Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Brian Leonard and Ryan Hart News

With the names in the news this morning, it seems like it's 2005 again.

#23 Brian Leonard has this feature in the Star-Ledger about his future with the Bengals. I want Brian to succeed so badly that I'd be glad to see him beat any NFL team that I rooted for (my professional loyalties will never be as deep as my Scarlet pride), but it's the end of the article that I found most interesting. There he talks about the importance of coming back to Rutgers to train with the current team this summer. Brian Leonard's influence on the Scarlet Knights' success goes so much deeper than his own records and leaping highlight films. No one will ever forget how he influenced his roommate and successor Ray Rice, and how he was glad to block for Ray in the 11-2 2006 Senior season rather than looking to pad his own pro résumé. Now he is working with, and complimenting (and, I hope, leaving his mark on), the next generation in the Rutgers backfield.

Leonard said he has enjoyed hanging out with the current Rutgers players in the weight room and is interested to see who emerges from their crowded pack at running back this fall. One of the contenders, Joe Martinek, reminds Leonard a little bit of himself.
"He has a running style like mine a lot," Leonard said. "He's kind of a downhill runner, a powerful runner. I've been talking to him about training. He's been a good player; he's a good guy, too."

And #13 Ryan Hart is in the news, suing Electronic Arts for using his image without permission or payment in a video game.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Where Will the Children Play?!?

Not that I'm shopping for more season tickets for myself, but out of curiosity I checked the Rutgers ticket office today to see which sections have seats being offered for new season-ticket holders in the expanding Stadium. As you can see by the sections highlighted in red below, none are being offered from the new South Endzone sections 131-144, but they are being offered in the former student sections in the northwest corner (sections 110-115) and in some of the upper deck sideline sections.

Which brought up the question in my mind of where the students were going to be sitting and how it was going to affect the crowd dynamics in R House this fall. I found the confirmation of my fears here in the 2009-2010 RUTGERS FOOTBALL STUDENT TICKET POLICY that the students will be entering through the new South Endzone entrance and sitting far from me in sections 134-141. From my seats in section 123 I've often felt like we were the main recipients of the students' enthusiatic "R"s to which we replied with our feeble "U"s. We also were in the thick of the "Upstream Red Team" cheers after scores and "First Down Touchdown Go R U" cheers after first downs. Does losing the students mean that we also lost our proximity to the band and the cheerleaders?? If so, I hope that the new occupants of the northwest corner do their homework and learn all the cheers before September 7th. And while they're at it, they need to learn all the verses of "On the Banks of the Old Raritan" too.

Having the students filling one entire end of the Stadium could change the dynamics for the better, leading to calls and responses that involve the entire Stadium (including those people in the lower level between the twenty-yard lines who seem to think they should be able to sit during a Rutgers football game), but we'll see soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Your Summer Reading: "National Champions of 1869," or "Beat Visitor #1"

Don't you love the way the dustjacket on this old book is designed so that the graduates look as if they are listening to a speech from Willie the Silent? (When I received my degree on Vorhees Mall in the '70's, we were down at the other end facing Old Queens, with our backs to Willie.)

About ten years ago I was lucky enough to receive as a present the book that you see to your right. If the gift-giver who stumbled on it in a used book store had been a loyal son of Rutgers rather than a graduate of Boston University, he never would have passed this treasure along to to me. It's long out of print (it doesn't even have an ISBN number); it was published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Rutgers in 1966. This little (250-page) book consists of about 40 short chapters or anecdotes about our alma mater (including the one retyped below). Rutgers University Press also published a larger, more official title, Rutgers: A Bicentennial History, by Richard P. McCormick, chairman of the History Department in 1966 and a professor of mine in 1973 (and the father of the current President McCormick).
The details of the game reprinted below are a little like reading the details of a cricket match (if, like me, you don't know all the rules of cricket), but here's the first-hand report of the first intercollegiate game of any sort ("foot-ball" or otherwise) played on American soil; here it is exactly as reported first in the Targum in 1869, and as reprinted in Aloud to Alma Mater, edited by George Lukac, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1966, pages 67-69.

Enjoy! But remember, there will be a pop quiz on this information later this year.

The Birth of Intercollegiate Football

On Saturday, November 6, Princeton sent twenty-five picked men to play our twenty-five a match game of foot-ball. The strangers came up in the ten o’clock train, and brought a good number of backers with them. After dinner, and a stroll around the town, during which stroll billiards received a good deal of attention, the crowd began to assemble at the ball ground, which, for the benefit of the ignorant, we would say, is a lot about a hundred yards wide, extending from College Avenue to Sicard Street. Previous to calling the game, the ground presented an animated picture. Grim looking players were silently stripping, each one surrounded by sympathizing friends, while around each of the captains was a little crowd, intent upon giving advice, and saying as much as possible. The appearance of the Princeton men was very different from that of our own players. They were almost without exception tall and muscular, while the majority of our twenty-five are small and light, but possess the merit of being up to much more than they look.

Very few were the preliminaries, and they were quickly agreed upon. The Princeton captain, for some reason or other, gave up every point to our men without contesting one. The only material points were that Princeton gave up “free kicks,” whereby a player, when he catches the ball in the air, is allowed to kick it without hindrance. On the other hand, our practice of “babying” the ball on the start was discarded, and the ball was mounted, in every instance, by a vigorous “long kick.”

Princeton won the toss, and chose the first mount, rather oddly, since it had been agreed to start the ball against the wind. At three p.m. the game was called. The Princetonians suffered from making a bad “mount” or “buck” as they call it; the effects of which were not remedied before the sides closed, and after a brief struggle, Rutgers drove it home, and won, amid great applause from the crowd. The sides were changed, Rutgers started the ball, and after a somewhat longer fight Princeton made it a tie by a well directed kick, from a gentleman whose name we don’t know, but who did the best kicking on the Princeton side.

To describe the varying fortunes of the match, game by game, would be a waste of labor, for every game was like the one before. There was the same headlong running, wild shouting, and frantic kicking. In every game the cool goal-tenders saved the Rutgers goal half a dozen times; in every game the heavy charger of the Princeton side overthrew everything he came in contact with; and in every game, just when the interest in one of those delightful rushes at the fence was culminating, the persecuted ball would fly for refuge into the next lot, and produce a cessation of hostilities until, after the invariable “foul,” it was put in straight.

Well, at last we won the match, having won the first, third, fifth, sixth, ninth, and tenth games; leaving Princeton the second, fourth, seventh, and eighth. The seventh game would probably have been added to our score but for one of our players, who, in his ardor, forgot which way he was kicking, a mistake for which he fully atoned afterward.

To sum up: Princeton had the most muscle, but didn’t kick very well, and wanted organization. They evidently don’t like to kick the ball on the ground. Our men, on the other hand, though comparatively weak, ran well, and kicked well throughout. But their great point was their organization, for which great praise is due to the Captain, Leggett ’72. The right men were always in the right place.

After the match, the players had an amicable “feed” together, and at eight o’clock our guests went home, in high good spirits, but thirsting to beat us next time, if they can.

I am not a Twit myself . . .

. . . or whatever it is Tweeters or Twitterers or Users of Twitter call themselves officially, but I discovered that BeatVisitor.com was starting to get hits directed from Twitter.com/RutgersBuzztap, so I followed the link and found that it seems to be source of links to updates on all the major Rutgers football blogs (how we got included, I'll never know).

I'll add the link to RutgersBuzztap on my sidebar of Rutgers football links (and maybe even get rid of the deadwood links in my sidebar that haven't been updated since 2007).

UPDATE 7/2/2009: Now I am a Twit @BeatVisitor
It should come in handy for live game updates from the Stadium

Friday, June 26, 2009

How to Celebrate the New Closed Endzone at R House on Labor Day? With A Wave!

Here's a video of Rutgers Stadium (without any seats in the south endzone) doing the wave during the game against the Fresno State Bulldogs on Labor Day of 2008.

What could we do on Labor Day of 2009 with the lower level of the Stadium finally completing the oval? I hope we can all be out of the parking lots and into our seats early so that we can be ringing R House with coordinated movement and noise before the loudspeakers tell us that the team is in the tunnel and asking us to "bring 'em out bring 'em out" to start the Knights' season against the Cincinnati Bearcats, a.k.a. "The Spoilers." One win against the Bearcats in 2006 or 2008, and the Scarlet Knights would have been in a BCS Bowl. It's rare for any team to begin a season with a game that means so much.
Here's a longer video from last Labor Day from YouTube (you can see the same wave between the 3rd and 4th quarters at 1:41 of this longer clip):

Mike Teel and Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood may not have hit their stride in those early games last fall (especially not in this 24-7 opening day loss), but there was no faulting the spirit in the all-scarlet crowd.

The Quote of the Day About the 2009 Scarlet Knights

"I actually think there's a decent chance, assuming that they get off to a good start, that Rutgers will be favored in every game it plays this year, including Big East games. A nine- or 10-win season is a real possibility for the Scarlet Knights."

--Brian Bennett, ESPN.com,
26 June 2009

That isn't the only love given to the Rutgers football team by a writer for a sports network's website this week. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sportsline picked our shining Knights in scarlet armor to win the Big East on Tuesday.
Not to put any pressure on them (not that any of the players read BeatVisitor.com) but the Cincinnati game this Labor Day is much bigger than the Fresno State game last Labor Day (and that was a big game). If they do beat the Bearcats, they will be on an eight-game winning streak and they definitely will be favored in every following game (unless they lose and break the string). 9 wins Brian?? 10 wins? Why not 12? Or 13 with a bowl win in January?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Neither Rain nor Tony Soprano's No-Show Workers Can Slow the Progress at R House.

It's been a rainy June, but the New Jersey construction trades are kicking some ass in the new South Endzone of Rutgers Stadium, as you can see from the screen capture here. With only 73 days 22 hours 37 minutes and 20 seconds until the kickoff of the Scarlet Knights 2010 season (not that I'm counting), things are looking good at R (e x p a n d i n g) House. Click here to go to the Rutgers Stadium Expansion page, scroll down to the "Construction Photo Gallery" and you can see today's entire June 25th slide show (or any one of the earlier construction photo galleries).

Compare today's pictures to the screenshots I posted on April 8th , May 22nd , and June 15th,or the video from April 20th and it seems clear that the Cincinnati Bearcats are going to be facing noise at both ends of Rutgers Stadium in 2 and a half months!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why Life Begins on Labor Day!

Click Here for an early preview from Protect R Turf of Labor Day's matchup between the Scarlet Knights and the Cincinnati Bearcats on September 7 ...

... and Click Here for a preview of the Knights' entire 2009 season from College Football News.

I know that summer just officially started this week, but I can't wait for those autumn leaves.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Construction Update

Click here to go to the Rutgers Stadium Expansion page, scroll down to the "Construction Photo Gallery" and you can see the entire brand-new June 15th slide show (or any one of the earlier construction photo galleries).

Compare today's pictures to the screenshots I posted on April 8th and May 22nd or the video from April 20th and it seems clear that we'll be looking out at seats filled in the South Endzone and all around the perimeter of Rutgers Stadium in 84 days!

I sense a joyful wave in the future of R House (hopefully early and often during the Cincinnati game), but does anyone know where they're going to put the cannon??

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The FINAL(?) Final 2009 Schedule for Rutgers Football

The Texas Southern game has been moved from October 3 to October 10, so here's an image of the updated (I hesitate to call any game's scheduled time "final" until it's actually played) schedule.
There are more details available at ScarletKnights.com by clicking here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Big Question Answered. There will be a cannon and a horse at R House in 2009!

Here's a short video clip of the cannon firing from its temporary position in the south endzone construction site last September 1st after a San San Te P.A.T. at the Fresno State game (and I challenge you to say san-san-tay-pee-ay-tee five times fast!).

Click here for the word from Tim Pernetti that there will be a cannon somewhere in the Stadium this September when the bowl is closed and the folks in Revolutionary garb can no longer light the fuse on the top of the green shady knoll.

"Having played in that old-old stadium, I know how important the cannon of all things is. And the horse was kind of brought into that scene with (coach)Doug Graber when I played for him." -- Tim Pernetti

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vote Early and Often

Don't ask me why ESPN formed a natural grouping of Delaware and New Jersey, but you can vote in this SportsNation POLL today for the best DE/NJ football team, coach, player, and give your opinion on when you think the Scarlet Knights will make it to a BCS bowl game.