Notes: Harrison's Health, Forst's move, etc.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers opened training camp Friday with plenty of energy and excitment, and one player looking to make an early impact is receiver Mark Harrison. Also, Art Forst moved from guard to right tackle, and it is a move he likes. Both players talked to about camp and their roles. Plus, everyone is saying this team is very tightly knit, and Forst discusses why.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Mark Harrison's groin isn't sore, he knows the playbook and his understanding of how to compete at the college level is much better.

Oh, and did we mention Harrison, dogged by a groin injury in training camp and a concussion late in the season, is healthy?

That is why Harrison, a 6-foot-3, 219-pound sophomore receiver, was all smiles after Rutgers concluded its opening day of training camp Friday.

"I'm ready to go. It feels good to be healthy," Harrison said. "Coming back, we've got everybody excited about the season and ready to play ball."

Harrison has perhaps more physical talent than anyone in the receiving corps, but injuries that slowed him in training camp impacted his whole season. He finished with five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown in 2009.

But with the ups and downs also came knowledge of what it will take physically and mentally to become one of quarterback Tom Savage's go-to guys in the passing game. So Harrison tailored his offseason to improving his physical and mental readiness.

"It was a lot of treatment, a lot of reps, working out in the summer to get my body right," he said. "It was a lot of conditioning, a lot of film. Just everybody coming together and watching film on a lot of nights and getting those mental reps we need.

"I'm definitely more physical and stronger. I lost a little bit of weight. I'm at 219, and last year I was at 225. Losing that weight puts me in much better condition."

Harrison, like many of the receivers, also is benefitting from the on-hands approach of receivers coach P.J. Fleck, who stresses technique and playing fast but relaxed.

"I definitely see a difference," Harrison said. "My technique has gotten better through certain drills he taught me, and ball work drills, and everything he brought to the table …it's a good thing he's here. He's intense. He's an intense guy. He wants us to have a good time and relax and play good ball."

Forst's move
Not only is three-fifths of the offensive line new, but two-year starter Art Forst is moving from guard to right tackle, and between spring practice and the beginning of training camp he worked doggedly to learn new techniques.

"I definitely did some two-point stance stuff, a lot of third-down stuff," Forst said. "I think that's the biggest transition, your third-down pass set. Being able to see the ball on a silent count is a little different than playing guard. I worked on a lot of stuff in the pass game. The run game is very similar."

At 6-foot-8, 311 pounds Forst has the size to play tackle, and he is enjoying it.

"I just feel more natural," he said. "It's easier for me. It comes more natural to me in every way. I always have felt that way there."

Close-knit Knights
One common theme Rutgers players spoke about when reporting to camp was the close bond of the team. The Scarlet Knights are always close knit, but players said this unit is even tighter, and in the summer they did several activities to further develop the family feeling.

There was a paintball outing and a bowling outing, and Forst said he feels the difference.

"Definitely a closer team," he said. "We spent more time as a team together, so there's more camaraderie. I feel like I know, especially the offensive lineman, all the guys better, even the guys that just came in."

Scarlet Report Top Stories