Why is the Rutgers offense so bad?

There's an anecdotal phenomenon that seems to happen a lot with young quarterbacks, although I'm not aware of any empirical research or studies on the subject. Oftentimes, a signal caller will experience some level of early success, and be proclaimed as the next big thing under center. This initial breakthrough must eventually be followed by some sort of fall to earth, which could have a myriad of causes. Maybe the level of competition got better, or the supporting cast is worse, or there was finally a breadth of film for opposing defenses to study. There could be an undisclosed injury. Perhaps it was just regression to some yet unknown mean, or part of the natural peaks and valleys of any player's career.

Again, while there isn't any proof of a hard and fast rule available, over time I've developed a folk theory of sorts, originally stemming back to when Eli Manning (of the New York Football Giants) development had stalled in 2006 and 2007. What I thought was happening then, and have supported through extremely selective and biased assessment of various quotes onward was that the Giants' coaching staff had installed an overtly-complex offense, and wasn't easing Manning in with sufficient patience. Eventually, they adjusted, and now I no longer need to tirelessly defend Manning to friends.

It's not hard to think of similar examples in the NFL, where the likes of Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, and Vince Young are arguably still trying to grow in this fashion. Remember, San Diego was so down on Drew Brees at one point that they draft Phil Rivers (and wisely didn't blow everything up again when Rivers first stumbled). As far as college QBs go, Colt McCoy is the player that instantly comes to mind when you think of quarterbacks who didn't have linear career arcs. Of course, Tom Savage's troubles are but one of the many concerns plaguing the Rutgers offense at the moment.

If there's a point to this rambling, the concept of the "average player" is based on many varying players and teams. Some will keep getting better every year, while others rise and fall for reasons impossible to discern through external observation. Moreover, while there are certainly a variety of changes and tweaks (having Tim Wright and Quron Pratt right now would be a boost) that could and ought to be tried, maybe there isn't anything fundamentally wrong right now with the Rutgers offense beyond just plain being a year away. Everyone involved is human, they screwed up, and they'll eventually adjust like they always have.

Suggesting that there's a great deal of random chance (or, attributes yet to be quantified) involved leads to uncomfortable implications. There may not be any identifiable quick fix for the current malaise. If this belief is false however, then some aspect of the team's internal constitution (coaching, roster, makeup, what have you) is fundamentally flawed and uncorrectable, and I honestly cannot believe that and still maintain any consistent measure of optimism for 2010.

Until if and when the offense gets on track, Rutgers should by all means go for broke with a kitchen sink approach against UNC. That's Coach Schiano's usual modus operandi against high profile opponents, which is known as a high variance strategy. There's a likely chance of failure, and it's completely unsustainable, but smoke and mirrors are all Rutgers has until further notice.

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