Rutgers wrapped up its first of two practices on Wednesday morning and for the second time this week the Scarlet Knights will hit the practice field twice in one day. Scarlet Nation's first notebook of the day takes a look at some of the latest risers thought the first week and a half of training camp.
Each day, junior wide receiver Quron Pratt seems to catch everything thrown in his vicinity. He returns as Rutgers most leading receiver with 32 catches last season and all the early signs are pointing toward him being a major part of the offense in 2012.
"We lost a great receiver in Mohamed Sanu last year so we're just trying to be a team as a collective wide receiver group and come together and play hard every play," Pratt said. "That's what we have to do now to be successful."
Pratt attributes his on-field success to his daily diligence.
"It's every day catching the ball and not taking a day off," Pratt said. "If you take a week off, you can lose it like that. You just have to be competitive, it has to be repetition and you just have to practice every day; different angles on how to catch the ball. You just have to focus, a lot of people lose focus in pressure situations. But if you can maintain that focus, you'll be all right."
Moving up in the ranks
Redshirt freshman tight end Tyler Kroft had an impressive catch during this morning's practice and continues to build an impressive body of work through training camp. That body of work recently pushed him into the No.3 tight end spot and he looks like he will have a role on this year's offense.
"It's definitely clicking. I am understanding the playbook a little better," Kroft said. "Certain situations and different things are coming to me a lot easier this year. I hope I can really contribute this year."
Kroft also added some bulk over the course of the last year and is weighing in now at close to 240 pounds.
"It's been a lot of hard work but it's definitely been worth it because last year I knew I was a little smaller and I knew I needed to put on the weight," Kroft said. "Now that I have the weight on I am happy I did it. It was hard work but it was worth it."
Couping a starting job
Senior defensive back Marcus Cooper has been promoted to co-starter along with Brandon Jones at the cornerback position opposite Logan Ryan.
"It's a great feeling but you know it's not enough," Cooper said. "I want to continue to come out here and get better and better everyday. It's really not about starting--it's coming out here and getting better every day. The guys that we're with, we have a great secondary. We have the No.1 secondary in the nation, so just for us to continue to work and get better is better for all of us."
Today, Cooper continued to take first-team reps and had himself a solid morning. That competition will likely last through the remainder of training camp.
Junior Matt McBride has jumped into the No.2 center spot and is now the primary backup to starter Betim Bujari. McBride started to make some noise in the spring after taking some reps at the position last December. Now, he has surpassed Dallas Hendrikson on the depth chart.
"I just took it as it is," McBride said of being named the No.2 center. "I'm keeping my head forward and make sure I just keep pushing. Playing there in the spring obviously gave me some experience so it definitely feels a little more comfortable."
However, McBride is not content with his performance through the first eleven practices of the summer.
"No I'm not, especially beginning with my guard play," McBride confirmed. "I wasn't playing well and they moved me to center. I've been playing better but I have to keep pushing because Dallas is right behind me and Betim is right in front of me so I just want to get the competition going."
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