Rutgers Might Have Found A RB

Greg Schiano's post-practice media session focused on the running game and the quarterback situation.

By far, last Saturday's rushing effort against Navy was Rutgers' best effort of the season.

In his first college appearance, Joe Martinek rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries.

"Well Joe's a talented guy," Schiano said about Martinek. "The thing that always impressed me about him is he does what you ask him to do and he did it well on Saturday. He's working his way into some carries."

Martinek was expected to be a defensive player last year, but watching what he could do as a scout team rusher made Schiano make the switch to running back.

"We've had him on defense and we used him as a scout team running back," Schiano said. "Every time this guy would go, I would say 'this guy is pretty good' so we made him move to running back in the spring. How well he runs doesn't surprise me."

Martinek was impressive, but Brooks was the headline running back with 138 yards and two touchdowns against the Midshipmen. The back from Maryland reminds Schiano of former Penn State rusher Curtis Enis. There's still some ways to go before Brooks reaches his full potential Schiano said, but when he does, it will be something special.

"He improved his practice habits," Schiano said on why Brooks has received more playing time. "I think he's young still, he's a big back, but he's a very minimal back, which I see more out here than maybe we saw Saturday. When he got to the second level he just kind of bowled them over, or tried to, I see him as someone that can people miss, and when he gets the confident enough to that in the second level, he's going to make people say 'ooh'."

If Kordell Young plays this weekend is still a question. Schiano said it depends on how the former all-purpose threat from West Deptford High School practices tomorrow.

"Kordell, we'll wait and see," he said. "He did well yesterday so how he does tomorrow will determine if he will play on Saturday."

In the passing game, Mike Teel has performed well below expectations. Schiano said part of the reason is because he's trying to hard. Teel has looked good in practice according to the head coach, and if that can translate to the field, he can get back on track.

"I think Mike's practicing well," Schiano said. "I just hope he goes out and plays the same way - good or bad - whatever happens, he just needs to play without a conscience.
"He's not tight; I think he's just trying too hard. He feels like he's got to do everything and that's no fun. I think he's made the decision that he's not going to let everything hang on him."

The guys the quarterbacks are throwing to also aren't off to the starts they wanted to get off to. To Schiano, Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood just haven't had the opportunities they had to excel like last season, and when they did, they've just missed on converting them.

"It's a little bit of everything," he said. "There hasn't been as many opportunities. The ones we've gotten, we've fingertipped them. When that happens, I think confidence starts to run a little bit. Competitive athletics are a tricky thing, you're not as good as you think you are when you're playing well, you're never as bad as you think you are when you're playing poorly."

To overcome this start, one thing Schiano has stressed is to just do your best. He admitted to pressing himself, but said all he's looking for this week is for his players to give their best effort on the field.

"All you can do is your best," he said. "That might not be what everyone wants. If you try and do more than that, you won't even come close to your best. Hopefully they'll heed that advice.

"It would be nice to win. I just want us to go out and play the best we can. We're we are now with all the issues and guys banged up, whatever team we put out there, I just want them to play their best."


Pete Tverdov and George Johnson both practiced today.

"They were able to get through it," Schiano said. "And they will only get better I hope."

Schiano said Johnson was behind the other day, but today's practice went better than expected.

"George surprised me a bit today, and that's a good thing," he said.

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