by Quentin Gause
July 31st kicked off the first day of Rutgers football training camp. Athletes were required to report to the all famous Hale Center on Busch Campus by 2 pm for check-in. Fortunately for players, the first day consists of logistical tasks such as having their height, weight, and wingspan measured, and filling out medical forms. Once everything is complete, players are officially registered and are off to their dormitories.
Every year the players move in to Judson suites on Busch Campus. Players pick which side of the bedroom they’d like, drop their things, say goodbye to friends and family, and report to the equipment room with Mike Kuzniak, the equipment manager, for a run through of the check-in papers received earlier. After all is completed, everyone retires for the evening to take in the last hours of easy living because it only gets harder from here on out.
August 1st begins training camp is in full throttle. All of the players are excited to begin this historic season as Rutgers has entered the Big Ten. There is a full team of seniors looking to take their careers to the next level, returners looking to maintain and secure positions, and new coming freshmen getting acclimated to their new homes. Simply put, everyone has a lot to prove. With the Big Ten being the largest conference Rutgers has been a participant of in quite some time, positions are only guaranteed to the player with the highest level of skills and consistency.
There are two major reasons why Rutgers has been invited to move into the Big Ten. Rutgers is a great academic institution that ranks high versus other schools in the country. The Big Ten conference take academics very seriously, naturally Rutgers fits their profile. The second reason is because Rutgers is right next to the number one media market in the world, New York City.
The invitation was officially accepted in fall 2012 when President Barchi announced that Rutgers University will be entering the Big Ten in 2014. Barchi said, “The Big Ten is really where Rutgers belongs.” According to the Associated press, Rutgers has been competing in the Big East since 1991. The league has since been picked apart by conference realignment, and the Scarlet Knights were simply looking for a way out. Rutgers landed in the best possible spot, a spot that seemed unthinkable a decade ago when Rutgers football was a “Big East cellar-dweller.”
Now the first season in the Big Ten is officially here and everyone is excited for what is to come.
The week of 8/4/14
From an outside perspective, it may seem as though practices become tedious and repetitive but sometimes there are a few pleasant surprises and events on the field.
For example earlier during this week, the Big Ten Network tour came to one of the practices to view this year’s talent. They evaluated every position on the field and were impressed by what they saw. Big Ten reporter Tom Dienhart said, “Rutgers has an interesting squad as it enters the Big Ten. The schemes are more traditional, as the Scarlet Knights to a degree have the look of a Big Ten squad.”
Our most recent events have included the Rutgers Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday August 9, 2014. This is a day filled with various family oriented activities. Fans were able to attend an open practice and see the football team in action. After practice, the football players went into the stands and signed autographs for fans. Fans were also able to purchase new scarlet knight Big Ten Gear and take a photo with the Big Ten back drop behind them. The Scarlet Knight mascot also was in attendance and revealed its new make-over.
Aside from Fan Appreciation Day, Rutgers football had its first scrimmage on August 11th. The players were allowed to invite family and close friends to view the event. Seeing familiar faces not only boosts morale, but also confidence on the field. Even all of the coaches were excited to see all of those who could share the experience of the first scrimmage of the season. From the feedback that the team received, the heavy anticipation was well worth the wait. All of the players put in 100% effort which lead to a successful scrimmage that allowed the team to accurately assess its strengths and weaknesses. Camp is not quite over yet and there is still some work to do, but the team is growing more confident in their conjoined and individual capabilities every day. The first home game against Howard University is rapidly approaching, and Rutgers will be ready. This season will be one to remember, its game time and it’s on in Piscataway.