Where Does Rutgers Go from Here?

At the beginning of the season, a road game against Syracuse did not look like a big game. Today, it appears that Rutgers' next contest, against Syracuse, has major conference implications for RU and the Scarlet Knights will have a lot to work on this week in order to turn around a two game losing streak.

Last season, the Scarlet Knights lost two games the entire season.

RU Head Coach Greg Schiano addressed the media on Monday and again kept delivering the same message to his team this week in practice. Coach Schiano did feel as though his team was a lot closer to where it needs to be.

"We had a very good week of practice last week," Coach Schiano said. "Very focused. We came out in our preparation Friday and Saturday leading into the game excellent. I thought we came out and played very hard and focused. We just didn't make some plays. Some young guys made some mistakes that young guys are going to make. We are a good young football team. We have a lot of good players. We are going to get better and we are going to be very good. We are just not really good today."

Rutgers receiver Tim Brown continued his assertion that some of the players on the team, especially the younger players did not have the same mental makeup that some of the starters from last year had, a characteristic that may come with a gain in game experience.

In response, RU captain and defensive tackle Eric Foster agreed to a point and added some different thoughts to how this team's makeup was different from last year. "Last year, we would have found a way to win that game (against Cincinnati)," Foster said. "We didn't worry about the scoreboard. We didn't worry about how many points we need. We didn't worry about us being up 17-7 at halftime. We just kept chopping."

Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel put the loss on himself in the post game press conference following the game against Cincinnati. Teel put his role as the quarterback and captain on display and was ready to accept the criticism.

"You don't play as well as you want to and as a whole you don't do what you want to. It's frustrating and disappointing and I feel like I have been around long enough to feel like I can handle putting the blame on myself."

Syracuse's only win on the season came on the road against Louisville. The win against the Cardinals was very impressive, but the Orangemen have had many troubles against other opponents. All but one of the five losses for Syracuse this season was by 20 points or more.

Syracuse is ranked last in the Big East in both scoring offense (16.3) and scoring defense (37.5). Rutgers will look to work on both sides of the ball against the Orangemen who have not yet found what will help them win games.

"I thought we would have a chance in every game that we play," Syracuse Head Coach Greg Robinson said, alluding to the Orange's early season struggles.

As for Rutgers, the contest against Syracuse marks the first time that the Scarlet Knights will go on the road. A question that came up during the press conference had to do with whether the light opening schedule before the bye week, which included games against Buffalo, Navy, and Norfolk State, did not properly prepare Rutgers for the tougher teams that the Knights have faced in the last two weeks.

"No excuses," Foster said. "We have it out in every meeting room. No excuses, with a big R on top of it."

On the injury front, RU safety Ron Girault is going to be a game day decision this weekend. Girault is still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered during the game against Maryland. Coach Schiano thought there may have been an outside chance Girault would play against Cincinnati, but said that the coaching staff would continue to monitor the situation.

Teel injured his hand during a throw on Saturday against Cincinnati. Teel will be held out of practice this week until his hand is ready to make the necessary throws. Coach Schiano did not think that Teel would miss the game against Syracuse.

Scarlet Report Top Stories