Thursday Notebook: First day in full pads

Bobby Deren, Editor
Scarlet Nation

Rutgers took to the field again today in Piscataway and here are some of the latest headlines from spring practice No.4.

First day in Full pads

Today marked the fourth practice of the spring, although it was the first in full pads for the Scarlet Knights. Head coach Chris Ash talked commented on that 'first' following today’s session.

“We had a very spirited first day in full pads. Through the first four days, I really like the energy and the focus that our players come to practice with. They have practiced with a purpose. We are further ahead defensively than we are in the other two phases of the game.”

This Saturday will mark the team’s first scrimmage of the spring and the following Saturday, April 8th, will be student appreciation day.

“We are excited about student appreciation day, getting our students and fans inside the bubble,” Ash said.

Gross working in at fullback

Rutgers added a new player on Tuesday as fullback Razohnn Gross rejoined the team. Gross was previously dismissed from the team for being on hand during a 2015 altercation involving numerous teammates, but was given a second chance last season on the RU wrestling team.

Now, he is trying to make good on a third chance as he is now battling for playing time at the fullback position.

“I have known about him since we got here and the past, the situation that came up with the group of individuals. But through our homework and our research, he came back and wanted another opportunity,” Ash said of Gross. “Because of what he has been able to do here in school and with the wrestling team, though my conversations with [RU wrestling head coach] Scott [Goodale], he has done a great job. We wanted to give him the opportunity to come out and see what he can do. It’s spring ball right now, it’s a tryout for him to see how he fits in with our team, our locker room and what we do offensively. But he is a great kid. I love the kid from what I know of him during our time here and the little bit he’s been over here. I am excited to see what he can do.”

Gio winning the job

Through four spring practices, redshirt junior Gio Rescigno continues to hold down the starting quarterback position and Ash explained why that is the case.

“Gio is progressing. It is no secret, for us to improve as a football team, we have to improve at quarterback. It has to improve in all areas, it has to improve in leadership. It has to improve in decision-making, ball security, and flat out production. I think Gio has really connected with coach [Jerry] Kill. I think they’ve got a great relationship. I think he is ahead of the curve a little bit because he got a lot of playing time last season. I think what Gio has demonstrated right now through four practices is that his decision making has improved.

“He is not putting the ball in harm’s way, he knows when to pull it down, he’s got two hands on the ball, good ball security where he wouldn’t necessarily have that because last year he was kind of a wild horse running around making plays, which he is still trying to do. But he is trying to do it in a more intelligent and safer way.”

Depth Chart Released

Today, Ash released its first public depth chart of the spring and some of the new notable starters are Kemoko Turay at defensive end, Zack Heeman at right guard and Brandon Russell at linebacker. For more insight on this current depth chart, check out our latest Scarlet Slant.

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