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What Should Rutgers Football Fans Look for at Open Practice?

Rutgers Practice
Fans who are interested in getting a scouting report on the team, coach Flood doesn’t seem like the paranoid type.

“The install is still going on, so we’re just going to play football,” Flood said.

“I’m not going to get too concerned about that. I don’t know that structurally we’ve changed a lot from last year. We just need to do what we do and do it better. We’re going to play football the way we do. We’re not going to go out there to intentionally hide anything.”

So Rutgers fans, what should you be looking for??

1. Quarterback Play: There is still n intense battle going on between Hayden Rettig and Chris Laviano to earn the starting job.

Coach Flood has abstained from giving much insight into the competition, as training camp started with Laviano in the lead. Rettig has made big strides and looked sharper than he did in the spring. Will this be enough to close the gap?

“I said in the beginning 7-10 days,” Flood said of his timetable for making the final decision. “I’m going to try to stick to that if we can. Ultimately, I’ll make the final decision. And once I make it, it’s going to be final.”

Ultimately, the biggest stage for the quarterbacks before the final decision is made will be Monday’s scrimmage, but Friday’s first practice in full pads changed the dynamic despite the fact that passers can’t be hit.

“The quarterbacks aren’t live,” Flood said, “but I think it does because I think the pass rush is a little more ferocious. What’s going on in front of you is more active when you’re live and when you’re in full pads. I think that always helps them.

“Now the last part for them other than handling the situations will be moving the ball and playing drives. We really haven’t done that yet. We’ll get into that over the next couple of days.”

2. Intensity Level: The first week of camp ended with two of the more emotional practices in recent memory. Tempers flared after some exaggerated contact and then toned it down in full pads.

Rutgers limited two of its three offense-versus-defense periods of practice to thud (no tackling to the ground) so that transfer middle linebacker Kaiwan Lewis could participate. Lewis missed the first day of camp due to a paperwork issue and had to practice four times before he could put on full pads.

“We probably would have done a little more live work (Friday) if Kaiwan was in full pads, but I didn’t want him to miss another day of team periods,” Flood said. “Now everybody that we need will be out there in full pads when we want to. It gives us the flexibility to tackle, and you have to get a certain amount of tackling in in training camp if you think you’re going to do it well when you start the season.”

3. Who’s in, who’s out? You can be sure that the diehards will be taking attendance, especially since the latest official injury report released by Rutgers included limitations on star defensive tackle Darius Hamilton and halfbacks Robert Martin and Desmon Peoples.

Not to mention the months of speculation over cornerback Nadir Barnwell’s status.

It is Rutgers policy that all injury information must come from the head coach. Flood does not comment on injuries other than to release a weekly report.

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