Schiano Sends Message To Fans, Talks OL, Etc.

A candid Rutgers coach Greg Schiano had a message for the fans about the state of the program, and getting the Scarlet Knights back on track after they lost to Louisville on Friday and will not go to a bowl game for the first time in six years. He also talked about the offensive line, and how to fix it, gave a starting quarterback for the West Virginia game and more.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano addressed two of the most pressing question surrounding the Scarlet Knights' season, talking about a frustrated fan base and how to fix an inadequate offensive line.

First, in addressing the fans after Friday's 40-13 loss to Louisville dropped Rutgers to 4-7, and end their bowl streak at five, Schiano said the frustration is felt inside the Hale Center markedly more than by the fans.

And that wasn't to discount the fans' frustration.

"Certainly, I feel their frustration because there's no one on the planet that's more frustrated than I am," he said. "So, can I feel their frustration? Fifty times over, because they're frustrated, but then they go do a job or they go back to their family or they do something. My frustration doesn't end. So yeah, I feel their frustration. Sure, I do.

"I can tell you this, though; I'm betting that the Rutgers people — the real Rutgers fans — are going to stick with this football team, and this coaching staff, because we're going to get this fixed. This isn't the end of the world. It's disappointing. It's sad that it had to happen.

"But this program is built, as I said in the beginning, on a rock-solid foundation. This storm won't knock us off that foundation, and we'll come back stronger."

Schiano, who turned the program into a perennial bowl team that won four straight bowl games, added to his message.

"We'll be back," he said. "Our true fans will stick with us, the bandwagon fans will be there when we win again, and that's life. I don't have any ill feelings towards that. I'm in a profession that's a very competitive profession. It's entertainment, and when it doesn't go well, people aren't entertained. I understand that.

"We're in a big-time market. It's great when you're doing well and it's tough when you're not. I don't wish that away. I enjoy that."

The biggest ailment on this season's team is the offensive line, which hasn't been able to create a consistent running game and has been unable to protect the quarterback.

And while center Howard Barbieri is the lone senior on this year's group, Rutgers is recruiting to find offensive linemen with increased fervor and purpose, including a hard look at handfuls of junior college prospects.

"Bringing guys from out of the program through recruiting …that's always part of the equation," Schiano said. "Development of players is part of the equation, too. We need to continue to develop them. We need to recruit and develop. That's our whole philosophy here at Rutgers, recruit and develop. We need to continue to do both and, as I said earlier, we didn't get here overnight. And as I said earlier, we're not going to get out of this situation overnight.

""But we'll get better because we'll continue to develop them and continue to recruit."

Dodd, the starter

Schiano said freshman quarterback Chas Dodd will start Saturday's season finale at West Virginia, but added he was concerned about the number of times Dodd is being hit.

"I mean, there's some vicious hits going on out there," Schiano said. "He is a very tough kid. I worry that he's not telling me everything, so I press him on it. Our trainers check him out and he seems to be ok. But yes, I am deeply concerned. Someone shouldn't get hit like that."

Best will play

Schiano said he will not use the West Virginia game to play younger guys just for the sake of playing them.

"We're going to whatever gives us the best chance to win this football game," he said. "So, if it's a young guy, it's because I think it gives us the best chance to win the game. The last two weeks we haven't executed very well, so there may be reasons to make a change in the depth that would give us the best chance to win this game.

"But there will be no ‘Playing to see future guys.' No, that's not in my plans right now."

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