Greg Schiano Q&A

The status of whether quarterback Tom Savage will transfer and the appointment of new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti are the hitting points of this Q&A session with Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. Schiano also talks about his coaching staff, how Cignetti's hiring could impact the offensive line and much more.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano spoke with the media Thursday, and addressed a number of topics. He talked about new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, the future of quarterback Tom Savage and much more.

Here is the Q&A:

On returning to a pro-style offense:
"I don't think it's any secret that I wanted to go back in that direction. I think that's a generic term, but the biggest thing that Frank and I had long discussions about in the process is, really, we have some tremendous play-makers, tremendous athletes, young kids, and our focus is to get those kids in position to make plays.

"How you do it …there's a zillion different ways to do it, but philosophically we certainly see things the same way. The ability to run the football, throw the ball, get it in the hands of your play-makers. That pro-style is what I'm comfortable with, and really what Frank is very good at implementing and coaching. So, that's why ultimately that's where I headed."

Does Cignetti's hire impacts QB Tom Savage's decision on whether to transfer or not?
"To me, they're not inter-related. We needed to make a programatic decision on who our offensive coordinator and quarterback coach would be. You try to do things for the entire program. Tom's decision is going to be Tom's decision. Having said all that, I do think that Tom …his skill set does fit very well into this, as does Chas (Dodd).' "

Do you know where Savage's decision stands?
"I think we're in the process of working through all that. As soon as I know …whatever it ends up being, we'll make sure that everybody understands it and is clear with it."

Do you think Cignetti has an idea on the importance of a running game?
"Without a doubt. He fully understands. He and I are on the same page with the importance of the run game, and he believes in it, more importantly. We will run the football here at Rutgers, and we will run it effectively."

Was there concern about this being Cignetti's sixth job in seven years?
"Not at all. The nature of this business, Frank has been a very desirable coach. Everybody that I talked to — because he's worked with a lot of people that I'm close with. Not just Dave (Wannstedt) at Pitt but a lot of people before that — and it's unanimous, what an excellent coach, what an excellent family man, all the things that I'm looking for. I just think sometimes that's the nature of the business. That's the business we're in."

What can you say about Cignetti as a recruiter?
"I think he will be an excellent recruiter for us at Rutgers. He has been an excellent recruiter at other places. He's a high-energy guy. He's a guy that really cares about people and believes in relationships, just as I do. I think that's the key to recruiting. When you believe in the importance of relationships, that allows you to be a good recruiter."

After hiring Cignetti and Jeff Hafley and letting go OC Kirk Ciarrocca, are there more changes to the staff coming? "Well, there will be some things. As I said at the end of the season, I'm evaluating every single thing that we do. It started with me, which took a while. So, then I moved on to the assistant coaches and to the team at the same time, all the support staff. This is an ongoing evaluation, and the thing that makes it a little tricky is there's recruiting, and there's a bunch of stuff that has to go on simultaneously.

"Obviously, we don't have any practices or games to get ready for, but eventually we'll get locked in and that'll be the direction we go. Everything's not complete yet."

What was it like preparing for Cignetti's offense at Pittsburgh?
"I always thought they were very well organized. They knew what they wanted to do …sitting and visiting with Frank through this process, understanding his system. It's really neat to then see the other side of it while you're going through the interview process. Since I did have a familiarity with what they were doing, some of the ‘Whys' and what they saw in us. It was very interesting.

"He has a system, and that system is one that I think has built-in flexibility to do a lot of different things depending on your personnel. That's really what I was in search of as a head coach, and I'm really excited about getting started with our players once we're off the road recruiting, (and) Frank getting starter with our offense and with our quarterbacks, and moving forward. I'm very excited about it."

How does Cignetti's system fit into the offensive linemen in the program?
"It's no secret that we struggled in the offensive line, and I think the cumulative repetitions that we're building, just playing, period, whatever system they're in, and then being in the system that Frank is going to implement … the cumulative repetitions through spring, summer and then training camp, and then the season, those two things.

"Our guys growing up, getting a little older, getting stronger, getting more comfortable with playing, and the cumulative repetitions built in with this system, I think we're going to be better.

"Now, how much better? We're adding some new people. We signed a junior college center in Dallas Hendrickson, who will start here when the semester begins. I think we have some guys who we moved around from the defensive line to the offensive line that are going to be more comfortable playing the position.

"So, I'm encouraged, but we need to be encouraged because we were not very good this year in that position group."

How much will it help having two new assistants (Cignetti and Hafley) from Big Est programs?
I think it can only help. I think the Big East is changing quite a bit as well. I guess there's not that much continuity in the league from top to bottom. But an understanding of the personnel, that sure helps, and then things that maybe get overlooked; the understanding of venues, the understanding of the different challenges that are presented just in terms of being in the east and those things. I think that's all helpful. It certainly can't be anything but a benefit."

Is there any news on running back Casey Turner's decision to stay or transfer?
"Not yet, but again, as soon as those things happen, as soon as I'm sure one way or the other, I'll try to get it through (Rutgers spokesperson) Jason (Baum) to you guys as soon as possible."


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