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Open House: Fans Enjoy Rutgers Open Practice

by Sal Soothsayer | Posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
(Image via ScarletKnights.com)

(Image via ScarletKnights.com)

On Saturday, March 29th Rutgers opened their practice field – well as a result of Mother Nature it was their practice bubble – to the public and a few hundred fans braved the rain on their drive on the New Jersey Turnpike to take in a spirited two and one half hour practice.  Rutgers first spring practice in full pads didn’t disappoint the spectators.

Paul from Ocean County described the atmosphere as “intense and upbeat,” while Keith Kaskie felt that “everyone was excited for the move to the Big Ten Conference, to see the players up close, and to get a glimpse at the quarterback competition.”

A position group that didn’t disappoint the spectators was the wide receiver group.  Paul described the group as “extremely athletic” while  RUFANJerry, fan blogger on nj.com, host of the R B1G Show podcast and twitter handle @rufanjerry noted that “We know Leonte Carroo will be the number one option with Brandon Coleman moving on to the NFL, but there are more than a capable few who look like they are ready to step in at the second and third receiver positions [and with] Ben McDaniels [looking] everything like a professional, this unit should be in good shape.”

While there was excitement in the air on Saturday, coming off of a disappointing 2013 season and with Rutgers facing much stiffer competition in the Big Ten, the open practice may have been upbeat and fun but it didn’t necessarily quell the trepidation of some season ticket holders.  Paul stated “I don’t have high expectations because of [the] tougher competition in the Big Ten and an out of conference schedule that is not by any means easy [between] Navy’s option, [the] spread offense of Mike Leach and Washington State, and a Tulane team that beat us once up here and went to a bowl game [last year].”

For others however, the open practice resulted in a renewed sense of optimism.  Kaskie stated “ I’m just as excited for the season to start as any other fan, and I’m expecting us to put together a better year than the early predictions are indicating.”

Jerry added that he, “definitely came away feeling much more optimistic.”  He added, “obviously this was the first practice in pads and it was mostly vanilla in the scrimmage session. However, the pace and overall attitude of the players generated a positive feeling.”

Regardless of the fans outlook for the 2014 season all appreciated the opportunity to take in practice for the day.  Paul from Ocean County thought that, “It was great applauding these young men after practice to show that the fanbase supports them, win or lose.”

Kaske felt that the opportunity was two-fold in that the open practice, “allowed the fans to get a peek inside what is going on within the program, and at the same time [fans were able to] show the team that the fan base is here to support them. ”

Jerry agreed and concluded, “Rutgers has a unique opportunity to brand itself as family fun in a big-time sports atmosphere right here in New Jersey. There are very few opportunities to be in such an intimate setting for fans of big-time sports.  It was truly a great experience for me and my family.”

 

Sal Soothsayer regularly contributes Rutgers coverage to DoubleGSports.com. Follow him and talk Rutgers Football, @SalSoothsayer.

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