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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / October 19.
  • Greg Schiano Media Day Quotes

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    Opening Statement:

    “It’s been a good first four practices with good days. We’ve been able to meet, walk-through and then practice. There’s been good enthusiasm and I’m pleased so far. We have a long way to go but there’s effort, enthusiasm and guys are trying so that part of it has been very good.”

    On the speculation of there being a buyout clause in relation to stadium expansion in Coach Schiano’s contract

    “There’s been a lot of speculation as far as the stadium’s completion and there being something tied into my contract. There’s nothing like that at all. This contract got negotiated a long time ago and certainly there were a lot of things talked about. Like I’ve said all along, as long as Rutgers and the State of New Jersey are committed to being the best, we are going to grow responsibly and I think that’s what we’ve done. There was speculation that there is some letter or an addendum to my contract that says there’s a buyout and there’s no such thing. Did we talk about it? Yes. Could I of had it if I wanted? Yes. But I’m part of something bigger than just football. I’m part of Rutgers University and I thought the commitment was there so I didn’t want to do things that way. When you’re part of something, there has to be trust.”


    On if there is added pressure because of the speculated dissent in the academic community:

    “I’ve been at a few places so there’s always some dissent. It’s not just at Rutgers. No matter how popular the program is, there’s always a fraction that doesn’t agree with it, but I don’t feel any pressure and I don’t think our players do. I tell people all the time, this university and its governance made a decision long before I was the head coach that they were going to be a major college football program. Part of that is joining the BIG EAST Conference and along with that goes certain expenses or certain things you have to do if you’re going to be competitive. Again, as I’ve said all along, this place is very special to me but one of the reasons it is special is because we want to be the best. We’re going to do it the right way, but we’re doing everything we can to someday be the best football program in the country. That goes with academically and we’ve quite frankly pretty much have gotten to that. Now all we have to do is keep it up as far as the academic performance of our players in relation to the rest of the country. We got to 12th in the country in 2006 and that was great, but it’s what have you done for me lately. So we have a lot of challenges ahead of us, but I think and feel a great deal of support from our school, the State of New Jersey, our administration and our Governor. Personally, I think there’s a lot of excitement. I think sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease and that’s part of life. I don’t worry about it.”

    On how tough it was this summer with all that was written:

    “I shrug it off. I’m afraid that when you’re born and raised in a place and most of your family still lives there, I feel bad for them because they read it and nobody knows how you’re feeling. What is important to me is these kids, the staff and my family. We have great people around here and that’s one of the biggest assets. With Bob Mulcahy (Director of Athletics) and Kevin MacConnell (Deputy Director of Athletics), we have guys that are tirelessly working to help this program. Then when you look at this coaching staff, I think it’s just really, really good. And then our players, they are our strength. Without them this program goes nowhere and we have great young men in our program, not only football players, but people. All that is what I focus on and it’s fun.”

    On if the program is at the point where they are reloading and not rebuilding each season:

    “I think when you have a program, you have young players that are known about during recruiting but then you don’t hear from them for a year or two. But just because you’re not hearing from them doesn’t mean they’re not getting better and better. They are and you guys see them at practice, but the general public doesn’t see them all the time because they’re not quite ready to go play in the game. When you have a program all those people are in place and now they’re just waiting their turn and we’re getting there. Are we there at every position? Not quite yet, but I look at some of the competitions that are going on out there on the practice field and I would love to say yes we are getting closer.”

    On replacing Ray Rice and the senior class:

    “The neat thing about college football is every year you lose some guys to graduation and you have some new guys come in. Now when you lose a guy like Ray Rice who did so much for your program it’s hard. It’s not coincidental that things really took off during his time here. Now he certainly had a great supporting cast and Ray would be the first one to tell you that, but Ray’s a phenomenal football player and a great teammate to have and we’re going to miss him. Having said that, Kordell (Young), Mason (Robinson), Jourdan (Brooks) and Joe (Martinek) have looked really impressive so far. That’s spring time and now. Do we have a Ray Rice? No, we don’t. But we have other guys and they’re going to do their best and I think their best is going to be pretty good. We lost two starting tackles, a starting guard, a defensive tackle and some guys in the secondary just like every team. But there’s a great deal of competition out there between qualified people and I think like the old saying ‘the cream will rise to the top’, that will happen.”

    On the offensive line:

    “I think we’re close. Right now we have some young guys on the offensive line that are going to be really good football players. Is it going to happen by September 1, I don’t think. So there’s where the continued progression is going to be critical and can we stay healthy until they’re ready? I hope so. If not, they are going to have to play.”

    On Kordell Young’s progression from last season’s injury:
    “He’s doing well. So far he’s done everything. I was happy when our trainer told me he could do everything besides two-a-days and we don’t have many of those. He’s rehabbed incredibly well and he’s been able to hold up so far. Today’s a big day because it’ll be the first time he gets hit on it live.”
    On his philosophy in hiring coaches:

    “You go with people you’re comfortable with so you have some kind of relationship. That’s been my history. I’m very hesitant to go outside of people we know. Once in awhile we’ve done it and been successful, but I’m very happy with the staff right now. I think they’ve worked incredibly hard, not only in football but also in recruiting and in mentoring their players but academically and in other ways in their life. I think this staff is really coming together well, but we haven’t played a game so we’ll see.”

    On the team captains:

    “On offense it’s going to be Mike (Teel) and Tiquan (Underwood) as the two captains. On defense we actually have Jason McCourtyfour captains: Pete Tverdov, Kevin Malast, Courtney Green and Jason McCourty . So we have six captains which I’ve never done. I haven’t been a head coach that long, but in seven years, I’ve never done that. I’m excited about it. I think they’ve done a very good job. Our whole leadership team has done a good job.”

    On the return of several players from injury in camp:
    “We’ve had a few guys come back off injury which is good. Zaire (Kitchen) is really playing well. He’s kind of picked up where he left off, where as last time he came back from knee surgery, he really struggled for awhile. Charlie Noonan has come back from surgery and really come back as his old self. Damaso (Munoz) missed the entire spring and I was concerned if he’d be ready to go at the beginning of camp. He really busted his tail to be ready and he’s playing well. Damaso and Ryan (D’Imperio) and in the middle of a great competition.”

    On good competitions going on during the first week:

    “On defense there’s some good competition going on inside at tackle because we don’t know who it’s going to be that backs-up Pete (Tverdov). At the tackle position, Alex (Silvestro) and Blair (Bines) and some of the young guys are really competing. Also, it’s competing for what. We have about eight guys, so it’s a matter of who gets to start the game and who gets more reps. Who’s the 40 rep a game guy and who’s the 20 rep a game guy.”

    “Offensively, I think there’s great competition on the o-line for some of the depth of the line. Kevin (Brock) is our tight end, but there’s really good competition for who’s going to be our second tight end and when we go two tights, who’s going to get on the field.”

    On Anthony Davis switching positions:

    “We recruited him to be an offensive tackle, but we happened to have two multiple year starters at both positions so we didn’t want to tip the boat there. We scheduled Anthony in at guard and he met our expectations and became a starter. But the plan all along was to move him out to tackle during his sophomore year. After he came here he was pretty heavy and over the course of time he has gotten himself down to where he’s 315-320 (lbs.) and we need him to come through big at the left tackle spot. Everything indicates that he will, but he has to go do it.”

    On the way he’ll use his redshirts this season:

    “What do we need to be successful now? If they can help us win now, we’re going to use them as long as they’re on board. I’ve never redshirted a kid or played a kid if he wasn’t on board with it. I learned a lesson a long time ago when I wasn’t a head coach, but was part of a staff that did that and the guys heart wasn’t into it. We didn’t get his best. It has to be a consensus that it’s what’s best, but as a head coach you can certainly lead that consensus a little bit. But some guys are just adamantly against it so I won’t force the issue. I don’t believe in that.”

    On where the leadership will come from this year:

    “I think those six captains are definitely leaders. One of them is a repeat captain in Mike (Teel). Mike’s our quarterback and a multiple year starter so if you said there’s one guy, it’s probably Mike. But I think all six of captains are really looked up to by their teammates.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.