Day-After Notes: Part II, OL, Defense, etc.

In the second part of our Day-After notes, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano discusses the compeition that is taking place along the offensive line. He also talks about the play of the defense in the 19-14 win at Florida International, as well as the effort the Scarlet Knights gave in difficult condition.

The performance of offense was highly scrutinized in Rutgers' 19-14 win at Florida International, and Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano said competition along the offensive line will continue during the upcoming bye week.

Already, red-shirt freshman guard Antwan Lowery played a significant role against FIU by splitting time with Caleb Ruch at right guard.

Although freshman Betim Bujari did not play against the Golden Panthers, he is pushing Desmond Wynn at left guard and if right tackle Devon Watkis can return from an ankle injury, he can also push to get playing time.

"We have competition, without a doubt, on the offensive line, and Lowery at guard is not the only guy that is providing competition," Schiano said. "I think it's going to continually be who's performing the best both in practice and in the game, and we'll keep moving it around until we get what we think is the best mix."

The comments come after Rutgers netted 76 yards on 38 carries, and converted just 2 of 13 on first down.

But Schiano said the offensive struggles aren't a matter of needing more reps at practice or gaining more experience, but rather being more detailed-oriented.

"I think we all just need to tighten it up a little bit to get more precise," he said. "It's not usually more plays, or throwing more balls. We do enough of that. We just need to be more attentive to our details in route running. Some of our routes we cut short. Little things.

"We're running deep routes and we're turning our shoulders back. You take a 4.4 (speed player) and you make him a 4.6 when you do that."

Talking Defense
Rutgers defense was strong in forcing five turnovers, but it also had a few issues in giving up a couple of big plays.

The toughest player the Scarlet Knights dealt with was receiver T.Y. Hilton, who demonstrated his elusiveness by rushing three times for 23 yards and catching six passes for 49 yards.

"I think there's a couple things. (T.Y. Hilton), as I told you before the game, is a tremendous athlete, and special. There were a couple of runs that were disappointing they gave up (that) we need to fix. Essentially, it was on one call that two of those runs came up on."

Lauding the effort
Rutgers defense was on the field for more than 31 minutes and 68 plays on an oppressively hot and humid night, but played its best in the fourth quarter.

"I thought the incredible effort that our kids gave allowed us to overcome any mistakes we made," Schiano said. "Those takeaways don't happen by accident, and when you watch it on tape, (linebacker) Antonio Lowery, it's quite a clinic of stripping of the ball when a guy is going down. And (strong safety) Joe Lefeged doing some things we need our seniors to do."

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