Stadium and BE Expansion, Presidents, Etc.

BEDMINSTER, N.J. -- Rutgers coach Greg Schiano talked about Big East expansion, a football-only training facility, an expanded Rutgers Stadium, the incoming freshmen, transfers, quarterback Chas Dodd's development, rebounding from 2010 and kickoffs during his charity golf event Monday.

BEDMINSTER, N.J. – An expanded Rutgers Stadium, a new football complex, Big East expansion and the changing of Rutgers University's president were all topics on Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano's plate Monday at his annual charity golf tournament at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club.

Schiano's event raised $80,000 for a trio of charities, and toward the conclusion of the event he met with media members in attendance to discuss his team, his program and the direction of the university.

The Big East recently announced the inclusion of TCU, which will begin play in the 2012- season, to bring the membership to nine football-playing schools. There is discussion about adding one or three teams, and Schiano said he supports staying with nine, or moving to 12 schools.

"I deferred everything to (athletic director) Tim (Pernetti) because I believe that's an administrative level decision, but I know just from a scheduling standpoint, it's better from nine or 12," Schiano said. "The 10 doesn't help us. It puts you back at a 5 (home/away), 4 (away/home) equation, which makes it almost impossible to do your out-of-conference schedule the way we need to do it.

"We need to play seven home games. That's not an option. Either that, or one at the Meadowlands where we get a lot of money, or one at Yankee Stadium where we get a lot of money. We cannot afford, on our budgetary design, to play six home games. It doesn't work for us.

"Twelve would give you divisions, a championship game, being able to work your schedule where you (play) five from your division, and three crossovers. A nine-team league would give you four (home) and four (road), which is perfect."

Football complex, stadium expansion
With naming rights for the football stadium secured with today's formal announcement High Point Solutions agreed to a 10-year deal, Schiano addressed what could be next on the facilities front.

"We have a master plan that we keep continuing to build upon, and there are things down the road," Schiano said. "We're constantly doing things with the building we're in to continue to make it state-of-the-art, but not to do things just to do them because it's a tight time fiscally.

"By the same token, you have to continue to invest in your building and your facilities to be able to recruit effectively, and those things are expensive."

There is also talk of large-scale projects.

"I certainly have in the master plan of ideas of building a football-only facility is definitely one that is in horizon," Schiano said, "and be able to turn the Hale Center over to the athletic department and the Olympic sports and make that one of the state-of-the-art facilities for Olympic sports. That's down the road. I'm going to, along with our development people, begin to roll that out there over the next couple of years, gather support and see what we can do.

"I think as we play the way I am certain we're going to play, as the demand for tickets continues to go up, eventually there will be another stadium expansion, when it's right, when the demand exists.

"Those are all things on my horizon, and Tim's horizon, as we grow the program. Right now the most important thing is to continue to win football games, (increase) the excitement in our program, win championships and get our fans to where we do need to do things in our stadium."

Presidential talk
Rutgers president Richard McCormick will leave his post after the 2011-12 academic year, and Schiano is interested to see the successor.

"I think always the leadership of the university is critical, and we've had a great run with Dick McCormick," Schiano said. "He's going to be here for another year. And hopefully we'll fill the position. It always, I think, has an impact. I believe leadership is everything."

"I do know this; that there's an institutional leadership decision that the direction of the football program is where we're going, and when I say institutional, I mean our board of governors, board of trustees. So, I'm confident in that. I'm not concerned, but the individual who holds the position certainly has an impact on the entire university. He's my boss, he's Tim boss, and I'm anxious, like everybody else, to find out where we're going and who it's going to be.

"But we've done a lot in Dick's tenure, and I know Dick's way. He will work until the final day to make Rutgers the best place it can be. Rutgers is a part of his blood, and I know the people that are going to be on that search committee are going to work tirelessly to find the best person for Rutgers."

Rebounding from 2010
Schiano said "not a day goes by" where he doesn't think about last season's 4-8 mark, but with a revamped coaching staff and arguably the strongest recruiting class in school history, Schiano likes where the Scarlet Knights stand.

"I'm pleased with where we are," he said. "I think we had a great offseason, and everybody does. Some might say you had a good offseason, but I feel like we had a great offseason. We've gotten more done this offseason than any I remember, and we needed to.

"We were better than that. Were we a 12-0 team? No, but we were better than a 4-8 team, but you are what your record is, and we were a 4-8 team."

He also said he understands the disappointment of the season, but he is confident in the future.

"Having grown up in New Jersey, I have a great historical perspective of where Rutgers has been and where Rutgers football is going," Schiano said. We've made great strides. The latest record is not a stride. The latest record is a back slide. We need to make sure we get it going in that direction and we will be the best.

"When our best is the best we will be the best, and that's going to happen. I don't have any doubt about that. "

Freshman talk
Five freshmen – Savon Huggins, Gary Nova, Paul Canevari, Kaleb Johnson and Tejay Johnson – enrolled in late May and the rest of the 2011 class is due to hit campus Sunday and start summer school.

When asked about offensive lineman Kaleb Johnson and Huggins, a running back, Schiano gave his thoughts.

"I see them around and they're real excited, and the players tell me when they're impressed with a kid, and they're not easily impressed, and they're impressed with those two," Schiano said. "All you have to do is look at Kaleb. He looks like a man. He looks like he's about 25 years old. He's big …I think we have some kids that might have a chance to help. August will determine all that. You know how it is. I'm not afraid to play them if they're ready, but I'd rather be a month late than a day early."

Rutgers also added speed in receiver Tejay Johnson, who originally signed in February 2009, but did not qualify and went to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, where he played sparingly.

"He's a football player that can really run," Schiano said. "With the exception of that short time at Fork Union, he hasn't really been in an organized system. So, will it take a little longer? Yeah, but when you have that kind of athletic ability, I think it can shorten that time a little bit."

Training camp dates
Rutgers players will report Aug. 4 and training camp will start Aug. 5, Schiano said.

"The first two days are in helmets only, the next two days are in helmets and shoulder pads, and then day 5 is in full pads," he said. "Those are all one-a-day sessions. Then, you're allowed to – but don't always – go one day of double sessions, one day of single session, one day of double session …until the end of camp."

For the first time, Schiano publicly mentioned receiver Keith Stroud and offensive lineman Jamal Wilson were transferring.

"I have to make sure (Stroud) takes care of business before I release him," Schiano said. "He's going to go to Bethune-Cookman, and Jamal Wilson is going to Hampton.

"There may be a couple more things, but we'll see. Some injury things, but right now nothing with guys that we're counting on being first-team guys, but you never know how that's going to play out."

Dodd's development
Schiano is pleased with how Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd approached the offseason.

"Chas has done a really good job in offseason winter, spring and I get the sense he's really being the leader, which you need your quarterback to be," Schiano said.

Kickoff changes
In the wake of defensive tackle Eric LeGrand being paralyzed from the next down while covering a kickoff last season, Schiano's proposal to eliminate kickoffs and change the onsides kick rule continues to gain attention as college coaches and NFL personnel continue to reach out to him for more information.

"I am convinced that we need to do onside kickoffs and kickoffs, whatever that solution is," Schiano said. "But I can guarantee there calling because they're not interested, and the NFL, even though they moved (kickoffs) up to the 35, they still don't feel they've done enough.

"Something is going to happen in kickoffs. It's a matter of time, and hopefully this spurs conversation. I think something has to happen to protect the welfare of the players."

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