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Storylines To Watch For During Scarlet-White Spring Football Game Friday

RS Freshman Darian Dailey

RS Freshman Darian Dailey

Rutgers football will hold their annual Scarlet-White spring game on Friday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. under the lights at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway. It will air on Big Ten Network (BTN). Coined “Friday Knight Lights”, this scrimmage will give football itching fans an early look at the 2015 Scarlet Knights.

Here are three storylines to keep an eye on during the game:

  • 1) How will the quarterbacks fair? Will a leader emerge in the competition?

It’s only natural as the most important position on a football team, but much has been made about the quarterback battle between a pair of redshirt sophomores. Chris Laviano and Hayden Rettig are each fighting for a chance to be the starter next season replacing 4-year player Gary Nova. Laviano saw limited action last season as Nova’s backup and is the only signal caller on the roster with college experience. Rettig is surrounded by big-arm hype and he signed with LSU in 2013. Rettig sat out last year as he transferred to Rutgers in June 2014 and was on the scout team.

In two intrasquad scrimmages, Laviano has thrown for 272 yards on 22-of-32 passing (69 percent), while Rettig, has gone 15-of-26 (58 percent) for 232 yards. Both reps and numbers pretty equal.

Head coach Kyle Flood said the quarterbacks (along with redshirt freshman Gio Rescigno) have been inconsistent and there is no leader. He noted he will not name a starter until sometime in training camp over the summer. However, either Laviano or Rettig could pull ahead in the race with a strong finish to the spring and have somewhat of a leg up come camp.

  • 2) Will there be more clarity along the offensive line?

When spring practice started back on March 30, Rutgers carried only 11 offensive linemen on the roster. Due to an injury to starting right guard Chris Muller, redshirt freshman Zack Heeman, and class scheduling for reserve Bryan Stonkus, the Knights only have eight. Those eight are inexperienced save for redshirt senior left tackle Keith Lumpkin, who has started 26 straight games.

Younger guys like redshirt sophomore guard Dorian Miller, redshirt freshman guard Tariq Cole, and redshirt junior center Derrick Nelson are trying to progress and fight for a starting job. It hasn’t been easy however, as redshirt sophomore freak-athlete defensive end Kemoko Turay went ballistic with three sacks in the team’s second scrimmage this past weekend in restricted action. Flood will be looking for improvement and will want to put an end to position moving and shifting and settle in on a starting five.

  • 3) How will the defensive secondary shape up?

With junior cornerbacks Nadir Barnwell and Anthony Cioffi limited this spring, young players like sophomore Dre Boggs, redshirt freshman Darian Dailey, and freshman Blessaun Austin have garnered first-team reps and will get an extensive look on Friday night. Barnwell is penciled in as one starter, but Dailey and Austin are making a case, along with Boggs to start opposite the Piscataway, N.J. native.

Flood has moved Cioffi back and forth during practice, and could see time at both positions in the fall. If Cioffi does play more safety, then Boggs, who appeared in 10 games last season with 16 tackles and four pass-breakups, could be the favorite to start. However, cornerbacks usually rotate throughout the game and Dailey and Austin has both impressed.

Back on April 8, Flood noted that Dailey picked-off three passes during the spring up to that point, and is fast. Austin is a 6-1 long corner that gets in your face much like Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, and brings a different look to the secondary.

Redshirt freshman Isaiah Wharton is also one to keep an eye on.


Other positions to keep an eye on are nose tackle, running back, and tight end. Position changes and an injury to redshirt sophomore Sebastian Joseph has left nose tackle with a new feel, while the tight end position is open due to Tyler Kroft leaving for the NFL. Running back is stacked as sophomores Robert Martin and Josh Hicks, along with junior Justin Goodwin have all carried the ball for Rutgers. Redshirt junior Desmon Peoples missed the last scrimmage and redshirt senior Paul James is still recovering from a torn ACL. The backfield is crowded, but it is a good problem to have. Linebacker depth appears to be a question mark as well.


*Scarlet-White Game: 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24 at High Point Solutions Stadium FREE*

*Posters will be given out for post-game player autographs* *FIREWORKS*

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