Category Archives: Greg Schiano

Greg Schiano to the Buccaneers

The first thing I saw when I woke up today was this tweet. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was going on.

 I have to say that I was surprised when reports surfaced today that Rutgers Football Coach Greg Schiano was talking to the Tampa Buccaneers about their coaching vacancy. For a few years I had thought that if Schiano was to leave Rutgers it would be to follow Joe Paterno at Penn State. When the whole Penn State scandal broke I figured Schiano would stay especially in light of the strong recruiting class they were putting together. In retrospect though you have to wonder if the way things ended up going at Penn State with Paterno served as a reminder to him that no one stays in one place forever anymore.

I don’t entirely blame Schiano here. How do you say no to the NFL? There has been a lot of negativity towards the program here in New Jersey from people who aren’t football fans given his stature as the highest paid public employee in the state.  The Big East mess had to play a big factor here but him leaving this close to signing day will leave a little bit of a sour taste. He has built this program up well but he has done a disservice to the Rutgers Family (or Scarlet Nation as they are beginning to call themselves) and the “State of Rutgers”. Sports are a business and you have to expect things like this but there is unfinished business here. I wonder where the school goes from here? Would offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti be able to hold the recruiting class together? Or do they turn to someone like Greg Toal who has built at a dynasty at Don Bosco Prep? Keith Sargeant, who is one of the Rutgers beat writers put together this possible short list.

What kind of a contract did Schiano end up getting? I read somewhere that he got a five year deal but the money will be interesting too. He was making north of $2.3 million at Rutgers. I was surprised to hear Adam Schefter mention that Schiano was a finalist for the Rams job too.

Rutgers fans will be angry for a while but Schiano does need to be praised for the work he did while he was here. No, we never did get that BCS game but he did leave the program in a better place then the situation that he inherited and you don’t always get that. Rutgers won’t go back into obscurity. The program has come far enough in the past decade to ensure of that. J.A Adande mentioned on ESPN’s Around the Horn today that Rutgers has 21 players in the NFL right now. Alabama has five. That is a truly remarkable stat given where this program was not that long ago. People will say that he took the easy way out or even make this about money but if Schiano was really chasing that wouldn’t he have taken the jobs at Michigan and Miami when they came his way? An NFL coaching job doesn’t give him anywhere close to the security he had at Rutgers where he could easily have stayed for the next 25 years. I really can’t fault him for wanting a NFL gig. As Atheltic Director Tim Pernetti told the media today, there are only 32 such jobs in the world. If you are a football guy how do you say no to that? You can read a transcript of Pernetti’s comments to the press here.

Just yesterday the program had posted this video online for season ticket renewals. I’ll have my seats again next year. I do want to see where this program goes from here. Hopefully the program  continues to build using the building blocks Greg Schiano left here.
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State of Rutgers Football

As a very disappointing season comes to a close I just want to take a moment to think about where the Rutgers Football program stands at the moment.

There is no way around it. The program did take a step back this year but it is not the end of the world. The last 2 home games there was a lot of talk at the stadium about the need to fire Head Coach Greg Schiano but I couldn’t agree less with that sentiment. The recruiting classes are consistently getting better. The players at the skill positions are not the problem. Hopefully the problems with the offensive line are fixed next year. Next to injuries it was the biggest issue that plagued the team with the departure of a solid line from last year that also included the first round pick for the San Franciso 49ers, Anthony Davis.

The fan base is part of the problem right now too. This team hasn’t had a home field advantage (except for Thursday night games). There are just too many people coming to the games who hopped on the bandwagon in 2006 and just haven’t gotten off of it yet. There are way too many people coming to the games who just aren’t real fans. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times in the last few years that the crowd has left early despite what the final score ends up being. The West Virginia game last year really annoyed me. The team went down 21-3 early and half the crowd early to watch the Yankees/Angels playoff game. The game ended up going down to the wire but less than half the crowd was there to watch the finish.

As crazy as it sounds there are just too many people at these games who have no idea how to react to game situations. It drives me crazy when Rutgers is facing a key 3rd down play on the offense and a certain portion of the crowd just starts getting loud as the offense gets to the line and tries to listen to signals from the quarterback yet the same people are completely quiet when the team faces a big 3rd down play while on defense.

Schiano spoke to the media today about his message to the fan base,

Well, certainly I feel their frustration because there’s no one on the planet that’s more frustrated than I am. So can I feel their frustration? 50 times over. Because they’re frustrated, but then they go do a job or they go back to their family or they do something; my frustration doesn’t end. So yes, I feel their frustration. Sure, I do.

I can tell you this, though: I’m betting that the Rutgers people — the real Rutgers fans — are going to stick with this football team and this coaching staff because we’re going to get this fixed. This isn’t the end of the world. It’s disappointing, it’s sad that it had to happen. But this program is built, as I said in the beginning, on a rock-solid foundation. This storm won’t knock us off that foundation. And we’ll come back stronger.

So that’s what I say to our fans — we’ll be back. Our true fans will stick with us. The bandwagon fans will be there when we win again. And that’s life. I don’t have any ill feelings towards that. I’m in a profession that’s a very competitive profession. It’s entertainment. And when it doesn’t go well, people aren’t entertained. I understand that.

We’re in a big-time market. It’s great when you’re doing well and it’s tough when you’re not. I don’t wish that away. I enjoy that

It is a sad reality that is not just a problem at Rutgers but around the sporting world. As ticket prices go up, the real fan is getting priced out of the stadiums and arenas around the country. There are too many people at sporting events who are only there because they got tickets through work because the company they work for is a sponsor  or just happens to have seats. These people couldn’t care less about the game.

I don’t understand the people who continue to criticize the stadium expansion that happened before the 2009 story. Every blog post, tweet and conversation mentions that Rutgers didn’t sell out any games this year but I haven’t yet seen one mention that for all but one (an 11 AM kickoff on a Friday) game this year the team sold more tickets then the old capacity. Same was true last year. The expansion was needed because of the amount of people that were on the waiting list. Stadium will fill up again and do so very soon. The same people who are complaining now would have complained had the team expanded in phases instead of just adding the 10,000 seats in one spring.

There is a good read today from Dave D’Alessandro saying that the Rutgers season ended when Eric LeGrand got hurt. It is hard to argue against that. Yes, the team had some major weaknesses that were exposed early but the fact that they haven’t been even a half way decent team down the stretch definitely has something to do with LeGrand going down. That is one of the big reasons why I haven’t been as hard on this team as I probably would have been with the Bowl streak coming to an end. These are just kids. Just out of High School and they were on the field as one of their own got paralyzed and has been fighting an uphill battle ever since. By the way, please consider donating to the “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund“. For every one Reggie Bush (or Cam Newton if this story goes the way it looks like it will) there are thousands of college athletes who go out there and risk their health because they love the game. The medical bills will be very high and it has been good to see the sports community do their part.
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Eric LeGrand – Rutgers Football

If you follow me on twitter you’ve heard me mention that I have not yet watched a game of Rutgers Football this season due to a bunch of different reasons. I’ve been keeping an eye out on the program as always though.

By now most sports fans have already seen the clip of it but Junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered a spinal cord injury in the game against Army this past Saturday at the New Meadowlands Stadium. The hit paralyzed him from the neck down. LeGrand, who’s a local kid grew up just a short drive away in Avenel, NJ.

The video of the hit is up on YouTube. It’s the risk you take in a sport like football. We’ve all seen hits that looked far worse but somehow not cause any injury, unfortunately this one wasn’t one of those.

Head Coach Greg Schiano did speak to the media today.




“Here’s the situation: This is going to be a long, long hard road back and there’s going to be speculation and a lot of friends and people who care,” 
“I think it’s important that we stay away from those kinds of things,” Schiano said. “I think there’s so much out there and a lot of it is misguided. Right now, when it’s appropriate, we will make an announcement if there’s any kind of change in his condition. But it’s not going to be a day-to-day thing.”

He appeared on ESPN’s College Football Live and WFAN with Mike Francesa.

Rutgers Athletics released the following Press Release earlier today:

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 17, 2010) – Rutgers junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (Avenel, N.J.) suffered a spinal cord injury in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game vs. Army. The injury was at the C3-C4 level and emergency surgery was performed by doctors throughout the night at Hackensack University Medical Center to stabilize the spine. 

“We want to say thank you to everyone for all of your prayers, kind words, and well wishes,” the LeGrand family said. “We appreciate every single thought. Eric is in good spirits and we are praying for a full recovery.”

Eric is resting in the intensive care unit at Hackensack University Medical Center and will remain there for the near future. Currently, he has no movement below the neck.

“Eric, his family and the Rutgers Football family believe he will recover,” said Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano. “We ask our fans and the entire Rutgers community to believe and pray for Eric as he begins the recovery process.” SEND ERIC YOUR GET WELL WISHES

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63-14

What a night. 63-14. Need I say more? So right before heading to the game I made a pick for ESPN’s Streak for the Cash….and went with the over at 53. I told my brother at the time jokingly that it was going to be 44-10…..definitely wasn’t expecting this.

The night started with a bang with RU scoring less then 2 minutes into the game….and the intensity never stopped after that. Take the hit Britt lashed out on the last play of the first half for example with the score 49-0 at the time.

Hoping to get it from another angle….and possibly the ESPN clip but here is the hit that Britt laid out on some poor Louisville WR to end the first half. For those not familiar with RU Football, Kenny Britt is a WR and will be a 2nd round pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

Crazy play in the first half when everyone in the stadium thought there should have been a penalty…..turns out the refs were right in not calling one.

Rutgers has been on the other side of this score far too often over the years…..it was great to see this night. Gotta feel good for Mike Teel. I wanted to blog earlier about when is booing counterproductive but I’ll save that for another day but what a turnaround he had. Definitely a well deserved night. Glad I brought out the Teel Jersey for the first time on this senior night.

Can someone explain to me why people leave early when it is their team that is winning big? It has always bothered me. Why are you there if you don’t want to stick around to watch your team win?

Some postgame notes courtesy of the Knights’ website:

POSTGAME NOTES

Team Notes
Rutgers’ 63-14 victory over Louisville was the Scarlet Knights’ sixth-straight win. It tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in school history to close out a regular season with the six consecutive victories. The win was also the Scarlet Knights’ fifth-straight BIG EAST victory, a school record.

It was the first home victory in the month of December since Dec. 7, 1878.

The 63 points scored was the most Rutgers has ever scored in a BIG EAST game. It topped the previous total of 62 scored in a 62-0 victory over Temple on Oct. 2, 1993. The 63 points were also the most scored in a game by the Scarlet Knights since the 1993 season, when RU defeated Colgate 68-6.

The 63 points was the most allowed by Louisville in a BIG EAST game.

The 49 first half points were the most Rutgers has ever scored in a half in a BIG EAST game and the 49-0 advantage was the largest halftime lead the Scarlet Knights have ever had in a league game in school history.

The 49 first-half point total tied for the third-most scored by a league member in the conference’s history.

Rutgers’ 98-yard, first-quarter scoring drive was the longest scoring drive of the season for the Scarlet Knights

Rutgers averaged 15.1 yards per play in the first half and finished the stanza with 468 total yards of offense.

The Scarlet Knights achieved a season-high 671 total yards, the most-ever by a Greg Schiano coached team at Rutgers.

Rutgers finished with a season-high 224 yards on the ground on 33 carries. The Scarlet Knights averaged 6.8 yards per rush.

I’ll have more to say about this game once I watch it again….but man. What a night!

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Rutgers Football – Great for College Football

The year hasn’t exactly gone as fans of RU football had hoped it would. The Thursday night win against Louisville last year has given a new mindset to college football fans in New Jersey. The win last night against South Florida was a much needed one. The team needed some credibility and last night provided that. As tough as losing to Maryland and Cincinnati was, last night we forgot about that. I have lived in New Jersey for 7 years and have never seen this kind of excitement for the Devils or Nets…..ever. Doesn’t matter where you go in the area, New Jersey has Scarlet Fever.
A record crowd of 44,627 including among others David Wright, Michael Strahan, Jason Kidd (missed the Nets game because of an “injury”) and Kevin James. ESPN at times tries too hard to make it seem like RU is New York’s team. All you see on the broadcasts are the Empire State Building and the rest of the NYC skyline like it’s just a couple of blocks from the stadium. The strategy is brilliant. As big as college football is one thing it has missed is a strong presence in the biggest media market of them all….New York City. Rutgers is the answer to that. Granted we need a couple more years of consistency to get to that level but this team is well on its way.
Schiano has done a good job spreading the “State of Rutgers” as he calls it. Reaching out into NYC and Philadelphia gives him another recruiting base and also builds the fanbase in those two cities. The fan base that exists already (including the bandwagon fans) has been phenomenal. The atmosphere in and out of the stadium is electric.

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Students Camp Out in “Schianoville”

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Rutgers student section ticket allotment of 10,500 seats were distributed in just four hours Tuesday morning at the Student Ticket Gate at Rutgers Stadium. More than 1,000 Rutgers students camped out overnight outside Rutgers Stadium in anticipation of Tuesday morning’s student ticket distribution for Thursday night’s BIG EAST showdown between No. 14 Rutgers and No. 3 Louisville.
When ticket distribution commenced at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, the line had grown to over 5,000 students, stretching halfway around the stadium’s perimeter.
Head coach Greg Schiano greeted the students in line late Monday evening, handing out 50 pizzas to the enthusiastic supporters, igniting several Rutgers chants.
Students in possession of a student ticket to the game must also present a valid student identification card along with their student ticket to gain entry to the Thursday’s game. There will be no exceptions.

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