Former Teammates Face-off

When David Rowe takes the field Saturday against Florida International, things are going to be different. For one, the sophomore cornerback is listed as a starter on the depth chart for the first time in his career, but in addition to his first potential start wearing scarlet and white, he gets a chance to face off against high school teammate Wayne Younger.

Younger, the backup quarterback at FIU, attempted six passes in week one against Alabama and will likely see equal time against Rutgers.

Younger and Rowe both attended Cocoa High School in Florida.

"I played in high school with him. I played football, basketball and baseball with him," Rowe said of the FIU backup quarterback. "He texted me Saturday and said ‘We're next' so hopefully we'll be ready. I just wished him good luck."

Rowe likely replaces junior Brandon Bing as the starter alongside Devin McCourty as RU tries to improve its pass defense before getting back into the Big East schedule.

"I take it as a challenge," Rowe said of trying to improve at corner. "We want to be a strongpoint for the defense, and all the corners are working hard to do that."

Rowe added that he's excited for the chance to start against a Florida team.

"It's really exciting because we're playing a Florida school too," Rowe said. "I think everybody's out there competing and trying to earn that start and it's just making us all better. If someone goes down, then we know we have somebody ready to come in."

McCourty, a team captain, said that it doesn't matter who lines up at cornerback, as long as they improve as a unit.

"Looking at our stats as a defense, we're not happy with the way we played," McCourty said. "A lot of that came in the first game where we just had a total meltdown on defense and played poorly, but as a group that has a lot of seniors, we're disappointed in the way we've played so far."

Schiano said today at practice that he has yet to decide on a starter, but both have improved throughout the week. The primary concern for the RU defense against FIU is sophomore receiver T.Y. Hilton. Last year as a freshman, Hilton scored a touchdown five different ways (passing, running, receiving, kick return and punt return) and was third in the nation in total yards from scrimmage.

"They're very good," Schiano said. "The quarterback really is a good player. He's tough, I mean really tough. He'll hang in there and throw it in the face of pressure. They have two, I think, great wide receivers and then a bunch of good skill people. But I think two that are as good as any that we'll play this year."

Hilton also excels on special teams where he returned a kick for a touchdown against Alabama.

"We spent a lot [of time] on it (special teams)," Schiano said. "I think what we do is we make the players very aware of where he is and what he's capable of. You know, we've spent a lot of time already, I don't know if we could anymore time on it." Saturday also marks the first true test for true freshman Tom Savage. After coming in against he vanilla defense of a Cincinnati team leading 31-7 and playing against a lesser level of competition in Howard, FIU presents a serious challenge to Savage.

"I think they'll mix it up. They're not just going to blitz the heck out of him every play," Schiano said. "I think they'll mix it up, because they know that's the hardest thing for a quarterback. If it's every play blitz, then you're just throwing it fast and maybe have a chance for a big play. They're going to give him looks that appear to be blitz and then not be, they're going to give him looks that appear to be coverage and then blitz."

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