Title Trek: Thanksgiving Notebook

Thanksgiving did not stop the Rutgers football team from doing work on the practice field. With just 48 hours standing between Rutgers and a game for a share of the Big East title, Schiano spoke with the media about the final practice before heading to Connecticut and the latest on tight end D.C. Jefferson.

Five days after needing crutches after the team's victory over Cincinnati, starting tight end D.C. Jefferson returned to the practice field for Rutgers in some capacity.

Coach Greg Schiano said Jefferson remains a game-time decision, but he showed progress.

"He did some work today so he will be a game-time decision," Schiano said.

Behind Jefferson, Rutgers has sophomore Paul Carrezola, who has a touchdown reception this season, and unproven backups Beau Bachety and Malcolm Bush.

"I think they've done a good job," Schiano said of the backups. "The good thing is, if D.C. can play, then we'll have four tight ends. And if he can't we'll have three."

Neither Bush nor Bachety have major experience on offense, but Schiano is confident in their ability, he said.

"Malcolm is a really good athlete," Schiano said. "I'm really not concerned about him in the pass game. So I don't know if it really changes anything. Obviously D.C. has made some nice plays for us. If he can't play, we're going to miss his sheer ability, size and blocking ability. But as far as schematically I don't think it'll change us much."

Good Focus

No one on the team, sans perhaps sixth-year senior Edmond Laryea, has experience with so much on the line at the college level. Schiano, however, remains unconcerned with the team's mental focus leading up to the game.

He expects the Scarlet Knights to arrive at Rentschler Field ready to play.

"I don't think this group is like that," Schiano said. "I think they're so into their preparation, I think that it's just going to be ‘trust your training.' I'll definitely keep a guard on that, though. I just don't see this group being that way. Now, they may be. And if they are we have to slow them down and calm them down.

"I think last week was good for that. I thought we were a little amped early on last week. Everything was moving too fast, and we kind of slowed everybody down. I thought it was good."

Fan Support

Rutgers sold out its ticket allotment within three days of the victory last week against Cincinnati. Schiano, who called on the fans to turn out last week for Senior Day, is excited for a strong road contingent this weekend.

"It's always nice when you have your Rutgers fans in an opposing stadium, but I don't have any illusions that we're going to have more than they," Schiano said. "It's going to be loud. And we have to deal with those issues. That's why we do the noise in practice and they do a good job of synthetic noise in their stadium. They crank up the music and stuff in between downs. So we're going to have to deal with non-verbal communication, for sure. And hopefully we'll have enough fans that we have to deal with it on defense as well. That would be nice."

Game Captains

Schiano named senior offensive linemen Art Forst and Caleb Ruch as game captains along with senior safety David Rowe and defensive tackle Justin Francis.

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