RUTGERS UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 16, 2023
Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
Postgame Press Conference
Rutgers 35, Virginia Tech 16
GREG SCHIANO: Thanks for sticking around. Again, I want to recognize our student section. I thought they were awesome. They really bring the energy. They formulate a home field advantage for us, so that was really cool.
Guys found way to win the game. Our goal was to be 1-0 at the end of this Virginia Tech season, and I say that, and I know there are people that say, oh, well that's coachspeak again. Here is the deal. I want everybody to understand the amount of effort that goes into one game. If you had to think, I have to do this 12 times you would psych yourself out.
That's why we say it's a Virginia Tech season. You pour so much into that week, that season, and now tonight you got to take a break and start over and do it again into the Michigan season. If you don't do it -- I don't know, I'm not tough enough to look at it as 12 straight. I got to look at one at a time, and that's why you are team does it.
That's really where's it's at. We found a way to be 1-0 in the Virginia Tech season. I'm really happy about that.
We didn't play our best at times, but our guys figured it out. That's part of it.
I'll open it up for questions.
Q. You were up 21-16 and looks like they're starting to gain some momentum. Kyle rips off that run. Talk about that turnaround play there and how they were able to stay the course.
GREG SCHIANO: Yeah, I mean, I think today the whole day was chopping, right? It was all about whether things go good, whether things go poorly, you can't be thinking about the past and you can't be focusing on the future.
You got to stay right here and chop the moment, and that's what our guys did. Because sometimes the moment wasn't great. You swing the axe and it does nothing. It hits and bounces off the tree. What do you do, quit? No you keep swinging it because eventually it'll do it.
We're really learning how to do that. You have to. We play in the best league in college football. We have to learn how to do that to have a chance.
Q. What did you think of how Gavin played today?
GREG SCHIANO: I thought Gavin did exactly what we needed to win to be 1-0. He ran the ball really well, and most of all he protected the football. When we don't turn it over we're tough to beat. He did a very good job.
Q. (Regarding Gavin playing well and development. )
GREG SCHIANO: No, I thought he did a good job in the first two games. Some days it's just not there, and you don't force it. You take what the defense gives you and that's what we did.
We got improve. It's not just Gavin. We got to improve in every area. There was a couple plays where we ran the wrong route so it looked like we were out of sync. Well, we were out of sync.
There is a lot that goes into each play. I was so proud of him the way he took care of the football, the way he ran the ball. That's what -- we know he can do that.
The passing game will pick up.
Q. Defense, especially after they made it a close game and came back and then they came back and really shut them down for the rest of...
GREG SCHIANO: Drones really gave us issues, right? He ran the ball well. He scrambled well. That can get you a little out of whack if you're not careful. We had to keep hitting the reset button. Just keep hitting the spot. It's going to work. You just got to hang in there.
It was frustrating, right? They had him what appeared to be dead to rights and he gets out of there, and that can take its toll on you if you allow it. Once that play is done you can't think about it. You got to move on.
We have to think about it because we have to make adjustments. They need to go play the next play, and they did, and found way to make enough stops to be 1-0.
Q. What's the significance being 3-0 going into Michigan to take your shot at a really good team?
GREG SCHIANO: Yeah, I don't know. I don't know the significance. We worked really hard to be 3-0, but the most important thing is after today we're 1-0 this season.
So we're going to relax a little bit tonight and then it's right back to work tomorrow. We know what's coming. We know what's coming the rest of the year. I mean, that's the league we play in. That's what we love about it.
Q. Kyle Monangai with back-to-back games with over 100 yards, another productive day for him on the ground. What did you see in terms how he played and just how he has developed as the season has gone on?
GREG SCHIANO: Yeah, he's running very, very hard, running smart, running determined. Thank goodness, right, because he's helped us win games.
Q. Any concern that the offense might have got too conservative in the third quarter?
GREG SCHIANO: No. No. Maybe you go for it on that fourth and one there at mid-field, you know, but up 21 to 3, that's not what I'm going to do right there in that situation.
I'm going to make them go the whole field, and then if they do, they do. That's part of it.
Q. Coach, how important it was to start off the game with a fumble recovery on defense and then the rushing touchdown on offense?
GREG SCHIANO: It was huge. Yeah, I mean, at the beginning of the day -- again, we needed that takeaway. The two takeaways gave us on opportunity. The good thing, we got the ball down in the red zone and we scored three touchdowns in the red zone. That's not easy to do. We got to keep doing that.
If you get the ball down in the red zone you got to find a way to score by 6s, not 3s.
Q. Second straight game where Kyle Monangai in the second half running stronger, running harder, reminiscent of some of the running backs you had your first time here. Can you speak to his work ethic and what you see from him that third and fourth quarter when defenses are wearing down?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, I think it certainly is important to be able to continue to call the runs. It's like if we were a boxer those are body blows, body blows, body blows. Eventually a guy drops his hands because the body blows hurt too much. That's when you can take a knock-out shot.
If you're winning the game then you have a chance to continue to do that. If you get behind it's hard to get all those body blows in. That was important, getting the lead today, and being able to do that. They're a very aggressive defense, well-coached, but I thought if we could play with a lead today that we would be able to wear them down.
I think that's what happened.
Q. Aaron Lewis, eight tackles, had some big plays in the second half. Just talk about his play today.
GREG SCHIANO: Yeah, I thought Aaron showed up with a big way. You know, that two-point stop where he sweeps the ankle on the guy, I mean, that's a significant play at the time.
But I thought he played at a high level and we're going to need him to do that certainly. He's one of our better players.
Q. Christian Dremel was a walk-on for this program and worked his way up to an important role; gets rewarded with his first touchdown today. Can you just talk about his journey and career and what he's meant for this program?
GREG SCHIANO: Yeah, I have the utmost respect for Christian Dremel. He's an incredibly hard worker. He is a team guy. He's tough. He's been bumped up. We don't talk about it, but he has toughed it out. I think our whole team has a lot of respect for that young man.
Q. Run through the guys that were on the report, Needham, Long, and Brantley I'm assuming is still an NCAA thing. But just what kept those guys out of the game, and can you share anything about their long-term prognoses?
GREG SCHIANO: Yeah, I think we'll get them all back at different times. I can't tell you about Brantley. That's a different story. But injury-wise I think we'll get them back at different times. Might be a little bit for some of them, but we'll just -- guys are working hard. I think everybody, they readjust. If you get an injury you readjust your vision, what you can do now.
I always tell guys that are injured, I don't want to know what you can't do. I want to know what you can do.
If I can't run right now, I can sure watch tape. I can sure fit against the screen, where if supposed to fit if I'm a defensive player. I can move where I'm supposed to go as an offensive player. I can lift my upper body. I can eat right. I can sleep. I can heal.
Let's focus on what can we can do, and I think our guys are doing that. We have great medical team that cares for them and gives them all that instruction.
At the end of the day they have to do it and they are. I'm pleased with that.
All right, guys, appreciate you covering us. Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports