Getting More People Involved

Practice moved back outdoors on Wednesday with the good weather returning to the area. Rutgers (3-2 overall, 0-1 Big East) continues to prepare for Syracuse (1-5, 1-1) in a pivotal game for both teams.

Offensively, wide receiver Tim Brown has helped the team out very much the past two games, catching 14 passes for 199 yards. Brown adds to the deadly combination of junior Tiquan Underwood who started the season with four straight 100-yard games and sophomore Kenny Britt who is averaging 22 yards per catch.

"None of us are selfish," Brown said. "That is what I love about this team. All three of us work hard in practice. When someone makes a catch we are happy for one another."

Brown is just one example of guys returning from injury, working hard to get back, and seeing increased playing time as a result.

A number of players could be in similar situations, where a start may be in the offing, although starting versus seeing significant snaps is not a concern to the staff, as much as it is to fans.

"Who starts, that is not as important to me as it is the player, because they are all going to play," Coach Schiano said. "I am not nave to the fact that it matters to kids. They want to start. They want to be the starter. When we do name starters, it does mean something. I think you do it in different situations for different reasons."

It will be important for the Scarlet Knights to get back on track against Syracuse this weekend. RU linebacker Damaso Munoz agrees that facing the adversity of losing two straight games is something that everyone needs to get over.

"Last year we didn't lose too many games," Munoz said. "We had a good defense last year. What we have been through this year, we are starting to face it now. It will only makes us better and stronger."

Rutgers currently ranks fifth in the Big East in scoring defense at 17.8 points per game. The problem for the Scarlet Knights has been the rush defense. RU ranks sixth in the conference by giving up nearly 145 yards a game.

Defensively, Rutgers thinks that they are close to being where they need to be to beat the rest of the teams on the schedule.

One player that recently returned from injury could be one of the reasons that Rutgers is doing better defensively. Defensive tackle Peter Tverdov has recorded 15 tackles in the last two games. Tverdov has helped control the middle of the line of scrimmage.

"We are getting better playing amongst each other," Munoz said. "This is a new team, new players. You have to get a feel with each other. I think we are coming along. We are starting to grow together. We are going through the hard times and the good times. I think that will help us in the long run."

Last year, Rutgers answered both losses it had with resounding wins, winning both games by a combined 58 points. Since 2005, the Scarlet Knights are 5-2 in games following a loss.

Nevertheless, Syracuse has already shown the ability to cause havoc and surprise folks. They big play appeared for the Orange earlier this year while visiting Papa John's Stadium and the Rutgers defense has to be fully aware of SU's potential.

"They have a good offense," Munoz said. "They are explosive and they can do some things. It is going to be a good match up."

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