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For two years, ?the big question about Rutgers football has been how competitive the Scarlet Knights will be in the Big Ten.

Saturday night at 8, ?they'll start providing answers when they host Penn State at High Point Solutions Stadium in their first game in their new, prestigious conference (AP, Sept. 12).

Both teams are 2-0. Bur in terms of tradition and on-field success,?Penn State is far ahead of the Knights, whose invitation had more to do with New Jersey's population and demographics. The game is on the Big Ten Network, an already profitable channel expected to benefit greatly by expanding into the Garden State.

Tags: Football, Penn State, Rutgers football, Jerry McGuire
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BY MATT SUGAM

Special to ZAGSBLOG

NEWPORT, R.I. ? With the summer lull for college athletics coming to an end and the fall season lurking around the corner, the Big East is still without a new commissioner.

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GEICO SportsNite has coverage of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick who spoke out about Rutgers alumni in the NFL on Thursday.

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During his introductory press conference Tuesday, Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood was asked by one reporter for an update on recruiting target Darius Hamilton, the son of former Giants All-Pro Keith Hamilton.

Flood wasn't thrown off by the question, and accurately said he couldn't comment on unsigned players.

"I can't comment on that until [Wednesday] but I'm looking forward to commenting on it," Flood said.

Tags: Articles, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Just a few hours after he is introduced today as Rutgers' new football coach at a 1:30 press conference broadcast on SNY, Kyle Flood will learn whether he gets to coach Darius Hamilton.

The 6-foot-4 Hamilton, the son of former Giants great Keith Hamilton,?is ranked the No. 2 strongside defensive end in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.

He will announce for either Rutgers or Miami. National Signing Day is Wednesday.

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During his weekly press conference Tuesday, Penn State coach Joe Paterno suggested that Rutgers could potentially join the Big Ten Conference.

"I don't know where we're (Big Ten) going to end up," Paterno said. "There might be even some speculation that Penn State maybe ought to get into something different or we ought to try to go out and get some people from the East to come into the Big Ten, that we maybe ought to solicit Jim Delany and some of the leaders of the Big Ten, 'Hey, why don't we go take a good look at Syracuse and Pitt?'

"Now that they're out of it, 'Why don't we take a look at Rutgers?' and take a look at somebody that we can bring in from the East so that the Big Ten doesn't end in State College."

Tags: Articles, Big East, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Even as a New York Post report surfaced indicating that Rutgers and UConn could join the ACC within three weeks, Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano is trying to downplay the hype.

"My wife asked me [about it]," Schiano said Monday on the Big East conference call in advance of Saturday's game against Ohio University.

"I'm getting it from you, my wife, everybody.? Like I said, it doesn't matter because if we're not ready to play, all this stuff is not going to matter.? We got to be ready to play and we're playing a very good football team."

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Tom Savage, once the quarterback of the future at Rutgers, will complete his college career somewhere else.

The University announced Saturday that Savage, a sophomore, and?freshman running back?Casey Turner have been granted conditional releases.

"I thought about it with my family and we just thought it was the best decision for me," Savage told ScarletNation.com. "It is just a fresh start somewhere else."

Tags: Articles, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Tara Sullivan of the Bergen Record covered? Tom Coughlin's visit with paralyzed Rutgers DT Eric Legrand...

...Coughlin visited with Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, who has been at Hackensack since suffering a spinal cord injury in an Oct. 16 game against Army, an injury that has left him paralyzed.

?I was looking forward to getting to see Eric over the last two weeks and I told his mother [Karen] that,? Coughlin said Wednesday before heading out to the practice field. ?She has done an incredible job. She?s so very positive and tough and so committed to making sure Eric understands that his spirits are always up and thinking about positive things.?

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Tags: Eric LeGrand, New York Giants, New York Giants News, Rutgers Football, Tom Coughlin
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Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano describes Eric LeGrand as the kind of kid who can ?make you laugh with just smiling at you on the practice field.?

?He?s a special guy and a guy who really loves to play the game,? a somber Schiano said Sunday on a conference call. ?I think a lot of people like it a lot. This kid loves it. From being in the locker room to practicing to games to the night before the game, he?s a great teammate.?

LeGrand, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound junior defensive tackle from Avenel, N.J., suffered a spinal cord injury while making a tackle on a kickoff with 5:10 left in regulation in the fourth quarter of Saturday?s 23-20 overtime win against Army at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

Tags: Articles, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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When Tulane visits Rutgers on Saturday, fans could be treated to a battle of injured quarterbacks....or a battle of backups.

Ryan Griffin, Tulane's starter, suffered a sprained left shoulder in last week's 42-23 loss to Houston, but is expected to start for the Rutgers' Homecoming game (ESPN3, 2 p.m.)

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. ? As Tom Savage stood encircled by more than 20 reporters in the Rutgers football locker room early Saturday night, it was clear that his bruised ribs weren?t the only thing bothering him.

His heart and pride took a beating after he threw a critical fourth-quarter interception in a 17-13 home loss to North Carolina before 52,038.

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If Joe Martinek isn't ready to go in Saturday's game against North Carolina (3:30, ESPNU), true freshman Jordan Thomas will get his first career start.

?I don?t know what?s going to happen but I?m very confident in Jordan," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said Tuesday. "I think he?ll do fine no matter what his role is. I think Jordan is getting better by the day. He has made a big leap from the end of the FIU game until today. I think he?s improved.?

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Thomas wasn't made available to the media this week. Freshman are typically only available after games.

Tags: Articles, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. ? Tom Savage isn?t sure which North Carolina defense he?ll be facing on Saturday at Rutgers Stadium (3:30, ESPNU).

Will it be the one with four potential NFL players, including star defensive tackle Marvin Austin?

Or will it be the one that has lost back-to-back 30-24 games while competing without those players?

Tags: Articles, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage knows that his offense barely looks ready to compete in the Big East, much less the Big Ten.

With chatter swirling that Rutgers could be invited to join the Big Ten down the road, the Scarlet Knights struggled offensively in their 31-0 victory over Norfolk State before 46,311 red-clad, tailgate-loving fans at Rutgers Stadium.

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GEICO Sportsnite video of Greg Schiano and his Scarlet Knights, who are in camp getting ready for another season of Big East football...... WATCH
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When the most important phone call of his life came Thursday night, Devin McCourty was in the bathroom of his Nanuet, N.Y., home.

"I had actually run to the bathroom and I heard my phone ringing," McCourty said Friday on a conference call. "They came banging on the door. They said: 'Answer the phone. Answer the phone.' As soon as I got out of the bathroom, I answered the phone and I was talking to Coach [Bill] Belichick."

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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The 2010 Rutgers recruiting class is like a bottle of fine wine.

It gets better with time.

The Scarlet Knights over the last two days landed two four-star recruits and two three-star prospects to a class that currently stands at 24 players heading into Wednesday's National Signing Day.

Tags: Big East Football, Paterson Catholic, Pittsburgh, Princeton, Rutgers Football, Rutgers Football Recruiting, Signing Day Video, Adam Zagoria
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On the eve of National Signing Day, Rutgers has landed two four-star players in 6-foot-6 Maryland WR Brandon Coleman (pictured at left) and 5-10 Florida CB Rashad Knight. Both commitments were first reported by SI.com.

Coleman, who mentioned his close relationship with Rutgers QB Tommy Savage, also held offers from Boston College, Maryland, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. He is ranked No. 29 nationally among wideouts, according to Rivals.com

"He's a tall, red-zone receiver," CBS College Sports recruiting expert Tom Lemming said by phone. "He doesn't have blazing speed. But he'll be a good alley-oop option for Savage in the red zone."

Tags: Big East Football, Paterson Catholic, Pittsburgh, Rutgers Football, Syracuse, West Virginia, Adam Zagoria
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Joe Susan, the Rutgers recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, will be named the new head coach at Bucknell University during a press conference at 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

A South River, N.J., native, Susan was the offensive line coach at Bucknell from 1981-88. He then became associate head coach for two seasons with the Bison. During his tenure at Bucknell, Susan recruited Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano to play for the Bison. He also recruited offensive lineman Jay Butler, Rutgers' assistant director for strength and conditioning.

Susan, 54, spent one year as head coach at Davidson in 2000, leading the team to a 10-0 record. He joined Rutgers as the offensive line coach in 2001, the same year Schiano came to Rutgers.

Tags: Big East Football, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Rutgers junior All-America offensive tackle Anthony Davis of Piscataway is holding a press conference Tuesday at noon at which he is expected to announce his intentions to leave for the NFL, multiple outlets reported.

Two sources told Joe Schad of ESPN.com?that the 6-foot-6, 330-pound Davis plans to declare for the draft and that he is projected as? a first-round pick and a potential top-10 selection. ESPN's Todd McShay has him going as high as No. 9.

Davis helped the Scarlet Knights finish 9-4 with a 45-24 victory over Central Florida in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Cincinnati will play defending national champion Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in the Louisiana Superdome.
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"We've fought all year to get where we are," Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly said. "To have the chance to represent the University of Cincinnati in a game like the Sugar Bowl that has such great history against an outstanding opponent in Florida is a real honor for our football team. We look forward to a great game in New Orleans on Jan. 1."
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The question is: Who will coach the Bearcats in that game?
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Kelly told ESPN.com that he would "entertain" meeting with Notre Dame officials this week to discuss that school's coaching opening.
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Check out the Big East Sports blog for Greg Schiano's feelings about being sent to the St. Petersburg Bowl Dec. 19.
BIG EAST BOWL BIDS
St. Petersburg Bowl - Rutgers vs. Central Florida, Dec. 19
Meineke Car Car Bowl - Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina, Dec. 26
Gator Bowl - West Virginia vs. Florida State, Jan 1.
Sugar Bowl - Cincinnati vs. Florida, Jan. 1

International Bowl - South Florida vs. Northern Illinois, Jan. 2

PapaJohns.com Bowl - UConn vs. South Carolina, Jan. 2

Tags: Big East Football, Cincinnati, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Dave Wannstedt only needed to watch a handful of highlights when recruiting Dion Lewis out of Blair Academy.
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"His highlight tape was five plays and they were all 80-yard runs. I seriously watched five plays and told [assistant coach] Jeff Hafley to offer him," Wannstedt said after Lewis rushed 31 times for 180 yards in Pittsburgh's 24-17 victory Friday over Rutgers at Rutgers Stadium.
A native of Albany, N.Y., Lewis ran roughshod over the Rutgers defense, including a 58-yard touchdown that put Pitt (6-1, 3-0 Big East) up 24-10.
Read the full story here.

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Tags: Pittsburgh, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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***Undefeated Big East powers Cincinnati and South Florida are preparing for an Oct. 15 battle on ESPN. Read about it here.***

Greg Schiano says he's "hoping" that true freshman QB Tom Savage will start Saturday against Texas Southern in the Homecoming game.

?I hope he does. He has been practicing for two days now. I guess the only way that would preclude him from playing is if something took a turn in the other direction. Right now, he is on the way up,?Schiano said Monday.

Tags: Big East Football, Cincinnati, Rutgers Football, South Florida, Adam Zagoria
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Wondering how Rutgers coach Greg Schiano spent his bye week?

Traveling around the Eastern seaboard watching recruits, that's hows.

Schiano was in Florida Friday night and?back in?New Jersey Saturday afternoon.

Tags: Paterson Catholic, Rutgers Football, Rutgers Football Recruiting, Adam Zagoria
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Rutgers coach Greg Schiano isn't shocked that South Florida went into Tallahassee and beat No. 18 Florida State Saturday in the first meeting between the schools.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," Schiano said Sunday.

"I think the Big East Conference is beyond having to prove themselves, yet it continues to be in the public eye that the Big East has to prove themselves. Well, again two weeks in a row now the Big East Conference continues to show that we play very good, hard-nosed football in this league and I don't suspect that's going to change anytime soon."

Tags: Big East Football, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Rutgers coach Greg Schiano say "its 50-50"? whether true freshman quarterback Tom Savage plays in Saturday's game at Maryland, according to Keith Sargeant of the Home News Tribune.

"I really couldn?t tell you definitely what?s going to happen,? Schiano told reporters after Thursday's practice, according to Sargeant.

Savage was knocked unconscious in the fourth quarter during last Saturday's 23-15 victory over Florida International. Defensive end Armond Willis landed on his head, Savage told reporters.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Dave Wannstedt wasn't quite sure what he would get out of freshman linebacker Dan Mason in last Saturday's game against Navy.

Freshmen are typically unpredictable. On and off the football field, who knows what they are capable of?

"You just don't know with freshmen," Wannstedt said on Monday in a conference call. "You see talent and you like them and you draw it on the board. Everybody's excited and then all of a sudden they have to play. And some of them can handle it and some are just not ready, whether it be physically or mentally or emotionally."

Tags: Big East Football, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Memphis wants to join the Big East Conference and has hired former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese to help accomplish that goal.

Yet, Tranghese says he cannot single-handedly get Memphis into the Big East or any other Bowl Championship Series conference.

"I've been hired to help them evaluate their athletic program, not to get them in a conference," Tranghese, who was hired Aug. 1, said Wednesday in a phone interview. "I can't get people into conferences. That's not what I do."

Tags: Big East, Big East Football, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Video: Tom Savage named Rutgers starting quarterback
The quarterback controversy at Rutgers didn't last long.

Just two days after a 45-17 blowout loss at home to Cincinnati in the season opener, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano is making a change.

Fifth-year senior Dom Natale is out and true freshman Tom Savage is in for Saturday's tilt against Howard.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The cars were backed up for half an hour on River Road for the start of what was supposed to be an exciting new season of Rutgers football.

Red-clad fans, old and young, a record 53,737 of them, made their way to sold-out Rutgers Stadium -- the one with the $102 million renovation -- for the season opener against Cincinnati. College kids with red- and white-painted faces filled up the new student section under the gigantic state-of-the-art scoreboard, hoping to be seen on ESPN.

The ticket was so hot that a scalper even asked passers-by if they had extras for sale, something that would have been unheard of just a few years ago in these parts.

Tags: Big East Football, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Monday's tilt between Rutgers and Cincinnati is officially a sell-out.

The newly-expanded stadium has a capacity of 52,454 and will hold the largest crowd in school history for the Labor Day Big East matchup between the Scarlet Knights and Bearcats on ESPN.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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**See Greg Schiano's press conference by clicking on the Video Player at right**

Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly doesn't know who will start at quarterback for Rutgers when the two teams meet a week from today (Sept. 7) at Rutgers Stadium.

And he says he doesn't care, either.

Tags: Big East Football, Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano says he won't release his depth chart until his Monday press conference.

Even then, we may not know whether Dom Natale (pictured) or Tom Savage will start the Sept. 7 opener against Cincinnati because Schiano could choose to list both of them.

?Well, neither of them are captains so I don?t have to tell them until they?re in the tunnel, ?Hey, you?re the guy.? ? Schiano told reporters after Saturday's final practice of camp, according to Keith Sargeant of the Home News Tribune. ?I?m only kidding. The guy?s going to know who?s starting. I probably won?t tell you guys. That?s why I probably won?t make it public.?

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- With two 1,000-yard receivers gone to the NFL, Rutgers must find playmakers at the wide receiver position heading into the 2009 season.

Kenny Britt was a first-round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans and Tiquan Underwood went to the Jacksonville Jaguars, leaving diminutive senior Tim Brown as the leader at the wideout position.

At 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, Brown doesn't have the size of a Britt (6-3) or an Underwood (6-1), but he is a playmaker.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- What once was a four-man competition for the starting quarterback job at Rutgers is now a two-man battle between fifth-year redshirt senior Domenic Natale and true freshman Tom Savage. Head coach Greg Schiano stopped short of naming Natale his starter for the Sept. 7 season opener against Cincinnati, but that is how things appear to be shaping up.

Read the full story here.

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The man who could be the No. 1 quarterback for the Rutgers football team hasn't started a game in five years and is still finding his way in the team's offense.

Fifth-year senior Dom Natale, a native of Sea Girt, N.J., last started a game for The Hun School in 2004.

"We got lost on the way to the game. The field was covered with snow. It was one of those deals where they shoveled the lines off. It was in upstate New York, I can't remember the school. It was a school we don't usually play," Natale recalled.

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**Read the D.C. Jefferson story here at SNY.tv**

As expected, LB Ryan D'Imperio, C Ryan Blaszczyk and DB Devin McCourty were named captains of the 2009 Rutgers football team.

The three players led stretches before Tuesday's scrimmage, the first of the year.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- If you're looking to drop a few pounds, it turns out that training to play tackle football in the brutal August heat is a good way to start.

Just ask Anthony Davis.

After only five days of Rutgers practices, Davis says he's gone from 325 pounds to his goal weight of 315.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Rutgers Head Football Coach Greg Schiano Quotes from Media Day

Opening Statement

Thanks for coming out. I know it?s not the old days, since we have been meeting every day after practice, but it is a good opportunity to get with some of the kids if you have anything you want to talk to them about, assistant coaches. So far, I am encouraged by what I see. I think we have a group of guys that are incredibly committed to what we are asking them to do. That gives you a chance, nothing more, but it does give you a chance. If we can keep them healthy, and we can keep getting better, then we will have a chance to win some games. But those are big ifs. I do like the team that is coming together right now. Five practices in, I think I see things that if we continue to get better at, we are going to be pretty good.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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Brian Bennett, the Big East football blogger for ESPN.com, has put out his preseason All-Big East team. Pittsburgh leads the way with six picks?and Rutgers has four, including OT Anthony Davis. Davis (pictured courtesy Scarletknights.com) is currently practicing with the second team because he failed to make weight.

Offense

QB Tony Pike, Cincinnati

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- As an All-American linebacker coming out Absecon (N.J.) Holy Spirit High School, Marcus Witherspoon had his pick of colleges.

Schools like Michigan, USC, Penn State, Tennessee, Florida, and Florida State were interested.

"They were all there. The offers just flooded in," recalled Holy Spirit head coach Bill Walsh.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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***Also read today's story on the changes underway at Rutgers Stadium**

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- So it's only the beginning of camp but we thought it would be a good time to lay odds on the Rutgers quarterback battle, which ostensibly has five guys competing to be Mike Teel's successor.

Here's the breakdown

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(Photos courtesy Rutgers Daily Targum, my centraljersey.com, scarletknights.com)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Tom Savage made his first pass as a Rutgers quarterback at shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday, a perfect spiral crossfield to wideout Marcus Cooper during warmups.

One day fans may look back at this as the official beginning of the Savage Era at Rutgers, but on this 100-degree day Savage was just one of five QBs in a green jersey using blue Stay Cool towels to battle the oppressive heat.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Domenic Natale walked into the Hale Center at Rutgers University on Monday afternoon and was immediately surrounded by a group of reporters pointing cameras, tape recorders and notebooks in his face.

Jabu Lovelace, his fellow fifth-year senior and prime challenger for the open quarterback position, received similar treatment on the day players reported for the start of Tuesday's training camp.

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The Rutgers football team reported today ahead of the start of tomorrow's camp. Here are a few quick notes from head coach Greg Schiano:

**OL Keith Newell transferred to Delaware State.

**Davon Smart, a DB out of Hackensack, N.J., transferred to Norfolk State. He has one year of eligibility left.

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NEWPORT, R.I. -- It was Easter Week of 2007 and Ryan D'Imperio was laid up in a hospital bed when Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano came in to console him.

Schiano was down in the dumps because one of his best linebacker's had just snapped his leg in three places -- "It was nasty, really bad," the coach said -- during a spring practice.

"Coach, I'll be fine. I'll be back. I'll get out of here and I'll rehab. I'll be back before you know it," D'Imperio calmly told the coach from his hospital bed.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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I'm working on a feature on Ryan D'Imperio that will come out next week on SNY.tv. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound D'Imperio will start at middle LB for Rutgers this season and head coach Greg Schiano expects big things from him.

"He's got an opportunity to be as good a linebacker as there is out there," the coach said.

D'Imperio amassed 93 tackles (12.5 for loss), 5.5 sacks, one INT and two fumble recoveries last season.

Tags: Rutgers Football, Adam Zagoria
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