PISCATAWAY, NJ – After walking off the field following Thursday morning's practice and acknowledging that his team is physically tired, head coach Greg Schiano was rewarded with a tremendous effort during today's afternoon session, a two-hour practice that featured crisp play, upbeat tempo and sharp execution.
"They didn't come out as as focused as they needed to be today," Schiano said following this morning's practice. "It's never a lack of effort. This team always puts forth a great effort but they are just tired - we are all tired."
Five hours later, a rejuvenated team flew around the Stadium practice fields, executed well in several controlled game situations and enjoyed good-hearted competition in offense vs. defense drills. When Schiano walked off the field to address the media, his happiness was immediately noticeable.
"They came out much more focused (in the afternoon) and in harder conditions to focus in," said Schiano, referring to the 90-degree temperatures on the field. "They came out committed to making it happen. It's all between the ears."
Both Ryan Hart and Ted Trump looked good working with the first-string offense, while the injury situation remained unchanged for the second-straight day. A few bumps and bruises throughout the team did little to hold it back.
"We stayed relatively healthy, which is a blessing because we needed to," said Schiano. "I think we are actually in better shape (injury wise) than we have been in previous years. We have three serious injuries, but right now, we still have a week to practice (before our first game) so I hope it holds up."
When asked about the biggest surprise of camp, Schiano quickly referred to freshman walk-on Ramel Meekins.
"We didn't know a whole lot about Ramel and he came to us late, but he has been great all through camp," said Schiano. "He has really stepped in and done a nice job."
Rutgers will conclude training camp with a 2:50 p.m. session on Friday (closed to the public), before beginning its game week preparation for the season opener vs. Buffalo (8/30, 7:30 p.m., Rutgers Stadium).