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Listen to Audio (8:53)
“Now we’re in the grind of the season. Having the open date and getting through that, playing a game and now getting into a regular game routine with your football team. Come in on Sunday, look at the tape, learn from your mistakes and use that as a teaching and coaching opportunity, introduce your players a little bit to the upcoming opponent and I thought that yesterday went very well. I thought that our players were very receptive. Some of these young kids are getting their first opportunity to play or are eager to look at the film and see the mistakes that they made, things that they did well and how they can get better. We spent some time yesterday introducing a little of Rutgers and we spent some time with our own selves. We had about a 40-minute practice yesterday that got some of the guys that didn’t get a chance to participate and play in the game an opportunity to go out and to do some things schematically that are about us.
“When you play against Greg Schiano’s team – and I know Greg very well from the years that we spent at Miami; he’s a very good football coach and he has done a remarkable job at Rutgers. From taking that team 10 years ago from where it was to what they’ve accomplished over the last 10 seasons, he’s just done an outstanding job. He’s a very good football coach. He’s a good defensive-minded football coach. They’ve gone through some of the things – stadium expansion, growing their program, recruiting in the Northeast. He deserves a lot of credit.
“When you look at their football team, they play an awful lot like Greg, like his personality. Defensively, they’re a lot of high pressure. They believe in bringing a lot of pressure on the quarterback, bringing a lot of pressure with stunts and blitzes. You can his aggressive personality as evidence of their defense. Offensively, they’re pretty much… I won’t say they are exactly what they were the first time that we played them in 2008. They’ve grown a little bit, they’ve added some wildcat situations where they take one of the wide receivers and put them in the backfield like what we did with Greg Little a couple of years ago. The quarterback is playing very, very well. [Tom Savage] has started 11 games for them and he’s got 10 wins. He does a very good job of managing the football game. He’s smart with the football, he’s got a very good arm. He was one of the higher recruited quarterbacks in the country when Rutgers signed him. So he’s doing a very good job…
“Having said that, we’re excited about getting ready to play the game and getting guys in here this week looking at the game plan. There is no update, so there’s nothing new to add. As I said last week, if there’s anything that comes up or if we find anything out, you guys will be the first to know. We’re preparing every single week to play with the same guys that we had the previous week.”
You said when Marvin Austin was suspended that there was a possibility that he could come back and play this season –
“Those are things that clearly are out of my control. Those are decisions that are going to be made as part of the NCAA review. I hold out optimism that hopefully he will, but I don’t have any indication one way or the other.
Where does he stand as far as practice goes?
“He’s still suspended… He is working to earn his way back on to the practice field. He continues to do that. He’s still suspended indefinitely.”
Listen to Audio (8:53)
Is there starting to be a feeling that you’ve got to win a game soon?
“Yes, we’ve definitely got to get into the win column. We’ve been playing very well the first two weeks. There are a lot of positives that we can take away from the games, but when you look at the overall, we’re 0-2 right now. So we’ve just got to find a way to get a win.”
How is the team’s morale right now?
“It’s pretty good. Everybody knows that we are 0-2, but we’re playing very well. There’s just been a couple of unforced errors in each game that prevented us from getting a win and getting over that hump. The young guys on defense are getting more experience, they’re getting better every game and every practice, so things are looking up.”
Has it been difficult after these losses to not look back and say, ‘If we had only had this player or this player’?
“That’s over now. We got past it. We’ve got two games under our belt and we kind of know who we’re playing with now. Whatever happens afterwards, we can deal with it then. But nobody on this team is making excuses.”
Listen to Audio (6:21)
How tough is it to not have NFL-caliber players like Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn out there?
“You can’t use it as a distraction. Those two are our brothers and we miss them as far as being out there on the field, but we can’t let that distract us and make the team unsuccessful.”
We’re definitely taking this game as one that we have to win. We don’t see anything else besides winning this game. It’s a must-win situation and a we’re-going-to-win situation.”