Rutgers football preparing for UNC’s rapid offense

The Scarlet Knights are preparing to face UNC at the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on December 26, and for Rutgers defense, that means focusing on the Tar Heels quick offense (Rutgers, Dec. 18).

“I think they’re going to be the fastest team we’ve played all year,” said junior defensive tackle Darius Hamilton. “They’re very fast. They do a great job of — after the play is finished — running to the ball and getting the play off. I think they’re going to be the fastest no-huddle team we’ve played all year.”

Rutgers’ defense is no stranger to adjusting to the variety of play the Big 10 has to offer.

“It’s been really unique to go from a team that throws the ball every play to teams that only like to run the ball, a triple option team, to teams where the quarterbacks are the leading rushers and are also good passers,” Hamilton said. “It tests your character and your focus.”

So, as the Scarlet Knights get set of face UNC in a week, what’s the key for Hamilton and the rest of the defensive squad?

“As a defense, you’ve got to communicate,” Hamilton said. “If the offense moves one piece, and they do it so quickly, your whole defense can change. You’ve got to be able to relay calls before the ball is snapped. Everybody has to know their assignments a lot quicker than usual.

“Football is a huge physical game but when you play a no-huddle team that plays this fast you really have to be focused mentally.”

Top HS running back makes back-to-back Rutgers visits

Kareem Walker, the top running back in the country, has schools banging down his door, but this Wayne, N.J. native has visited Rutgers on two consecutive weekends (NJ.com, Dec. 15).

During his first visit Walker spent time with head coach Kyle Flood.

“Coach Flood doesn’t overdo it,” said Walker on Flood’s easy-going attitude toward the player’s decision. “He isn’t pressing us like, oh, commit, right now. It’s none of that. He’s kind of slow with it. We are all just chilling, just basically getting our relationship up, spending time together.”

There was plenty of “chilling” the next weekend too as Walker caught up with another Jersey boy, safety Kiy Walker. To read more of this story, click here

Arkansas v Rutgers

Nova named Rutgers Football MVP

Rutgers senior QB Gary Nova‘s season isn’t over yet, but on Sunday he was awarded the Homer Hazell Trophy as Rutgers Football Most Valuable Player and Axe Player of the Year at the program’s 76th annual awards banquet (NJ.com, Dec. 14).

Nova has thrown for 2,667 yards, 20 touchdowns and had 12 interceptions while completing 58 percent of his passes in what has been the best season of his career.

Alongside Nova, junior wide receiver Leonte Carroo was named the Offensive MVP while junior defensive tackle Darius Hamilton earned Defensive MVP honors.

This season’s award winners were determined by coach Kyle Flood and his staff.

“Some of them are a little more straightforward and then there’s other ones where it’s really hard,” Flood said Saturday. “Every year we start the process by saying it would be great if there was one award winner for every award but sometimes there’s just more than one person who’s deserving. And I think if that’s the case than they should be recognized. Those players deserve to be recognized.”

Rutgers Enters as Underdog, Comes Away With Win Against Manhattan

Originally posted on ZagsBlog.com:

NCAA Basketball: Manhattan at RutgersBy ARTHUR WARNER-KAMSLER

NEW YORK — It’s not often that a program like Manhattan gets to play a Big Ten team, let alone goes into the game as the favorite.

Yet that is exactly what happened when the Jaspers met Rutgers Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Even though Rutgers was a 2.5-point underdog going into the day, they defeated Manhattan, 63-55, in a game they controlled for the full 40 minutes.

“We don’t need to get respect, we’re going to take it,” said senior forward Kadeem Jack, who went for 24 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists.

View original 400 more words

Defensive coordinator Joe Rossi’s salary lowest in Big 10

Rutgers defensive coordinator Joe Rossi picked up a $100,000 raise when he was promoted from special teams coach in January, but his salary is still at the bottom of the barrel for Big 10 defensive coordinators (NJ.com, Dec. 11).

According to a report on assistant coaches salaries (USA Today, Dec. 10), Rossi earns $304,500, with the raise, just a few thousand behind William Inge of Indiana – though he is a co-defensive coordinator for the Hoosiers.

Rossi accepted the position after former defensive coordinator Robb Smith reportedly accepted a $500,000 salary to coach the defense at Arkansas.

Rutgers basketball excited for Big 10 Tourney at MSG

Jim Delany, the Big 10 commissioner, announced Tuesday that his league’s men’s basketball tournament would be moved to Madison Square Garden in 2018. While this news received mixed reviews in the Midwest, the Rutgers community was excited (Asbury Park Press, Dec. 10).

“That would be great for us,” Scarlet Knights coach Eddie Jordan said. “Great for our fans, our community, the northeast corridor and the Big Ten.”

The tournament will take place a week earlier than usual between February 28 and March 4 because MSG is booked by the Big East during the traditional championship week.

Flood excited about Quick Lane Bowl invitation

Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood is excited about the opportunity to play the University of North Carolina at Ford Field in the Quick Lane Bowl (Asbury Park Press, Dec. 7).

“I like the idea of playing another Power Five school,” Flood said after the announcement on Sunday. “I love the opportunity to play at a great stadium; and to play at Ford Field in a controlled environment, it’s a great stadium. We are excited about the affiliation with the Detroit Lions. I think all those things enhance the bowl experience.”

This decision came after the news last week that one bowl-eligible Big 10 team could be left out as the conference urged schools to advocate with bowls on their own behalf.

“I never felt that that would be an issue. I really didn’t spend a lot of time thinking of it,” Kyle Flood said. “In any of the conversations that I had, I felt very comfortable that as the selections came out that we would have a seat at the table.”

And the Scarlet Knights do have a seat at the table — a possible $1.2 million payout seat with a victory over UNC on December 26.

Though the payout is enticing, senior quarterback Gary Nova is just excited the season isn’t over yet.

“Just being a senior and going out with a chance to win a bowl game and be 8-5 in the Big Ten the first time,” Nova said. “I think that’s a pretty good season.”