By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – Rutgers football team went to bed on Saturday night and woke up on Tuesday.
No, they haven’t cracked the code of time travel, and no, they’re not delusional. That’s just how things go on a short week.
With the Big East opener on Thursday night at USF, the coaches began prepping after the game on Saturday while the players got no more than the night off. Come Sunday, it was right back work, and already the middle of game week.
There wasn’t much time to look over the Howard film, and Sunday’s practice was first and second down. Monday’s will be third down and redzone.
“Mentally it’s different,” Scoot Vallone told SNY.tv “Right now I feel like I’m in a Tuesday. We just finished a Tuesday up and we’re going to get into Wednesday tomorrow. I feel like we’re right into game week which is very unusual, but I think we’re a mature team that’s going to be able to do it.”
Because of that, the mental approach won’t be as difficult for the Scarlet Knights.
As a fifth-year senior, Khaseem Greene doesn’t think it’s that hard. At this point, he’s used to it.
It can however be a struggle for the underclassmen.
“It’s more or less just getting the younger guys to understand and really take care of themselves and know that things are going to happen a lot faster,” Greene said.
So like they’ve become accustomed to, they’ll follow the lead of the upperclassmen.
But still, there’s less time to heal physically. And the body is harder to train than the mind.
“I think physically it’s a pretty big toll of your body because you just got done playing the game and now you got to get back up and go to practice and take everything we learned last week and get it out of our heads and start preparing for a new team,” Gary Nova said. “But I think we’re going to be good.”
And with the first conference game on tap, Rutgers’ could feel a heightened sense of urgency at Sunday’s practice.
“The team [USF] just came off a huge win. They’re on an emotional high. They came off a win at Nevada. Won that game in the last couple of minutes, so we’re definitely going to have to be ready for a team that always plays well in the first half of the season. They’re always one of the stronger teams in the country when it comes to that and it’s for the Big East,” Vallone said. “We want to fulfill our goals of winning a Big East Championship, it starts with South Florida on Thursday.”