Spring checkup: Rutgers Scarlet Knights


Call Rutgers coach Kyle Flood an optimist.

With the departure of three experienced starters on the offensive line, Flood said he's been trying not to focus on the negatives. On Monday, he paused for a moment when asked what positives he can draw from his unsettled line.

"We're trying to turn it into a positive by playing guys at different positions," Flood said, explaining how he's cultivating versatility. "In the long run, it's going to be a positive for us ... but, right now, it's probably slowed us down a little bit on offense."

Even with 2014 backup J.J. Denman poised to take over one spot at right tackle, there's no telling who might replace NFL-bound Kaleb Johnson at left guard or Betim Bujari at center. Offensive line coach Mitch Browning has already done his fair share of mixing and matching by playing four centers. And starting right guard Chris Muller is among those four, further complicating the depth chart.

"There's some gymnastics to that," Flood said. "It's created a different kind of practice for Coach Browning, that's for sure."

This is just the second week of Rutgers' spring practice, so the offensive line doesn't figure to be settled any time soon. Flood said he didn't plan to really change the depth chart much this week.

No news on QB race: If Rutgers fans were hoping for a quarterback to distance himself this spring, they might be waiting for a while.

Rutgers will hold its biggest spring scrimmage in two weeks, and its "first real move-the-ball period" won't be until Saturday. In short, Flood said he just hasn't seen enough yet to judge the three quarterbacks -- Chris Laviano, Giovanni Recigno and Hayden Rettig -- and he won't for quite a bit.

"It's going to take time," he said. "I don't know if we're going to be able to settle that position this spring, but spring will be important in terms of lining it up for the fall."

Goals for Kemoko Turay: As a redshirt freshman last season, Turay turned a lot of heads by leading the Scarlet Knights defense with 7.5 sacks and three blocked kicks. That in itself is impressive -- but it's even more surprising considering he never started a game.

He was a sparkplug of sorts for the defense, playing in all 13 games. Flood said he wants to increase Turay's role this season to more than just a third-down player.

"We want him to be a first-, second- and third-down guy," Flood said. "We want to to play him a lot."

And the punter is ... : Flood is still undecided between Tim Gleeson and Joey Roth.

The two split duties last season, with Gleeson punting 32 times for a 40.3-yard average and Roth churning out 31 punts for a 36.3-yard average. Flood said Monday that Rutgers needs that operation to be better.

"That's another one that I don't think will be settled until the fall," he said. "I don't think we snapped the ball particularly well today, and that affected the punters probably more than anything else."