Youth

Much has been made of RU's inexperience on offense this season, and for good reason. True freshmen start at quarterback and wide receiver, and redshirt freshmen start at tight end and defensive tackle. Five sophomores are in the starting lineup too. Surely, this is the reason why Rutgers has looked so out of sync on offense to this point, right?

I think it is a big deal that so much of the inexperience is concentrated on offense, but I'm wondering exactly how unique of a situation the team is in at the moment. Take this week's opponent, UConn. They start freshmen at guard and tight end. There's a redshirt freshman at one safety spot, and another freshman is starting at DE, because their projected starter was dismissed from the team during fall camp. That's before you even take into account how they'll have to throw another freshman into the starting lineup at CB.

Attrition happens. I don't think it's fair to give 100% of the blame to Greg Schiano and staff for the inexperience on offense. They likely did make mistakes at points, but some of those factors were out of their control. UConn is dealing with the exact same depth issues at the moment. Our issues are exacerbated by starting a true freshman at such a critical spot under center.

It might be that these are two of the younger teams in the conference however. Looking at West Virginia's roster for last Saturday's game, they do seem to have a bit more experienced depth than the Huskies. As far as I could tell, Pitt was just loaded with talented upperclassmen too. At some point, when I have the time, it'd probably be worth looking at each Big East roster, if not a lot of them around the country, to see exactly where Rutgers compares when it comes to inexperience.

There are other factors to take into account - is it better to have a three year starter who's a true junior, or a fifth year senior who's never played a down? What about looking at a full two-deep, as opposed to just starting lineups? I also wonder whether there's an appreciable difference between having a true freshman starter, and one who has redshirted. There has been some debate in the user comments here lately about whether Coach Schiano should be more cautious in burning redshirts. Anyway, may be worth pursuing down the line.

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