Thursday Practice Report

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – You determine everything from a visiting team's bus ride home: If it's loud, talkative and even vibrant, the team earned a hard-fought victory.

"We had a good practice," Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano told reporters Thursday. "It's never everything you want. They fought very hard. We had an extra day which was good."

Using an extra day of practice, Schiano expects improvement from every facet.

"No, I want to see it across the board," he said. "I think we've been average to below in most areas so looking for an overall spike in every area."

That overall spike conflicts with the U.S. Naval Academy and its nation-leading triple option run and, more importantly, option pass, which Schiano believes is disguised "very well."

"It looks like the option," he said bluntly. "That's what they count on. They don't spend a ton of time throwing and catching.

"You can't with the offense (that) is determined so much on repping the plays and reading all the different reads that you get. But what they do count on is guys putting their eyes in the wrong place and not having high discipline and giving up big plays."

Despite two painful home losses, Schiano said the Scarlet Knights matched intensity with opponents Fresno St. and North Carolina, but the long plays from scrimmage have neutralized the defense.

While the disciplined Midshipmen practice this week, the eighth-year coach contemplated substitutions against a high-powered, run-first offense.

"It really depends how the game goes," he said. "If they're having these 12, 13 play drives which they're notorious for, then you have to sub. But if you can have the game on your terms, you'd rather not sub because guys get into a groove in playing."

Although time of possession remains another crucial aspect of Saturday afternoon's contest in Annapolis, M.d., Schiano understands Navy's capability.

"When they hit some of those big plays, they don't need the time of possession," he said of Navy. "When they don't hit the big plays then they grind it out."

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