Williams' playing time, injuries and more

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano held his weekly press conference as the Scarlet Knights begin to prepare for Army. He discussed what it will take for freshman running back De'Antwan Williams to get meaningful carries, the injury update and the need to improve on kick returns. He also talked about the origins of the new tradition, driving an ax into a stump of wood, and how a player gets chosen for it.

Freshman running back De'Antwan Williams has the best burst and quickness of Rutgers' running backs, but he still may not give the Scarlet Knights the best chance to win, which is why he didn't play in the loss to Pittsburgh. Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano addressed what it will take for Williams, who has only played in blowout wins, to get playing time at a crucial juncture.

"Just really be better than what we're playing with,'' Schiano said. "There's only so many touches. So as a coach, you sit down and say, ‘Ok, this guy's got to have this many, this guy's got to have that many.' You really have to have reason to go with a guy over a guy that's been doing it, and has had success.''

Red-shirt sophomore Joe Martinek appears to have a stranglehold on the position. He carried nine times for 23 yards against Pittsburgh and third-down back Kordell Young had two carries. Jourdan Brooks, the Scarlet Knights' second leading rusher, did not play against the Panthers.

"Whoever gives us the best chance to win, in our opinion, that's who's going,'' Schiano said. "I have to feel that (Williams) gives us the best chance to win because, ultimately, I have to make that decision after getting all the information from our staff. If I did (think that was the case), he would be playing already.'' Williams' only action has come against Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). He ran for 89 yards against Howard and totaled 132 yards in the final 17 minutes against Texas Southern.

Injury update
Schiano said despite it being a physical game, it didn't appear anyone who was banged up during the game would miss Friday's meeting with Army.

Linebackers Ryan D'Imperio and Antonio Lowery each left the field with injuries, but did return. Tailback Kordell Young, who has had knee issues his throughout career, also saw his most extensive action of the season. "Kordell, I think, came out of the game ok,'' Schiano said. "D'Imperio, I think he's going to be ok. He's hurting a little bit. Lowery's hurting a little bit. They're a little bumped. It was a very physical game.

"Do I think it will keep anybody out? I'm not sure. We'll have to see as the week goes on.''

Starting right guard Desmond Wynn did not play against the Panthers because of a shoulder injury, but Schiano said "I think Desmond will be able to do a little bit more'' this week.

He also said injured offensive line Caleb Ruch (ankle) is getting closer to a return.

Schiano also said freshman receiver Quron Pratt has an injured ankle, which is why he did not play against the Panthers.

Kick return woes
The Scarlet Knights rank last in the Big East in kick return yardage. They're average of 17.6 yards per return is four yards less than West Virginia, which is seventh.

And there is room for improvement everywhere.

"We need to do a better job blocking in the (kickoff) return,'' Schiano said. "Our punt return, we're a punt block team. So, a lot of times we're coming, and when you do that, you have more fair catches and not as great a return game. But we think the risk reward is there, so that's why we do it. "The KOR, though, we need to get better at. There's no doubt, and I think we will. I think we were making progress early in the year, and we've kind of plateaued, and maybe even gone down a little bit, so we're going to have to look at personnel, and then we're going to have to just get better.''

Rutgers used Tim Brown ,Joe Lefeged and Devin McCourty against Pittsburgh.

Choosing the Chopper
A new tradition this year is one of the players running out of the tunnel with an ax in hand, and sticking it into a large tree stump in the corner of the end zone.

So, how is the chopper chosen?

"It's a guy we feel is doing things, and a lot of the times it's in the special teams area,'' Schiano said. "It's one of the guys, we call choppin', doing the little things in the game and during the week in practice.''

However, the idea didn't come from Schiano, who isn't particularly fond of gimmicks.

"It was (from with)in the program,'' he said. "Our thing is ‘the chop,' and that means something to us. It's about staying focused. It's about staying on the spot. It was something that people in the program thought would be a good tradition

. "I'm not always comfortable with all that stuff, but it exemplifies what we're about and I think the kids the enjoy it. So, it's good.''


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