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Rutgers holds Media Day 3 weeks out from season opener

Summer has come and gone as the calendar has flipped to mid-August. For the Rutgers football team, that means the season is right around the corner. But, thanks to head coach Chris Ash, practices have already been in full swing as the Scarlet Knights look to take another step in the right direction this year.

“I really love this team, I love our guys,” Ash said at a press conference on Media Day and to scarletknights.com last Sunday. “I really enjoy going to meetings, to practices and just enjoying this process with them right now in training camp. It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve worked extremely hard through the first eight practices.”

With less than three weeks remaining before Rutgers’ first game against Texas State at High Point Solutions Stadium on Sept. 1, there are a lot of things Ash likes and a lot that still need improvement.

For starters, the Knights are still unsure of who their starting quarterback is going to be come September.

“We’re still in the evaluation process, we still have three guys that are getting reps that are getting evaluated,” Ash said. “We’re not ready to name a starting quarterback today.” 

Those three are fifth-year senior Giovanni Rescigno, sophomore Johnathan Lewis and freshman Artur Sitkowski — all of whom have impressed at times and shown cause for concern at others. 

Nevertheless, Ash hopes one quarterback separates himself from the rest of the pack in the coming days so he can name a starter by Saturday’s scrimmage and finally put an end to the drama, not just for the fans but for his team as well.

“Some guys continue to rise, some guys are inconsistent but hopefully through this week, the goal would be hopefully by (this) Saturday we’d maybe be in position to do something with a quarterback and naming a starter,” Ash said. 

As for other key positions, Ash likes the depth of this team more than other teams in the past, especially on the offensive side of the ball at positions like wide receiver, tight end and running back.

Ash even believes some of the underclassmen will make an impact on the field this season, particularly some of his young talent on the defensive line that just needs more developing — something that still goes for all of his players.

“Fundamentally we have to get better and mostly upfront on both sides of the ball,” he said. “It’s a line of scrimmage game and that’s where we want to build our football team and we’ve got to really get better at that part of our football team.”

But, some players that have caught Ash’s eye so far in camp have been the ones who use their feet — sophomore kicker Justin Davidovicz and sophomore punter Adam Korsak, who last played at Maribyrnong College in Australia.

Ash praised both underclassmen for stepping up at positions that needed to be filled after the departures of Ryan Anderson and Andrew Harte, and thinks Korsak’s time in Australia can actually help.

“I really like his leg and I think he’s got a skillset and some tools that we can do some things with that a normal punter can’t,” Ash said.

And even though there’s less than three weeks of training camp left, Ash knows what needs to get done from now until game day.

“Effort isn’t a problem, toughness isn’t a problem, I really like where we’re at from that standpoint. It’s putting all of that together with fundamentals and execution and that’s really going to be the focus for the next few weeks. (We’ve still) got a lot of work to do,” he said.

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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