Abreu and Munoz Battle For the Start

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Although Manny Abreu started the season at strongside linebacker, Damaso Munoz has regained the position. It helps Munoz that he can compete at multiple positions.

"He probably could play two of the three (LB spots) like today," Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano told reporters after Thursday's practice. "He did play two of the three. He's worked hard. Damaso's really started growing up as a football player in his preparation."

Schiano also expressed confidence towards Abreu, who remains a school year behind Munoz.

"I thought Manny had a great week of practice," Schiano said of Abreu, who has earned 31 tackles, 3.5 for a loss to date. "He did last week (also) but they'll both play."

Schiano said he did not want to speculate on the reason for Abreu's recent strides.

"You never know, I don't want to speculate," Schiano said. "Competition is good though."

Munoz is expected to start for the second straight week Saturday at South Florida (6-3, 1-3 Big East).

"He performed better," Schiano said of the third-year sophomore, who has totaled 30 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one interception thus far. "As we tell our guys, all things being equal off the field, whoever gives us the best chance to win is going to start."

One game at a time:

Although this contest signals the most important game of the season for Rutgers (3-5, 3-2 Big East) and its bowl hopes, Schiano reminded reporters and fans of his one-game-at-a-time mantra.

"They're all equally as important," he said. "When you undo that, you put unnecessary pressure on yourself and you start acting out of character.

"Prepare. Stay in the moment. Play. That's what we do."

Rutgers Bubbling:

Football teams represented Hackensack High School and Lenape Valley Regional High School in the RU Bubble after the Scarlet Knights finished practice.

"They requested," Schiano said. "There's another team (Lenape Valley) also coming. We just said if you guys can both fit safely. As long as there's no one booked in here, they charge them a minimal fee, whatever the expenses are to keep it NCAA legal."

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