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November 11, 2019

Nunzio Campanile

Piscataway, New Jersey

NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Coming off a really productive bye week. Our guys did a really good job practicing last week. I thought a lot of guys had an opportunity to get healthy and some young guys had an opportunity to get some really good valuable work. I think that they're excited for the opportunity they have this week. Obviously we're going up against arguably the best team in the country. They're about as complete a team as I've ever seen, but it is a great opportunity for our kids to go out and compete against, like I said, one of the best teams out there, and a great opportunity to learn and to grow. Just look forward to getting back to work tomorrow, and if anybody has any questions...

Q. What's been the emphasis during the bye week?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: One of the biggest things we're talking about, and we talked about it yesterday when the guys came in to work out and everything, was we're really just trying to make sure that we're focused on our process of getting better, and it's basically been the biggest thing that I've been trying to push over the last five weeks or so is that we just need to go out and focus on us, focus on getting better, and feel great about the opportunity that you have. I mean, I understand how talented they are, and I think our players understand that. But you know, I feel like over the last three games, we've started to show growth and improvement, and we can't let that slide back just because the quality of the opponent that we're facing. So there's a lot of great valuable reps out there and we've got to go out and get them and we've got to have a great week of practice so we can go out and perform the way we want to on Saturday.

Q. Any update on Isaih Pacheco? Is he good to go for the weekend?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: He should be. He practiced Wednesday and Thursday, a little lightly on Tuesday, but he's good to go. He's in good shape.

Q. When you look at them, do you see any weakness at all --
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: No. Honestly they're about as complete a football team as I've seen. Really in all three phases of the game, they're pretty darned good. If there's a team out there better than them, I'd like to see it, but there's some pretty good teams out there.

Q. There's obviously a lot of noise around here right now regarding the head coaching situation and the future around here. For you, is it difficult to block some of that out and just go about your business and do your job?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: It's not that hard for me. Just really the biggest thing is making sure that it doesn't affect the players. I think they've done a really good job of it. I'm sure they read all the stuff and hear all the stuff, but we're just trying to talk about going out and getting better every day and kind of staying on the path for growth. Obviously they know there's going to be a lot of change coming down the road, but hopefully that's all good change and hopefully it's a positive opportunity and experience for them. But as far as personally, no, not at all. I look at this as a great opportunity, and I've learned a lot over the last five weeks, and hope to just keep progressing that way.

Q. Have you spoken with Pat Hobbs about maybe the job or -- have you been interviewed?

Q. Have you spoken about what the next week should be or the next couple weeks, what they expect, how you're going to handle -- we're all assuming that you're going to be able to coach out the rest of the season as acting head coach. Is that basically the plan that you understand?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, but to be honest, I don't know that we've really had the opportunity to discuss it, so I'm just going to keep plugging along, going forward. But I am pretty certain of that, that we're going to stay in this configuration until the season is over regardless of what happens.

Q. Is there any plan to get Cole Snyder involved? We keep asking you this, but now he's in that redshirt window.
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: If it's productive for him and for the team, I mean, I still will say, he's a freshman. From a physical standpoint, we're playing against some really good teams out there, so I want to make sure that if we put him in the game, it's going to be positive for him and positive for the team.

You know, but we'll see how it goes and how it plays out. Obviously it's hard to predict these games, and even just the injury situation. But if there is an opportunity to get him good productive work, I'd certainly like to do that.

Q. I know you said you were looking to get some freshmen involved toward the end of the season. Do you kind of taper it back with Ohio State this weekend?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Well, you know, a lot of that stuff is probably more special teams roles, so obviously you can't load a unit with those guys because they've got some really good players out there, so that wouldn't really be fair to those guys or, like I said, fair to the team. But we're going to pick our spots, but definitely try and get those guys so that they feel a little bit like, hey, I've been out there. A lot of them have been in a game or two so hopefully there's an opportunity over the next three games to get almost all of them some level of work.

Q. (Inaudible) I know he was a little banged up last game.
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I think he should be fine, yeah.

Q. Did you get a chance to enjoy the birthplace -- the anniversary stuff last week and just your perspective being the head coach of a program at 150?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Well, we happened to be practicing I guess as it happened. But yeah, it was pretty cool. To just be here and be a part of that is really neat. I think it's something that -- I remember learning about it in grammar school. Like it was the kind of thing that as a Jersey guy I guess that was always a source of pride, especially for me being a football guy since I started playing football when I was five years old. When I learned that, it's always been something that I've taken pride in, and I think it's really great thing for Rutgers and a great thing for New Jersey.

Q. We've talked about this a few times, but as you've talked about leaving this program in a better place, just having the guys improve throughout the year, one, can you expand a little bit on how you do that in a bye week in a season like this, and two, how difficult is that to get them that game experience when you've got such a murderers' row coming up?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Well, the bye week probably came at a great time to get young guys work because there are a lot of guys that are pretty beat up, so it was a great way to get work for guys that are normally getting a lot of scout work. They were able to go in and get real practice reps, and we were able to get a lot of ones, twos and threes work. So because of that, it was a little bit more like camp where guys got a chance to go out and get work so that they are prepared for these opportunities.

As far as getting them in the games, I think it's a really good point. They're really tough games. They're really good, physical teams. You don't want to put guys at a disadvantage, and we definitely don't -- we want to give our team the best opportunity to win the games. So we have to definitely pick our spots, but if we can find a role where a guy feels comfortable and we feel good about putting him in there, we're going to do it.

Q. I know we don't really know if Chase Young is going to play. What do you see from the guys behind him? I assume it's not much of a dropoff.
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, they're really good. Actually a couple of them are right from our backyard. I coached one of them, Javontae Jean-Baptiste. He looks great. He's doing a great job, and Tyler Friday is a local guy, too. He's doing a great job. Honestly they're pretty deep. The dropoff is not a whole lot, and that's saying a lot because he's about as good a player -- last year we went out there, Bosa played in our game and he was about as good as they come, and I don't know if there's much difference between the two of them. It's hard to say who's better.

Q. Last year you guys had that tough stretch at the end, and we kind of had these same conversations, and you guys played pretty well, hung in a couple of those games. Do you refer back, or is this a completely different team? Wisconsin, Michigan State last year --
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, I guess there's probably some validity to that. Basically, I guess, the mindset just has to be, hey, be at our best here. Just talking to them about you can listen to all the stuff outside that says, oh, hey, you're going to get killed or the point spread. None of that stuff matters. The only thing that matters is how hard and how well we go out and play and if we take steps forward. I keep telling them that these reps matter for the future. If you're a senior and you have three games left here, you want to leave your mark to be at your best and never take your foot off the gas, and if you're a young guy, these reps really matter for next year. They matter going into the spring, they matter going into next season. Every chance you get to play against great competition like that is an opportunity for you to grow as a player and for us to grow as a team. That's like the biggest message about these games to me.

Q. Along the same lines of holding the fort down, recruiting, I know the bye week is usually a time for recruiting, and I know you can't talk about specific guys, but what is that like not knowing what the future is going to be and officially who will be here, and is it more like just kind of keep guys interested, hold the fort? Is it active?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: We actually decided last week not to go on the road. Just thought it was in the best interest for -- depending on what the situation would be coming forward in the next couple weeks. Just thought it was the most prudent thing for the program for us to basically just keep communicating with all the kids and obviously staying after the guys, staying in contact with the guys we have committed, but then leaving that opportunity if anything were to change, then the new coach would have an opportunity to probably get on the road.

Q. Just a bit more toned down, but still kind of keeping them interested, the guys you have out there?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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