Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Following a seven game winning streak to close the 2008 season, a stellar recruiting class and a newly expanded stadium capable of holding 52,474 screaming fans, hopes are high entering the 2009 season. However, there are more then few questions to address between now and the September 7th opener against Cincinnati. Here are a few:

5. Which member of the most heralded recruiting class in Rutgers history will be the first to be an impact starter?

Mohamed Sanu showed promise and versatility in the spring game as a wide receiver. Darrell Givens has the chance to challenge immediately at the corner back position. Lock down defenders Logan Ryan and Abdul Smith should also receive plenty of reps during camp. At tight end, both Paul Carrezola and Malcolm Bush have a shot to challenge hybrid WR/TE Shamar Graves for playing time. And then there's that Savage guy...

4. How quickly will the quarterback situation be sorted out?

After three seasons as a starter and team leader, Mike Teel has departed for the NFL. Coach Schiano said on Monday that he needs a QB capable of "managing" the offense likely in much the same way that Teel did during his sophomore campaign in 2006. While 5th year seniors Dom Natale and Jabu Lovelace have both the maturity to lead this team, they combined for a mere 11 pass attempts in 2008. The three other quarterbacks on the roster have a total of zero minutes of experience playing at the college level.

3. Does this offensive line have the potential to be the best ever at Rutgers?

There have been plenty comparisons already between this squad (Ranked # 8 in Phil Steele's College Football Preview) and the squad which allowed only 8 sacs during the 2006 season. Ryan Blaszczyk is the anchor at center. Anthony Davis is the star and Art Forst, the "human eclipse" is the star in waiting. Only time will tell and barring injury, the 2009 0-line should pave the way for the running game and produce similar results to the '06 edition.

2. Just how good is this defense?

Like the O-line, there have been many comparisons made to the 11 win team from three years ago. However, there is one key difference between this squad and the 2006 edition. This team has more talent and more depth at just about every position which will keep players fresh and rested through the long grind of the Big East season.

1. How will this team manage expectations?

Several media publications (excluding our own Big East Media who picked us to finish 5th) have picked Rutgers to win the conference and represent the Big East in a BCS Bowl Game. Perhaps the biggest challenge for coaches of top flight programs is managing the lofty expectations thrust upon the program each year by the media. Greg Schiano flipped a 1-5 start into seven consecutive wins following and finished the season by winning to papajohns.com bowl in come back fashion against NC State.


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