Rutgers Postgame Quotes

Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano

Opening statement...
“Thanks for sticking around.  Really a big night, a great night for our program.  To win its first bowl game after 137 years of playing the game, to say we’re excited would be an understatement.  I’ll open it up to any questions that I can answer.”

His assessment of the game...
“Except one play, I think we did very well.  We knew they were explosive returners, and we knew what we were up against.  I thought the kids did a great job of tackling, a tremendous job after being off especially.  Just the relentless way they played defense tonight, you like to watch that.  They took it to heart.  And the turnovers were key.”

On WR Tim Brown...
“Well, you know (WR) Timmy (Brown) has such speed.  The one deep ball, when it left his hand I said, Oh, we’re going to overthrow,’ but Timmy just went and caught up to the football.  Those two guys have been working incredibly hard together, and they have a thing going.  They have a feel for one and other.”

On the disappointment of missing the chance to be in a BCS Bowl...
“Well, I think that was short-lived.  It certainly hurt quite a bit after the West Virginia game, but when you've only been to the three bowl games in 137 years, even though this is back-to-back for us, this is exciting.  And the Texas Bowl just did a tremendous job.  They made t a great experience for us.  And a chance to win 11 football games and send these seniors out with something that hasn’t been done very much in our league, forget our school.  I think that is something that these seniors will carry with them forever.  It’s neat; we do have a family at Rutgers .  I know that word is overused in sports, but we do truly have a family.  And these young guys wanted to send out their older brothers with 11 wins. That was very important to everybody.”

On whether his team played this game like it was routine...
“Any time you do things over and over again, you get better at them.  The eyes aren’t so big.  But I really believed that there was a focus tonight to make sure those seniors went out with number 11 under their belt.  That, to me as a head coach makes me more proud than anything, than the win, than the stats. That they care about each other that way and they want to make sure that they send their older guys out that way.  That was something we talked about during the preparation, and you could see it in the way they practice.  They were very, very focused in the way they practiced.  That’s not easy sometimes when you’re going through bowl practice and you’re weeks away fromplaying a game.  I didn’t leave the field frustrated, not once.”

On losing FB Brian Leonard...
“I don’t know if you’re ever going to replace (FB) Brian Leonard.  I did an interview early this week and they were asking me how he stacks up with the all-time greats at Rutgers.  I didn’t see a lot of those guys before, but I can’t imagine them being more instrumental in anything than Brian was in our program.  Just tremendous leadership, forget what he does on the field; he’s a great football player, he’ll have a long career in the NFL. But just his leadership and everything he brings to our program, but you’re not going to replace it. Well, hopefully we did, and I know he did because he left a legacy of his leadership, the way he worked, the way he prepared with these younger guys. When you hear (RB) Ray Rice, who is a class, class guy, you hear him talk about Brian and the way he looks up to him and the way that Brian helped him to be a big-time college football player, that’s kind of what I’m talking about, the legacy that he’s leaving behind.”

On RB Ray Rice...
“You know what, we thought he’d be a great player.  When he leapfrogged five running backs to be the starter the opening game his freshman year that was kind of what really kind of tipped us out.  Here’s another guy that prepares so hard.  It’s easy, game day, game night, everybody’s excited.  It’s the all the stuff that people don’t see that these young men do that makes them special.  Both in the classroom and on the field, we’re talking about two really special young men.”

On the seniors on defense’s play...
“I was really happy for them.  These guys have been through so much.  Some of the game early in their careers, I have never been a part of it where you have 80 points or whatever the score was scored on them.  That can really take the soul right out of you.  To have these guys play some of the dominant defensive games they have this year, that’s a great feeling for them, a great feeling for our program.  And you hit it right on the head, to see (LB Quintero) Quinny’ (Frierson) pick that off and score, to see (LB) Devraun (Thompson) make some of the most spectacular plays, and again tonight, just flying thought the air, total disregard for his body.  (DT Ramel) Meekins making great plays.  (CB Derrick) Roberson and those guys.  (DE William) Beckford just flying around in their final game.  We’re going to miss those boys.”

On how the play of this year’s freshman class excites him about next season...
“Well, they sure have the talent to be very dangerous.  You never know how things are going to go moving forward.  You can’t assume anything.  As I talk to the team all the time, this was the last time the ’06 football team was going to be together.  The ’07 football team’s going to be different.  There’s going to be a different chemistry, there’s going to be different guys that are leaders, different guys that are kind of steering the ship.  I don’t know, but the talent is there.  So that’s a starting point.  And we’re very exited.  They’re good people.  Those young, talented guys are good people, so I have a good feeling about where we’re going.  This program, you know when we started this thing six years ago we talked about building this thing on a rock, not building it on stilts, not building it with smoke and mirrors.  It took a little longer, but I believe we have a very strong foundation.  And now take the next step.  And I know people probably get exhausted when we can’t celebrate this and we got to go to the next one.  But there are still many things that this program is going to do for the first time, and we’re all looking forward to it.”

On why WR Tim Brown started...
“He’s developed.  He’s developed throughout the year to the point that he deserved to be in that lineup.  One guy’s misfortune is another guy’s fortune.  He gets more repetitions because of that he gets better.  One thing, when we recruited Timmy Brown, he is the fastest football player that I have ever timed myself.  Let me tell you something he has legitimate, big-time speed.  He’s not just a runner.  You saw his ball skills.  You’ve seen some of it.  He’s a special player as well.  Exciting players in the skill positions.”

On the interception to start the second half as a turning point...
“Well, we talked about it at halftime.  This was not going to be one of those games where we said we had those opportunities, but we did not cash in because in the first half that is what happened.  That was not going to be the case.  We were going to go out there and keep making opportunities and cash in on them.  For them to do it right then and there at the beginning that kind of set the tempo and the tone for the second half.”

On he and the team enjoying this win...
“You know in competitive sports you don’t...  I’m looking forward to having a little sleep this weekend.  It’s been a long season.  But there are two teams that finished ahead of us in our league.  We need to find a way to get good enough to not have that be the case.  The thing that is interesting about sports and that you love is that you don’t start where you are and go from there.  You start right back down here next year and you have to climb every step.  And that’s what makes it fun.”

On what this game says about the Big East...
“Well, I think when the conference kind of reconfigured and the eight team we sat in the room, the head coaches and the athletic directors, Mike Tranghese and Nick Craparelli.  We really believed that this was going to be a great conference, but we had to go do it.  And slowly but surely we’re doing it.  We’re not there.  But we’re winning football games and our out of conference games now and our bowl games   and that’s how you make a league.  You don’t make it in the papers, and you don’t make it on TV.  You make it on the field.  We have great coaches in this league, you have great players, you have great institutions that are going to support the football programs and are supporting the football programs.  So it’s going to be a great league.”

On how glad that RB Ray Rice had to wait to enter the NFL thanks to the NFL’s rule...
“I’m really glad.  For obvious reasons, that 173, or whatever it was, yards.  He’s a special player.  He’s such a quality young man, and such a leader in our program.  He and (QB) Mike Teel, sophomores.  The leadership they display as young guys, and that’s important.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Mike Teel tonight.  This is three games in a row that he has thrown zero interceptions.  He’s had big games.  The things that he has been doing all season long running our offense.  Tonight when he called that timeout, he saw it, he didn’t like it, he called a timeout.  The next play Ray’s out of the gate.  You know, and that’s the kind of stuff as a coach you appreciate, and sometimes it goes unnoticed.  And I am really happy for him.  And it’s great to have these young guys being leader because they have some big shoes to fill with Brian and Meekins moving on.”

RB Ray Rice

His overall thoughts on the game...
“The offensive line played their best game.  What we saw today was a tribute to the seniors playing with extra effort.  We tried to put them out today with a bowl win.  The way they played today was magnificent.  They were pushing me in the huddle.  They were talking to me, they were so tired but they were pumped up in the huddle today talking to me and giving me an extra boost.  I felt very confident today going into the game playing with those guys.”

On how good Rutgers offensive line is nationally...
“I think they are phenomenal.  As a running back, you have so much respect for them.  You have no choice but the give them all the credit.  I have a great fullback in front of me too, but the linemen, that is where they get it started at.  I’ll put them up there against any line in the country.  Michigan and any other school, I think we only gave up eight sacks all season.  That is phenomenal because some teams give up that many in one game.  The offensive line coach put all the skills together throughout the week.  They just executed out there.”

On fullback Brian Leonard....
“He has meant everything to my success.  Brian and I have talked throughout the year.  It is really special to have a guy like that.  He took the blocking role on and he never said anything about it, but, we talk about things like that and what he sees in the game.  He has been like a mentor and brother.  He has been like an every thing person for me.  I do not think I could have managed the success without a guy like that.  After a game, he and I just talk about the game and what he saw and what he did and just have a laugh about it.  Even when we had our losses, we talked about each other and picked each other up.  Having him was great and I am going to take his attributes and give them to the team next season.  I’m a sophomore going into my junior season and I have to be a leader, there is no choice now.  I am taking the leadership mark on my back and I am trying to take this team to the next level.”

On what the MVP award means to him...
“It is a great honor.  It means my hard work pays off.  I am a big fan of hard work and my coaching staff, my strength and conditioning coach and offseason was rough.  It is a tribute that that.  In the offseason, I put on extra weight, and got stronger and got a little quicker. That is when you look back on it and say it was great.  But, at the same time, I did not get that done without my offensive line and my quarterback making the call and switching the play and Brian Leonard blocking for me.  So, the MVP trophy is one of those awards that is special, but as a running back, you get the job done and you have your share of duties, but that is why I thought it was special that I had those guys on the stage with methe offensive line and Brian Leonard with mebecause without them, nothing can happen.”

On the difference in emotion after last year and this year...
“Last year left an empty feeling in us.  In the locker room and in the offseason, it was all about returning the chaos.  That game was like a gunfight last year with Arizona State going back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth, and we did not pull it off.  It kind of felt similar going into this game.  The first half, we got an early jump on them and they just kept fighting.  We trained all offseason and the hard work pays off.  We just kept playing and our thing was to finish and we kept chopping.  That has been one of our things that we will take with us from now on at Rutgers.  If you are chopping down a tree, if you are not focused on a spot, you are going to hit it at every angle.  If you focus on that spot, you just keep playing.”

On the potential of this team in the next two years...
“We have a lot of guys coming back, but we lost a lot of seniors.  It was great that we sent them off the right way.  You saw glimpses tonight.  You saw young guys, you saw (WR) Tim Brown, (WR) Kenny Britt and you saw the defensive guys like (FS) Courtney Greene and (SS) Ron Girault.  It is going to be an offseason that we are going to have to build all over again.  We know what it took, we have tasted the victory of a bowl game and anything else will not be as successful.  So, we have tasted the water and it is a great feeling.”

On the development of QB Mike Teel after the Cincinnati loss...
“The quarterback is a weird position.  If it is not going right, he is going to take over and what I have seen Mike do is not complain and come out every week and be a competitor and that is where his success comes from.  After the game at Cincinnati, he came back to practice and starting throwing it and had a great game against Syracuse.  Then we played West Virginia and he had a great game.  That is a true competitor and it feels good to line up behind him and guy that doesn’t worry about the situation and is just going to go out and play no matter what happens.  We talk, and he is going to be a leader next year.  That is what is going to set our offense up for next season.  You got two guys that have to be leaders.  It is not a choice, we have to be leaders.  Me and Mike Teel have to be leaders for this offense next year.  For the defense, they have several leaders and they have tasted the water too”
 
QB Mike Teel

On the seniors going out with a bowl win...
“Everything the seniors deserved, that’s what it was like. Every hard game they’ve been through, every hard moment they’ve been through here at Rutgers University, to end it like this for these guys is the way it should be and it’s the way they deserve.”

On the new perception of the team now...
“We play in a competitive conference; we’ve seen some of the best teams in the country. I think now we can be considered one of the top teams in the country.”

On the future of the program...
“10-win seasons, bowl wins, this is what Rutgers is supposed to be like, and this is what it’s going to be like for a long time.”

On FB Brian Leonard returning for his senior season...
“It’s all the reasons why he came back and turned down millions of dollars to play college football. It’s such a special thing that I can’t explain and you can’t write about and the fans don’t understand. It’s a bond between players and coaches and students and it’s everything that he deserves.”

On the team’s goal for years to come...
“A national championship. That was our goal at the beginning of the year and sometimes it doesn’t go the way you want it to go, but it’s going to be the goal from now until a long way from now. The expectations are there and that’s what we expect and that’s what everyone else expects.”

TE Clark Harris

On Rutgers having one of the top offensive lines in the country...
“We have one of the greatest offensive lines in the country. We let up, into this game, eight sacks. I don’t know if we had any tonight, maybe one, but I don’t think so. Just to go through an entire season and let up less than one sack a game is absolutely awesome and they made (RB) Ray Rice a Heisman hopeful at one point in the season. He gained almost 2,000 yards, and without the offensive line he would have never done that. It’s just great to be a part of it.”

On throwing the ball early in the game...
“We actually had the plan to run the ball a little more, but we came out and the passing game was working well so we just stuck with it.”