At some point between now and when Rutgers takes the field for its season opener Sept. 2 against Temple, Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano will need to identify his contingency plan behind starting quarterback Noah Vedral.
The Scarlet Knights are six practices into their 23-day training camp. But, for now, Schiano insists he has no idea which quarterback would get the call if Vedral needs to be replaced.
“Too early to really make any judgements on anything,’’ Schiano said.
The Scarlet Knights coach likes what he’s seen so far, telling reporters following Monday’s practice they’ve been “very competitive.’’
The Scarlet Knights will hold the first of their two preseason scrimmages this Saturday, and Schiano said that’s when he’ll be in a better position to make a determination on the backup quarterback role.
“We’d like to see who can perform in a game situation,’’ Schiano said. “They know what’s at stake.’’
Here’s the practice report following Rutgers’ sixth training-camp session:
Location: Practice fields F1, F2 and F-3
Duration: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Weather: 83 degrees, mostly sunny.
Opening song: “Heads will Roll (A-Trak Remix),’’ by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano on his team’s first six days of training camp:
“I thought the guys worked really, really hard. Not just on the field but in meetings, jog-throughs, lifting. We ask them to just chop one job at a time and not worry about the length of it. Because it’s hard. This is the only time of year where it’s all football. So they’re involved with football from the minute they wake up until the minute they go to sleep. Now they get a little break. Tomorrow’s their day off so they (went) six days. Never during the year do you go physically as demanding for six straight days as we just did and we probably won’t actually do that again all training camp. So it was a runway. I think our medical people did a great job, with all the technology they have, of helping us monitor and make sure nobody gets too far out of whack.’’
— Rutgers has yet to hold a full-contact practice so Schiano isn’t ready to say where he stands on naming a starting offensive line.
But his initial impression is the unit he’s has said was the team’s biggest question mark heading into camp is “improved.’’
“We have to be,’’ he said. “That’s what I’ve said all along. We have to be improved because we weren’t good enough. How much we’re improved I think we’re going to find out.’’
— Even though he didn’t become Rutgers’ primary placekicker until the fourth week of last season, Valentino Ambrosio has plenty of job security in his first full training camp.
“Val Ambrosio is our kicker,’’ Schiano said Monday.
A converted soccer player who walked on to the team just before the season last fall, Ambrosio converted 9 of his 11 field golds, with a long of 42 yards on three occasions, last season. The Cranford native ranked fourth in the Big Ten with his nine field goals and fifth with an 81.8 conversion percentage.
Guy Fava, who handled Rutgers’ placekicking duty for the first three weeks of last season, is Ambrosio’s primary backup while Towson transfer Eric Bernstein is in the mix for the backup duty.
— While Schiano isn’t ready to name captains for the 2021 season, he indicated a decision will likely come before the Temple opener. Linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi, wide receiver Bo Melton, punter Adam Korsak and special-teams ace Lawrence Stevens, who were named co-captains toward the end of last season, are all back.
But Schiano noted the high number of seniors on the roster, and said he preference is for “a lot of guys to lead.’’ Other players presumably in the mix for the captain honor include Vedral, running back Isaih Pacheco, offensive linemen Nick Krimin and Raiqwon O’Neal, defensive linemen Julius Turner and Mike Tverdov, and linebackers Tyshon Fogg and Tyreek Maddox-Williams.
“I was going to (name captains) before we started (camp),’’ Schiano said. “I never for whatever reason feel in a rush to do that. But I probably will sometime before the season because I think for the most part it’s pretty clear who the captains will be. I’ll let them vote on it but I think it’s going to come out how I think is.’’
— Billy Taylor on Monday was selected as one of 31 nominees for the Patrick Mannelly Award, which recognizes college football’s best long-snapper. Rutgers’ fifth-year senior has handled the long-snapper duty since arriving as a true freshman from Parsippany Hills High School. The 6-1, 220-pounder brings a string of 45 consecutive games played into the 2021 campaign.
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