Notes: Holding issues, Brown's ankle and more

Rutgers special teams play has improved dramatically in the second half of the season, but a problem surfaced recently. Find out why Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said, "I'm not happy about it.'' Also, Tim Brown may have played on a bad ankle at Louisville, but all that did was show the type of development he has made as a receiver. Finally, Noel Devine and Barry Sanders? What is the connection?

Most of Rutgers' special teams improved markedly in the second half of the season, but an issue surfaced lately.

Holder Teddy Dellaganna mishandled the snap on the extra point following the Scarlet Knights' final touchdown at Louisville. In itself, it may not be anything to worry about, but the same thing happened Nov. 12 against South Florida, and cost the Scarlet Knights a first-half field goal.

"He dropped the snaps and I'm not happy about it,'' Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "We've got to make a decision. Teddy assures me that he can get it done, so I trust him that he will. But it's two in three games. We've gone years without dropping a snap, forget games.''

Schiano said it may be a lack of concentration.

"It's not where it's a bad snap,'' Schiano said. "My fear, quite frankly, is that he's doing too many things. But he feels he can do them.''

Dellaganna is the holder, handles the kickoffs and is fourth in the Big East in punting, averaging 42.5 punts per game. And having Dellaganna as the holder is practical, according to Schiano.

"It works so well when your punter can be your holder because all practice long, when they're working on stuff, they can be working together,'' Schiano said. "If a position player is your holder, you get specialists and the period that you kick, and that's it.''

Re-visiting Kitchen's hit
After reviewing the game film, Schiano was asked if Rutgers safety Zaire Kitchen's hit that knocked Louisville receiver Doug Beaumont out of the game was clean.

"I think it's legal,'' Schiano said.

Schiano added he had multiple conversations with Kitchen to make sure the senior's mental approach would not change.

"During the game I spoke to him right away to assure him the young man was ok,'' Schiano said. "Then, I spoke to him a little bit afterward, but I want our guys to play the game clean and hard, but I want them to play hard. This is not a sport for the meek.''

Receiver, and speedster
If Tim Brown's seven catches for 124 yards and a touchdown while playing on a painful ankle sprain did anything, it was demonstrate he is more than just a speedy receiver.

"Make no mistake about it; Tim is not playing at full speed,'' Schiano said. "You take a speed guy and take away his No. 1 tool, that makes what he has done more impressive, I think because he is doing it without his No. 1 weapon. He can't run as fast as he normally could.

"Speed is one thing, but Tim has shown that he is a receiver as well. He is not just a deep-ball catcher. He has made some incredible catches. I fully anticipate he will be playing on Sundays."

Devine is Sanders
West Virginia's team speed is obvious, but no one is more electric than running back Noel Devine, who is arguably the Big East's most exciting player.

Devine is averaging 5.9 yards per carry, has 1,232 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. "He is a big-play back. There is no doubt about it,'' Schiano said. "He reminds me very much of Barry Sanders. When I was in Chicago (with Bears), that was the heyday of Barry Sanders. Barry led the league in negative plays because he was so quick and so confident in his cutting ability and speed that he would make some cuts where I am sure the o-line coach would say ‘what are you doing?'

"After a while you stop saying that because every eighth one he pops it. …Noel Devine does it the same way. He bangs it in there and he is strong. His weight room numbers and speed are legendary."


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