Rutgers ready to begin camp

The 2007 version of the Scarlet Knights have officially started camp and preparing for the 2007 season.

Today, August 3, marks the start of football practice and to get things rolling, Rutgers held a press conference at the Hale center for Coach Greg Schiano. At 3pm the coach entered the Hale center, and greeted us with a folksy, “hey guys…..he then sat down on the bench and granted ready access to all, and handled the barrage of questions not just with poise, but with an earnest attempt to try and give a sense of what RU football is all about.

He began with “everyone is here” and he expects no problems with the “clearinghouse”, every player has pre-qualified, and although there could always be a surprise, he did not expect any. He “feels good about the team and likes they way they go about doing things, but we have a long way to go and he implied Mother Nature is providing challenges of her own, “though it is 100°F in the parking lot, it is 130°F on the field.”
Asked if this would be a test, he said, “in period 24 of practice (2-3 hours in) you find out a lot about the kids and if they stayed in shape.”

We moved on to the past versus the future. Asked how do you get the kids to focus, he said, “we had success in the past, but we came in tied for 2nd in the league.
There is still plenty of stuff to motivate the team.
We can’t win a game in practice, but we can have a great practice.”

What is the next step? “To continue to be the best that we can be, recruiting better players, improving as coaches. Getting everyone to be their best is a challenge with 105 players and 50 staff.”

How is this group different? “I am not sure they are different, they are bright young men and really good athletes….we expect more and we hold them to high standards. We only have 11 scholarship seniors. We are young and very anxious to get on the field. This is especially true of the players. The weight room gets old. There will be lots of competition from the offensive center the to MLB.”

How has the higher profile been seen? “Several ways.
Yesterday’s ticket situation for example…. Exposure.
All of this is really nice, but you must take care of business first.”

Players mentioned: “Jessie Cisco is out for the season and probably his career, but he is still a member of the team. Jeff Minemyer is out for the season.” He discussed Desmond Wynn and noted that: “…he was happy that the legal situation was resolved, that Desmond knows he made mistakes, and there is no room for slip ups.” He noted that: “Ray [Rice] worked very hard in the off season. Ray will be ready to play.”

What about the defense? We lost big guys, 2/3 of the LB. But we hope to step up.

Will Anthony Davis disrupt the chemistry of the team?
“Anthony is tremendous and the hype may be justified by his talent. But the team will not be distracted.
Anthony wanted to come to Rutgers to play as part of the team. He will become part of it.” The whole program has stepped up, including the “walk on”
program. Greg has been very impressed by the walk ons this year and noted: “some walk ons will win scholarships.” “We will need to move people around.
We will try (Brandon) Renkart in the mike (MLB). In trying different positions for people, time is the enemy, but this is the most time we will have all season.”

Coach Greg Schiano did not leave the press like a rock star. He quietly got up and walked out of the room with a few last few comments to the lingering reporters. He is a man on a quest and press is not a distraction, they are part of the plan. He has one
agenda: getting Rutgers Football to be the best that it can be.

And I believe that is true.

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