Spring football in the Big Ten bids farewell with the league’s final three spring games on Saturday. We're previewing all of them, and wrapping things up with new league member Rutgers:
When: 4 p.m. ET Saturday
Where: High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.
Admission: Free. Events begin at 10:30 a.m., and an alumni flag football game benefiting former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand will be held at 12:30 p.m. Players will sign autographs on the field after the spring game. The full schedule of events is here.
TV: Streamed online via RVision at ScarletKnights.com
Weather forecast: Partly sunny, with a high near 69 degrees. Wind around 15 mph. Chance of rain is 30 percent.
What to watch for: The Scarlet Knights expect to hold a normal spring game scrimmage, and head coach Kyle Flood told reporters this week that he plans to be more involved with the on-field action than he has in the previous two years.
"I want to blow the whistles on the quarterbacks," Flood said. "We'll have Big Ten officials here, and when you put them in a situation where they have to decide if it's a sack or not a sack, there will be certain plays I want to let go a little bit longer, or maybe it would have been a sack, but I want to see some of the skill players play a little bit. I can control the pace and the tempo of everything if I'm down there."
The big story of the spring for Rutgers has been the quarterback battle. Gary Nova, Mike Bimonte and Chris Laviano have been sharing time with the first-stringers, and Nova is the only one with any real game experience. Flood hasn't tipped his hand on who might be leading the race, but he's anxious to see how they perform in a game-like setting.
Fans are also anxious to get a look at new offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen's attack and hope it will lead to a more consistent downfield passing game. The former Maryland head coach's track record suggests it will. The offense returns most of its starters, though top tailback Paul James has missed contact drills this spring with a shoulder injury.
There's also a new coordinator on defense, though Joe Rossi was promoted from within and served as interim coordinator for the Pinstripe Bowl. Don't expect a whole lot to change on that side of the ball, where the Scarlet Knights are undersized but undeterred up front.
Big Ten fans can also get a peek at what one of the two new league members has in the way of personnel and fan support. Remember that the first 2014 conference game occurs in Piscataway on Sept. 13, when Penn State visits.