April 21, 2018 | ° F

Schiano talks NFL futures with Sanu, Greene

practice notebook

Junior wide receiver Mohamed Sanu repeatedly denied he is even thinking about declaring for the NFL Draft, but it remains a possibility.

Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano said on yesterday’s Big East coaches conference call that he speaks regularly with Sanu and junior linebacker Khaseem Greene, who could also declare early after a dominant first season at linebacker.

“I talk to the players all along about their lives, and that’s a big part of their lives,” Schiano said. “In all of those decisions, I want them to do what’s best for them and best for their family because certainly they’ve made great sacrifices for Rutgers.”

They also turned out Big East-best years.

Sanu set a conference record of 109 receptions with a bowl game remaining, while Greene leads the league with 127 tackles — 29 more than the next closest player.

Both are 22 years old and will be 23 at the start of next season.

“I do want to make sure they’re making the decisions based on accurate information,” Schiano said. “There’s a lot of inaccurate information out there.”

Sanu’s career year — he ranks fourth in the nation in receptions and has seven touchdowns and 1,144 receiving yards — comes in his first solely at wideout.

He enrolled a semester early and practiced mostly at safety, and then handled both wide receiver and Wildcat quarterback responsibilities for two seasons.

Greene started his Rutgers career at safety but moved down a level to weakside linebacker, where he had 11 tackles for a loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles.

“Khaseem, I thought, really, really adapted to the position very well and just was so productive,” Schiano said. “[He] made plays all over the field, forcing fumbles, making tackles, playing in pass defense, blitzing. I thought he was a complete player.”

The Scarlet Knights have time until they play again, with the Dec. 27 Belk Bowl and Dec. 30 New Era Pinstripe Bowl as their two most likely destinations.

The layoff allows for Rutgers to take a week off after playing 10 consecutive weeks and also gives Schiano plenty of time to re-evaluate the quarterback position.

Sophomore Chas Dodd started the final three games, but freshman Gary Nova relieved him in the fourth quarter in Connecticut and threw for 298 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“He made some plays, and he did some freshman-esque stuff,” Schiano said. “In overall tone of the game, we turned the ball over six times, which is not Rutgers football. It’s not anybody football. It’s not winning football, that’s for sure. So there were some good things, but certainly nobody did anything that was winning football.”

Aside from the time bowl preparation allows for sorting out the quarterback position and giving younger players time to practice, Schiano would prefer a quick turnaround because of the nature of Saturday’s loss.

“Although I’m very proud for Rutgers to be going to its sixth bowl game in seven years — I think that’s a big accomplishment — right now, I’m just disappointed in the opportunity we had and we didn’t perform the way I thought we were capable,” he said. “Usually, right now we’re well into game-planning the next opponent, and that is always the best medicine to get over a loss. You have to get back on the horse and get ready.”

By Steven Miller

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