Rutgers Football Training Camp Notebook: August 7th
In its first day at the new Marco Battaglia Practice Complex, the Rutgers football team was greeted with a cold, rainy day, but stuck it out to kick off its second week of preparation.
The biggest news of the day came from the quarterback competition, as graduate transfer Kyle Bolin jumped junior Giovanni Rescigno and took all the reps with the first-team offense.
Bolin took snaps from sophomore center Jonah Jackson, who seems to have settled into the role of starter after the graduation of Derrick Nelson.
The rest of the starting offensive line includes Tariq Cole at left tackle, Dorian Miller at left guard, Zach Venesky at right guard and Kamaal Seymour at right tackle.
With Janarion Grant in a green non-contact jersey, sophomore Dacoven Bailey took his place as the starting slot receiver, with graduate transfer Damon Mitchell and sophomore Jawuan Harris starting on the outside.
Robert Martin III was also in a green non-contact jersey, so graduate-transfer Gus Edwards and sophomore Trey Sneed split reps as first-team running backs.
Nakia Griffin-Stewart was working at first-team tight end, but junior Jerome Washington had a strong day and the two seem to be battling it out for the starting job.
On defense, Ross Taylor-Douglas took all the first-team reps at strongside linebacker, despite Eric Margolis running with the 1's last week. After a torn ACL to Tyreek Maddox-Williams, that third linebacker spot is up in the air.
The team has been trying out a 3-4 look on defense, one that defensive coordinator Jay Niemann said it used last year in third down situations.
In that formation, juniors Kevin Wilkins and Jon Bateky play outside senior nose tackle Sebastian Joseph, with Kemoko Turay still on the outside.
That red-zone period gave the quarterbacks a shot to go for the endzone every rep. Bolin looked the sharpest of all the QBs, making the play of the day when he threw a perfect fade route to Jerome Washington, who made the catch in the corner of the end zone despite K.J. Gray and Tim Barrow draped all over him.
True freshman Johnathan Lewis also looked really good in the red-zone period, finding Griffin-Stewart over the middle for a touchdown then hitting true freshman Hunter Hayek in the end zone for his second straight touchdown after an incompletion on his first rep.
Hayek has been running with the second-team in practice, but in addition to that touchdown, had a really nice catch on a deep flag route in the pouring rain. Hayek has looked really good in the three practices open to the media, but has been buried on the depth chart behind guys with much more experience.
And with that, an update on the players in green non-contact jerseys:
- Janarion Grant
- Ahmir Mitchell
- Damon Mitchell (Did participate in 11-on-11 full contact drills, though)
- Robert Martin III
- Elorm Lumor
- Cole Murphy
- Larry Stevens