It's been an interesting week for the Scarlet faithful -- trying to make sense of a loss that in many eyes should have never happened, especially in the fashion that it did was more or less the topic of the week. But the message boards filled up and the Rutgers beat-writers continued to pound on Schiano for what they deemed to be an incomprehensible loss to the Illini. Jeremy Ito certainly had his share of forgettable moments in the opener at Champaign. "It just wasn't my day," he said. "When I came in from warm-ups I felt good. I just had a rough day." Though the game ended in disappointing fashion, Matei reported about a generally good trip to Big 10 country, where Illinois fans seemed to treat the Scarlet Knight faithful with complete respect -- something perhaps unbeknownst to us east coast folk.
Though the taste of defeat remained fresh, the topic of conversation slowly turned to Rutgers' next opponent, the Villanova Wildcats. The Rutgers Football team was once again faced with a must win contest and although 'Nova Head Coach Andy Talley was blunt in stating the bad timing of this match-up, fans wondered whether this was just "coach speak" -- after all, Talley had already beaten Rutgers in Piscataway fairly recently.
Aside from the final outcome in the season opener, there were several bright spots to speak of, including the performance of Fr. Courtney Greene. Greene came to Rutgers with a reputation of a big hitter and versus the Illini he made certain to remind fans of just that. And by the middle of the week, in perhaps the biggest personnel move of the young season, Greene had been the starting nod over incumbent Jason Nugent.
As the week wore on, Rutgers fans were treated to an excellent piece by former Scarlet Knight letter-winner Keif Bryant. Bryant, an NFL draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks in 1995 shared his thoughts on Rutgers' opener versus the Illini. Later that day, Rutgers fans once again had the opportunity to voice their opinion and concerns when Rutgers beat-writer Tom Luicci joined the Scarlet Knight faithful for a chat session. Perhaps surprisingly, Luicci, remained positive: "7 or 8 wins are still possible."
On Thursday, Don "Big Dog" Forbes, published his interview with Chris Hanna, an athletic offensive lineman from Gateway High School in Pennsylvania. Hanna, who is looking at both Rutgers and Illinois as possible collegiate destinations, stated: "I don't really have a time-table for a decision. I want to stay focused on my senior season. I am not in any rush to make a decision." The next day Rutgers fans learned of another Scarlet Knight offer that had been tendered shortly after Rutgers Football held its annual summer camp in New Jersey. Charlie Noonan, by way of St. Joseph Prep. in Philadelphia (Pa.) stands in at 6-foot-3 and 255-pounds, and currently holds five offers in hand, one of which is from Rutgers.
With the week slowly winding down and attention turning to Villanova, Dan Welch published the second in a four part preseason tour of the Scarlet Knights' non-conference opponents. After thoroughly reviewing the Wildcat offense, defense and special teams Welch predicted that Villanova will open the season with a loss to a vastly more talented Rutgers team. Shortly thereafter Welch published his preview to the Villanova contest, where he detailed 5 individual performers that need to have a positive impact for Rutgers. Bump presciently offered his analysis of the Ryan Hart/Mike Teel situation where he stated:
This is one slot below that typically reserved for the starting QB. But Rutgers should be able to win without a good performance from starting QB Sr Ryan Hart. And I am not, by any means, advocating that Teel should start over Hart. The job is Hart's until Ryan loses it. However, this game presents a perfect opportunity to get Teel, the QB of the future, some seasoning. Teel should play in the 1st Half before the game is out of reach.
As the week concluded, Rutgers basketball, both the men's and women's version, announced their 2005-2006 schedule. The Rutgers men open up versus Austin Peay on November 20th, while the Rutgers women announced a typically Stringer-like slate that included 11 teams that reached the 2005 NCAA tournament.
The week finally drew to an end on a positive note. Rutgers hosted and defeated 1-AA opponent Villanova 38-6: "I'm happy that we were able to rebound from a very emotional loss. Having said that, we still have many things to work on," stated Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano.
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