PISCATAWAY, NJ – Continuing its hard work through training camp during this morning's practice, head coach Greg Schiano rewarded the Rutgers Football team this afternoon by cancelling the second session and sending his players off to an afternoon of hard-earned poolside relaxation. In lieu of practice, the team spent the afternoon in the water, enjoying near-perfect summer weather.
After settling into team meetings at 2:00 p.m., Schiano announced to the team that it would be headed to the pools, igniting a roar that was heard throughout Middlesex County.
While the visit to a local pool was arguably the highlight of the day for the players, Schiano remained pleased with the team's effort and execution during the morning session. When asked which players are impressing him in camp, Schiano was quick to praise the entire team.
"The team itself is impressing me in that we are becoming a team," said Schiano. "That is the most important thing we had to do. Let's see how much more we become a team between now and the 30th because that is going to be the key."
The list of injured players stood still, with several nagging injuries limiting players but not holding them out of action. Given the wear and tear from camp, the team is in good shape. No players are 100% right now, but that is standard, according to Schiano. The three key losses right now are Markis Facyson (hand), Clinto Dato (knee) and Chris Loomis (foot) -- all players expected to see significant action in '03.
"There are three starters or three guys we know who were going to play who are out," said Schiano. "There is really nothing you can do about it."
"If you are lucky, when you report to camp you are 100% and then you are never 100% the rest of the season," said Schiano. "That's life in football. You might get a freshman who is 100% right now, but that is only if they haven't taken a single rep."
Schiano sat down on Tuesday night with Ryan Neill to discuss his status for the upcoming season, although no clear-cut decision has been made. Neill, coming off major knee surgery during the offseason, has made tremendous strides in coming back from the injury, but his ability to play at his former level is still unclear.
"I am still unsure," said Schiano. "No one knows how (Neill) feels except him. There are a lot of things that go through the mind of an unselfish guy like Ryan. I want to make sure he is telling the entire truth and not telling what a good teammate would do."
The team is scheduled for a double-session on Thursday and a single-session on Friday to wrap up preseason camp before preparation begins for the season-opener vs. Buffalo, set for August 30 at 7:00 p.m. at Rutgers Stadium.