Rutgers Football Must Regroup

After a humbling 31-3 loss to West Virginia on Saturday, Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano and his players addressed the media on Monday to talk about the defeat and to look ahead to the game against the No. 13 Connecticut Huskies (7-1, 3-0).

The Scarlet Knights (5-3, 2-2) no longer control their own destiny in the Big East. Coach Schiano and his team must now focus on getting better and reestablishing an identity for this season.

"I'm honest with the guys," Coach Schiano said. "I don't want them to sit there and say we don't have a shot. Certainly there is a ton out there for us to achieve. This isn't a place that is a perennial bowl team that goes to major bowls every single year. This is still new to us and we are working our tails off to become one of those teams again this year."

The message this week was clear from Coach Schiano - every player and coach must be held accountable. The question of intensity has been brought up earlier in the season by players like RU wide receiver Tim Brown and every person must play to their capability and perhaps beyond.

"The fine line between being successful and not, is doing it every single down on the practice field as hard as they can, whether it is a scout team player or a quarterback," Coach Schiano continued.

Coach Schiano did not feel as though his team was dominated against West Virginia. He used video from the game to show that there were a few key plays that caused the final result to be as drastic as it was.

"You don't want them to sit there and say, 'man, we weren't even in the game'". "Well you are in the game, it is right here. These are the plays, three touchdown passes dropped, some missed tackles, not closing the right angles like we have done all week. When you look at it as a player you say, 'ah ok, if we would have done it, there is a chance things would have been different.'"

UConn currently leads the Big East and presents the Scarlet Knights with their third ranked opponent in as many weeks. Rutgers' only win against a top-25 team came against South Florida two games ago.

In order to beat the Huskies, Rutgers will have to learn from its past mistakes and make the necessary changes before game-time this Saturday.

"I think you learn from everything," Coach Schiano said. "You learn from wins, you learn from losses. It's more fun to learn from wins. Certainly there are things we did, or didn't do, Saturday, that we know if we don't do this weekend the results are going to be the same. So they will learn from that."

The last time Rutgers played in UConn, RU quarterback Mike Teel started the game but had to come out for then-senior Ryan Hart who led the Scarlet Knights to a come from behind 26-24 win.

"Ryan came in and Ray [Rice] rushed for 200 yards that day in the rain," Teel said. "We were able to squeak out a win and it will be a four quarter football game when we go up there this weekend."

One position that has seen three different starters this season is the fullback spot. Andres Morales, Jack Corcoran, and Jean Beljour have all been in the mix this season. All three will continue to be used at different points of the game, depending on what situations dictate at that time.

"Andres [Morales] and Jack [Corcoran] will continue to battle." Coach Schiano said. "Beljour will always be there, but he's better when we pick our spots with him, other than every play. He's such a big role on special teams, so I think Morales and Jack will handle it."

The scouting report on UConn maintains that the defense beware of the rushing game. The Huskies' top two running backs have combined for just under 1000 yards this season. Andre Dixon, the New Brunswick, New Jersey native, and Donald Brown, the former Atlantic Highlands standout, have provided Connecticut with a stable rushing attack.

"We recruited both of them, we didn't end up going on either of them, but we recruited both and thought they were very good players," Coach Schiano said. "Sometimes it's just the needs of your program at the time, whether you offer them a scholarship and pursue them."

"But we knew they were good players coming out of high school, and they certainly lived up to that, both of them."

Connecticut features a big quarterback [6-foot-5 and 200-pounds] in Tyler Lorenzen who has rushed for 220 yards, and has a better than 2-1 TD-to-INT ratio on the year. Lorenzen will force Rutgers to ensure that they maintain contain on the edge and disallow too many rush attempts.

If past games against UConn are any indication, the game this Saturday will be an interesting one. In the past few years, these games have provided many memorable moments.

"They have been wild games here and at home as well," Coach Schiano said. "It seems like whenever UConn and Rutgers gets together there are some wild football games. Is there anything that makes me believe this week will be any different? No. We just have to go up there and let it fly, and see what happens."

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