Saturday Practice Report

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The schedule-makers never second-guessed themselves before they assigned Rutgers football program two weekday games to start its season. Yet both, memorialize Labor Day and Sept. 11, significant calendar dates.

Head coach Greg Schiano calls it "a little weird" not participating on Saturday, the traditional "day" of college football.

"It's a little weird," he told reporters after Saturday afternoon's practice, held in the RU Sports Bubble due to Tropical Storm Hanna. "What's weird is when you're working, you don't think about it. Days don't mean anything."

If weather conditions force the Scarlet Knights (0-1) into a drenching, blustery contest, then they would play on FieldTurf.

"You saddle it up and go," Schiano said. "I'd rather be playing on FieldTurf than on grass."

Schiano said he remains concerned about the Knights' average home record since they registered a 6-0 campaign at Rutgers Stadium in 2006.

"We let some slip away," he said. "When you look back we're 5-4 (since 2007) and three of them come to mind. Yeah, we have to get things cooking again."

Schiano alluded to two nail-biting defeats at home last season, against the University of Maryland Terrapins and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats.

With an incoming visit from the University of North Carolina Tar Heels (1-0) in front of a sold-out, national television audience on Thursday, the team's attitude has remained positive despite a painful week one loss to Fresno St, 24-7, nevertheless, at home.

"It's been good," Schiano said. "It's very disappointing in the way we played (against Fresno St.), but they're working hard to get ready for Thursday.

"I don't know if you can make up for it. You only get 12 and we let one get away. But you can't let that one game affect you in another game, so now we have 11 left, and we have to play the best we can in game two, and that's what our role is and we're working hard."

Thursday's contest, a Sept. 11 affair, will also commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with a moment of silence before the game and halftime video tribute to soldiers deployed overseas.

"There is significance for sure," Schiano said. "All of us who live here were touched by tragedy. Everybody has their own personal stories that go with it. I think it'll be special."


Schiano also discussed improving from the regular season opener to the second game.

"I think it's really the whole beginning of the season," he said. "I'm not sure it's that game one to game two. I think it's game one through game four you get your opportunity to go live, so the things you can't do a lot of live, special teams, tackling the quarterback, things like that, you get opportunities to do in a game.

"There's no mimicking a game speed no matter how good your scout teams are. There's different pressures in a game. I think you learn how to deal with all that."

No serious injuries plague the Knights, although Schiano revealed an update on the general health, focusing on reserves Joe Martinek and Gary Watts, who stayed down for a few minutes before he walked off the field alongside the training staff.

"We were pretty good coming in," he said. "I'm not so sure we're leaving in such good health. We'll see. Martinek got dinged. Gary went down in there. We don't know what that deal is."

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