St. Joseph grad Corcoran ready to be a 'premier guy' for Rutgers
By SUSAN LULGJURAJ Staff Writer, 609-272-7187
Published: Saturday, April 18, 2009
PISCATAWAY - When there is a football game, the last place players usually want to be is on the sideline.
However, that's where Rutgers University fullback Jack Corcoran found himself for nearly the entire spring game on Saturday afternoon. The Scarlet squad beat the White squad 31-3.
The spring game is an intrasquad exhibition. It's open to fans, and they took advantage as a spring-game record 15,899 attended. But they didn't get to see much of Corcoran.
The Atlantic City resident played in just the first sequence for the Scarlet team, but he wasn't hurt or being demoted. Corcoran, who will be a senior next season, earned the right to take the day off.
"One way to look at it is if you keep guys out of the spring game and they're healthy, those are your premier guys," Schiano said. "That tells you right there who your senior leaders are and who you expect big things from."
Fans shouldn't worry about Corcoran. The St. Joseph High School graduate is set to become a bigger part of the offense.
"It was exciting stepping into a leadership role, being one of the older guys," Corcoran said. "Ultimately, I like to play, but it was fun cheering for the team and seeing the younger guys out there."
Some have projected him to catch around 50 passes this year. It's an impressive number and would be a major improvement over his first three seasons.
Last season, Corcoran caught 19 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. In his first two seasons, he combined for five catches on 34 yards in 25 games.
Corcoran broke out in the PapaJohns.com Bowl against North Carolina State. He caught six passes for 62 yards, including an impressive one-handed grab while falling on his back.
His turnaround really began when all expectations were lifted from the Scarlet Knights after their 1-5 start last season. Rutgers turned the season around, and Corcoran was used more in the offensive schemes rather than just blocking.
With question marks surrounding the passing game this year, Corcoran has room to advance his game.
The Scarlet Knights lost four-year starting quarterback Mike Teel to graduation. Their receiving corps was decimated by graduation and Kenny Britt leaving early to enter the NFL draft.
The battle for quarterback is between Jabu Lovelace and Dom Natale - for now. Tim Brown is the only returning receiver expected to make an immediate impact.
That's where Corcoran will step in. He's a four-year player with a lot of experience.
"I'm just trying to get better every day. I don't want to get comfortable," Corcoran said. "I want to come out and improve every day because once you get comfortable, you stop doing what you're supposed to."
In the spring game, Natale finished 11-for-19 for 187 yards and a touchdown. Lovelace did not play.
Natale had the most success of the three quarterbacks who did play. Schiano said it's between him and Lovelace come next fall, although incoming freshman Tom Savage could make an impact.
"The quarterback situation is going to be one that goes through camp," Schiano said. "I thought Dom played well today. He threw it with authority. We all know there will be five quarterbacks in training camp. I think that will play itself out."
Notes: Junior linebacker Jim Dumont won the Frank R. Burns Award, given to the player who displays extraordinary mental and physical toughness during spring practice. Offensive lineman Desmond Wynn earned the Most Improved Offensive Player award and junior defensive tackle Charlie Noonan was named the Most Improved Defensive Player.
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