Category Archives: Rutgers Football

Rutgers/Louisville

Here we go. It is game day and the countdown is on to one of the biggest games in Rutgers Football history.

I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to fall asleep tonight. Just spent sometime watching highlights from the 2006 game on Youtube. Enjoy.
I found a couple of cool Jeremy Ito stories earlier today. The Star-Ledger did sort of a “Where is he now?” piece. The other one isn’t directly about him but you must watch this piece Tom Rinaldi did for College Gameday this past weekend.

There will always be people in this area who will thumb their noses at college football. Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger has a column out today addressing them.
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Greg Schiano to the Buccaneers

The first thing I saw when I woke up today was this tweet. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was going on.

 I have to say that I was surprised when reports surfaced today that Rutgers Football Coach Greg Schiano was talking to the Tampa Buccaneers about their coaching vacancy. For a few years I had thought that if Schiano was to leave Rutgers it would be to follow Joe Paterno at Penn State. When the whole Penn State scandal broke I figured Schiano would stay especially in light of the strong recruiting class they were putting together. In retrospect though you have to wonder if the way things ended up going at Penn State with Paterno served as a reminder to him that no one stays in one place forever anymore.

I don’t entirely blame Schiano here. How do you say no to the NFL? There has been a lot of negativity towards the program here in New Jersey from people who aren’t football fans given his stature as the highest paid public employee in the state.  The Big East mess had to play a big factor here but him leaving this close to signing day will leave a little bit of a sour taste. He has built this program up well but he has done a disservice to the Rutgers Family (or Scarlet Nation as they are beginning to call themselves) and the “State of Rutgers”. Sports are a business and you have to expect things like this but there is unfinished business here. I wonder where the school goes from here? Would offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti be able to hold the recruiting class together? Or do they turn to someone like Greg Toal who has built at a dynasty at Don Bosco Prep? Keith Sargeant, who is one of the Rutgers beat writers put together this possible short list.

What kind of a contract did Schiano end up getting? I read somewhere that he got a five year deal but the money will be interesting too. He was making north of $2.3 million at Rutgers. I was surprised to hear Adam Schefter mention that Schiano was a finalist for the Rams job too.

Rutgers fans will be angry for a while but Schiano does need to be praised for the work he did while he was here. No, we never did get that BCS game but he did leave the program in a better place then the situation that he inherited and you don’t always get that. Rutgers won’t go back into obscurity. The program has come far enough in the past decade to ensure of that. J.A Adande mentioned on ESPN’s Around the Horn today that Rutgers has 21 players in the NFL right now. Alabama has five. That is a truly remarkable stat given where this program was not that long ago. People will say that he took the easy way out or even make this about money but if Schiano was really chasing that wouldn’t he have taken the jobs at Michigan and Miami when they came his way? An NFL coaching job doesn’t give him anywhere close to the security he had at Rutgers where he could easily have stayed for the next 25 years. I really can’t fault him for wanting a NFL gig. As Atheltic Director Tim Pernetti told the media today, there are only 32 such jobs in the world. If you are a football guy how do you say no to that? You can read a transcript of Pernetti’s comments to the press here.

Just yesterday the program had posted this video online for season ticket renewals. I’ll have my seats again next year. I do want to see where this program goes from here. Hopefully the program  continues to build using the building blocks Greg Schiano left here.
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A year later Eric LeGrand continues to inspire

I haven’t had the chance to post much lately but wanted to take a couple of minutes for this one.

Over the course of the past year I have had a few posts about Eric LeGrand and on the one year anniversary of his injury I wanted to remind everyone about donating to the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund“.

He told his story to Sports Illustrated this week. You can go read it here. It is hard not to be inspired. Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger also had a really well written story on LeGrand this week.

Make sure you follow him on twitter as well. He tweets pretty regularly.
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Bart Scott’s “Can’t Wait” clothing line to benefit paralyzed player | ProFootballTalk

Bart Scott’s “Can’t Wait” clothing line to benefit paralyzed player | ProFootballTalk

Bart Scott’s “Can’t Wait” interview with ESPN spread like wildfire on YouTube earlier this year. The Jets star later applied for a trademark on the phrase. Now he is putting that phrase to good use.

Bart Scott has announced a clothing line, proceeds from which will benefit Eric LeGrand of Rutgers. The Jets take a lot of unnecessary criticism from people around the NFL so it is definitely nice to see one of their guys get recognition for some good work.  If you aren’t familiar with LeGrand, he was paralyzed last year in a game against Army. Rutgers launched the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” in order to help the family with the medical bills.

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Rutgers reaches stadium naming rights deal – ESPN

Rutgers reaches stadium naming rights deal – Big East Blog – ESPN


Rutgers Stadium will now be known as High Point Solutions Stadium. I am somewhat surprised that Rutgers is only the 10th Football Bowl Subdivision school to sell their stadium naming rights. There are five other teams who share a stadium with an NFL team. 
While it sucks as a traditionalist this is the new reality in sports. As a season ticket holder I loved the new expansion to the stadium and obviously ticket sales alone weren’t going to pay for that.

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ESPN will air interview with Eric LeGrand

Back in October I posted a couple of entries on Rutgers DT Eric LeGrand. If you are not familiar with the story he received a spinal cord injury in a game against Army earlier this season. Doctors at the time didn’t think he’d regain movement below the neck. Turns out he is making a lot of progress. Tomorrow morning starting in the 9 AM hour SportsCenter will be airing an interview with him that Tom Rinaldi did. 

Rutgers Athletics Department sent out the following Press Release earlier today. 

Eric LeGrand

ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi conducted the first interview with Rutgers defensive lineman Eric LeGrand since he was paralyzed in a collision during a game against Army on Oct. 16. In the interview, scheduled to debut on ESPN on Friday, Jan. 7 during the 9 a.m. edition of SportsCenter, LeGrand told Rinaldi that he has full sensation in his entire body and movement in his shoulders. Rinaldi spoke to LeGrand at the Kessler Institute in West Orange, N.J., where he is in rehabilitation.
In the feature, LeGrand said while lying on the field at the New Meadowlands, he had “the fear of death” and that he “could pass out and die here.” He added he couldn’t do “a thumbs up” motion while on the stretcher when he was removed from the field because it felt like “1,000 pounds was on this thumb” when he tried to move it.
Doctors initially believed that he would not regain any feeling or movement below the neck, but LeGrand has exceeded their expectations. His paralysis has been diagnosed as incomplete and he has been able to breathe on his own without the use of a ventilator since late November.
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said about LeGrand, “He believes that he’s going to be up and moving again. There’s no doubt in his mind.”
The feature will be available to view on ScarletKnights.com after its initial airing on SportsCenter.
For information on Eric LeGrand and the Eric LeGrand Believe Fund, please visit ScarletKnights.com/Believe.

ESPN New York has a story up on this already.



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State of Rutgers Football

As a very disappointing season comes to a close I just want to take a moment to think about where the Rutgers Football program stands at the moment.

There is no way around it. The program did take a step back this year but it is not the end of the world. The last 2 home games there was a lot of talk at the stadium about the need to fire Head Coach Greg Schiano but I couldn’t agree less with that sentiment. The recruiting classes are consistently getting better. The players at the skill positions are not the problem. Hopefully the problems with the offensive line are fixed next year. Next to injuries it was the biggest issue that plagued the team with the departure of a solid line from last year that also included the first round pick for the San Franciso 49ers, Anthony Davis.

The fan base is part of the problem right now too. This team hasn’t had a home field advantage (except for Thursday night games). There are just too many people coming to the games who hopped on the bandwagon in 2006 and just haven’t gotten off of it yet. There are way too many people coming to the games who just aren’t real fans. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times in the last few years that the crowd has left early despite what the final score ends up being. The West Virginia game last year really annoyed me. The team went down 21-3 early and half the crowd early to watch the Yankees/Angels playoff game. The game ended up going down to the wire but less than half the crowd was there to watch the finish.

As crazy as it sounds there are just too many people at these games who have no idea how to react to game situations. It drives me crazy when Rutgers is facing a key 3rd down play on the offense and a certain portion of the crowd just starts getting loud as the offense gets to the line and tries to listen to signals from the quarterback yet the same people are completely quiet when the team faces a big 3rd down play while on defense.

Schiano spoke to the media today about his message to the fan base,

Well, certainly I feel their frustration because there’s no one on the planet that’s more frustrated than I am. So can I feel their frustration? 50 times over. Because they’re frustrated, but then they go do a job or they go back to their family or they do something; my frustration doesn’t end. So yes, I feel their frustration. Sure, I do.

I can tell you this, though: I’m betting that the Rutgers people — the real Rutgers fans — are going to stick with this football team and this coaching staff because we’re going to get this fixed. This isn’t the end of the world. It’s disappointing, it’s sad that it had to happen. But this program is built, as I said in the beginning, on a rock-solid foundation. This storm won’t knock us off that foundation. And we’ll come back stronger.

So that’s what I say to our fans — we’ll be back. Our true fans will stick with us. The bandwagon fans will be there when we win again. And that’s life. I don’t have any ill feelings towards that. I’m in a profession that’s a very competitive profession. It’s entertainment. And when it doesn’t go well, people aren’t entertained. I understand that.

We’re in a big-time market. It’s great when you’re doing well and it’s tough when you’re not. I don’t wish that away. I enjoy that

It is a sad reality that is not just a problem at Rutgers but around the sporting world. As ticket prices go up, the real fan is getting priced out of the stadiums and arenas around the country. There are too many people at sporting events who are only there because they got tickets through work because the company they work for is a sponsor  or just happens to have seats. These people couldn’t care less about the game.

I don’t understand the people who continue to criticize the stadium expansion that happened before the 2009 story. Every blog post, tweet and conversation mentions that Rutgers didn’t sell out any games this year but I haven’t yet seen one mention that for all but one (an 11 AM kickoff on a Friday) game this year the team sold more tickets then the old capacity. Same was true last year. The expansion was needed because of the amount of people that were on the waiting list. Stadium will fill up again and do so very soon. The same people who are complaining now would have complained had the team expanded in phases instead of just adding the 10,000 seats in one spring.

There is a good read today from Dave D’Alessandro saying that the Rutgers season ended when Eric LeGrand got hurt. It is hard to argue against that. Yes, the team had some major weaknesses that were exposed early but the fact that they haven’t been even a half way decent team down the stretch definitely has something to do with LeGrand going down. That is one of the big reasons why I haven’t been as hard on this team as I probably would have been with the Bowl streak coming to an end. These are just kids. Just out of High School and they were on the field as one of their own got paralyzed and has been fighting an uphill battle ever since. By the way, please consider donating to the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund“. For every one Reggie Bush (or Cam Newton if this story goes the way it looks like it will) there are thousands of college athletes who go out there and risk their health because they love the game. The medical bills will be very high and it has been good to see the sports community do their part.
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Eric LeGrand Believe Fund

I already put up a post about Eric LeGrand a couple of days ago but just want to share this with everyone. Rutgers University has set up the “Eric LeGrand Belive Fund” to help support the family of Eric LeGrand. This is taken directly from their website,

The Rutgers Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced the establishment of the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to support Eric LeGrand and his family. LeGrand, a junior defensive tackle for the Scarlet Knights, suffered a spinal cord injury Oct. 16 vs. Army. 

Contributions to the fund are not tax deductible and can be made by sending a check payable to the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” to:

“Eric LeGrand Believe Fund”

PNC Wealth Management

Attn: Kimberly G. Kingsland, Senior Trust Advisor

One Palmer Square Suite 201

Princeton, NJ 08542

 I have seen a Facebook event named “Wristbands for LeGrand” but have no way of knowing if that money is actually getting to the LeGrand family. If you want to help do it directly through this fund just to be on the safe side. Please pass this information to others.

Rutgers has also put up this video.

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Eric LeGrand – Rutgers Football

If you follow me on twitter you’ve heard me mention that I have not yet watched a game of Rutgers Football this season due to a bunch of different reasons. I’ve been keeping an eye out on the program as always though.

By now most sports fans have already seen the clip of it but Junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered a spinal cord injury in the game against Army this past Saturday at the New Meadowlands Stadium. The hit paralyzed him from the neck down. LeGrand, who’s a local kid grew up just a short drive away in Avenel, NJ.

The video of the hit is up on YouTube. It’s the risk you take in a sport like football. We’ve all seen hits that looked far worse but somehow not cause any injury, unfortunately this one wasn’t one of those.

Head Coach Greg Schiano did speak to the media today.




“Here’s the situation: This is going to be a long, long hard road back and there’s going to be speculation and a lot of friends and people who care,” 
“I think it’s important that we stay away from those kinds of things,” Schiano said. “I think there’s so much out there and a lot of it is misguided. Right now, when it’s appropriate, we will make an announcement if there’s any kind of change in his condition. But it’s not going to be a day-to-day thing.”

He appeared on ESPN’s College Football Live and WFAN with Mike Francesa.

Rutgers Athletics released the following Press Release earlier today:

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 17, 2010) – Rutgers junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (Avenel, N.J.) suffered a spinal cord injury in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game vs. Army. The injury was at the C3-C4 level and emergency surgery was performed by doctors throughout the night at Hackensack University Medical Center to stabilize the spine. 

“We want to say thank you to everyone for all of your prayers, kind words, and well wishes,” the LeGrand family said. “We appreciate every single thought. Eric is in good spirits and we are praying for a full recovery.”

Eric is resting in the intensive care unit at Hackensack University Medical Center and will remain there for the near future. Currently, he has no movement below the neck.

“Eric, his family and the Rutgers Football family believe he will recover,” said Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano. “We ask our fans and the entire Rutgers community to believe and pray for Eric as he begins the recovery process.” SEND ERIC YOUR GET WELL WISHES

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Bill Clinton/Jon Corzine (09!) at Rutgers University

The magical week for Jon Corzine continued Tuesday night at the College Avenue Gym. The place was rocking from the get go. There is no doubt about, this crowd was there for Bill Clinton. Everyone knew it and yes that includes all the other speakers there tonight.

The gates were supposed to open at 7:30 PM. I got there around 6:15 and by then there were already a couple of hundred people in line waiting to get in. Across the street were a grand total of 12 protesters who were hardly creative. Among the signs they were carrying were “No you can’t”. Really original there. There was a guy dressed as a chicken and holding a sign that said “Cluck U Corzine”.

The event was held at the College Avenue Gym at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The College Avenue Gym actually sits on the site of the stadium where the first ever college football game was played way back in 1869. The Scarlet Knights beat Princeton by a score of 6-4 on that day.

Members from the Corzine camp were giving out “Corzine/Weinberg” buttons and also t-shirts that said “Yes We can 2.0” I got my hands on a button but was not able to secure a T-Shirt. This one guy from the campaign did say he’d bring one over but passed by me twice saying “I’ll be right back” only to toss shirts to people directly behind me. Are you kidding me? Someone from the Corzine camp did get in touch with me via twitter and asked for my phone number. Just got a message from them claiming that they did have a shirt for me but didn’t see my reply with phone number until it was too late. I don’t know whether to believe them.

The evening started off with Middlesex County Democratic chair Joseph C. Spicuzzo. He was doing his best to bring humor to the event from the start. He speaks with a stutter, so he made sure to clarify for everyone that he wasn’t drunk but actually had a stroke last year. He was on the stage to introduce the President…………of Rutgers University Richard McCormack. Nice swerve which most of the crowd didn’t see coming. As expected it was a fairly young crowd and I’m sure it was the first political event for most of them. I’m sure a lot of them weren’t aware you have to sit through a ton of local politicians before the main event starts.

Honestly don’t remember much from Richard McCormack’s speech. I guess that pretty much says all there is to be said. He did talk about Bill Clinton making a trip to Rutgers University shortly after winning his first presidential election to make a policy speech. He also talked about Corzine being a friend of Rutgers University. Right around this time there was a loud “R…..U…..R……U” chant. That is a common chant at Rutgers football game where the student section yells “R!” and everyone else replies with “U!”. The chant inside this gym was about as loud as any of the recent Rutgers home games.

Three Freeholders were up next coming up one by one to announce support for Corzine and reminding everyone in New Jersey to vote “Column A” on November 3rd. Nothing out of the ordinary here either. Crowd was getting bored by this point. Carol Barrett in particular was really bad. She was literally reading her speech off of a paper and lost her place a couple of times leading to awkward pauses.

Up next was Dymir Arthur. He is a Rutgers graduate from the Class of ’09. He gave a really good speech urging the young voters in attendance to get out and vote. He emphasized that “us young people have more power then we realize.”

There was about 15-20 minute long break up next (might have even been longer). The crowd let it be known as to why they were there with a loud “We want Bill!” chant but were drowned out by the music being played. They were tossing a lot of Corzine T-Shirts into the crowd during this break too.

One thing I noticed was a disturbing lack of security. I asked a campaign worker and got to go through the entrance that people with the VIP “blue tickets” were taking. When I went through I was shocked to find out that only screening done was to check my ticket. There were no metal detectors at this entrance. There was no secret service or even local law enforcement officials checking you at this entrance. Me and plenty of other people just walked through by just showing our tickets. This is particularly depressing if you’ve read recent reports on how much the workload for the secret service has increased.

When the event resumed Mr. Spicuzzo was back at the podium. He gave a short biography of himself because he had failed to introduce himself earlier. He didn’t judge the crowd well at all. He started to talk about the newly expanded Rutgers Football Stadium. This got him some boos through the crowd. This stadium continues to be a sore subject with Rutgers students. For those not familiar with the situation, Rutgers Stadium just went through an expansion project which saw capacity rise by almost 12,000. The cost for the project was over $100 million. A lot of Corzine tied big donors had pledged to raise money for the project. When the time came though the recession forced most of those donors to back away leaving Rutgers University in a tough spot. The school ended up taking a large loan which obviously didn’t sit too well with the student body or some of the football season ticket holders as ticket prices soared while the team has taken a step back. This is a problem anywhere there is big time sports. People who don’t like sports will always have problems with big stadiums at a public university while tuitions are rising. They don’t like that the athletic department has such a large budget and that football and basketball head coaches make so much money. What they choose to ignore is that these sports bring in a lot of money for the school through merchandise, TV rights and ticket sales.

Our next speaker was State Senator Bob Smith. Found out a couple of days ago that he was my State Senator now that I live in Piscataway. He talked about knowing Hillary way back when they were both teens and his family had a summer cottage in Pennsylvania. He joked and said hopefully “President Clinton was listening backstage because if I had played my cards right I could have been a President.” The line got a huge applause and a “Hillary” chant. Turns out that this crowd loves both Bill and Hillary. Mr. Smith was out there to get introduce candidate for Lieutenant Governor Loretta Weinberg.

This is the first year New Jersey is having elections to elect a Lieutenant Governor as it is a newly created position. Weinberg isn’t the world’s greatest speaker and this is a big problem for the campaign that I will talk about below. Everyone knows that she wasn’t Corzine’s first pick but after the whole corruption episode was thrown into the spotlight.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I believe Jon Corzine is the man for the job right now. As Vice President Biden said yesterday he’s governed through some tough times well, he deserves a chance to govern as things get better. He kept his speech relatively short even joking that the people weren’t there for him but to see Bill Clinton. The Governor did talk about Loretta Weinberg being an advocate for women in Trenton. Corzine reminisced bout the Clinton years saying during those 8 years we “created 23 million new jobs.” He urged everyone to vote and to make sure you get others around you to vote. He referred to the infamous 2000 elections to emphasize the importance of every of every single vote. He said we would be a much different country if the Clinton/Gore policies had been around for the last 8 years.

Bill Clinton was simply Bill Clinton. He did what he does best, better then pretty much anyone else out there. The Corzine camp better turn this speech into a campaign commercial fast. They were way too slow with the Obama one in July. Bill pointed out Rutgers Womens Basketball Coach and Basketball Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer being in attendance adding that “Hillary is outside of the campus the world’s biggest fan” of Coach Stringer. The man knows his audience. Bill Clinton in 15 minutes made a better case for Jon Corzine then Jon Corzine has all summer. Now of course Mr. Clinton is a great public speaker and to be fair there aren’t many in the country who are even remotely close to him. Clinton put on his glasses for emphasis and started reading off some New Jersey related statistics that show the state at or the near the top in a lot of key categories. Graduation rate is among the best in the country, early education is not only alive and well it is diverse. Public schools are scoring good scores on tests. More and more children have healthcare. Bill makes sure to point out that he took Weinberg’s law from New Jersey that saw to it that new mothers and their babies stayed in the hospital for 48 hours when his administration set the federal guidelines. Bill Clinton has this aura to him. It was fascinating to see this crowd fired up for him. As Mike Memoli of “Real Clear Politics” pointed out, most of the students in attendance were in diapers when Bill Clinton first won election in 1992.

The best argument for Jon Corzine’s election unfortunately is being made by others. As Christina Bellantoni pointed out Corzine is becoming a “sidekick at own events.” It was the case back in July when President Obama came to campaign. It was true Monday when Vice President Joe Biden swung by the Garden State for a little campaigning. It most certainly was the case today as former President Bill Clinton fired up supporters at Rutgers University. Wednesday Barack Obama will do the job once more. It may not be the worst thing in the world if as Corzine is being overshadowed by big speakers that him and everyone around him continue to tie Christie to George W. Bush. It should be a slightly disturbing trend for the Corzine campaign and I’m pretty sure the Corzine people are aware of this.

Looking forward to heading out to the Barack Obama event tomorrow. If you have attended any on of these recent rallies or are heading out to one of the upcoming ones let me know.

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A dozen people protesting….that’s all there were. It was a step up from the 10 that were at the Biden event.

The top portion was filled all across but these bleachers to the right had empty VIP seats through the event. Don’t know why they weren’t filled with people who actually there at the event. Keep in mind they turned away hundreds from the event. 

Professor Clinton giving the facts. 

The Secret Service’s worst nightmare as the crowd rushes forward to shake hands with Bill Clinton. 

This obviously wasn’t intended to look like this but ends up looking pretty neat. 


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