Rutgers football held its first practice of spring camp on Tuesday. Head coach Greg Schiano addressed the media after practice.
Asked about the transition under new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, Schiano highlighted the key for his entire coaching staff.
“I think all our coaches are doing a great job of building relationships,” Schiano. “That to me is it. The connection part. I always look at three things: The character, or we wouldn’t hire him; the competency and being able to teach the game, and then the connection you have with the players. I think this staff has a unique ability to do that, and Kirk is certainly at the forefront of that.”
Tuesday was the first time that injury updates were provided since the 2022 season ended. Two linebackers who missed the entire fall with injuries did practice on Tuesday.
“Moses Walker and Mo are full go,” Schiano said. “They’re not 100%. They’re working their way back to being (100%). So very encouraged here.”
Walker is a former 4-star recruit and Mohamed Toure led Rutgers in sacks in both the 2020 and 2021 campaigns. Both suffered torn ACL injuries in the preseason last August. Having both participating at the start of spring practice is great news for the defense.
On the offensive end, freshman running back Samuel Brown was lost for the season in the seventh game of the season with a foot injury. His timeline is a bit different as Schiano said he was “working his way back in.” He added “Sam is getting better by the day. He’s taking a lot of mental reps.”
Another position Rutgers needs help with is at tight end. Victor Konopka missed nine games with injuries last season but is back in action now.
“It’s great to have him back,” Schiano said. “He’s a really big target out there and he’s getting better and better at the blocking.”
As for progress made by individual players in relation to the depth chart, Schiano preached patience.
“Give me a little bit on that before I get into all the depth,” Schiano said. “I’m not going to talk much depth at all. Defensively, I will because there are guys who are cemented unless they really do something foolish. Offensively, we weren’t very good. We have to figure out how to get better by competing and seeing who claims the job.”
When asked about Gavin Wimsatt’s progress, Schiano gave a positive endorsement.
“I think Gavin came out and had a pretty good grasp of what he was doing. That was encouraging for sure.”
In regard to the offensive line, Schiano was honest in the reality of the situation.
“Depth, when we took over, was rough, obviously. But I think we have more quality depth. We’re still young on the offensive line so there are a lot of young guys who are in that depth,” Schiano said. “I think we have some upper-class leaders who will do just that, that will lead that young group. It will be a work in progress but with coach Flaherty, he is the guy we’re leaning on to get that group to mature.”
You can watch the full press conference here and plenty of coverage to come throughout spring practice.
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