On Monday, interim head coach Nunzio Campanile met with the media to kickoff Indiana game week. He addressed a number of topics, including the status of Raheem Blackshear and Artur Sitkowski, which he said is still being worked through. He also explained that McLane Carter is not expected back this season after suffering a concussion against Iowa a month ago. As of right now, Johnny Langan remains the starting quarterback and Cole Snyder is the backup.
Campanile also discussed takeaways from the loss to Maryland, changes being made within the offense, Daevon Robinson switching back to tight end, running back depth and more.
One quick take is that Campanile seems to be handling the tall task of leading this program through major adversity extremely well. He is exhibiting poise, is knowledgeable about the entire team and is imparting his philosophy and personality on this team. It may be hard to envision his efforts leading to significantly different results the rest of this season, but after a sample size of just one game, Rutgers played much more aggressively than they had in some time. While watching this team on Saturday’s is a labor of love right now, I think seeing this team play under Campanile’s direction the rest of the season was absolutely the right call by Pat Hobbs.
You can watch the presser here and full transcript follows below.
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Obviously had an opportunity to get through the tape and evaluate the game, evaluate it with the players. You know, there were obviously a lot of things we needed to fix. There were some really good things. There were some things to build on on offense, some explosive plays, some schemes that we got a chance to run in game, I thought that was good.
I thought on defense at times we played -- we played really well. The big plays really plagued us, obviously and some things that we have to fix including some tackling, we’ll work hard on that this week.
From a special teams standpoint, it was a little hot and cold. Did a great job in kickoff return. Did a great job in punt. We flocked a field goal on extra point but obviously gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown and had an opportunity to tackle them on the six-yard line, and instead ended up a 101-yard return.
So we have to get better in all three phases, but I think the kids are pretty optimistic and look forward to having the opportunity to get back to work tomorrow.
Q. Any update with Raheem?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, we’ll have it all resolved by the time we hit the field tomorrow, and you know, once it is resolved, I’ll be glad to discuss it. Just still kind of working through all the information and things like that. Obviously the most important thing for me is what -- doing what’s best for the team and best for the 100-plus guys that we have out there every day.
Q. Is there a plan for Art going forward? Is he still emergency?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, as of right now, yes.
Q. And McLane Carter, any updates on him?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I don’t anticipate McLane playing again. To the best of my knowledge, he probably will not play again this year.
Q. Just with Art, do you need -- at some point do you need some sort of clarity so it’s not hanging over?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, and you know, we’ll obviously discuss all those things. Art is practicing. He’s working through the game plan and all those things, and you know, I guess it’s a brave new world. I mean, those are both situations that I did not ever anticipate ever coming across in my life in football. I will, you know, we’ll do our best to handle it the right way of what’s best for the players, but also what’s best for the team because that is the priority.
Q. And you don’t anticipate any other players making that decision or, you know, going forward?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I do not. You know, I mean, there are not that many guys left that haven’t -- that either haven’t already redshirted or didn’t plan to redshirt already. You know, it’s really not a large pool. You know, we have a couple guys that were sophomores and juniors that already had planned to redshirt and we are staying on that plan and we will use their four games over the course of time, and then you know, if their role changes, those guys are all willing to play, like if they get in two-deep, they are all willing to play.
Q. A lot to do with Rutgers being on its tenth offensive coordinator in ten years and players in the past have talked about the different terminology and saying that’s a big reason why the offense has struggled over the last couple years. You’re trying to do it on the fly. How difficult is it to do, and do you have to be sensitive that there are a lot of changes in the offense and have to slow-roll it a little bit?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Very much so. I think if you go through the tape from my perspective, we left a lot of plays out there just because you know, we probably aren’t really ready to execute all the things at the level that you would hope. But we’re just going to create some consistency to keep it that way. We have used -- everything has stayed in the same terminology and I think that is helpful. I’ve always been big on concept-based teaching. We are using a lot of similar terminology with some slight tags that allow them to use the same teaching that we’ve used going back from the spring and in some ways for the last two years.
Q. I just want to clarify about McLane. So when you say he’s not expected to play again this year, is that medically? Is that --
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yes.
Q. Okay. Is that effectively, he’s done? That’s it?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: To the best of my knowledge.
Q. Does he have a chance to come back? He can’t comeback another year?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I don’t believe he has another year to play.
Q. So he’s effectively done?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yes.
Q. Thank you.
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: You’re welcome.
Q. Penniston, any update on him?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: He’s actually right now exploring surgery possibilities, so unlikely that he will play. Now, he theoretically possibly could have a sixth year depending upon -- he could apply for it, anyway.
Q. Obviously Johnny runs a lot, pretty rugged runner. Cut his hand the other day. Have you thought about -- obviously Cole lost a game for one play. Have you thought about Albericci potentially going forward in those situations?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, it could be a possibility, as well and we will probably create some wildcat stuff, too, if we get in a situation where you don’t want to burn a play but at the same time -- I mean, Isaih was a high school quarterback, pretty talented runner.
Q. With Cole, he had said during the preseason that he would be ready for anything, but obviously the plan going in was to not have him play and hopefully redshirt.
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Right.
Q. Does his demeanor change now that he’s really one snap away from being the guy?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, I think he does. His sense of urgency to learn it all and grasp it all definitely increases and you know, his reps in practice will definitely change. You know, I think it’s a great opportunity for him to learn and develop, you know, because he’s getting -- he’ll go from getting strictly scout team reps right now to pretty much getting, you know, some real reps in practice. I think it will accelerate his development hopefully.
Q. What have you even on film from Indiana? Seems they are a middle-of-the-pack defense. Does that help you guys? How big of a jump can you make this past week to a full week?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I honestly think they’re pretty good football team. Not exactly like we have been playing up and down the field. I do think just being the second week of, you know, similar schemes, just basically kind of finding different ways to do the same things and get our guys some repetitive teaching, I think that will help us a lot. I’ve always thought that the biggest jump as a football team is usually from that first to second week just because of adjusting to the speed of the game. So in some of the things that we did that were new, those things hopefully we’ll be much better at this week.
Q. The big picture regarding you, going from high school to college, a lot of people made a big deal about that, and I know you’re two years removed from high school. But did you study guys like Gus Malzahn, Chad Morris, guys who made that leadership from high school to college; and considering you were at a high school program that Pat Hobbs said was a I-AAA, basically, is that as big a transition as other people make it out to be?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: When I say football is football, people are like, yeah, okay. But one, when you coach at the schools that I coached at, your access to college programs is probably way greater than any college coach has because you have good players, and they want to grant you access. The opportunity to learn and study football is really, you know, tremendous, if you’re coaching a really good high school football program. One of the other things is, I have legitimately called 200 games in my career. Most guys that step in the first time they are a coordinator, they have never called a play before in their life. They have never stood up here and talked in front of a camera. My teams played on national television. We dealt with a huge media every week. So those types of things, to me, have not been overwhelming. You know, trying to get our team to be good enough to win a football game on Saturday, that’s a big task. I think we have a ways to go but I think our kids are pretty bought into it.
As far as the workload and the volume, the things that are probably the hardest are trying to translate the way I see it into the language that we’re currently using. I think on game day, when you want to have the play called in five seconds, we’re not really built that way right now. So that was probably the toughest thing for me on Saturday was to go through a call sheet and go down and get something called to a wristband that now they have to relate that way rather than get on the ball and play. You know, I called it a certain way for 20 years and that’s definitely a transition. But the rest of it, seemed like a football game to me.
Q. You had a pretty big role -- but did you lean on anyone for advice last week or just had to figure it out on your own?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Honestly, it was so busy that I didn’t get an opportunity to catch up with a whole lot of people. I think I said this last week at one point, my brother, Anthony, somebody I talk to a lot and he’s made a similar transition. He coached high school football for a long time. He’s definitely very helpful, always.
Q. Looks like Daevon has moved back to the tight end room?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yes.
Q. Was that prior or after you taking over?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I guess we were flirting with it a little bit. When I took over, we just had a conversation with him, met with him and said look, we think this is really where your future is and also we can have a great role for you. Some of the things we would hope to get to would require, you know, just having more tight ends available to us that are ready to play, and I think his skill-set, you know, fit some things that we’re able to do. He’s a unique player because he can play wide receiver and he can play, you know, in line and off the ball so I think that he gives us a lot of options.
Q. The running back depth without Raheem, Isaih is probably going to get a little more, but then Aaron Young; just the confidence in the running back room?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I think it’s the deepest room on our offense. Even if Raheem doesn’t play, I think we still have four really valuable Big Ten running backs. I know a couple of those guys are young but they are good players and Aaron is a unique kid because he’s very intelligent and he’s very versatile. He’s a dynamic kid. I think Kay’Ron in the backfield can really do some really good things, so hopefully his role will increase.
Q. I was going to ask about Kay’Ron. Early on, only one or two games. I guess you envision him not redshirting at this point?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I don’t know that it’s ever been the plan to redshirt him. I think it’s always been the plan to evaluate it as we go. He’s always given the indication that he wants to play, and physically, he’s pretty ready. It’s really just a matter of not, you know, overloading him with too much stuff.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports