Saturday's Scrimmage Recap

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Predictably, the defense demonstrated it was ahead of the offense when Rutgers scrimmaged for the first time in training camp Saturday inside Rutgers Stadium. So, what took place, and what did some of the key participants have to say about it? Check out ScarletReport.com's report on the day, and what may have led to the less-than-stellar offensive display.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Given injuries forced the shifting of players within the interior of its offensive line, there is no wonder the offense will see better days than what it experienced Saturday at Rutgers Stadium in the first scrimmage of training camp.

In his first words to the media afterward, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano categorized the 2 ½-hour session as "sloppy, not shocking" as the offense struggled for rhythm.

There were a number of reasons for it, Schiano said, including the absence of center Howard Barbieri (back), which caused Caleb Ruch to slide over from his right guard spot and gave red-shirt freshman Antwan Lowery the opportunity to play with the first offense.

The offense was also missing running back Joe Martinek, who was held out with hamstring injury, but did feature freshman receiver Jeremy Deering operating the "Wildcat" package.

"Today is just a great learning experience," Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage said. "We had some adversity out there. The team really handled it well. We went down to the red-zone and put a couple of points on them in there, and we scored a little bit. Other than that, we have a lot of stuff to work on as a team, and we know it."

Savage completed 8 of 14 passes for 51 yards and backup Chas Dodd was 8 of 15 for 63 yards and an interception.

Casey Turner ran five times for 22 yards, Jordan Thomas had six carries for 18 yards, De'Antwan Williams rushed four times for 13 yards and Deering carried four times for 16 yards. Mason Robinson added a 10-yard touchdown run.

Freshman receiver JT Tartacoff had two catches for 24 yards and tight end Malcolm Bush added two catches for 24 yards. Aaron Hayward (2-13), Kordell Young (2-5), Robinson (1-16), Mark Harrison (1-12) and Mohamed Sanu (2-7) also factored into the passing game.

Safety Darrell Givens and cornerback Marcus Cooper each had an interception for the defense. However, Savage said the offense sputtered too often.

"Lack of consistency," he said. "We really have to be able to keep the defense off the field. They're playing their tails off and we have to be able to let them rest and put some points on the board and give them some leeway so we don't have to get shutouts all year."

Robinson's score during a red-zone drill was the only touchdown by the offense. The defense registered a pair of safeties.

"I think we played well," Scarlet Knights defensive tackle Scott Vallone said. "It wasn't a great showing from our offense, but I think that has to do with missing key guys. Joe Martinek and Howard, he's a big key to that offensive line, with him at center and moving Caleb out to guard, that will be important for the season."

Savage was asked if the offensive struggles can, in some part, be linked to what is expected to be very strong defense.

"You gotta think so," Savage said. "That defense is so quick, their disguises are unbelievable, and it's fun going against them because they're a high energy team, they're quick, they're fast. If we can put some points on them, I know we can put some points on other people."


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