Rutgers Postcard (cont.)
Posted: Thursday August 16, 2007 7:38PM; Updated: Tuesday August 21, 2007 6:46PM
Quarterback Jabu Lovelace. Think Tim Tebow-lite. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound sophomore had a package of his own last fall, but he saw the field just three times, and never unveiled any of it. This year, Lovelace said, "I finally understand the offense."
Without giving away too much, Lovelace runs in a way few quarterbacks can, and can still throw the ball in a way most quarterbacks want to. He's having a great camp and Schiano has a confidence in Lovelace he admits he didn't have last year. In fact, the coach said if the Scarlet Knights don't play Lovelace, they'd be wasting "one of our weapons."
Keep an eye on
WR Timmy Brown. And don't plan on blinking that eye, either. The 5-foot-8 sophomore wideout may have lost an offseason footrace for the fastest player title, but he's still Rutgers' quickest player -- and therefore maybe it's biggest gamebreaker.
Brown's 72-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter at West Virginia cut Rutgers' hole from 10 to three in what would eventually become that triple-overtime thriller. That earned him his first start in the Texas Bowl, where he caught four of his eight career receptions. But whereas last year was about Teel launching the ball and letting Timmy get it, Brown's now become a complete threat.
Because he's so small, he doesn't get jammed at the line -- he can get lower than any defender. Because he's so quick, he doesn't get caught by guys waiting for him to make his move. At a Terrell Owens-like 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, fellow sophomore Kenny Britt's been netting most of the preseason attention in the receiving corps, but Brown is quietly making some noise too.
"Quietly?" Britt repeated upon hearing that. "He's just making some plain noise -- on and off the field. Timmy's going to get to talk a lot of trash this year."
Two weeks into camp, after being forced to practice punting, too, placekicker Jeremy Ito is still booting kickoffs into the end zone. From the 30-yard line. ... Schiano's never had a player flunk out. Free safety Courtney Greene may be the first player in Schiano's seven-year tenure to leave school early -- for the NFL. ... The other day, captains Eric Foster, a DT, and Zuttah, the Knights' right tackle, started jawing at each other in good fun. Except one of the practice refs threw a personal foul flag on Foster. "I wouldn't have been so calm if it was legit," Schiano said. ... Rutgers doesn't go on the road until Oct. 13, but crowd noise is already being piped onto the practice fields. ... Schiano's always stressed speed in recruiting and this year, he may have one of the fastest teams in America. The roster includes seven state sprint championships, and another three players who finished third in their states. One of those champions, freshman tailback Mason Robinson, said, "We'd have a couple good 4x100 teams: an A-team, a B-team and a C-team." ... Two schools have copped the "Keep Chopping" mantra ESPN made so ubiquitous last year. Connecticut's players are "Sawing Wood," while Central Florida has traded Rutgers' axe for a hammer. ... Just two years after the school's total season-ticket holders barely numbered 6,000, there are that many people on this year's waiting list. There aren't any single game tickets available to the general public, and according to Buytickets.com, the Rutgers-West Virginia is currently the 16th most expensive stub in the country.
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