Rutgers completed its first intrasquad scrimmage of training camp this morning under sun-kissed skies in front of 2,500 fans on Busch Campus. Here is a look at how the offense performed during the open session.
After being overshadowed by the defense last season, during the spring and at the beginning of training camp, the offense stepped out and showed very positive signs this morning. Quarterbacks Gary Nova and Chas Dodd operated behind solid pass protection, while Jawan Jamison, Savon Huggins and Paul James were able to find running lanes.
Nova (14-for-20, 176, TD, INT) appeared to separate himself in the quarterback race, taking the overwhelming majority of snaps with the first-team offense. He appeared more confident than last year, displaying fine poise and pocket presence against rushers. Nova also showed good touch throwing downfield and got different receivers involved throughout the day. Overall, he showed a sound command of the offense.
Dodd (5-of-14-49, 2 TD) was less accurate, misfiring high on several occasions. He did connect twice for long gains on the run, once to Tyler Kroft and another time to Carlton Agudosi. He threw two touchdowns in red zone situations, but was also sacked twice.
Jamison was his usual steady self, grinding out 66 yards on 14 carries. He showed good burst around the corner on one occasion and produced a 5-yard touchdown reception, which was an outstanding individual effort. He also had a 26-yard reception.
Huggins appeared more decisive and ran with better pad level. He picked up 44 yards on 10 carries and caught three passes. He showed a nice ability to cut back when needed.
Desmon Peoples (9-72) and Paul James (9-55) showed nice burst and quickness, while Peoples also displayed a willingness to absorb contact despite his lack of size. Peoples had the longest run of the day, a 42-yarder against the 3rd-team defense, while James nearly broke a long touchdown but was tripped up by safety Johnathan Aiken.
Brandon Coleman paced the receiving corps with 3 catches for 50 yards, while Jeremy Deering (1-24) and Miles Shuler (1-18) each had big plays. Quron Pratt snared two passes for 15 yards, while Mark Harrison did not catch a pass, though he wasn't targeted much.
The offensive line, a question mark entering camp, performed well, allowing just two sacks on the day. Nova and Dodd received stout protection and consistently had time in the pocket. The starting group consisted of Kaleb Johnson, Antwan Lowery, Betim Bujari, Taj Alexander and R.J. Dill. Alexander, who had struggled at times this week, had a solid day at right guard. The offense was able to run over his and Dill's side on several occasions.
Paul Carrezola started at tight end, mainly because D.C. Jefferson appeared to be nursing a sore ankle. Carrezola did not catch a pass, but Jefferson grabbed one for 11 yards, stiff-arming Brandon Jones in the process. Redshirt freshman Tyler Kroft caught 2 passes foe 22 yards and a score, while Beau Bachety caught one pass for 18 yards against the third-team.
The freshman wide receivers had a good showing on the day and all but one caught passes. Carlton Agudosi started things off with the first catch of the day on a nice play that went for 17 yards.
Ian Thomas pulled down an 8-yard reception while Leonte Carroo hauled in two passes, one of which was good for a 4-yard touchdown.
Ruhann Peele created space and was open downfield on a sideline route but was underthrown by Dodd and the pass was incomplete.