Rutgers test out new offense in day 4 of practice
The Rutgers football team kicked off its first full week of practice today, quickly starting its fourth day of training camp.
The Scarlet Knights changed things up during the first hour of practice, focusing heavily on their pass game after the usual warmup drills with the whole team together.
All six quarterbacks on the roster took reps in the first set of drills with just the receivers, working on quick-slant routes and over-the-shoulder passes. The second and more intense set of drills put the defensive backs on said receivers within 10 yards of the end zone.
Here are three takeaways from the throwing drills early Monday morning:
A fifth offense in five years will take time to learn
Inputting a new offensive system into a team takes time to learn, but luckily Rutgers infused new offensive coordinator John McNulty and his pro-style offense into the team earlier this spring. Still, the offensive unit will need the next few weeks to continue to adjust.
The core three quarterbacks have some rust to shake off
Sure, it is still very early in training camp this summer, so being rusty is expected after a long break over the summer, but early looks at the quarterbacks in practice showed a lot of balls being over thrown to receivers, specifically during the slant route drills.
Fifth-year senior Giovanni Rescigno and true freshman Artur Sitkowski threw a number of balls over their receivers heads during the drills, but to their credit, they took notice of this and each took an extra rep once the drill was already called off. Sitkowski’s big arm was on display during the drills, but he let it get the best of him at times. Sophomore Johnathan Lewis looked pretty good during both throwing drills, showing major strides after what was an up-and-down spring training and poor spring game.
“It’s been a really good competition, and I’m excited about where we are headed with the position,” McNulty said after practice. “Whatever the timetable is in terms of announcing someone, we will go with that, but I think we have an idea of where we are heading in terms of divvying up the reps.”
Austin is going to be a problem for opposing defenses
Senior defensive back Blessuan Austin was absolutely lights out during end-zone drills this morning. He locked up sophomore wide receiver Everett Wormley throughout the drill, not allowing him to make a single catch.
This isn’t a surprise from Austin, who was named honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2016 after defending 1.4 passes per game — second in the Big Ten and 12th nationally. He may have had an even more impressive season last year, but Austin suffered a torn ACL at Nebraska last September and lost the remainder of his junior season.
Even in just four games last season, he collected 12 tackles and an interception, so Knights fans certainly have a face on defense they can trust.