Rutgers conducts fourth spring practice under eye of President Barchi
A week following the first practice of the spring, the Rutgers football team continued to slowly inch along in its preparation for its first season under head coach Chris Ash with the fourth practice of the preseason.
Only this time, there was no vomiting from the players.
Regardless, Ash was happy with what he saw at the Rutgers Indoor Practicing and Conditioning Facility Thursday morning.
“Practice four is down. Really liked our energy today, our tempo, our intensity. Came out and got some good work done,” he said. “The team continues to work extremely hard. Still learning how to practice and got a long way to go in terms of execution, but I like their attitude, I like their effort and their coach-ability right now.”
The Scarlet Knights continued to develop chemistry and gel together as Ash and his staff evaluated the players at each position.
The depth chart is still far from being molded, but there are position groups beginning to stand out among the rest.
“There’s several players that really stood out. It’s more about position groups that have probably stood out,” Ash said. “Up front on both sides of the ball, starting with the D-line, I’ve been very excited with our defensive line. I think it’s probably the strength of our football team ... The offensive line is really coming along … I’m impressed with our wide receivers … Those are all probably the positions that have stood out to me without calling any individuals because position groups have stood out.”
Along with a few high school coaches and recruits, who have been a common presence at the other three practices thus far, University President Dr. Robert L. Barchi and Athletic Director Pat Hobbs were also in attendance for the first half-hour of practice.
Barchi spoke to the team for seven minutes prior to practice, according to NJ Advanced Media’s Keith Sargeant.
His message was one of personal accountability.
“Just welcoming them to a new season and wishing them best of luck and pointing out to them how important what they're doing here is important to the University both in the public exposure of what the public sees across the country and how important it is for them to be thinking about that in their own personal behavior,” Barchi told Sargeant and Gannett New Jersey’s Ryan Dunleavy.
Ash was happy to see Dr. Barchi at practice. He appreciated his message of responsibility to themselves and the team, on and off the field.
"It meant a lot to have him there. Any time you can get the support of the University President for the football program, I think that means a lot," Ash said. "It was nice to be able to have him come out and address the football team, and talk about his support for the players.''
Rutgers will play its first intrasquad scrimmage of the spring in its next practice Saturday morning.
It will be an important session for the players as they continue to separate themselves in hopes of climbing up the depth chart.
After being evaluated during months of off-season workouts and conditioning coupled with three practices filled with drills and non-contact work, the Knights will finally be able to prove their worth Saturday’s this Fall.
“Every day is an important day right now because everything we do (and) the players are getting evaluated. The difference about Saturday, though, is we’re gonna find out who could actually finish plays," Ash said. "It’s one thing to be able to get in the right position and tag off in the way that we are in certain drills, it’s another to be able to pull the trigger and finish or to be able to put your foot in the ground and make somebody miss like we’re hoping to see on Saturday.”