Transcript: Schiano's Monday presser

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano held his weekly press conference today, and it is all covered here with the full transcript. Schiano talks about the tragic death of Connecticut cornerback Jasper Howard, and also gets down to some football talk as he discusses the running game, the play of several key freshman and what he sees from the Huskies.

On any injury updates.
"Caleb (Ruch) may be a go. His development during the week will determine that. Kiv (Patrick Kivlehan), although he didn't play Friday night (vs. Army), he is a go. He could have played Friday night if need be. It would have been a tough game to come back off an ankle injury as much cutting as they do. Other than that, (Desmond) Stapleton is a guy that I don't think will make it. I don't think he will be able to play but stranger things have happened. Let's wait and see."

If LB Antonio Lowery was available to play against Army.
"He was available, but he wasn't 100 percent. If you look at the window that we would have if he didn't play (vs. Army) – we don't hit on Thursday and he doesn't hit Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday. You are looking at a six-day window of improvement, which I think will help him now going into Connecticut. We were able to play without him, which was a good thing."

On playing in an "emotional environment" at Connecticut this Saturday.
"We will talk about it as a football team. We have already and we will do it again. We will recognize Jazz (Jasper Howard) in our own way. Once the game starts, it is back to playing football. A lot of our guys knew Jazz and I knew him. It is a tragic event. You ask yourself ‘Why?'"

On what the team plans to do to recognize Jasper Howard on Saturday.
"We are going to have something on our helmets to recognize him. I think it is going to be his number – No. 6 – on our helmets. I have to talk to Randy (Edsall). I don't want to do anything without asking them. I know he is down at the funeral today. I talked to our team about it. They want to do something and I want to do something. I just want to make sure that Randy is OK with it."

On what concerns him most about Connecticut.
"They are just a good solid football team. They run the football well. They are throwing it better than they have in the past. Defensively they are keeping it in front of them. They are playing good run defense. On special teams, they are doing a good job."

On if he was surprised by anything Connecticut did against West Virginia last Saturday.
"I think they always do (different things). All teams do a little something different. I don't know West Virginia's (scheme) so well that I would be able to say ‘this is different than they would normally do against West Virginia.' You look at it more in relation to what you do. I thought Connecticut played very well. They had an opportunity to win the game."

On the play of WR Mark Harrison.
"Mark is coming along. Early in the year, Mark had some issues physically that were keeping him from being 100 percent. He was able to practice and do things but he wasn't 100 percent. I think he is getting better. I still don't think he is 100 percent. I think he is learning the scheme and getting more comfortable with his assignments. Mark is a tremendous talent. It is just a matter of time before it starts really clicking for him. I think you saw a little bit of that Friday night."

On if Harrison could be the permanent third receiver.
"I would love that. He is certainly talented."

On WR Quron Pratt's status.
"I think it is his ankle. I am not sure about the ailment. I don't know but right now he is not able to go. We will see."

On Connecticut QB Cody Endres.
I think he has thrown it pretty well since he has started playing. In relation to the other games, I thought he threw it well (vs. West Virginia)."

On how he watches tape in preparation for the upcoming opponent.
"You can watch it as offensive game tapes, defensive game tapes, special teams game tapes or you can watch it by a certain player or formation. However you want to. I always do it a little differently, depending on who we are playing and what I want to see."

On how he watched tape on Connecticut.
"I looked at a lot of stuff. I looked at ourselves against UConn. I looked at the teams that played and game tape. I also looked at some cutups. As a head coach, I don't look at it as specifically as assistants do. There is a certain thing they are looking for. I get going and it is kind of like I am peeling an onion. I peel one layer away and there is another layer.
"As a head coach, these computers are unbelievable with what you can uncover. You see something and think ‘wait a minute, did I just see that?' You can click in there to sort the information and it can tell you exclusively how many times they did this out of this formation in this area of the field. Sometimes your hunch is right and sometimes your hunch isn't right. It is all by yourself when you are doing this stuff. You get your hopes up.
"I discovered I broke the code and then you click on it and realize ‘no you didn't – back to square one.'"
On if Rutgers tries to recruit New Jersey kids.
"We actually encourage them to go off to other schools. (laughing). No, of course there is. That is what we have done since the day we have got here. This is a great place to recruit – New Jersey. No. 1, an assistant from another school can fly into Newark Airport and within one-hour distance of driving can be at 250 high schools.
"There are not a lot of places in the country where you can do that. No. 2, the academics of the kids in New Jersey are very good. The schools are good and the kids are qualifiers. As a recruiter, you don't want to waste your time recruiting a guy that doesn't make it academically. Those are two things.
"For years, it was such a great area because you could come in and get whoever you wanted. There was no home school to beat. We are changing that gradually. That is the key. We are never going to get every kid in the state of New Jersey – we know that.
"What we need to do is make sure we get a clear majority of the kids we want. Not the ones that recruiting services, fans, newspapers or whoever wants. We want the ones that we evaluate and want. We are not 100 percent. It is not a science. If it was, we would never make a mistake. That is the key. This is a very fertile recruiting area."

On how QB Tom Savage's decision making is progressing.
"I think well. Coach (Kirk) Ciarrocca is doing a good job of keeping it simple and giving him just a little bit more every week. The temptation is there because he is such a strong-armed, big, mature and physical guy that he should be able to see it all. Well, it happens so fast out there and every week it is a different scheme out there.
"This week was totally different than last week. I think just as we physically are giving Kordell (Young) a little bit more, mentally we are giving Tom just a little bit more every week. That is going to help us as we progress because there are some things now that Tom can do on his own that earlier we had to do for him. It is a delicate balance.
"You walk that fine line of what is too much and what is not enough. I think Kirk has done a really good job of walking that line."

On how he thought Savage played in his first game on the road at Army.
"He has such a cool demeanor about him. I am just comfortable with the guy. I read one of his quotes where he was like ‘it was almost unreal' but he sure didn't look like that. I think maybe he just likes to tell you guys (media) good stuff to write. He didn't appear that way to me."

On what qualities make a quarterback have ‘cool demeanor'.
"It is something you look for. It is something I look for. There are real emotional hot-head quarterbacks, although they are fun to watch, usually in the end they get you – you don't get the other guys. I kind of like that. Now, there are exceptions to that rule. That better suits my personality and is someone I would rather work with."

On the play of TE D.C. Jefferson
"When you play a position for only a month and a half or two, there are going to be ups and downs. He is going to be a great tight end – there is no doubt in my mind that there is a want to and there is a physical ability to. When you have those two things it is going to happen.
"He has had some really bright moments, and then the other night….one of them is a shame because he got called for holding and you have to look at it and say ‘I see why he got called for holding because the guy went down to the ground.' Usually, when one of the guys you are blocking goes down to the ground, unless you just pancake him, you are going to get a flag. If you are officiating and see that, you are going to wonder ‘how did that happen?
"It had to be a hold.' Then the other one was a hold. He also dropped a pass but he knows. He is frustrated in that he knows he can do it and he has done it. Now, it is just a matter of doing it consistently. There is not a doubt in my mind that he will do that. If you look at him, that is what (tight ends) are suppose to look like."

On how it seems RB Joe Martinek improves as the game goes on.
"Powerful, strong backs can do that."

On if that is why he is comfortable giving Martinek the ball late in games.
"Somewhat. Again, that is the one side of it. We put the ball on the ground at the end of the game (vs. Army) too. We are still a work in progress at the running back position. We have to finish things. I thought what Joe did a very good job of all night is that he was not easy to tackle. He was harder to tackle than he has been in the past.
"I think he improved this game – without a doubt. I thought he played his best game against a very good defense – 17th ranked defense in the nation. He was hard to get on the ground. I was impressed by his effort."

On if he feels RB Jourdan Brooks is ‘regressing'.
"I don't think it is regressing. I think there is competition and, as you mentioned, there are only so many touches to go around. We only threw the ball 20 times."

On if he has a preference on who gets the most touches at running back.
"I want, and the coaches want, the run game to work. I don't have a particular preference on who it is. Whoever is doing it the best that is who will do it. Whoever gives us the best chance to win. That is earned by the ballplayers. The number of carries isn't so much the concern. Now, if they are the same, if there is not a clear difference between the two, then we will keep it balanced. If someone is starting to do better, then they deserve more touches."

On if QB Jabu Lovelace will get more chances to throw the ball.
"You have to defend the pass. We have thrown it a few times but we haven't connected but finally we connected. There is more of that. Jabu can throw, you all (media) that have covered practice know that. Sometimes, he has to slow everything down and do what he did the other night and just put it right on the money. That was a beautiful throw."

On what he remembers about Jasper Howard.
"We use to have our Florida camps before the NCAA made them illegal. We had a camp at Jasper's high school – Miami Edison. He really did a great job in our camp. Not only with how he played the game but his attitude and the way that he handled himself that day. He stuck out to me. I remember, last year he was returning punts.
"When you hear the news, you say to yourself ‘oh no!' and then when you find who it is and you know him it makes it more personal. I just keep thinking ‘why does that happen?' That's crazy. Where are we that this stuff is happening? It is just a tragedy."

On the play of LB Steve Beauharnais.
"Steve is a very good athlete. He has incredible explosion. He is really special in that department, as far as getting off the ball and hitting people. He is a very good athlete. We are trying to get him in the game in as many places as we can because of that."

On Connecticut RBs Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman
"Their run game is essentially the same. I think every back is a little different to tackle. They are both physical runners. They will put their helmet right in the middle of you if they need to. I think a lot of it is their scheme and offensive line is executing. They are big and know exactly what they want to do in the run game."

On how he thought OL Desmond Stapleton was playing prior to his injury.
"I thought he did very well. I was very impressed. Kyle (Flood) and I talked after the game and we felt he really looked like he belonged, which is good because we need depth."

On the importance of non-offense touchdowns when the offense is a "work in progress."
"I think it is very important. When the offense gets going it is still very important because that is what allows you to win football games and open games up a little bit. Good defenses score. That is one thing that we talk to them about. Get your hands on the ball and put it in the end zone."

On how DT Scott Vallone played against Army.
"I thought Scott played very well. I don't know if he was involved in any of those turnovers. I thought Scott played his best game to date. One of the things we joked about was that Scott's high school, St. Anthony's, runs that offense. I said ‘you are a homer on that one.' He played at a high level and made some moves by stemming and doing things that caused them to call two timeouts.
"I haven't seen triple-option teams do that very often based on a defense. I thought he played a really strong game."

On what Vallone did to see playing time so soon.
"He just worked incredibly hard and is a very talented guy. Scott was a very highly-recruited guy out of high school at St. Anthony's high school in New York. He has all the skills to be a great defensive lineman. He is starting to show those already. As he gets bigger, stronger, faster and all those things, he is only a redshirt freshman and god willing he stay healthy, he could be one of the best."


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