football-fbs flag

Matt Sugam | The Associated Press | July 31, 2014

New kid at school

Senior Gary Nova has thrown for 6,407 yards and 51 touchdowns in his Rutgers career. Senior Gary Nova has thrown for 6,407 yards and 51 touchdowns in his Rutgers career.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- As Gary Nova sees it, Rutgers is the new kid at school.

"We don't expect to have too much respect," the quarterback Nova said as his team reported to Hale Center for training camp.

And they don't have any.


-- Darius Hamilton
Rutgers jumps to the Big Ten this season and was picked to finish last in the conference in most major polls. The Scarlet Knights see this as a source of motivation.

"No question," defensive tackle Darius Hamilton said. "You can definitely sense that no one is really giving us a chance. They feel like we're really a doormat just to be stepped on, so we're taking that as a challenge and we're going to be ready."

Rutgers has all five starters back on the offensive line, a pass-catching threat in tight end Tyler Kroft, a slew of good receivers and talented running backs in Paul James and Justin Goodwin.

The main question is if Nova will regain his starting spot. He was benched in favor of senior Chas Dodd last season because of erratic play and spent spring ball competing with junior Mike Bimonte and redshirt freshman Chris Laviano.

Nova had a solid spring, and with 28 career starts the job appears to be his to lose under new offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen.

Defensively, Rutgers has a strong front seven with the likes of Steve Longa and Kevin Snyder at linebacker while Hamilton anchors the defensive line. They're looking to shore up a secondary that gave up a school-record 4,580 yards through the air.

The Big Ten, however, is not known for passing.

"Everyone in the media telling us how psychical they play," Snyder said. "We've heard it enough. And we know how to play physical football. That's nothing we don't do."

And lining up weekly against the upper-echelon teams of college football is something for which the players are ready.

"I know that we can hang with all these teams. I tell them that we can hang with anyone. It doesn't matter where," Snyder said. "And don't be surprised when we beat people. That's all I say. No guarantees or anything like that, but don't be surprised."

While players may be pinning those preseason rankings to the bulletin board, the coach has other concerns.

"I don't really worry about where we were picked," Kyle Flood said. "I don't need any more motivation when I wake up in the morning other than to be the Big Ten Eastern Division champion and have the opportunity to play in the Big Ten championship game.

"And I know our players have said a few things about having a chip on their shoulder," he added. "And if that's how they feel, they have a right to feel that way. But, for me, being the Big Ten Eastern Division champion is the only motivation I need."

Related:
Rutgers makes move with increased fundraising, facility upgrades
College football tickets

15 coaches named to Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy Men's Coach of the Year late-season watch list

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today the 15 men's basketball coaches for its late-season watch list for the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men's Coach of the Year.
READ MORE

1 important NCAA bracket tip if you pick a team back from a long absence

Be sure to take long look at the seed line when you decide to pick a team in your NCAA bracket that hasn't been to the tournament for 10 or more years.
READ MORE

These are the best father-son, junior-senior duos in college basketball

Many current college basketball players have fathers who played college basketball, so we asked which duos would make the best team in a hypothetical 2-on-2 tournament.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners