Spring Practice Primer: Rutgers

By Chip Patterson | College Writer


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Rutgers.


Spring Practice Starts: March 27

Spring Game: Saturday, April 28

Three things to look for:

1. New blood on the coaching staff. Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti was able to maintain some cohesiveness after Greg Schiano's late jump to the NFL with the promotion of interim head coach Kyle Flood. Flood, a popular choice of the current roster, is one of only two coaches remaining from Greg Schiano's last staff at Rutgers. Other than defensive coordinator (special teams coach in 2011) Robb Smith, the rest of the staff will spend spring practice not only coaching - but getting to know - the current players. New offensive coordinator Dave Brock and quarterbacks coach Rob Spence have had to time to begin evaluating Chas Dodd and Gary Nova, while running backs coach Norries Wilson and special teams coordinator Joe Rossi were added to the staff just two weeks ago.

2. Replacing Mohamed Sanu. It took only three seasons for Mohamed Sanu to become Rutgers' all-time receptions leader (210), and after setting a Big East single-season record for receptions (115) in 2011 the star wide receiver decided to leave for the NFL Draft. One of the biggest questions heading into 2012 is how to replace 115 of the 256 (44.9%) receptions from last season. More than likely, that responsibility will be split between several players. Sophomore Brandon Coleman showed the most potential last year, pulling in 552 yards and six touchdowns (2nd on the team), while senior Mark Harrison will need to reenact his nine touchdown, 829 yard showing in 2010.

3. Savon Huggins looking to bounce back from disappointing debut. Few Rutgers recruits from the last five years entered the program with as much fanfare and hype as Savon Huggins. Before Huggins had set foot on the practice field, New Jersey's No. 1 recruit was getting standing ovations at the 2011 Spring Game. But the on-field performance from Huggins' freshman year fell way below the already inflated expectations. Huggins totaled 146 yards on just 56 carries (2.61 ypc) in nine appearances before his season was ended by a nagging knee injury. Now healthy, Huggins said he will use the disappointing debut as a "learning experience" as he battles Jawan Jamison for the first-string snaps in practice this spring.

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