Conference Call Notes

Even head coach Greg Schiano had to admit that Rutgers' come from behind victory over Vanderbilt had the potential to be a turning point. "A big road comeback win. It certainly has all the makings of a turning point. We just need to go make it a turning point. Something I just hope and I really believe we are going to do". But Coach Schiano tempered his enthusiasm when talking about the Scarlet Knights homecoming game against the Temple Owls on Saturday.

Coach Schiano said that the offensive line this week, was a "big concern". With Sameeh McDonald and true freshman Jeremy Zuttah out, and John Glass and Brian Duffy banged up, there will be opportunities for players who don't normally see much playing time to get into the game.

One of those players is Cameron Stephenson, the junior college player from California, who until now has only seen time on special teams. Stephenson, who was an offensive player coming out of high school, was converted to defensive tackle in junior college before sitting out his sophomore year with an injury. When asked about the choice of Stephenson over Pedro Sosa and others, Coach Schiano replied, "We think that Cam is the guy who is most ready to go in and play right now". He said that Stephenson and Sosa along with Ron Green will be splitting time at the tackle positions for this game. If one of them were to be injured Schiano said that, "We've gone around and around with that. There could be some movement, maybe outward form the guard position. Clint Dato is in that mix."

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Concerning the Vanderbilt victory:

"I got on that plane thrilled that we won and excited for the team, but very aware of the issues that are there - that we gave up 34 points on defense. We gave up 11 big plays and it's hard to win when you give up 11 big plays". He defined a big play as a pass of over 15 yards or a run of over 10 yards.

Further commenting on the overall problems of the team he pointed to inconsistency as a major problem. "I think that is one of the things we need to overcome, but I think we run a very consistent program", he said. "One of our big goals is to be a consistent program, but I think that's a big part of maturing. I think Saturday will be a big step into becoming a more consistent program."

The inconsistency extended not only to games but to practices as well. Schiano said that "If you look back at our practice week, it kind of was very representative of the way the game was played. We practiced tremendously one of the days. We played average the other day, and I don't think we were very good on one of the days."

"We have talent and if we come out and play consistently we have a very good chance to win. And if we don't we have just as equally a good chance to lose. I think that's a hurdle that teams that are becoming very good football teams have to get over." He went on to say that this was not the case as recently as two years ago. "We weren't there in the beginning because we had to play over our heads and someone maybe had to drop off a little bit for us to win a couple of years ago." In summary, Schiano stated, "There is a lot of really good stuff going on around here. It's about consistency right now."

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This week's opponent:

Bobby Wallace, head coach of the Temple Owls seemed a little more certain of the Knights ability to get it done on Saturday, especially Rutgers' all of a sudden potent offense.

"It's a big concern. It's a big challenge to our defense." He went on to praise RU quarterback Ryan Hart, saying "He's not just hot. He's going to be hot all of the time, because he's a great player."

Wallace expressed similar worries about the Rutgers defensive, especially when compared to last year.

"They look faster. They look like they have a lot of speed. Their two corners are young and they can both run. They look like the fastest team we've seen Rutgers have since we've been here and it's a concern, especially up front. They look pretty quick up front, and I think that's going to be a big concern for us."

Of his starting QB, Walter Washington, Wallace indicated what many are finding out on a game by game basis.

"He is just a great athlete, who is very hard to tackle and can run. He throws the ball very accurately. I think the amazing thing is that he has only thrown one interception all year long." Coach Schiano later echoed that praise.

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Who's In and Who's Out:

Temple: Star Temple linebacker Rian Wallace will be back from a one game suspension this week.

Rutgers: Linebacker Quintero Frierson will be back in action this week after being injured in the Knights' season opening win against Michigan State. Wide receivers Marcus Daniels and Shawn Tucker are currently listed as questionable for Saturday's game. Schiano said that running backs Clarence Pittman, Markis Facyson, and Justice Hairston would all see time. He also added, in regards to Pittman, that "He ran well -he ran with his eyes open and made some nice cuts."

Mike and the Big Dog's LLC


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