War Games: Michigan at Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- In the trenches all week, Scarlet Report gets you ready for kickoff with a look at t he best commentary and analysis from everyone Rutgers football.

Rutgers coach Chris Ash – “Any time you lose it's tough when you've invested a lot. When we lost the Iowa game it was a very quiet Sunday in here because guys had worked really hard and felt like we had a chance to win that game.”

Rutgers defensive coordinator Jay Niemann – “[The Ohio State loss] was a comedy of mistakes, alignment mistakes, fundamental mistakes, guys just not communicating well as defense. The one thing I will say, that dominates your thought process a lot of times when you come off of a game like that and you give up the points and the yards that we did. When you do put the film on and see the plays where the guys are lined up right and doing what they're supposed to do, the communication works like it's supposed to, we were a good defense.”

Rutgers offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer – “I think the bigger issue for us in the passing game so far is we've had too many drops. We had five drops in the game. It's really hard to throw and complete passes and move the ball outside from the run game if you've got drops. We've had some accuracy issues that I thought have gotten a lot better. There were a couple of throws in there that weren't great but [Chris Laviano] threw the ball much better this game than he had in the past. We've got to clean up that end of the throw and catch as well.”

Rutgers receivers coach Jafar Williams – “[Freshman Dacoven Bailey] brings good energy. Obviously he's athletic. He's been getting a lot of reps in there. Obviously he still has a cast on his hand but I think he's able to catch the ball now. It's a smaller cast than what he had before. I think he'll be able to help us on Saturdays.”

Rutgers offensive line coach AJ Blazek – “If Tariq [Cole] is not good to go, Zack Heeman has been practicing fine. We’ve got some guys who can go. The nice thing is we’ve been building depth as time has gone. Jonah Jackson, Kamaal [Seymour] on the other side. It’s been good to get those guys in it sometimes. Now they have to step up and play and use this week to get ready.”

Red-shirt freshman receiver Jawuan Harris – “I felt like with Janarion down, I did take a lot more responsibility. That's the name of the game. I'm excited for it. … I definitely like the challenge. Playing Michigan this week since they play a lot of one, we'll be able to get some good matchups with the safety in the slot or a linebacker in the slot. Hopefully if I get some big plays, it will drive some momentum.”

Junior quarterback Chris Laviano – “I'm really excited because a ranked team like Michigan is coming into a really cool atmosphere. Personally, I love night games. It shouldn't be that much different because football is football and I love to play no matter what time it is. The atmosphere at home is going to be really cool. Everything should be in our favor in terms of the environment.”

Defensive line coach Shane Burnham – “We have to match their physical play to get it done. They're big. They want to run the ball in a pro-style offense. They're going to run. Make no bones about it – two backs, two tight, sometimes two backs, one tight and then they'll play-action pass. All of that requires a physical front.”

Senior safety Anthony Cioffi – “[My role] just comes down to a lot of preparation as far as in the film room and going over the plays as far as if it's third-down packages or nickel, just having everybody well-rounded.”
Junior left guard Dorian Miller– “[At the 2006 Louisville game], Anthony Davis is a recruit, my brother (Dejuan Miller) is there, I'm there. We're sitting 30-yard line, five rows up. We're sitting by Brian Leonard's parents. I'm thinking the game is over. Next thing they're coming back and we're storming the field. That's pretty cool. It's tough to top.”

Sophomore defensive end Jimmy Hogan – “I remember playing Michigan State last year like this and it was awesome. I just can't wait for that atmosphere, the stripe out, the crowd, all of it.”

Senior right guard Chris Muller, team captain – “Pick the school that’s right for you. Rutgers was right for me. You pick a school based on you. I mean, it’s the second-biggest decision of your life besides who you’re going to marry. And looking back on it, I have absolutely no regrets.”

Senior defensive end Julian Pinnix-Odrick, team captain – “It’s your dreams out there, what you wish to do one day. How much you can really envision yourself out there is really important for a recruit. It’s like, ‘Wow, I can really see myself in this situation.’ It’s the type of feelings you get. And so the biggest thing in recruiting would probably be the feeling of the recruit because it’s a process that you’ve never done before and that you’ll never do again. And so it’s really what makes you feel the best is going to sway your decision.”

Senior defensive tackle Darius Hamilton, team captain – “I’d rather be a player than a fan any day. Maybe I’m a little biased, but it’s actually a lot of fun, man, just to take in the whole atmosphere, take in the fans, take in the crowd, take in all the emotions, all the energy flowing around. It’s just a great time.”

Senior tight end Nick Arcidiacono – “I would say we have an opportunity to receive the ball more, but we’re blocking just as much. Other people think that when we get a spread, the tight end doesn’t have to block and all of that, and that hasn’t been the case. You have to be able to do both, and I think we’ve been able to do that pretty well.”

Junior defensive back Ross Douglas – “I prepare for every game the same way, but I would be sitting here lying to you if I was saying (the Michigan game) didn’t have a little bit extra emotion or motivation to it. So I just got to keep my emotions in check and just continue to prepare the way I know how to.”

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