As the Big Ten prepares to play a shortened season beginning on Oct. 23, head football coach Greg Schiano shared his thoughts about the new season on the “Inside Rutgers Athletics" podcast.
During the podcast, which was recorded after the conference voted to restart the season on Wednesday, Schiano took calls from the media and answered questions about keeping players safe while still preparing for the season.
Schiano was asked if there were more positive test results from the Rutgers football team, and also about rapid antigen testing and how it could prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreaks, an important question considering the Scarlet Knights had an outbreak during the summer.
“I think the rapid antigen testing is a game changer,” Schiano said. “We have had a few more positive tests, but not a runaway issue or anything like that.”
One of the main topics of the podcast was about how Rutgers has five weeks to prepare for its first game and didn't have a full practice schedule or training camp over the summer to ready itself.
“We’re going to have to take the different contingency plans together and mesh them together,” Schiano said. “Some of that has not trickled down to us, what is going to be legal, how many hours a week do we get to prepare our football teams.”
He described training camp as the only time collegiate football was “only focused on football,” and how the loss of a month would make for a challenge, since he has to prepare the Knights for their first game while the student-athletes are dealing with classes and tutoring.
Schiano was also asked to compare which of his tenures with Rutgers had a more difficult start. He took over for the first time in 2000, inheriting a team that had only four winning seasons in 20 years and no bowl appearances since 1978.
“Yeah, I’d say this is a lot different and certainly the biggest challenge,” Schiano said. “I’m glad I’m doing it at 54 and not at 34.”
He also commented on the Big Ten's announcement that no fans will be allowed at any of the games this season and the overall differences that this season will bring.
“I really can’t tell you what it’s going to be like, I’ve never done that. I imagine it’s going to be like scrimmaging yourself in your stadium, only the stakes will be much higher,” Schiano said. “Are you going to be able to play for your teammates on your right and left and the coaches on the sidelines? Because that’s who’s going to be there with you, and I love it.”
Schiano ended the show with the message that he would be ready for this season.
“Overall, I’m excited. Our players, our coaches, everyone has a renewed energy. We’re going to go to work,” he said.
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