Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano addressed the media yesterday ahead of Saturday’s road matchup between the Scarlet Knights (4-3, 1-3) and Minnesota.
To start the interview, Schiano was asked about how the team is only allowed to take 74 players with them on road games. Schiano spoke about a complex grid system he uses to decide who will join the team on the plane against the Golden Gophers (4-3, 1-3).
“It’s a big part of the head coach’s job because you have to forecast, and the problem is, on Sunday, you’re still figuring out the injuries from Saturday — who’s going to be able to (play). There’s a lot of question marks,” Schiano said.
Schiano spoke about how he thinks the team is getting better each week.
“I don’t think you learn to win,” Schiano said. “I think you learn to execute. You learn to chop. You learn to not let situations dictate behavior, rather let your culture dictate your behavior. Then all of a sudden, when you get better at the skills, you start to win.”
Junior running back Aaron Young made his season debut on special teams in last week’s win over Indiana. It was his first game back from injury this season. Schiano said that as Young keeps pounding and getting healthier, his role on the team will expand.
Schiano also commended Young for his versatility and football intangibles.
“Hopefully, we can see more from him this week because I think people forget what a good football player he is," Schiano said. "He can catch passes, he can line up at wideout, running back, special teams. He’s one of our really better well-versed players.”
Later on, Schiano said he believes that when having a good defense, time of possession on offense is important.
“If you have a good defense and you shorten the game a little bit by controlling the football, then it’s kind of ... like Russian roulette,” Schiano said. “If you spin the chamber, the more times you spin it, the more likely one of them is going to have a bullet in it, so if you limit the times their offense has to spin the chamber and you’re playing good defense, you got a chance.”
Schiano then talked about the development of sophomore quarterback Gavin Wimsatt. Wimsatt made his first collegiate start at the helm of the offense in Rutgers' season-opening victory over Boston College. Since then, he saw playing time in the team’s next two games before missing time due to injury.
Even so, Wimsatt has been getting healthier as the weeks go by and is ready to play this Saturday against Minnesota if Schiano calls his number.
“I just think that (Wimsatt) is seeing it better, which gives him the ability to make faster decisions,” Schiano said. “He has to make the correct decision, and he’s got to make it faster. Because what happens in the pass game is windows open and close, and if you know what you’re reading and you get the ball up and out, you have a chance. If you hold it and you wait … usually the (defensive back) is going to close and make a play and maybe an interception.”
The next five games are crucial for the Knights if they want to make it to a second straight Bowl game. But to Schiano, it’s just one game at a time.
“We tell them the same thing every week. It’s a one-game season,” Schiano said. “We’re just trying to be 1-0. We put everything we got into this. When you see how crushed everybody is when we don’t win the game it’s because … everything we got goes into that one game.”
Rutgers will kick off their game against the Gophers at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday with the broadcast taking place on the Big Ten Network and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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