Starting guard Brian Duffy is probable this week. Backup center Will Vogt has a non-football related illness, which will keep him from playing this week. Another backup offensive lineman, Cameron Stephenson, should be back this week. Gary Gibson is questionable, and the decision on whether he will play will be made later in the week. Luis Rivas is recovering from a foot injury and will also be questionable. Chris Loomis is suffering the aftereffects of a head injury and will probably not play. None of the players injured in the October 16th car accident will be playing this week.
The Eagles defense is first in total defense, as well as rushing and scoring defense, and is rated second in passing defense. Leading the BC defense is junior Mathias Kiawanuka. The 6'7" defensive end leads the Big East with 11 tackles for a loss for 64 yards. Coach Schiano said that "he's a very good player who is very athletic, has good balance and good timing".
When asked if Kiwanuka was dominant enough to require extra attention Greg said, "You definitely have to know the matchup. Who you are asking to block him, how you are asking to block him. There are all different kinds of things you see as you study video tape of people trying to negate his ability. Some of it is marginal, and other times he's just athletic and strong and good enough to make plays". Because Kiawanuka switches sides different players will have the responsibility to blocking him.
To go up against BC's Big East leading defense Rutgers will offer a range of weapons. After losing Shawn Tucker, last year's team leader in receiving yards, Schiano said that several players including sophomore Marcus Daniels have stepped up.
"He made some nice plays Saturday", Schiano said. "He's a very gifted athlete. He's playing with a banged up wrist, so it's even more of a feat for him to make those plays. He played a big part."
He said that the play of Tres Moses has been critical.
"He's played well. He's played in clutch situations and I just think that he's does what he could and what we expected him to do. He took the next step off the season last year and is playing very well". Moses is ranked third nationally in receptions per game.
Schiano said that Moses draws double coverage, but more problematic for defenses is TE Clark Harris.
"What happens with a tight end that can run is that unless you commit a safety to him, its awfully hard, unless you have really athletic linebackers, to say he's going to take that guy out of the game. So when they do commit a safety to Clark, that opens things up for Tres".
Referring to opponents' attempts to defend the Scarlet Knights' multitude of offensive go-to guys he stated,
"I think we have people having to pretty much defend the entire formation. I think they try to take things away. They try to take Brian [Leonard] away. They try to take Clark away. At times they try to take Tres away, but there are enough different weapons that there are opportunities depending on who they try to take away. The complicate thing for the quarterback to know is on the snap of the ball they aren't going to show you who they are gong to take away; they are going to do it post-snap".
Asked specifically about Leonard's ability to carry the running game, Schiano said, "I think that Leonard can get most of it if we hand him the ball as many times as we'd like to. We found ourselves in a situation where we were down double digits, and had to throw it more. Hopefully we can get into a game where we can hand it to him 25 or 30 times, because when he has been bale to do that he has been pretty darn effective.
DID YOU KNOW
When Rutgers has given up less than 30 points this year they are 3-0, but when there opponents have surpassed the 30 point mark the Scarlet Knights are only 1-4.