Building on the Positives

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Most agree that no moral victories exist in losses. But Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano saw encouraging signs from Saturday's 24-17 loss at West Virginia.

"There's a lot of positives," Schiano said in his weekly press conference. "You're on the road, you're down 17-3 - which isn't a positive - and all of a sudden you battle back and you're in the football game and you've got a chance to win it at the end.

"We don't endorse moral victories around here, but the guys are fighting."

The Scarlet Knights (1-4, 0-1) stood 45 yards away from tying the score with two minutes left. However, the Mountaineers held their ground defensively and forced beleaguered quarterback Mike Teel into four incompletions.

Teel finished 14-32 for 170 yards and a touchdown to Tim Brown for the second straight week, and, more importantly, zero fumbles or interceptions.

"I think that's critical," Schiano said of the Knights' not committing any turnovers. "If you would have told me before the game you'd hold (Noel) Devine under 60 (yards rushing), no turnovers, you go on the road to West Virginia, I'd say `where do I sign?' You would have taken that as a head coach."

That the Knights failed to force a turnover on defense for the fourth time in five games did not concern Schiano.

"We swarmed the ball incredibly well," he said. "We didn't tackle as well as we had. One thing we'd been able to do the first four games was really tackle extremely well, the best stretch of tackling that we've had around here ever."

Factor in the tandem of QB Pat White and RB Noel Devine, who present matchup issues for most teams.

"Now some of it had to do with the two guys we were trying to tackle (Pat White and Noel Devine)," Schiano said. "I'm not naive to that. You throw the tapes on- Noel Devine and Pat White make people look silly. They didn't do that to us. Our kids did a great job in containing."

Not only did Rutgers hold Devine to 55 rushing yards on 19 carries, it also forced White to the locker room with a second-half injury.

Looking ahead to next week's battle at rising Cincinnati (4-1), Schiano discussed Teel's struggles with the Bearcats D, which has intercepted him seven times in the last two meetings.

"They have a very good defensive front, so they apply pressure," Schiano said. "We haven't played particularly well in either of the games, more so in the '06 game than the '07. They've intercepted a lot of balls from a lot of people so I think that's a part of what they're very good at doing. But you're right; we have not played well against them offensively."

Moreover, Rutgers offense ranks 83rd nationally and 100th in scoring, breaking the 20-point margin in two games, one against Football Bowl Subdivision member Morgan State.

"We're struggling in some areas," Schiano said. "We just need to continue to get better. Some of it is- I think it's attributable to every area. I think it's the same thing. We need to get a little bit better in all of our areas- The offensive line; with the coaching; the quarterback's play; with the receivers' play; the running back play.

"We just need to improve in all of those areas. Not a ton. Just some."

Notes: Schiano said he expects everyone to practice on Tuesday despite the physical contest.

"Again, like I said, it was a very physical game," he said. Some guys are bumped. But I think (Tuesday) when we go out to practice - I think, I can't guarantee you - everyone will go. Some will be limited. Some will take limited reps. But I think everyone will take part at least in practice, which, when you get to where we are now in week six, to be able to say that is a good.

Schiano also said tailback Kordell Young's injured left knee has improved.

"He's doing better. I hope so. But I don't know," he said of Young. I've been tricked. This whole thing has been kind of tricky for me. He came out that Tuesday after the Fresno game and he was running around, I thought he was fine. Then it was hurting him, he'd get better, he'd get a little worse, so I can't tell you."

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