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Rutgers motivated as Big Ten's new kid

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 31, 2014 at 4:29 pm •  Published: July 31, 2014
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — As Gary Nova sees it, Rutgers is the new kid at school.

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

And they don't have any.

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 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 in 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 redshirt 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.

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