PISCATAWAY, N.J. — In what is undoubtedly a busy time of the year for all students let alone student-athletes, Rutgers football head coach has a simple message for his team.
Get. Some. Sleep.
Schiano, known for his attention to detail, has high expectations for his football team on the field, in the film room and in the classroom. And while a college student is often filled with the exuberance that personifies youth, it doesn’t mean that a Big Ten athlete can keep firing on all cylinders without getting the necessary rest.
The changing schedule, Schiano said, means he needs to emphasize that his team takes the necessary steps to continue at a high-level for this season.
“Well, the biggest thing is we started school on Tuesday. So you talk about their world-changing – it changes a lot. Right?” Schiano said.
“They have study hall, they have classes, they have homework, and I kind of stressed this last week. This is one of the more competitive universities in the country, right? So the people that are competing within the classroom – (it) is very challenging. And what we ask them to do is very challenging, both on the field and in the building.
“So it’s critical that our guys get enough sleep. And as kind of basic as that sounds, young people don’t think they need sleep. And they really don’t, I mean they don’t need as much as I do but in the long term it gets and that’s what a long, Big Ten season will do if you don’t get your sleep now it catches up to you. So that’s the biggest single biggest change that we’re trying to continue to educate on that as well as make sure we’re doing what we need to do out here on the field.”
This week’s opponent, Wagner, may not cause too many sleepless nights for either the Rutgers football coaching staff or the players. The FCS program lost their season opener to Fordham.
Schiano did praise Wagner on Wednesday, noting that the team has some good defensive linemen who are NFL quality players.
In speaking about his offensive line, Schiano singled out what he believes is a strong point for Wagner in the quality of their defensive line.
“We’re not anywhere near where we need to be. We didn’t protect the quarterback the way that we needed to. He got hit, the ball came out so that means it was a violent, vicious hit,” Schiano said in talking about the offensive line.
“We did some things in the run game that were good so we got to build on it. That was my big thing. What are we gonna do? We’re gonna build on it now; we’re gonna get better at the things that we weren’t as good at and I can tell you that Wagner up front – they have two players that I think are really legitimate.”