Big Ten Media Day was a success for Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights. He brought Noah Vedral, Bo Melton, and Olakunle Fatukasi to Indianapolis to represent Rutgers in preparation for the 2021 season. Schiano was the first to speak with on Friday morning and highlighted different areas such as recruiting and the new NIL rules in place in college athletics. Later in the day, both Schiano and the three players met with the BTN crew for an interview. Here are a few quick points that were made.
- Schiano began by being asked about the improvements on the offensive side of the ball. He gave credit to his older players and returners buying into the culture that he has built. Once the players buy into the culture, everything else falls into place.
- Schiano continued by saying that he always believed Rutgers belonged in the Big Ten. It is a “dream job” to be the head coach of the Scarlet Knights in the Big Ten. In regards to recruiting, Schiano believes they are building the right culture and heading in the right direction. It begins with the players they bring in. Schiano mentioned Eric Josephs in the recruiting department and his staff for building a relationship with recruits. They determine whether a player is a “Rutgers guy” then keys in on those who are.
- Schiano explained how his players are experienced but they are not as experienced in success. He said how last season brought confidence by winning a few games and now the team can feel like they belong in the Big Ten. That will help heading into the 2021 season.
- Rutgers now has a bit of continuity within their coaching staff, which has been difficult for them to maintain over the year. Schiano explained how the relationships between players and coaches are important and continuity helps build those relationships.
- Schiano credited Sean Gleeson for putting the system into play for the offense. He believes Gleeson will be a head coach at some point but Schiano wants to make sure his foundation remains and the program keeps the “Rutgers’ offense” that Gleeson has put into place.
- This is the first time that fans will be back in the stands during Schiano’s second tenure. He said how Rutgers is an event-based location. He wants to make Rutgers football the event to attend in the area. Schiano explained how they have to grow in many areas to achieve that goal. Offensively, they made progress. Defensively, Schiano said they took the ball away at a high rate but have to maintain that. He also referenced the special return men the team has on special teams.
- Fatukasi began by crediting the culture that Schiano brought in as head coach. He said players all bought in and were hit with adversity early on but did not let that impact them throughout the season. Vedral backed up that notion by saying how Schiano and the staff put a plan in place and took them through it step-by-step so the team knew how to accomplish their goals. Melton finished off the opening question by saying the team abided by their culture which is “Family. Trust. CHOP.” Their plan was to go out and sacrifice for each other when they are on the field.
- When asked about the next step, Melton said they can accomplish that by believing in the culture and working on their craft to improve each day.
- Vedral credited Gleeson with the offensive success. He highlighted Gleeson’s ability to get creative and get players in the right position to succeed and thrive.
- Melton spoke on execution during trick plays. He said the importance of executing plays, no matter what they are, is important. They know on the sideline once the play is called what they need to do to execute it.
- Fatukasi spoke on Schiano and how he knew what he was doing his first stint at Rutgers. When he returned, the players bought in knowing the history and knowing what Schiano did during his first time around.
- Melton said his family legacy at Rutgers means a lot to him. The things that Rutgers has done for his family is tremendous. Melton’s mother and father were both athletes at Rutgers.
- Fatukasi explained his plan to be a better leader everyday and to help his team to be better in the future. Fatukasi said how the offseason was tough but he is ready for training camp and believes the team is ready to compete.
- Vedral was asked about consistency and said how the familiarity and chance to work with Gleeson for a second year will allow him to iron out some details. Vedral said it would be fun to play Nebraska, when asked, but they have to focus on the games they have scheduled.
- Fatukasi credited practice and the coaching staff on their ability to take the ball away defensively. He said Schiano puts a big emphasis on turnovers and taking the ball away from opponents.
- Melton said they judge success on the numbers of wins and going out and getting better each day. Vedral said it has to do with consistency. Each week they will have a. better outcome if they try to remain consistent. It is a series of one-game series. Fatukasi said success is worrying about one game, not the future or the past. It is to be the best version of themselves at that time.