Tuesday's notebook: San San Te and more

As a high school junior, Rutgers placekicker San San Te was told he was nothing more than a Division III kicker, and now he leads the Big East in scoring. Also, Scarlet Knights defensive end George Johnson talks about his injury, and whether he will play this weekend against Texas Southern. Also, find out what offensive lineman Art Forst did during the bye week.

Former UCLA kicker Chris Sailer runs a camp for placekickers and punters every summer in Las Vegas, and San San Te remembers a pointed comment from the camp's operator.

"I was horrible when I was getting recruited,'' Te said. "Chris said I would play Division III, or something like that. He was being real with me.''

Well, things change, and it certainly did in a big way for Te.

He took Sailer's criticisms and lessons back to Hickory High in Conover, N.C., to implement the suggestions. Now, he finds himself as the Big East's leading scorer, averaging 8.8 points per game.

"I came into the camp and I wasn't very good,'' said Te, Rutgers' red-shirt sophomore. "Chris gave me a lot of things to work on during the summer of my junior year. I had to teach myself every day, and whenever I had problems I called him to see what I needed to do here and there. He would tell me what I wasn't doing correctly.''

It translated into a big-time offer, and the dividends are showing.

Te made all 11 of his extra points this season and is 8 of 11 on field goal attempts. It helps he is kicking pain free after dealing with a bothersome back injury that required surgery following the 2008 season.

"I feel pretty good now. It doesn't bother me at all and I don't feel like it's an issue,'' said Te, who was 12 of 17 on field goals last season and made 45 of 48 extra points. "I don't like to blame anything that happened last year on my back, but I feel like not having (the pain) there now, I'm a better kicker. I feel like you need to have a clear mind when you go out there. Having that in the back of your mind …sometimes it stays (with yout) whether you like it or not.''

Johnson's health

Defensive end George Johnson returned to practice Tuesday and Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said it was possible the senior could play Saturday against Texas Southern. Johnson injured in his ankle while recovering a fumble for a touchdown in the Scarlet Knights' 34-13 win at Maryland on Sept. 26.

"It wasn't the best I could do,'' Johnson said of practice. "It was a little awkward but, but I've got to deal with it. I'm going to get better as the week goes along.''

Does it make sense for Johnson to play this week considering the Scarlet Knights are a 47-point favorite?

"It's a team effort and I'm still part of the team,'' Johnson said. "We still have to continue to work to get our defense better for later on in the season.''

Burying the bye

Most of the Scarlet Knights headed home during last week's bye and hung out on their couch, and left guard Art Forst was no different. Well, accept he took some time to head to his church and catch up with members of the youth group. "It was good to see them, and see how big some of the kids are getting,'' said the 6-foot-8, 310-pound sophomore Forst. "Some of the kids that were in junior high are now in high school, and some of them are driving. It makes me feel old.''

Odds and ends

Schiano said defensive tackle Charlie Noonan (illness) practiced and may be available. …Offensive lineman Caleb Ruch (ankle) and safety Patrick Kivlehan (lower extremity) are not expected to play. "The doctor thinks they are right on schedule,'' Schiano said. … The search for a third receiver continues, and Rutgers is listing Marcus Cooper and Tim Wright as the backups to Tim Brown and Mahomed Sanu, respectively.

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