Notes: Pleading the 5th, defense and injuries

With the season in the final quarter, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano acknowledged it would be a perfect time to use a few freshman in a limited role, but he doesn't want to burn a red-shirt. So, what's the solution? Schiano is in favor of altering the eligibility of players, and he talks about the plan. Also, get the latest on the injury front, and see what Damaso Munoz had to say about the defense.

With three regular season games remaining and the bumps and bruises piling up, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano wouldn't mind inserting one of his true freshmen into the fray for the first time this season.

That is, if it didn't nullify the player's red-shirt year.

However, he won't ruin one of his player's red-shirt for three regular season games and a bowl just to ease depth concerns.

It is why Schiano is a proponent of changing the years of eligibility for college football players.

Rather than being able to play four seasons, with the option to red-shirt a player and sit him for a fifth season, Schiano endorses a move to five years of eligibility, with the caveat of no red-shirting available.

"I've been a big proponent of five years eligibility,'' Schiano said." I just think, No. 1, it's a safety issue. We added an extra game, and certain guys aren't ready to play as true freshmen at the beginning, but as you get to this part of the year they are.

"Then, you get some guys bumped up, that are playing with some bumps and bruises and (getting) more, but you hate to -- what are we going into? game 10 -- have a kid's red-shirt come off.''

Among the college coaching community, the concept of eliminating a red-shirt year and allowing players to participate for five seasons has been talked about the last few years.''

"It would really be much better, I think, for everybody involved, as long as we stay at the same scholarship limitations,'' Schiano said. "I don't know. I'm sure there are reasons I'm not seeing, but just from a coach's perspective I'd like that.''

Best overall performance?
Rutgers held South Florida to seven first downs and 159 yards of total offense, and the 31-0 whitewashing marked Rutgers' first Big East conference shutout since 1993.

So, how good was the effort?

"It's definitely in the top two,'' Scarlet Knights fifth-year linebacker Damaso Munoz said. "Maybe Army. Didn't we beat Army pretty good (30-3 in 2008)?''

It also marked the second time in program history South Florida was shut out.

Injury report
Rutgers reserve offensive guard Caleb Ruch (ankle) continues to make progress and could see his first action since the second game of the season Saturday at Syracuse.

"Maybe by the end of this week he can help us,'' Schiano said.

Also, freshman walk-on tight end Tony Trahan, who has two catches in five games, has been slowed by a leg injury.

"He's out there (in practice) doing what he can,'' Schiano said. "But it keeps him from playing at the level he needs to play at.''

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