Rutgers Making Final Preparations for Navy

#16 On Tuesday, Rutgers (1-0) continued their preparation for the most unique opponent they will face this season in Navy (1-0).

Scarlet Knight Head Coach Greg Schiano is trying to find a balance of working his players during practice but not allowing them to get too gassed to chase down the Midshipmen on Friday night. However, RU players find themselves facing a second opponent this week, school. Classes started Tuesday at Rutgers and it forces the coaching staff to tweak the practice and meeting schedule.

"Whenever you start school, you get concerned," Coach Schiano said. "We have had them all month and they've been just ours. They're whole focus has been football. But it is college football and they are here to go to college. They'll get adapted to it quickly."

Rutgers used the majority of time in practice to focus completely on Navy and shutting down its vaunted rush attack.

"We had a great day of practice," defensive tackle Eric Foster said. "Guys are doing their job, doing their 1/11th. Its great to have confidence going into that game but we got to keep preparing."

The Scarlet Knight players highly respect Navy and how they play the game. In fact, playing the Midshipmen will teach the Rutgers' players some valuable lessons.

"We can take a lot from playing Navy because they are very disciplined," Foster said. "If you want to compete with Navy as a defense, you need to be very disciplined."

The biggest subplot of the week and the game will remain running back Ray Rice's pursuit the school record for rushing yards in a career. Rice is 16 yards away from the record. Rice said that he took some lessons from how former Knight Brian Leonard treated his Big East record-breaking performance of having one reception in all 47 games he played at Rutgers.

"Obviously team goals are more important than individual goals," Rice said. "I think that I took on more of his role, not as a blocker but in getting the young guys to have the urgency and to know what it takes to win a college football game."

Another player taking an improved leadership role on the team is RS Jr. quarterback Mike Teel. Teel threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns in the opening game against Buffalo.

Teel felt that his role as a leader on this team was the aspect he improved on most since last season. The beginning of his change began in the middle of the 2006 campaign, following the team's first loss of the season against Cincinnati.

"After Cincinnati I was so disappointed in myself," Teel said. "I said 'I am not going to let these guys down.' I'm doing this for myself and this football team and ever since then, things just started clicking."

Wide out Tim Brown should play this weekend; he has been practicing this week, but will not be asked to do everything during the game. On the other hand, Coach Schiano is taking a "wait and see" approach with offensive linemen Pedro Sosa. If Sosa cannot play, sophomore Kevin Haslem will move over to tackle and true freshman Anthony Davis will likely start in Haslem's place on the offensive line.

On defense, with defensive tackle Pete Tverdov trying to make it back in time for the game against Navy, Coach Schiano is content with how junior Vantrise Studivant played in Tverdov's place.

"It was his first start and he's just going to keep getting better," Coach Schiano said. "Vantrise is a very talented guy. He just needs repetitions like a lot of our younger guys."

Coach Schiano has been talking about this game since the beginning of training camp and this will be a good early season test for how good Rutgers is. The coaching staff would love to have more time, but they also realize that the final preparations must be made in the final two days before the game.

"As a coach, you never feel comfortable," Coach Schiano said. "We could use eight weeks to get ready for them. But Friday is going to come and we need to make sure that we are number one mentally prepared and two physically fresh enough to go chase them."

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