Preparation for Bowl begins...

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – As expected, reporters expressed much interest in Greg Schiano's reaction to the unexpected termination of athletic director Bob Mulcahy's contract. As expected, Schiano, Rutgers football head coach, responded with clarity yet brevity.

"Well, let me make one statement about the whole situation and then we'll stick to the bowl game and to the practice," Schiano said after Saturday's practice session in the RU Bubble. "My main focus right now is Bob and his family. It's an incredibly tough time for them. They're hurting a great deal and understandably so. I love Bob and his family. And they've been very good to me and my family. And I'm going to make sure that I'm there to help him and his family through that.

"Having said that and what Bob would want and what we're going to do is to keep moving this thing forward. Rutgers and Rutgers athletics—New Jersey is bigger than all of us and that's what Bob would want me to do. I know that because we've talked about it. He will remain a great friend. He and his family will be great friends of ours for a long, long time. I'm going to leave it at that and move to the bowl game."

Schiano also discussed the team's focus between now and the bowl game, a span of more than three weeks.

"Everybody has this stretch," he said. "We're all in the same situation as everybody else. We do it. We have final exams. For me, it's a great way to develop your younger guys. We probably have what amounts to half of spring practice for our young players so we've been working with them…"

Schiano said he expects to schedule 14 practices this month and then fly to Birmingham, site of the Bowl, Christmas afternoon.

"I have it at 14 (practices)," he said. "It might change. We're scheduled to fly out tentatively on Christmas afternoon."

On the injury front, Schiano addressed Jamaal Westerman's probable replacement Jonathan Freeny and the depth on the defensive line.

"I think [Freeny] is ready," Schiano said. "He's played more and more as the season went on. He's a guy we're comfortable with. The question is where do you put George [Johnson] and where do you put him?

"They're both defensive ends but their jobs are a bit different so we'll toy around with what's best. We'll figure that out and the depth behind them. Eric LeGrand is going to get a lot of work. Sorie Bayoh is going to get a lot of work.

But Schiano eventually returned his attention to Westerman, who will miss the bowl game due to a torn biceps.

"It's really sad that West has to miss this last one because he's such a big part of our team," Schiano said. "But I think it's borderline heroic what he did playing in the situation he was in. He's coaching and he's not going to separate."

Whereas Schiano's started his media discussion on a serious note about the person who brought him to this program, he ended it with a little bit of humor.

When asked if tailback Jourdan Brooks should cut his hair after being tackled by his dreadlocks against Louisville, Schiano responded, "There are some thoughts."


Schiano on the stadium expansion, which the Rutgers Board of Governors approved this past Friday, including the additional 12,000 seats, but with certain reductions (no new media room or locker rooms) due to the budget deficit:

"I wouldn't call it a compromise. I'd call it reality," Schiano said. "That's what we have money to do with the $102 million budget we set forth. What's going to get done isn't solidified yet. Nobody knows. There isn't a factual, ‘This is what we have.' We are going to work through that and prioritize what's important. As President McCormick said we need to have income generating pieces to the puzzle and that's the seats. And after that- whatever we can afford we are going to do. The good thing is that whatever we don't do will be framed out in position to do down the road. We'll get to it. I said all along we're going to grow and we're going to grow responsibly. I think we've done that. I think we continue to do that. I'm happy about where we're headed but that's what I believed we were going to do the whole so to me it's not a press release. To me that was my feeling from a year ago."

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