Thursday, October 22, 2009

Getting Rutgers Offense Back Into Gear

If Rutgers plans to show us more then just a “W” against the Black Knights on Friday, it must cure its schizophrenic offense by getting back to being a run first throw second team. That’s the same formula that worked so well during the 2006 season when Teel was a first year and unproven sophomore starter. I’m not saying that any one of four RB’s is Ray Rice but being able to collectively pound the ball inside with a sustained running game while showing a threat to break off the long run is the first step in solving this apparent identity crisis and opens up Savage to make his down field passes to Sanu, Brown and the chorus line of potential third WR options. O-line Injuries: Although the running game against Pitt produced only 38 yards on 20 carries, 29 of which came from Sanu via the wildcat, the o-line seemingly had it’s best of the year against BCS competition in terms of QB protection. Could this unit finally be coming together without the services of season opening starter Caleb Ruch and Desmond Wynn?

Will the rocket take off finally? Everyone else has pretty much beaten the drum on this one but it’s worth mentioning once again. The cover is off the Schiano’s new offensive sports car and the kid’s red shirt has been burned. Give the kid a chance against FBS competition and make him part of your running game for more then just fourth quarter mop up work.

Wildcat Offense: Whether this is just a gimmick conceived by Schiano and the OC’s or if there is a vision of having the wildcat become a strategic piece of the offense, I do not know. If it is the later, integrate it into the offense and use it consistently (the polar opposite of how it was intermittently used during the Pitt loss). Use it when you need a wrinkle play inside of the red zone but remember, run first, pass second. It’s time to end the gimmicks and regain a semblance of an identity for this offensive unit.

Penalty Mistakes: Although the penalty line from the box score of the Pitt game shows 6 penalties for 55 yards, it seemed very clear that we committed many of these penalties in key third down situations both on offense and defense that ended drives for us or extended drives for Pitt. This undisciplined play has got to stop if this team is going to go anywhere looking ahead to Connecticut, South Florida and West Virginia. The truth is we do not score a lot of points and every possession is precious.

Devin McCourty: Not enough has been said about Devin’s play on defense and special teams this year. The development of his game is one of the few positive stories that have developed this year. His line on Friday was 11 tackles, 1.0 for loss and a blocked punt. Look for # 21 all over the field at Michie Stadium on Friday.


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