Inches Are The Difference In The Turnaround

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Merely inches separate the Scarlet Knights from not only bowl eligibility but also contending for a BCS berth. At least Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano sees it that way.

"I think the inches that we weren't finding we're starting to find them," Schiano told reporters after practice Tuesday. "It was a little bit off. Protection was a little bit off so we have to throw the ball half a second early. There's a fine line between making plays and not. We're starting to make them."

During this offensive revival, Mike Teel has ignited his unit with 931 yards passing and a 67.4 completion percentage in the last three games. In the previous seven, he passed for 1,362 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions.

"He's done this for three years," Schiano said of his fifth-year senior quarterback. "It takes 11 guys for a play to work. We have at least been more precise in the last couple weeks and that's made up the inches. It's a fine line and it comes and goes."

With a 5-5 record and only home games against 3-7 Army and struggling Louisville left on its schedule, Rutgers holds its own destiny for bowl shopping. Where the Scarlet Knights would end up remains a mystery. Considering the PAC-10's depth problems, RU supporters may see them in San Francisco's Emerald Bowl or the Hawaii Bowl, according to Tom Lucci of the Star Ledger.

When asked about the likelihood of another bowl appearance, Schiano responded in classic fashion.

"I don't think anything is forbidden," Schiano said of bowl talk among his players. "They can think what they want, but that is not been what's helped us get this thing in the right direction…it's been about preparation and one-game seasons and we'll stick to that."

Considering the team's relatively healthy and on a four-game winning streak, Schiano's mantra has held water thus far.

"I think we're going to be alright," he said. "Like I said yesterday, some guys are bumped. Everybody practiced today."

However, LS Jeremy Branch (knee) did not practice Tuesday, opening the doors for Andrew DePaola and Teddy Dellaganna, as new long snapper and holder respectively.

"I am comfortable certainly," Schiano said of the changes in special teams. "It's a change."

Schiano said the shift has affected DePaola and Dellaganna more than place kicker San San Te.

"I think it's those two," he said. "San San is comfortable with Teddy because they work a lot together when we're practicing… Teddy's the backup holder."


Schiano addressed fullback Jack Corcoran's growth and development, which included his second career receiving touchdown in last weekend's 49-16 win at South Florida.

"He's making progress," Schiano said. "I don't know if Jack will ever be a dominating run blocker, but what he's doing is he's learning how to play by himself and getting the job. I think he's done a nice job in all the things that we asked the fullback to do."

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