Knights use time off to improve

By Dane Truxell Daily Targum

December 11, 2007

New Brunswick, NJ (CSTV U-WIRE) -- With the International Bowl looming in the distance, the Rutgers football team still hasn't started practicing for Ball State.

Instead, the Scarlet Knights (7-5, 3-4 Big East) are focusing mainly on improving fundamentals through individual drills. It's a time where the injured get an opportunity to rest and the inexperienced gain an opportunity to get reps.

"I kind of like it," head coach Greg Schiano said. "If we're not going to play in one of the BCS games, it's nice to have that time off. The young guys get a lot of time."

The time is, then, more for the growth of the backups and the health of the starters than anything else.

The team will begin focusing their attention on Ball State (7-5, 5-2 Mid-American Conference) following Christmas.

Speaking of health, Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel didn't throw because of the rib muscle injury he suffered during the team's Nov. 29 loss at Louisville.

Also ailing is receiver Kenny Britt, Schiano said. The sophomore, who got his knee scoped, is expected to return to practice in the coming weeks.

Saturday was one of the first big weekends of recruiting. Rutgers held its first official recruiting weekend, though most of the visitors had already given a verbal commitment. The weekend wasn't a waste though, as the Rutgers football team secured two additional verbals, according to Virginia defensive tackle Scott Vallone, Maryland quarterback Wayne Warren and New Brunswick defensive end Marquise Hamm all committed over the last three days.

Schiano may be suffering from flashbacks when he goes up against Ball State. The coach was a graduate assistant for the Scarlet Knights when they tied the Cardinals in 1989.

"I remember the game vividly," Schiano said. "The last play of the game, [they're] throwing it up for grabs. Sean Williams was locked up on the No. 1 receiver. They throw it up for grabs, it's incomplete, game over and everybody's celebrating. But there's a holding penalty [one Williams]. They moved it up five yards and kicked a 52-yard field goal to tie it."

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