Rutgers Spring Game To Benefit Jersey Shore
Rutgers has decided to use its annual spring football game to raise money to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Athletic director Tim Pernetti and coach Kyle Flood announced on Monday that fans attending the game April 27 will be asked to make a $5 donation to the Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund upon entering the gates. The annual Scarlet-White game normally is free.
In addition, Rutgers will wear special helmets with the "R Strong" logo, and the team will wear jerseys with 90 names of towns across New Jersey that were affected by Sandy.
Each jersey will be signed by Flood and given to each town.
Governor Chris Christie has said the late October superstorm caused nearly $37 billion in damage to New Jersey.
Pernetti said that Rutgers has contributed more than $150,000 to storm relief. Rutgers Athletics has sold more than $61,000 worth of "R Strong" t-shirts since the fall, and "Scarlet Fever" in downtown New Brunswick, which partnered with the school, donated $87,000 in sales to the fund.
"When you have control of an operation like this and have the resources, we want to do everything we can to continue to volunteer and support," Pernetti said. "Our piece of it might be small in the big scheme, but I saw the governor and his wife at the Big East tournament and they made a point to mention how appreciative they were of our efforts and that they are securing multimillion dollar donations to the fund from all over the state."
Flood said this is a chance for the football program to give back.
"We have the opportunity to compete and play at a great university," he said, "and now have the opportunity to help those in need."
On the football front heading into his second season, Flood said that receiver Brandon Coleman had a minor procedure done on one of his knees and will not participate in spring practice. Coleman had 43 catches for 718 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He averaged a team-high 16.7 yards receiving. The Scarlet Knights are deep at the receiver spot, so having Coleman miss the spring should not be a problem.
Flood also said that Gary Nova would head into spring practice as his No. 1 quarterback. He started every game last season and completed 221 of 388 passes for 2,695 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also threw 16 interceptions and completed only 57 percent of his passes.
The offense tailed off in the second half of the season, as Rutgers lost its final three games while scoring just 33 points.
"It is interesting to see where he is going to take his game this spring," Flood said. "With that being said, we have a lot of talented, competitive players in that room. Gary is the starter, but we have a guy in Chas Dodd who has started and won games at Rutgers."
Dodd started 15 games in his first two seasons at Rutgers but barely played last season as a junior.
Flood mentioned three other quarterbacks at his news conference, Blake Rankin, Chris Laviano and Mike Bimonte, saying they all would make the position competitive.
The other interesting note was that Jeremy Deering, an all-purpose player who has played running back and receiver while returning kickoffs, will be one of the team's starting safeties.
"I think that is a position he has looked good at," Flood said. "Now he'll be there full time, and we will be watching that."
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)