Preparation for Ball St. will begin next week as Rutgers worked on bettering itself individually through strength and conditioning in between practices.
"Nowadays, final exams are almost the whole month of December," Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano said. "It is really spread out and because we have not had to practice multiple days in a row, I think it gives them a chance to physically feel better and with their academics, get everything done."
However, the health of RU quarterback Mike Teel remains one of the most pressing issues. He is feeling better, but is still limited in what he can do on the field. For Teel, it was tough sitting on the sidelines and not being able to contribute reps. "I don't want to say boring because you can coach guys up and get mental reps, but there is nothing like playing," Teel said.
One of Teel's two favorite targets this season receiver Kenny Britt had his knee scoped last week and Schiano has kept Britt out of practice to allow the knee to heal properly. Schiano would not be specific with a timetable of when Britt will be back, but had mentioned last week that he thought Britt might begin to practice around Christmas. Britt was not present on the practice field on Saturday. "Kenny is getting better," Schiano said. "There is no reason to have him standing out here when he could be lifting and doing some other things down in the Hale Center so that is why he is not here. I think that we will stick to the original plan."
Toronto and the surrounding areas are beginning to become fertile recruiting grounds.
International Bowl Benefits
Schiano has recruited three current Scarlet Knights out of Canada. The one starter is defensive end Jamaal Westerman, along with Jamaal's brother wide receiver Jawann Westerman and defensive end Jonathan Pierre-Etienne.
Playing in the International Bowl is sure to spark the attention of high school players who reside in Canada and perhaps Schiano might be able to take advantage of that in recruiting trips. "We have had players on our team from Canada since we have been here," Schiano said. "Not a large number of them, but again, you build a football program one person at a time. So if you get a key contributor, it doesn't matter where he comes from. "Certainly by being up there, we will get some increased exposure, which helps." Rutgers recruits mostly in the northeast but because of Schiano ties to Florida, after he served as University of Miami defensive coordinator for two seasons, RU is able to pick up a good share of players from Florida. It is safe to say that those players are happy to be playing indoors at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. "I am glad we are playing in a dome," linebacker Damaso Munoz joked. "The cold does not go well with me."
Tiquan Underwood and Britt both gained over 1,000 yards as receivers this season. Underwood is a junior and Britt is a sophomore. Both will be back next season and provide Rutgers with a positive outlook for good the offense will be. "While their careers are here, they could be two of the best in college football," Teel said. "It showed this year, Ti had a 250-yard game and Kenny comes back a couple weeks later and has a 170-yard game with a couple touchdowns. "It is a dangerous combination when your throw in the other guys we have in the receiving core."