Friday Coaching Comments

With the season opening up on Monday, Head Coach Greg Schiano said he would like more time to prep — a sentiment shared by every coach in the country. It's all apart of his approach where to be a good team, the unit must progress each week and not peak early.

Head Coach Greg Schiano said he has a better understanding of how to approach the season now than he did when he first started.

With the season opener just a few days away, Schiano would like an extra few days to prepare, but that’s normal for any college coach.

“Id like more time,” Schiano said. “We have a couple more days and there’s stuff we have to get done in the next couple days to be ready.”

The season in Schiano’s view, should be played as if going up a ladder — each game the team progresses—because you don’t want the highest point of your season happening on Week 1.

“This group has worked hard and they continue to work hard,” he said. “If you peak in your first game, then you didn’t really do a good job.”

Things have been pretty much clockwork for the team as they prepare for Fresno State. The Rutgers’ players are staying organized and just going through the practice cycle.

“Every team has got its own personality,” he said, “so that’s the difference to me … As a coach — you’re a creature of habit, a creature of cycles — we just go through the cycle and do it again and do it again. So it’s been pretty normal.”

This year’s Knights are a close knit bunch that has taken part in numerous off-field team activities together and the head coach said those gatherings have helped form a more cohesive unit.

“I think that always has an effect in team sports,” Schiano said. “The more you feel the accountability to others, the harder it is to cut a corner, the harder it is to not give your maximum effort. I think that pays off, not just on game day, but every practice and in those things.”

The linebacking core will be a somewhat new unit with red shirt freshman Manny Abreu getting his first start and junior Ryan D’Imperio getting his first regular action.

“I don’t look at it that way because I feel they’ve been playing a lot of football,” Schiano said when asked if he considered the linebackers inexperienced. “But factually and statistically, they don’t have a lot of starts under their belt.”

Schiano does expect the former four-star recruit out of Union Hill High School to put a thumping on some opposing ball carrier early.

“I think he’ll play hard,” he said about Abreu. “He’s very strong so if he hits somebody, they’ll feel it.”

There’s also been no decision made on if it will be Zaire Kitchen or Joe Lefeged starting at safety. The decision won’t be made until game time, but either way, both will get their share of playing time.

“Game time decision,” Schiano said about when he will choose who’s the starter. “I feel it’s important to them. To me, I feel comfortable with both of them there. I just have to look at and see who’s performed better because you do have to be fair because it does mean something to run out of the tunnel as a starter. Again, there going to both play, so it doesn’t really matter.”

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