Rutgers accepts Insight Bowl invitation

It's official. The Scarlet Knights have received and accepted an invitation to the Insight Bowl, to be played on December 27th against Arizona State, who accepted their invitation over the weekend.

Bob Mulcahy started off, "When I came here I had a dream", to kickoff this afternoon's press conference. "I simply want you to know that I'm thrilled for Rutgers. I'm thrilled for the state. Most of all I'm thrilled for Coach Schiano and his staff and for the young men who have accomplished this."

He then introduced Head Coach Greg Schiano who spoke with what could be described as restrained jubilation. Mimicking Mulcahy he began by stating that, "I'm very excited for our players, our university and the state of New Jersey."

Coach Schiano then spoke about what it was like building the program up from being the worst team in Division 1A, expressing particular thanks to the administration for installing the groundwork that was necessary for the team to compete at a high level.

"We were willing to do the things necessary to give us a chance", Schiano said.

"The goal still is what I said the first day. We came here to build a program that will win national championships. Along the way there are bowl games and conference championships, and there are national championships."

As for the effect of the bowl game on recruiting - "It can't hurt" Schiano said, before sharing an anecdote that shows just how much the perception of Rutgers has changed in the past five years.

"I almost had to laugh when one recruit had mentioned us with reference to another school and said ‘Well, you guys are an established program and they're just getting started.'"

Coaches often say that the biggest benefit of a bowl game is the extra month of practice for the team, particularly the younger players. Coach Schiano, staying true to that form noted that, "When you look at some of the young freshmen we have who have played, or have redshirted, this is a great opportunity to get them quality practice repetitions."

He later added, "You are working your young guys more, because you have the opportunity to get them good quality reps. That may transcend into the game where a guy like Gary Watts of Pete Tverdov really makes some substantial improvement in the next 20 days."

He also said that you have to make sure you don't over do it.

"You want to be careful. It's been a long, physical season. Some of these guys have bumps and bruises, or more serious than bumps and bruises that they have gutted through. And you want to make sure that you get well and are feeling really good before entering the bowl preparation."

As for the bowl trip itself. Schiano indicated that the team would leave on either the 21st or 22nd depending on the exam schedule of the players, and that they would give the players plenty of chances to enjoy the trip.

"My philosophy is that when its time to work its time to work. And when the work is over it's a reward and I want them to enjoy it. I want them to take advantages of experiences that they can have in Arizona."

Coach Schiano also mentioned the fans several times. When asked about this game being a virtual home game for Arizona State Schiano seemed unconcerned, replying, "I think we are going to travel very well. One of our coaches told me that Kansas State, early in their development went to this game, traveled incredibly well, and painted the town purple. Hopefully we will paint the town scarlet."

Later he discussed the implications of the bowl on growing fan support.

"When we came in here we talked about the state of Rutgers. And the State of Rutgers isn't just New Jersey; it's the whole New York metropolitan area. I feel that we are the New York metropolitan and New Jersey area's football team."

"There are a lot of people in this area that are looking for a team to call their own and hopefully that will continue to grow as we continue to win."

But Schiano has not let this success go to his head too much. He realizes that there is a lot of work ahead for himself, his staff and the team.

"Our goal wasn't to get to a bowl game – our goal was to win a bowl game", he stated.

"We're building a program. It's not about one season. This is just a step on the climb."

He summed it up with a parable that would have made Jesus proud, while at the same time taking a bit of a swipe at the doubters in the press and elsewhere.

"It's like when you plant grass. When you plant grass and all of the sudden it's in the ground but nothing shows for a long time. You keep watering it and the sun is hitting it but nothing grows. You got to keep all the dogs and kids and everybody off of it, because it is going to grow. And we've just kept taking care of it and finally it is starting to grow."

Schiano concluded by saying, "As success comes those who didn't believe start to believe, but we've got to keep working."

Information about tickets and arrangements can be found at

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