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August 5, 2013

Monday Notebook: A busy time in Piscataway

Rutgers took the field again today for practice No.4 of training camp as the grind of summer continues. Here's a look from down on the field at the latest storylines playing out with the Scarlet Knights.

Man down
Fifth-year senior offensive guard Antwan Lowery was missing from today's practice after suffering an ankle injury during yesterday's session. Head coach Kyle Flood said after practice that he does not expect Lowery to return to action this week.

"Something like this, I don't think you can re-evaluate it every day. I think you have to evaluate it in a couple of days and for us, it will probably be after the scrimmage. He won't be back before the first scrimmage [on Saturday]."

In another injury-related issues, running back Desmon Peoples left practice early but Flood said he was not aware of what the issue was right after practice. Flood also said he would have an update on Peoples' status tomorrow.

The battle for cornerback
Junior Gareef Glashen continues to hold onto one of the starting cornerback slots four days into camp opposite redshirt freshman Ian Thomas. Glashen has played in a starting capacity since the spring, although senior transfer Lou Toler has been coming on strong as of late.

"I got better with my eyes and my confidence. I believe in myself a lot more," Glashen said. "I feel like every time I am out there, I am going to win. I have been reading the receivers a lot and understanding the whole system, where everybody plays and where I can and can't take my chances."

Thomas grabbed a pair of interceptions during the first few days of practice and looks to have improved from the spring, which was his first extensive stint at the position.

"It's been a process. Starting out, I wasn't clear on the plays or the techniques or what to do," Thomas said. "But now, I am a lot more comfortable t the position. Things are definitely beginning to take off for me."

Toler saw his share of action with the first-team defense during Monday's practice.

The kicking competition
The kicking competition between Kyle Federico and Nick Borgese appears to be at a standstill and Flood offered an update on how that one seems to be playing out.

"I think it's very competitive and right now I think it's dead even. I think both Federico and Borgese have come out here in training camp and have done a pretty good job hitting the ball. There has been a low one here and there but the overall body of work so far has been good. There is no doubt we have two kickers who can win for us."

Youth movement at tight end
The tight end situation continues to play out with only one healthy player at the position who actually has game experience. Senior Paul Carrezola heads up the group, which is heavy on inexperience. Three true freshmen continue to learn day by day as Taylor Marini, Matt Flanagan and Nick Arcidiacono have been shadowing Carrezola.

"They are working hard. Every time they get a chance, they are playing hard out on the field," Carrezola said of those true freshmen. "That's what I like to see, that effort first. They want to compete. They want to come out and work their hardest. Especially when you are younger, the game is way faster. It flies around. It is way different than any high school game so it takes a long time to learn to adjust. But they are doing well now. They are asking questions and they want to learn."

Redshirt sophomore Tyler Kroft was slated to be the No.2 tight end but he has yet to practice this summer as he is recovering from a high ankle sprain. Today, walk-on senior Tyler Belia continued to take reps as the second-team tight end.

Sizing up the freshmen, Carrezola mentioned which of them might be most ready to step in if need be early in the season.

"All three of them are good at different things. I think it's too early to say who's who or who is ready."

The Flood watch
Flood on Taj Alexander:
"I am seeing Taj do things that I didn't see at all last year; how he is moving his feet and the sequence with which he is moving his feet, which is really good to see. He is becoming a student of the game on the offensive side of the ball."

Flood on Keith Lumpkin starting at left tackle:
"It's really his progression in the weight room and the way he's changed his body. And the strength he gained, it gives him a chance. He's always had the natural size and length to be an offensive tackle. It was just a matter of him growing into his body so that he was strong enough to play at this level. Athleticism, height, weight, speed, arm length, those will never be Keith's issues. We just need to give him some time to get strong enough and he did that. And then that translated onto the field. That's what we're really excited about."


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