A Little R & R To ease the mind

Rutgers (7-4, 3-3) will return to the field next Thursday against Louisville (2-4, 5-6) in the final regular season game of the year. The Cardinals need a win to become bowl-eligible though they may be left on the outside looking in regardless.

Rutgers' Wednesday practice was unlike most practices seen throughout 2007 - smiling faces were aplenty and the guys seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves and having fun. Players like defensive tackle Eric Foster had to hurry to catch a flight and others enjoyed the thought of having a couple of days off over Thanksgiving.

"Sometimes you just need to get away and get a clear mind," Rutgers wide receiver Tiquan Underwood said. "Just get away from it for a little bit and relax."

The Scarlet Knights are attempting to get healed up this week - players like Pedro Sosa who missed last week's game against Pittsburgh are personnel RU will need versus U of L. Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano said he thought that Sosa would be back in time to take on Louisville next week.

One player that took advantage of practice today was wide receiver Tim Brown who made several good catches throughout practice. Brown has not been involved in the offense as much the past few weeks, but Rutgers has not thrown the ball as much either with quarterback Mike Teel's thumb forcing Teel to come out of both games.

"He (Brown) has been keeping his head in it and it showed today," Underwood said. "He has been hungry and practicing hard and it showed. I think it will show in the game coming up. We just tell him to keep his head focused and when his number is called, just be ready."

The Scarlet Knights bowl picture is not clear as of yet and it is vital for Rutgers to win next week to ensure the best bowl possible. The Knights bowl possibilities include the International Bowl or the Meineke Bowl.

First and foremost, Rutgers must take care of its business next week against Louisville. The team has not begun game preparation for the Cardinals, but the coaching staff has begun to put their plan together for next Thursday's nationally televised game.

"We only practiced twice this week and it was all Rutgers on Rutgers," RU Head Coach Greg Schiano said. "Now coaches have been working on it for sure and Friday is a big day for us coaches. We will get ready on Saturday in full force."

Rutgers players will get the next two days off (Thursday and Friday) and begin to practice on Saturday for Louisville.

The extra time should give Mike Teel enough time to heal his injured right thumb so that he will be able to start and play the complete game against Louisville. Teel has had to leave the last two games early with his injured thumb. However, Teel did return to last week's game against Pittsburg in the fourth quarter.

For now, the RU players will take a couple of days off to enjoy Thanksgiving, but begin to think about the Louisville game. By Saturday, they should be ready to get back on the practice field to prepare to finish the stretch drive.

"You have to prepare for them [Louisville] like the team that they are," offensive tackle Jeremy Zuttah said. "They are a very talented team that are similar to us, not everything went their way this year. They are one of the most talented teams in the nation and you have to treat them as such."


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