Recent Posts
About ZagsBlog
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.
Follow Zags on Twitter
Contact Zags
Connect with Zags:
Sunday / May 27.
  • Schiano Press Conference Quotes

    Share Zagsblog Share Zagsblog

    Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano gave his first press conference of the season today live on SNY. Among other topics of interest, he hasn’t declared a starter in the running back battle between Mason Robinson or Kordell Young.

    On Camp:

    “I thought it was a good camp. I thought our guys worked extremely hard, the players, the coaches and the staff, to put us in a position to get us in our season. We were fortunate that not a lot of guys got banged up, hopefully that trend can continue. We’re not where we need to be, to be the football team we’re capable of being, but probably a lot of coaches in the country feel that way. We’re just going to have to keep working through it, we’re going to be a work in progress, and we just have to see how much progress we can make.”

     

    On the possibility of throwing the ball more:

    “We have a senior quarterback, so we’re certainly more apt to throw the ball this year than Mike’s first year as a starter. But as I said before, having an experienced quarterback, it’s not just about throwing the ball, it’s about running the offense, getting in and out of the right plays, we feel more comfortable with that stuff.”

     

    On the wide receivers:

    “Kenny [Britt] and Ty [Underwood] have played a lot of football for us and they have been very productive. The experience they have leads us to feel comfortable there. Dennis [Campbell] and Tim [Brown] are the guys that have done things for us at different times, but we need consistency from them. They are both electric players, but consistency from them is going to be the key. I anticipate consistency from them, and that’s going to give us a lot of depth. Then we have a bunch of young guys that I think will be able to contribute in their own way.”

     

    On Fresno State’s Quarterback, Tom Brandstater:

    “He’s very comfortable in what he’s doing. Look at his stats from last year, 63 percent completion rating, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions, those are all very telling statistics. He’s mobile, to the extent that he can get out of trouble very well. They don’t ask him to be an option quarterback or a run-read quarterback, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to because they do have a new offensive coordinator [Doug Nussmeier], but that has not been the demands put upon him. But when he is under pressure he’s got a great feel in the pocket and he can escape.”

     

    On the similarities between Fresno State and Rutgers:

    “They lost a really good running back, I think he’s in the NFL now. They have some young backs that will fill in there, they played some last year like our backs did, but now it’s their show. They have a very good tight end, a very good player. We are going to have to know where he is at all times. They are multiple in their schemes offensively. They shift in motion and move a ton, they do some unconventional things. But make no mistake they are going to bloody your nose and run the football, so we better match toughness play for play. Defensively they have a real good defensive tackle [Jon Monga], he’s a real disruptive force. Their middle linebacker is a really good player, and then one of their safeties is a really active guy, and their corner [A.J. Jefferson] is a really active guy. The defense plays very, very hard. And their special teams group is extremely good. That’s going to be an area where the game might be decided, and it always can be, but they are very good in that area and we’re young in that area, they have a new kick off guy, so we’ll see. It should be a great opener.”

     

    On Rutgers’ toughness:

    “I think we’re a tough football team, but we do need to get tougher. We play extremely hard, and we are tough, but we’re not as precise as we need to be, or as consistent as I want us to be, but that goes with the first game.”

     

    On the team’s mentality before the season-opener:

    “You only get to play 12 games, so no matter who you’re opening with, you’re excited and you’re ripping at it ready to go. I think there is a little bit extra because we know that this team is something else. Our best may not be good enough to beat them, and that’s a fact. Right now our best might not be good enough to handle them. But if we don’t play our best, we have no chance.”

     

    On his relationship with Fresno State head coach Pat Hill:

    “We’ve known each other. He’s a very good football coach and a good person. He’ll bring a team here that’s ready to play and is tough. I see a team there that’s similar to us, schematically and the way they play.”

     

    On Fresno State’s offense:

    “You talk about balance, they’re balanced. Over 200 from both sides, over the course of 13 games, that’s balanced. From knowing Pat, they’re going to do what he does. He was an offensive line coach before he became a head coach, so he believes in what he believes. What you have to do is try to figure out what the new offensive coordinator [Doug Nussmeier] is going to add to that. I know that they are going to come and lead up with that fullback and try to smash you, and that’s what we’re going to see and they are going to see that from us. It’s the other things, the periphery things, that you have to be ready for. Special plays, formations, different things, maybe there will be option, maybe gun zone. We prepare for it anyway in the preseason, and even if they haven’t shown a lot of it, you know something different will show its head.”

     

    On facing Fresno State’s offense:

    “As a defensive coach, you are worried about every offense whether they have the 119th ranked stats or the top-ranked stats. Because defense in and of itself is kind of a negative. If they gain one yard you’re in the hole. So what you try to do is cut your losses, you try to defend. This group is certainly potent. It’s going to take every ounce of what we have to have a chance to win.”

     

    On Rutgers’ defensive backs:

    “Obviously the twins are our guys at corner. Then we have some really good young defensive backs playing behind them. Brandon Bing is going to be very good. The guy who is a steadying factor back there is an older guy in Billy Anderson. All Billy does is do everything right, so he’s going to play. Then you look at the young guys, Brandon Jones is a good football player, he and David Rowe may get on the field. So there are some young guys who can run and who can play, they’re just inexperienced.”

     

    On Rutgers’ defensive line:

    “We’re building that as we go. I think Charlie Noonan had his best period of play over this camp. He continues to get better. Blair Bines is getting ready, but he’s going to be forced to play maybe before he’s ready to play, but that’s the way it goes. I think we’re ok at the ends, we have Jon Freeny and Gary Watts, it’s the inside where you wonder what it’s going to be.”

     

    On Rutgers’ linebackers:

    “With the linebackers, I knew they would play hard last year, and now I think now they are more experienced, and I think they are more comfortable, which makes me feel more comfortable. I think we were productive last year. You look at Malast’s stats, he was our leading tackler. But I think we’re going to play better. I think that our linebackers will play more consistently.”

     

     

    On Rutgers’ running game:

    “I’m not concerned, because I think we’ll be able to run the ball, but until we do I can’t be sure. We’ll have to wait and see on Monday, line up against someone else and run the football. I won’t be concerned with it until something makes me concerned.”

     

    On Rutgers’ running back position:

    “I think Mason Robinson and Kordell Young are going to be the first two guys, not necessarily in any order, just see what plays we’re running. Our offensive coaches do a good job of knowing this is what he does best and this is what he does best, and then try to fit that. So we’ll do that today and tomorrow, really hone in on which runs are for whom, and then go from there.”

     

    On Rutgers’ ability to run outside:

    “I think they can run outside, but I think they can run inside as well. They both have a good sense of inside running. I think it will be a mix, and I think it may even be a better mix than it was because we are more capable of going outside.”

     

    On Rutgers’ offensive line:

    “I think these young guys will be good. Caleb Ruch has never played in a college football game, so Fresno State will be his first, and that will be interesting. I believe he’s ready, he’s worked very hard to get himself ready, to understand what it is to play every down on a Division I level. Now that’s in practice, so now he has to do it in a game. Howard Barbieri has established himself as someone we can count on. Kevin Haslam I believe will be back and will be ok. From a health standpoint, I think Anthony Davis will be ok. So I think we’ll have our top six guys ready to go, and if we have to go deeper than that, we’ll have to do some shuffling of the deck.”

     

    On the relationship between quarterback Mike Teel and his offensive line:

    “We’re going to find out how good they are. You have two guys who are in NFL training camps right now and Mike Fladell, who should be in camp, in my opinion. That’s pretty hard to replace. I’m sure in Teel’s mind he’s confident in his offensive line, but let’s see you do it. Teel can’t worry about that, he has to do his job and trust that they will do theirs. But those are the unknowns, so until you see them do it, how do you know?”

     

    On RU defensive lineman Alex Silvestro:

    “He’s getting there. Alex is another young guy, and going down inside is another world you have to learn, and Alex is getting better every day. Jamaal Westerman could always go back there, but I just felt that here was a guy who had played a position for four years now and I wanted to see how he’d do down there, and he’d be fine. But I would rather not disrupt two positions.”

     

    On watching former Scarlet Knights in the NFL:

    “I’m just too busy, so I really just don’t have time to watch NFL games. I just found out Jeremy Zuttah started a game the other night. Pedro Sosa is in a camp now, I just found that out yesterday, and that’s great. I root for them but we’re so busy, and they send us texts about what they’re up to. But I haven’t really watched any pro football, I watched maybe 10 plays of the Browns-Giants game, and that’s it. But it is exciting. When we got here we said eventually that line is going to start flowing to the NFL, and once it does it won’t stop. That’s what is happening, that’s for sure. You look at this group of seniors now, there are going to be many of them playing in the NFL, and that’s what good programs do.”


    On current Scarlet Knights speaking with former Scarlet Knights in the NFL:

    “Could be good and could be bad. Could be good, because for kids at that age, the level of player that these guys are, the NFL is it. Anything they see, they talk about it, they love it. They just have to be sure that they understand that there’s good and there’s bad. Don’t wish away time because there’s nothing like your college football experience. That I can tell them, I’ve been in both sides, and I think the NFL guys have told them that. This is it. The next one is a job. This is it.”

     

    On Rutgers’ linebackers:

    “I thought they played well. Right now the starting three are Manny Abreu, Ryan D’Imperio and Kevin Malast. Damaso has gotten a lot better this year, as has Ryan, so Damaso Munoz is going to play some. Jim Dumont has played his way into the two-deep. Antonio Lowery is in the two-deep, which is good for him. So not only are the first three guys doing well, but I think the backups are too.”

     

    On facing a team like Fresno State in the first game:

    “In college football, you don’t have preseason games, so everything is right off the bat. We have a lot of situations where have to face some of the best right off the bat, so we better be ready. I don’t know if our best is good enough, but anything less we’re not going to have a chance. There are guys on this team who have never played in games, so we don’t know how they are going to respond. We have new coaches that have not coached together in a real game, so we tried using headsets during scrimmages. But the pressures of a real game are definitely different than anything you can create in practice.”

     

    On veteran leadership in the defensive backfield:

    “It’s great to have Courtney Greene and the twins back there. As long as they’ve been playing, they help us. We discuss ideas with them, ask them if they think this can work or that can work. It reminds me of working in the NFL, going back and forth with guys. If you have a young guy, it really doesn’t do much to ask him, because he really doesn’t know what problems are out there. He might tell you what he likes, but he doesn’t know how it’s going to fly. Guys like Courtney and the twins, they’ve played a lot of football, so they know. They come back and say, coach remember when we did this, that happened, and that’s great.”

     

    On the strong safety position:

    “That’s the best of those two guys, Zaire Kitchen and Joe Lefeged. Each day we were alternating who was with the first team, and I never realized. I had to ask Coach Pinkham who was out there at safety, because each one of them did a great job, and I feel very comfortable with both. We want to make sure both of them play, because there’s no reason that one of them should be tired when we have another on the sideline.”

     

    On Rutgers as a physical team:

    “I think we have a team that will punish you. Especially a guy like George Johnson, he’s a guy that has put some hits on people this training camp where I was worried they weren’t getting up.”

     

    On the opening game being broadcast on ESPN:

    “I think it’s great to be on national television. If you win some games, you’ll get on television, and if you don’t win, you won’t be on television. Our job is to make sure that we keep winning, and television will take care of itself. But it is great, they have UCLA and Tennessee after us, so that’s a great afternoon and evening of football.”

     

    On the possibility of Kenny Britt returning punts:

    “He’s working there, but I’m not sure he’s the best punt returner, so that’s why we wouldn’t have him in there. If he’s the best, then we may be careful because if he’s gassed or tired we wouldn’t want him out there. But if he’s the best and that gives us the best chance to win, then that play is just as important to me as him running a takeoff route.”

     

    On communicating on the field:

    “I think our leadership does that more than we do. When we’re out there playing we try to communicate on defense. We’ve told them that they are at home this week, so the good news is that the opposing offense can’t hear themselves, but the bad news is that we can’t hear ourselves either. So when you’re making checks and changing the defensive coverages, you have to do hand signals, you have to be loud, you have to communicate, and not many high school players have to deal with a game where they can’t even hear themselves talking. We try to give them experience with crowd noise, and making the crowd noise deafening so that they have to communicate via hand signals. All that is fine, but then you throw that one variable of the pressure to perform in a game, and you don’t always know how it’s going to go. That’s why weird things happen in games.”

     

    On the college football schedule:

    “You haven’t played a game in so long. You play the first one, then bang 10 days later you’re playing another one, and then six days later another game, so the key I think is to treat every game like the first game of the season, approach it with that kind of enthusiasm and newness, so we will work on that. It’s not a problem for the actual first game, it’s when you get into the year and you’re banged up and the game is coming too fast for you, then you have to have that kind of attitude.”

    Written by

    [email protected]

    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.