Head coach Greg Schiano and senior running back Aaron Young addressed the media ahead of Rutgers' next matchup against Penn State. After losing their last two games to Iowa and Ohio State, the Scarlet Knights (6-4, 3-4) will attempt to pick up a significant victory against a tough opponent this weekend.
Schiano began his Monday press conference by addressing how this will be the third week Rutgers will compete against an elite defense. He complimented the Nittany Lions' (8-2, 5-2) defense, exclaiming that their front will present a big challenge as they have "an unusual group of talent this year."
"They are really good," Schiano said. "They are good at all three levels. They run as well as any defense I've seen in a long time. Their front runs. Their defensive ends run as well as most teams' safeties."
On top of raving about No. 12 Penn State's defense, he recognized that Beaver Stadium's noise levels as well as having "poise in the noise," could be a test for the Knights, as this proved to be a struggle for the team during last Saturday's game against Iowa.
"We have to find a way to go into another hostile environment against a top-five defense and win a game, be 1-0 at the end of it and how we do that, that's all-encompassing for me," Schiano said.
Schiano was asked if benching junior quarterback Gavin Wimsatt would be a possibility considering Wimsatt's poor offensive performance against the Hawkeyes (8-2, 5-2). He replied to the question without hesitation.
"No, that's not something I'm considering," Schiano said.
Speaking about the impact the linebackers have dealt with since losing junior linebacker Tyreem Powell, Schiano emphasized how much he is missed. He brought up Powell's influence on defense and how much of a complete player he is.
"He was the adjuster on punt. And then every specialty play that we have built in that you don't see until you see them, right, end-of-game plays, end-of-game offensive plays," Schiano said. "Tyreem was on all of those."
Schiano outlined Rutgers' developmental program and noted that it has only been moving upward. One of the most important things he emphasized is that the team needs to know itself.
"Maybe if you go into free agency (or) NIL and get all these players in a swoop because you had a bankroll the size of Detroit, then maybe you'd turn it, but we don't have that," Schiano said. "So we know who we are. I know who we are."
Schiano expressed that every single game the Knights have played, they have been capable of winning within the fourth quarter. Schiano's progress is attributed, in part, to Rutgers realizing its potential.
Young spoke to the media about how he sees confidence in both him and the team. He mentioned that his individual confidence level is at its peak right now and that he also has a lot of faith that the Knights' offense is very capable of bouncing back.
"That's what we train for all off-season just to be able to bounce back from the negatives," Young said. "Just taking it one play at a time, one step at a time, we're going to overcome maybe the past game and just grow as an offense."
Young acknowledged that although the Nittany Lions could be a formidable opponent, he thinks Rutgers is dedicated to meeting the challenge to the best of its abilities.
"We do our job and we manage what we do best, so that's the only way we look at it," Young said.
The Knights will take on Penn State at noon on Saturday in University Park, Pennsylvania, and will be broadcast on Fox Sports and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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