Coordinators Dew Mehringer, Jay Niemann Prep for Iowa at Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- From quarterback competition to family ties, Rutgers coordinators Drew Mehringer and Jay Niemann prepare for the first Big Ten battle of the 2016 season.

Offensive Coordinator Drew Mehringer...

On what Chris Laviano's performance looked like after he saw it on film...

"Exactly what it looked like when I watched it from the box. We've got to improve, and we've got to improve throwing the ball. I think that's an offensive-wide issue. It's not just one guy. He's got to throw the ball better. At times, there's a few passes out there that were easy completions that he could've made. And there was also potential pass plays that would've changed the look of his performance if we had either picked up a pressure better, if we had run better routes or been in the right place. So it's something that, as an offense and starting with myself, we've got to improve and focus on, obviously, for this week."

On QB competition and how the backup is determined...

"You look at the body of work per practice, where those guys are throughout the week, who's going to be the guy that goes in that week. And for all of those guys, Chris included, the competition for that spot for the backup and starting spot never stops. You just go out there and earn your stripes every week. So we have a starting quarterback right now, and we've had three guys now go in and play, have some playing time. So they all got their feet wet. So going in will be a new experience for them, so it's something that they do this week and they have to come out and prove their worth to the team, to the offense every single time we go out there to practice, so week to week."

Defensive coordinator Jay Niemann...

On sons at Iowa and what it means for him, his wife...

“For me, I'm just trying to keep it business as usual. There's nothing I can do from a family perspective about this one way or another. We've known for along time that this week and this game and this day was going to be coming. As I've said all along, the boys have to prepare like they have to and I have to prepare like I have to. My wife is caught in the middle. She's trying to be loyal to me, and to them. To me, she's got to be a mother first. I know she's going to be passionate about cheering for Ben [Niemann] and it's tough middle-ground place to be for her. That's what she's trying to do. For me, I hope we win the game and I hope he plays great.”

On not directly coaching against his sons as linebackers...

“I'd sure hate to be scheming against one of my own kids. Since he's on the other side of the ball, I don't have to worry about that. It takes a little bit of anxiety out of it.”

On Ronnie James...

He's learning on the run as you can imagine. Last week with the offense we've faced with New Mexico with the triple option attack, it really, truly the SAM backer that week wasn't a traditional linebacker. Many assignments and responsibilities change in that type of game where you're not really playing conventional defense so to speak. He really hasn't had any reps yet playing the SAM linebacker. That really started last night in our Sunday practice. We're going to have to spoon feed him and work at it as we go. He'll grasp things on the run.”


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