In Quest Of First Conference Win

Rutgers is working hard in order to obtain their first conference win this Saturday against Connecticut on Homecoming Weekend. Head coach Greg Schiano knows his team is in for a challenge against last season's Big East regular season co-champions.

"They're always well coached and well prepared," Schiano said after Wednesday's practice. "They have one of the best running backs, if not the best running back in the nation. I expect to see a good football team, that's well coached and sound on both sides of the ball. We're going to have our hands full for sure."

Senior quarterback Tyler Lorenzen is out, so Rutgers will once again have to face a backup with sophomore Zach Frazer getting the nod.

"Usually you'll break down three-to-five games on the computer," Schiano said about how much tape you need on one QB. "Then you try to watch every game and zip through them to see if there's anything. It's not just the quarterback, it's the entire scheme."

In these types of situations, Schiano said you prepare for the opponent's offensive scheme more than who the backup is.

"I don't think they're going to make wholesale changes in the scheme for him," he said. "What they're going to do is utilize his strengths within the scheme. What you have to try to do is put the pieces together a little bit."

The difference between the two QB's in Schiano's view is mobility. While Frazer may not be as mobile as Lorenzen, he does possess a strong arm and can sling the ball downfield.

"He's not quite as mobile as Lorenzen," he said. "I thought he was very dangerous when he decided to run. Having said that, Frazer can run, it's not like he's a stiff. He's got a big arm, there's not many throws on the menu that he can't make, so we are going to have to defend the whole field."

The Knights will also have their hands full trying to stop running back Donald Brown. He's the Big East's leading rusher and is averaging 177.8 yards per game. Even though UCONN is a run dominated team, Schiano doesn't go into the game with a target number of yards to hold a player to.

Schiano would like to see his team get off to a fast start this weekend, but said it's not that important if they do or not.

"Last week we didn't do anything in the first half and we kept fighting," he said. "Would I like it, sure, to keep the home fans fired up would be great. But, the games are 60 minutes and we have to play all 60. I'd like to start fast, but if it doesn't happen, we have to keep fighting."

Tim Brown has emerged as more of a target in the offense, with two touchdowns in the last three games, and Schiano said he's just one of the guys he'd like to see touch the ball more.

"I think he and a few other guys we need to get the ball in their hands too," he said. "[We want to] try and spread it around. You make efforts, but you don't want to throw your offense though.

Brown took a hit to his hand and it's a little bit sore according to Schiano, but he also said the junior receiver would be OK.

There will be a buzz to this week's game since it's homecoming, and Schiano described what the feeling is on gameday.

"We do the ‘Scarlet Walk' and we sense it then," he said. "You can sense a buzz in the air, you can feel it. You don't want to spend too much time on it, but I observe it."

Homecoming adds a little bit of juice to the game, but in the end, every game is important.

"They're all important, certainly it's nice on homecoming," Schiano said. "Hopefully they can come out with a win and go celebrate all night."

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