Greg Schiano has spent plenty of time with many members of the Boston College coaching staff. On Saturday, he will be looking at them from a different angle.
Rutgers is preparing to take on the Eagles in their season-opener on Saturday. Schiano will be up against Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley, who worked as an assistant under Schiano during his first stint at Rutgers.
From Hafley, it continues with John McNulty and Tem Lukabu, who were also with Schiano and Hafley at Rutgers and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rutgers’ alum Steve Shimko and Savon Huggins are also on staff for the Eagles.
“There’s a lot of good friends on that sideline,” Schiano said during his press conference on Monday. “It will be a little strange because I care about those guys, but when you’re playing in a game, you’re competing, and you’re trying to win.”
Schiano had some great things to say about Hafley and the path that he has taken to becoming a head coach.
“I’m really proud of Jeff,” Schiano said. “I knew Jeff would be a head coach. Jeff was great for us here at Rutgers. He was also great for us at Tampa Bay.”
Off the field, Schiano will have a chance to reconnect with some of his old assistants. On the field, Rutgers will do battle with a team that has plenty of expectations in 2022 — and it begins with Phil Jurkovec.
The Eagles will welcome back their starting quarterback this season. Jurkovec missed some time last year with an injury and is looking to continue to build his raft stock this season.
“He’s an NFL quarterback, which, when you say that, that means a lot to me,” Schiano said of Jurkovec. “He’s got a big arm. He’s very mobile, very athletic. So when things break down, he extends plays. He doesn’t just run to run. He extends. He extends — has a really good feel for the pocket. A very good presence in the pocket.”
This marks the second year in a row where Rutgers will travel to take on an old foe from the Big East. Last season, the Scarlet Knights were able to pickup a victory over Syracuse in Week 2.
For Schiano, the answer was simple when discussing if there is any extra juice because of the history — “not really.”
“We play in a very, very demanding league, a new league,” Schiano said. “One that as you guys know I believe that’s where we’ve belonged. So when you get out of conference, it really is it’s different. You’re preparing for the Big Ten schedule. So whoever we have — I didn’t have a choice in what happened in the past. I do going forward. And I certainly have a scheduling philosophy that I believe in. But this is all done well in advance.”