Scrimmage Notes: Shimko Improves, etc.

Rutgers held its second scrimamge of the spring, and one of the positives was the play of backup quarterback Steve Shimko. After a poort performance a week ago, he responded with a solid effort. Found out what he changed for that to happen. Also, getting the ball from the center to the quarterback should be a snap, but it wasn't for the Scarlet Knights.

PISCATAWAY – Long before Stephen Shimko threw an interception for a touchdown in last week's scrimmage, he knew something was wrong. His shoulder felt tight, and his mindset was wrong.

When Shimko was able to step back and analyze what went wrong in Rutgers' first scrimmage, he concluded it was all about improper preparation.

So, he did something about it, heading onto the field earlier Saturday to warm-up more, and the results were markedly better.

Shimko, who will be challenged by incoming freshman Chas Dodd to backup starter Tom Savage in the fall, completed 11 of 18 for 97 yards before the scrimmage moved to situational work at Rutgers Stadium.

"I was really tight last week and my ball wasn't going where I wanted it to go,'' Shimko said. "I watched the film over and over again, and I don't understand why the ball was going the way it did. I was out here earlier to warm up and I asked (Savage) to come out with me earlier just so my arm could be looser.

"I did a lot more 10- to 15-yard throws before I got into the 25-, 30-yard throws.''

Most importantly, Shimko showed vast improvement in the closest thing to a game he is yet to experience.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Shimko was more accurate with his passes, his footwork was better, he didn't turn the ball over and he appeared more comfortable in the pocket.

"I think what also helped me was the game was moving smoothly,'' Shimko said. "The running game was working, the short pass was working and that opened up the defense, which opened up more runs.''

Shimko acknowledged his confidence took a momentary hit from his 8 for 21 outing.

"Before going to Tuesday's practice I said, ‘I know I can do it,' ‘'Shimko said. "It was a bad day, and it's better to have a bad day at that time than do be called into a game and go through it.''

Is it a snap?
It is spring practice, which means some guys are playing out of position and there is plenty to work on. In fact, projected starting center Howard Barbieri is out of spring practice with a knee injury, so Caleb Ruch is playing with the first unit and David Osei is with the second.

However, it didn't make coach Greg Schiano any more pleased to see five mishandled snaps, including one on the second play of the scrimmage between Ruch and Savage, who took blame for it by pulling away from Ruch too early.

"Yes, they are alarming,'' Schiano said. "Whenever you put the ball on the ground, it's alarming. The most alarming one is the second play of the scrimmage, when we were under center and we fumbled the snap.''

Kicking game
The conditions were windy, and that contributed to some of the kicking woes from incumbent San San Te and walk-on challenger Kyle Sullivan. But Te missed a 37-yarder and two field goal attempts were blocked.

It led to questions of whether Schiano is concerned about Rutgers' placekickers. "I am,'' he said "We have to be able to protect (better). We have some young guys in there that are rushing it. I am concerned. There's always concern. We haven't been consistent in a while in the place-kicking game.''

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