Notes: Barbieri, special teams and Selvie

Rutgers offensive lineman Howard Barbieri had a scholarship offer from Wagner, but opted to walk-on at Rutgers, a decision he has never looked back on. Also, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano talks about the special teams play, the visibility of playing on Thursday night and defending South Florida defensive end George Selvie.

Free education or BCS football?

That was the decision facing Howard Barbieri a few years ago, and he opted for big-time football. So, rather than attending Wagner, he headed to Rutgers as a walk-on and hasn't looked back.

Barbieri, a fourth-year junior who spent part of his career at tight end, started the last three games at right guard.

And being on the offensive line is like being home.

"I'd rather play offensive line,'' Barbieri said. "It's not a whole lot different blocking, but tight end was not what I was used to.''

The 6-ffoot-5, 295-pound Barbieri moved to tight end during the 2007 season because of a blocking need, but moved back to guard last season and played in every game.

So why did he chose Rutgers over Wagner out of Middletown (N.J.) South High?

"Coach (Greg) Schiano was recruiting me, I liked the facilities, I came here on a visit and I liked it a lot,'' Barbieri said. "I talked to my dad about it, and he said it was fine.''

Special teams specialty
A few weeks Rutgers coach Greg Schiano spoke about the need to improve on special teams, both in covering kicks and returning them.

The returning part has gone well with Joe Lefeged nearly breaking a kick return against Army, and Devin McCourty returning a kickoff 98 yards for a score against Connecticut.

However, the Huskies returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown and also broke another long run against the Scarlet Knights.

"We are improved, but we are still inconsistent,'' Schiano said. "I don't know if that make sense but I feel better about it. I feel like we are going in a much better direction from an understanding and execution (standpoint). We still make some mistakes that we can't make. There is the consistency issue.

Thursday night thinking
This season Rutgers is playing five times on days other than Saturday, but the South Florida contest will be the only Thursday night affair in which the only sports competition is the NBA and NHL.

While Rutgers will play three Friday game (Pittsburgh, Army and Louisville) and a Monday game (Cincinnati), the most exposure may be on Thursday.

"The thing that we like about the Thursday night games is that you are the only game out there,'' Schiano said. "That is good because your program gets exposure. Thursday night football, in the college sense, has become what Monday Night Football was when I was a kid growing up in the pro sense. That is good.

"I am a traditionalist. I do like playing on Saturday afternoon, but that hasn't been the way for the past few years all across the country. You play them when they are scheduled. We sure have a very good opponent coming to town so we certainly have more than a challenge."

Selvie or Pierre-Paul?
South Florida defensive end George Selvie made a name for himself with 14 sacks as a sophomore, but eight games into his senior season he has three sacks (8 in the last two seasons), and some of the luster of his play-making ability has worn off.

However, the Bulls have a formidable set of ends in Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul, who has a misleading two sacks.

"You need to account for them all,'' Schiano said. "It is not a tone different from when they had Jarriett Buie on the other side. They have good players. We are going to have to make sure we are smart in our protections. "We have to be aware if there are any mismatches, do we provide some help? We have to get rid of the football. You are not going to be able to hold it forever."

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