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April 8, 2013
A new week begins following what was a tumultuous few days in the scarlet nation. The Monday Morning Kickoff gets you ready for another busy week in the world of Rutgers sports.
A view from the gridiron (Rutgers Football)
While Rutgers made headlines last week off the field, spring practice continued for the RU football team. The first scrimmage of the spring took place on Saturday.
"It's always good to get the first scrimmage in because you certainly find out a lot about your team but at the same time you always turn to the next scrimmage to see how fast and how quickly you can improve," head coach Kyle Flood said afterward. "There's a lot of places that we need to improve as a football team right now. There's nothing more valuable to these younger players who have never been in the live fire than to be out here in the stadium on the field."
Among the day's standouts were quarterback Gary Nova, running back Desmon Peoples and linebacker Kevin Snyder. Scrimmage No.2 will take place next Saturday inside High Point Solutions Stadium.
Rutgers also received its sixth commitment to the class of 2014 on Saturday when Gates Chili (Rochester, N.Y.) offensive lineman Jacquis Webb made his pledge during an unofficial visit.
"I feel like it's a really big milestone," said the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Webb. "What I liked about Rutgers was the people, it's just a great atmosphere to be in. They were willing to show me around and show me what they are all about."
Rutgers hosted a number of other recruits including wide receiver David Njoku of Cedar Grove, quarterback Chandler Kincade of Blackhawk High (Beaver Falls, Pa.) and four-star safety Marcus Allen of Wise High (Upper Marlboro, Md.)
"My first impression of Rutgers, before I even stepped on the campus was that it was a really dry campus or a cold environment," Allen said. "Once I got up there, that changed my whole outlook on it. It was a beautiful campus. There's high-tech equipment in the weight room. Everyone was friendly. It just changed my whole outlook on Rutgers."
The team was also forced to bid farewell to athletic director Tim Pernetti after he resigned on Friday.
"It was unfortunate that had to happen," said junior running back Savon Huggins. "It does [stink]. He was a great guy to us. We loved him. He was one of us, kind of with the team. He was always there. He encouraged us. He was there at practice. It just [stinks] that he's not around any more."
Rutgers will return to the practice field this Tuesday with a start time of 9:50 a.m. Stay logged onto The Round Table for all the latest on football, recruiting and more.
The take from center court (Rutgers Basketball)
In the wake of Rice's dismissal, a hectic few days ensued within the program. Associate head coach David Cox was named acting head coach, while assistant Jim Martelli, who was depicted physically abusing players on the practice tapes as well, resigned.
Meanwhile, recruits and players remain in a holding pattern, waiting for a decision on who the new head coach will be, an outcome that is hampered by the search for a new athletic director. Rutgers University President Robert Barchi said the plan is to fill the AD position before looking for a new basketball coach.
As of this weekend, University of Rhode Island head coach Danny Hurley, speculated to be one of the top candidates, was reportedly heading toward a contact extension with URI that would drive up his asking price if Rutgers were to inquire about its vacancy.
Sources indicated to Scarlet Nation last week that Hurley would have some interest in the Rutgers position but that he is enticed by the talent returning to the fold at URI. CBSSports.com reported that ex-UCLA head coach Ben Howland is "intrigued" by the opening at Rutgers as well and that third-party discussions between he and Rutgers have taken place.
Iona head coach Tim Cluess, whom Scarlet Nation mentioned as a name to watch on its first coaching hot board, was reportedly in negotiations with Hofstra about their opening at head coach, but he has since re-upped at Iona for five more years.