Sunday Schiano: Injuries, QBs, Letdowns, Etc.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano held his Sunday teleconference, and among the topics was an update on the status of starting defensive end Michael Larrow's ankle injury, whether he knows who will start at quarterback against Navy, guarding against a letdown, the changes in San San Te's field goal kicking, the switch at starting center the botched exchanges between QB Cary Nova and C Caleb Ruch.

Michael Larrow is out for the season with an ankle injury, there is no decision on the starting quarterback for Saturday's game against Navy, and it sounds as if Caleb Ruch will remain the starting center while David Osei competes for playing time at left tackle.

Those were the strong hitting points during Rutgers coach Greg Schiano's Sunday teleconference to review the Scarlet Knights' 34-10 win against Pittsburgh.

Here is the Q&A from the teleconference:

Is there an update on starting DE Michael Larrow?
Unfortunately Mike is done for the season. He's having surgery this morning on his ankle. He's going to heal fine. What the doctors told me is it's not a real complicated surgery. He's done for the year.

How does it affect the defensive line?
It affects it in a big way. You look at it right now, we've lost three defensive players in the two-deep for the entire year with (David) Milewski, Mason (Robinson), and Mike (Larrow). Rashad Knight we haven't had so really four, and I don't know if Rashad is ever going to come back this year.

Mike was our starter -- but it affects our depth. We just have to figure out a way of developing guys so when these things happen then you have a guy who is ready to go. And hopefully we can.

What was the differences between QB Gary Nova's play in the first half and the second half?
I don't think there was that big a difference. There usually is a very fine line. Maybe he was a little bit excited or hurried, I don't know. But it's not like there was a huge difference. He just hit a few plays and we ran the ball a little better. On both sides of the stick, games take on a personality of their own. As we got a little lead, things opened up a little bit. Gary just keeps doing what he's doing.

Is there concern about not having the same connection with Mohamed Sanu as Chas Dodd did?
I don't look at it that way. It's not one guy or two guys. I think we need to execute better. We know that. But we're going to get better on offense and we're going to get better on defense. That's our charge. The tough thing this week is defensively we face something that's unique. It's nothing like what we faced the rest of the year. Maybe Army is similar.

And, then offensively, we're facing a defense that is really different than anything we've faced. So we have to develop. Fundamentals blocking, tackling, throwing, catching -- all those things don't change. But schematically, those things change. So we have to get better while adjusting to a different scheme -- that's a huge challenge for us.

How did the offensive line fare with Caleb Ruch at center?
I thought there were positives. We had two (center/quarterback) exchanges (fumbled). That just can't happen in Division I college football. We have to get to the bottom of that. Overall, we're getting closer. But Pitt did some good things. They blitzed aggressively, they ran some guys through. But we have to be able that in the run game. When I say handle that, make sure that's not a negative play. Get it back to the line of scrimmage so we can line up and play another down and not be way behind the chains. But we're making progress.

Does Gary Nova starts vs. Navy?
We all do our work Saturday night and Sunday on our own and then I will get together with the staff later today. I want to talk with (offensive coordinator) Frank (Cignetti) and the offensive staff and come to a conclusion. And if the conclusion is inconclusive then that's what it will be all week. And if it's conclusive then we'll make an announcement on Monday with the depth chart.

What happened on the snap problems?
I think I know what happened, but you can bet your bottom dollar we'll talk to the involved parties.

Can you share what happened?
No. …In any missed (exchange), it's always a little bit of both. Unselfish team players are always going to take the blame. I'm sure Gary will say it's his fault and Caleb will say it's his fault, but it's always somewhere in between. You need to do that enough times where it's instinctual. I you have to think about it, it's hard to play football.

How did Justin Doerner do?
He punted very well. Not his best kickoff effort. He hit a few screamers, and he also hit a few good ones. Overall, definitely a plus, and we're just going to work on those kickoffs for consistency. He was a weapon yesterday in the punt game, no doubt about it.

Did the game slow down for running back Savon Huggins?
Yep. I think that's exactly what happened. Savon just went out there and ran, and that's what he is. He's a natural running back. I think he just slowed it down and played football. It's no different than the football he played anywhere else.

The guys may be bigger, faster, and the holes close sooner, but when you run the ball, you're still running the ball. I was pleased with his progress.

On multiple Pittsburgh players wearing the same numbers:
They had two number 9s and two number 5s. We have a couple of dual numbers too and it's something you really have to stay on top of. Sometimes people say you have a guy on offensive and a guy on defense and it will never be an issue, and the area where is gets you is on special teams, and that's where it was.

I'm just sorry …we took the penalty to back up, and we had two opportunities to get a first down there had we not taken the penalty to back us up. It was frustrating for me we missed out on that opportunity, but hey, nobody's perfect.

On PK San San Te's confidence being high:
It should be. Ya' know, 40 to 50 (yards) was his Achilles heel a year ago, and now he has four or five between the 40 and 50 in five games. As I said earlier, he's really worked to become a student of his kicking, not just a kicker. I think that's important.

San San's so talented in so many things. H's a scuba diver, skateboarder, he's a smart kid and I think what he did here was really become focused on being a top-flight Division I kicker. I don't think, I know he did. He's really amped up his commitment and focus. I hope that he carries through because there's a weapon in the kicking game.

Is there concern about getting focused after a big win?
It's always a challenge. Human nature, when you a big win like that, I thought Syracuse was a big win …I hope, but you don't know. I hope that the things we've been talking about and trying to live with as a team, and as a family, will help us do things the right way.

We have an incredible challenge with Navy. No one in America has stopped their offense. …Their defense is different, and honestly, we have no fared well against Navy's defense. We have a challenge ahead of us, and I think everybody knows that.

How did David Osei play at left tackle?
"He's just an athlete and a physical prototype for an offensive lineman. Just because we made a decision to go with Caleb at center for some other reasons, we don't want to shut David out, and we want to create competition at every spot, and we feel that we do that with David at left tackle.

He's not going to forget how to be a center, so if we need to, we can put him back there. I hope we don't need to, but I hope that competition raises both he and Andre's (Civil) level.

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