we did a good job," Natale said of his impressions of his final training camp at Rutgers. "We did everything Coach asked us to do. Everything was planned out well and I think the guys did a good job staying in the moment, doing what they have to do and staying on pace."

For head coach Greg Schiano, now completing his ninth training camp as the Knights' head coach, training camp was about getting tougher.

Between the occasional two-a-day, countless gassers and up-downs and daily conditioning drills, it's a fair assumption to say that goal was accomplished.

"I think we matured," Schiano said. "We got tougher. We got better playing football. We're not where we need to be but we got better. I think we got out of it relatively healthy. I was very pleased with them learning to finish. Everything we do, we have to learn to finish. That's been one of the things we talked about. But I'm sure they're excited now to have a couple of days."

Although Rutgers got through training camp rather unscathed, here's an update on the few who did get dinged up.

Seniors George Johnson (shoulder) and Blair Bines (ankle) are expected to be full-go by this Wednesday, meaning that both have a good chance of playing against Cincinnati.

"You never know, strange things happen, but we'll keep praying that those guys do their treatments and they'll be ready," Schiano said.

Sophomore linebacker Stephante Kent, after hurting his neck in a drill last week, is "going to be fine," Schiano said.

With the biggest question mark of camp still on the official starter come Sept. 7, Schiano appears to want to leave it as such for as long as possible. Although he said he will inform the official starter before the game, that may be the only person he informs, aiming to keep Cincy head coach Brian Kelly in the dark as to which quarterback takes the first snap.

"The guy's going to know who's starting," Schiano said. "I probably won't tell you [i.e., the media] guys. That's why I probably won't make it public."

Schiano has said it's very possible that three quarterbacks play against Cincinnati and, at the moment, Natale, true freshman Tom Savage and senior Jabu Lovelace all could see playing time.

Natale said that if he were to be named starter, it would make no difference.

"It makes no difference," Natale said. "I'm going to prepare the way I need to prepare no matter what."

Although the Scarlet Knights faced off against Chazz Anderson at quarterback last season, Schiano feels that the team has enough tape on Bearcat quarterback Tony Pike to get the job done.

"He's one of the better quarterbacks in the country. You watch the tape and you know he's very good," Schiano said. "He can throw all the balls. Listening to Brian [Kelly] and the people out in Cincinnati, he has great command of the field, great leadership abilities, [all] the intangibles. He's everything you want in a quarterback."


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