It's the Little Things

Rutgers (2-0) is trying to keep up a high level of play as they welcome Champion Subdivison (formerly known as 1-AA) team Norfolk State (1-0) on Saturday at 3:30 PM in Rutgers Stadium.

It was a tough day of practice for Rutgers players that had to work on their conditioning after practice. Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano said the extra conditioning was a part of dealing with an internal issue that had been resolved.

The first two games against Buffalo and Navy have provided Rutgers with some issues that they would like to fix this week before the Scarlet Knights welcome Maryland on Sept. 29. In between the Norfolk State and Maryland game, there is a bye week.

"We are leaving points out on the field and committing too many silly penalties," Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel said. "As an offense, we have taken steps in the right direction."

Coach Schiano said that Teel has always been a perfectionist, ever since he came to Rutgers. It used to be such a problem because Teel took every little mistake out on himself. Teel still does not accept failure, but does a better job of focusing his energy.

"Out of 60 something plays, he talks about that one that got away," Coach Schiano said. "He works for that perfect game, which is hard to get."

So far, Teel is 30-42 for 594 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. The one pick came in the last game against Navy and was just his first since last year's Cincinnati game.

It seems that Teel's hard work has begun to pay off and in doing so, has put a real spark in the offense. Rutgers can grind out drives with running back Ray Rice, or go through the air with some quick strike potential.

"It's been fun," RU wide receiver Tiquan Underwood said. "Mike Teel has gotten off to such a great start."

The defense has really fed off the offense's scoring this year and is looking to set up the scoring by creating turnovers. In the game against Navy, the Scarlet Knight defense came away with three interceptions.

"Any chance we get to cause a turnover and get the ball back in Mike Teel and Ray Rice's hands, is something we try to do every time," Rutgers Football safety Courtney Greene said.

A big topic of discussion in practice today was the booing of the players from Navy during the game last Friday. Different people had differing stories of how severe it got, but some fans did boo the Navy players as the Midshipmen players ran out of tunnel and took the field before the game.

The administrations from both schools with resolve the situation among themselves and the coaching staff will not get involved.

"I didn't hear anything, I have headsets on," Coach Schiano said. "We have the best fans in college football, I believe that. Just a couple people crossed that line and that shouldn't happen."

Coach Schiano did have one regret from the whole situation.

"All our fans get a smear on them cause a couple of people said the wrong thing," Coach Schiano added.

The other significant topic of conversation was the fact that this was the first Tuesday 9/11 practice since the tragic events in 2001. Coach Schiano remembered how they practiced that day and kept everyone together. A couple of players did not have family accounted for that day, but luckily they were subsequently accounted as safe.

In other notes, defensive tackle Pete Tverdov will likely not play this week against Norfolk State as he continues to nurse his leg injury. Linebacker Ryan D'Imperio is continuing to come back from a broken leg that he suffered in spring football. D'Imperio was practicing with the second team, but Coach Schiano said he would rather be a couple of weeks late then a few days early with an injury like that.

Rutgers will continue to work on the little things this week in order to prepare for the heart of its schedule. One of those issues is not letting teams stay in the game like Navy did last week against the Knights.

"We need to learn how to finish ballgames," Teel said. "In the past, we have come out strong in the first half and then, I don't know if we have come out flat, but we need to play four quarters of football."

Scarlet Report Top Stories