Rutgers' Nunzio Campanile Press Conference 11/25/19
Interim Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Nunzio Campanile
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Got the opportunity to get through the tape on Michigan State. As I said on Saturday guys played hard. Not very well on offense. That obviously was an issue. We really struggled to execute on the run and the pass game in a lot of different ways, but things that we'll work on.
I was really proud of the defensive effort. I thought we had a couple really big fourth down stops there, big turnover in the red zone, to kind of keep us in the game. I think on special teams Adam has continued to really just amaze people with his ability to pin the ball inside the five yard line. So all good things. Otherwise been pretty quiet couple days, so we'll get going.
Q. It's been a pretty hectic couple of 24, 36 hours around here. What was your message to the team I guess yesterday and today, if you met with them, with everything that's kind of going on? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Well, we met with them yesterday. Pretty much I just talked to them about focusing on this week and finishing and staying together. That's the biggest thing is we're always trying to talk about controlling the things that you can control and worrying about the things that you can control and most of this stuff is not within their control or mine. So we're just going to work on going out and trying to have a great week of practice and enjoying the last week of playing football together. Great opportunity to play football in the Big-10 in a great venue. So really just try and focus on that. And the kids, we had a dinner together last night. It was really good. So hopefully these guys just can stay positive and keep doing the right thing which I've been really proud of them doing that over the last eight weeks.
Q. When you start seeing guys enter the transfer portal, do you address that with the team and what do you tell them about the future of Rutgers football? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I did address it yesterday. I pretty much said it, I know that that's going to happen. And there's a mix of guys because we have quite a few walk-ons that are in, that kind of exploring the opportunity of possibly getting a scholarship. And then some other guys are looking at maybe I'm better fit at a level down. So I understand those things. There are probably some other guys that maybe want to explore other options. So my big thing is stay together and build it together. That's a much better answer, usually, than kind of running to the next opportunity. Kind of look in the mirror, see what can I do to help and what can I do to make the team better and make yourself better and that's pretty much the big focus is it's very much about staying together and getting better individually and as a team.
Q. Did you let them know that if they enter they can still play this season? Was that addressed? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, basically it really depended on the kid and where his take was. So if they're still practicing and doing things the right way then, yeah, we have played most of those guys that weren't in the red shirt situation. So we're certainly not going to hold it against them. They may come here and may get a new coach and at some point they can have that discussion with them. I've always felt like one of my number one responsibilities was to get these guys to the end of the season, not just as better players, but to keep them here so that they can have that discussion with whoever is in charge next.
Q. With the Greg news, did you have reaction to it? And what was kind of your day like yesterday, because obviously you were probably trying to concentrate on the game and having to block everything out and focus on that? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, it's a lot of, obviously, a lot of noise, but not really anything that I have any control over. So obviously, I have said this before, I have tremendous respect for Coach Schiano and the job that he did here and he's always been great to me. I think he's a really high character individual and a great coach. But at the same time I really don't have much to do with that so I am just trying to focus on winning the game, doing our job. And that's the same thing all the assistant coaches are doing, same thing the players are trying to do.
Q. Have you had any conversations with Pat or anyone about interviewing for the job after the season ends? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: No, I have not.
Q. Do you want to stay here at Rutgers, whether it's as head coach or another role? Obviously, you're under contract. I mean, is it some place ideally that you would like to stay here and be part of the process going forward? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Well, yeah, I -- I believe in Rutgers and I believe in New Jersey football. And I believe that you can really build a really competitive, successful Big-10 program right here. We have a ton of great players, we have a lot of great things to offer. As far as what my role would be going forward, I have no idea. That's not really up to me. I just pretty much try to show up and do my job to the best of my ability every day and I want to do my best to care about the kids and I guess what the future holds I'm not entirely in control of. And so, and that's kind of the same advice I try to give the players.
Q. Obviously seven games in. One more to go. How feel the program has come? You said you want to get better each week from where you took over September 29th. NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Obviously I wish the results were better on the field. But I do feel like we have a lot of guys individually getting better. We played a lot of young players. I think there's been improvement. I think the guys are still playing really hard in a difficult situation. I've said many times you're supposed to play hard. That's not, I mean, you don't get, like, a badge for playing hard, but at the same time I do feel like that doesn't, that's not always the way it would go. And I think this is a little bit of a rare situation to be in this position for this long. So I'm really proud of the way our kids have worked together and stayed together. And I do think that in a lot of ways we have gotten better, especially we have had to play a lot of players that probably weren't ready to play. They have gotten experience and whoever comes in here to coach these guys will at least have a lot of young players that have played a lot of football at this level.
Q. How much do you think you've been able to grow as a coach this year taking on so much responsibility? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Probably a lot. I probably have, just learning to manage things at this level and probably things that I would have never anticipated on the day they put me in this spot. I would have never anticipated some of the things that came up. I try to be pretty open minded, so I try to look at it from all angles, but definitely things came up that I was not entirely prepared for and thankfully we got a great staff of coaches that helped get through all those things. And so I definitely think I've learned a lot.
Q. Adam Korsak's one of the semi-finalists for the Ray Guy Award. Can you talk about the job he's done and what you've seen out of him? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: It's amazing how consistent he is and how accurate is unreal. He's unflappable when he's getting rushed, he's getting pressure, he's just, he manages to kick the ball with tremendous accuracy under pressure. He really is a pretty unique player. I mean, where he's placed the ball, I was thinking about this during the game the other day, we punted at the end of the game, and you're like maybe you go for this. And he gets to go out there and drop the ball on the two-yard line. I thought that was at least a fitting sendoff to his season at home. So, yeah, he had never ceases to amaze you with his consistency and just it's really a level of excellence.
Q. We talked about what you would say to the players. The conversations with the assistant coaches, trying to keep them in line for the rest of the season and motivated and whatnot, what's that been like? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Well, they're pros, so they have done a great job. They really haven't needed a whole lot from me. They have gone out -- and they care about the kids, they love the kids, so they want to do what's right by them and they want to prepare them the best they can. And they love to coach football and they love to compete and we get to do that every week. The best part of the week is when you get out to practice or we get out and play the game. So I think the energy the on our team and in our locker room has been really positive. The energy in the coaches office has been really positive, despite tough circumstances. So from that standpoint they're really a special group of guys, to be in this spot for this long and to handle it the way they have I've been really impressed.
Q. Going up to Penn State, what do you see out of them? NUNZIO CAMPANILE: They're a pretty talented team. The D-line is special, they have got the linebackers, really the whole defense is phenomenal. Obviously they have now they have proven they have two quarterbacks, they can go out and really do it at a high level. Really dynamic skill players, receivers are very talented. So they are really a complete team, they play hard, they're tough. So it's a heck of a challenge, but it's also a great opportunity for our kids.