Rutgers practice for the final time in pIscataway this week as the team prepares to take on Illinois this weekend on the road. Here is a closer look at the latest from the sidelines at Rutgers.
Rutgers head coach Ash was reluctant to announce his newest starting quarterback after today’s practice and admitted that has a lot to do with giving Illinois a competitive advantage.
“We will have it figured out, we obviously don’t want to help other people do their job,” Ash said.
Whether it is Gio Rescigno, Kyle Bolin or Johnathan Lewis, the starter will be fully aware that he’ll be leading the RU offense into the game on Saturday.
“They will know in advance, we just want to make sure we are doing the best thing for our football team,” Ash said.
A spirited practice
The Scarlet Knights left the field with a lot of energy today and Ash mentioned whether or not there was anything to that.
“We are 1-4, we are discouraged by that situation right now. But the chemistry and character of this football team, to me, continues to shine through because they continue to work and they continue to have fun when they show up and I think that is what shows more than anything. We haven’t been loose, we haven’t been tight. In my opinion, our preparation has been pretty consistent throughout the season. I thought the bye week was productive.
“We’ve had productive practices this week. I think that sick feeling we had in our stomach the last time we played, we’ve been able to not forget it, but move on from it and hopefully channel that bad feeling into good preparation.”
The safety role
Starting free safety Saquan Hampton is out with an injury, although Kiy Hester will start again at strong safety after playing less than two full quarters against Ohio State.
In an effort to bolster the position, Jawuan Harris was moved from wide receiver to safety and he too is expected to see action this weekend.
“We think that Kiy is going to be fine to play, but it’s a quad and it’s a muscle and you never know,” Ash said. “It is going to be a game time decision. But Jawuan is going to see action.
And what has Ash seen out of Harris since that position change?
“Honestly, he’s got a pretty good football IQ. So he’s picked things up fairly quickly,” Ash said of Harris. “Now, if he is out there, we are obviously not going to run our full package on defense. He just doesn’t have that many reps or the ability to learn it all in such a short amount of time. But I have been impressed with his football IQ and the stuff he’s been able to pick up in a short amount of time; not just in the meeting room, but the real test is what he does out on the football field and in practice.
"He’s been able to take the meeting room stuff and transfer it to the practice field. Now the challenge will be, what is going to do on game day? It’s completely different. You don’t know until you get there.”