Notebook: Defending Baldwin, injuries, ect.

Rutgers is in the heat of preparing for its Friday contest with Pittsburgh, and there is lots going on. Today's notebook discusses the matchup against Pitt receiver Jonathan Baldwin, deals with the receiver rotation and also touches on a bit of humor as Devin McCourty tries to explain why his brother, Jason, broke out a "University of Rutgers'' reference during the NFL's Sunday night football.

Limiting receiver Jonathan Baldwin is a key to slowing down Pittsburgh's passing attack, but at least Rutgers' secondary has loads of experience to fall back on.

Baldwin, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, leads the Panthers with 27 catches. And, quickly, he has drawn comparisons to former Scarlet Knight Kenny Britt.

"A lot of times you just have to match their physical play,'' Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty said of playing a big receiver. "If not, they really push you around on the field. One thing that is good is I got used to that going against Kenny every day in practice. He's a guy that was real physical when he ran routes.

"He has good speed and great routes, so it's definitely going to be a tough matchup.''

A year ago Baldwin caught five passes for 81 yards against the Scarlet Knights in what was considered his breakout game.

Schiano recalled being on the field before last year's meeting and being impressed by Baldwin's physique, and earlier this week Schiano called Baldwin the best receiver in the Big East.

"He is that impressive,'' Schiano said. "Every once in a while there is a guy that makes you go, ‘Wow.' And sure enough, that game was his coming out party. Since then he's been on fire. He reminds you of Kenny. He's fast. He's big.''

Receiver rhetoric
Schiano acknowledged red-shirt freshman receiver Marcus Cooper had a "procedure'' during the bye week, and added "but he's fine'' now. He also said it was not a factor in why freshman receiver Mark Harrison played in front of Cooper against Texas Southern.

Also, Schiano said red-shirt freshman Keith Stroud was dealing with a medical issue. Asked if Stroud would be available, Schiano said, "I don't know. He can't play yet.''

Heart happenings
Schiano was asked if he is any more intense this week, since it is a pivotal Big East game, than other weeks.

"If I'm any more intense sometimes, I may go down with the big one,'' Schiano said with a chuckle.

University of Rutgers?
A chuckle was being had about former Rutgers and current Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty's introduction during Sunday night football when he declared he was from the "University of Rutgers.''

His twin brother, Devin, now a fifth-year senior cornerback with Rutgers, was asked about it.

"Everybody asked me that,'' Devin said. "I think he was more worried about going against the best quarterback in the league (Peyton Manning) right now.''

Did Devin give his brother some grief?

"No, not really,'' he said. "What am I going to say? He's starting in the NFL and I'm here.''

Pleading the fourth
Scout team quarterback Steve Shimko left the field near the end of practice after suffering an injury.

So, who runs the scout team in Shimko's absence?

"I started to think and I said, ‘You know what, you don't need that now, so don't worry about that now,' ‘' Schiano said.

Of course, being a coach, Schiano did address how the injury to Shimko, who is the fourth quarterback, affects the pecking order.

"You may say, ‘fourth quarterback?' ‘' Schiano said. "Believe me, I've been there.''

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