2. There are far too many "communications mixups," as head coach Greg Schiano refers to them as.
Are the headsets not working? Could it be that the revolving assistant coaching door at Rutgers is now affecting the play on the field? Schiano goes through assistants the way trainers go through tape. Are the coaches not communicating to the players? Are the players not communicating to each other? Can someone talk to someone else so we don't have to hear about the communication problems after every game?
Look at why the assistants left. Demarest was fired for an off the field incident. Two older assistants apparently retired. One was fired for performance, and another left on good terms for a I-AA head coaching job. What should he have done differently? Maybe the hires will turn out to be mistakes in time, but would stability make Mike Teel make better reads and throws, let the defensive line harass the opposing quarterback, stop coverage breakdowns, and help force turnovers?
There was turnover following a relatively successful season in 2003, and a bad season in 2004. There was continuity for three seasons after that, but the team did not live up to expectations in 2007. Also, perhaps Greg Schiano is being overextended and needs to hire a defensive coordinator.
6. It's time to try Andres Morales at fullback.
Sure, it seems like a minor thing. But Rutgers isn't getting the blocking it needs from starter Jack Corcoran. Why else would Schiano have kept two tight ends -- Kevin Brock and Shamar Graves -- in the backfield to block already? Why else would he have called on defensive tackle -- yes, defensive tackle -- Blair Bines for a play at fullback against North Carolina?
Morales is so entrenched in Schiano's doghouse it will take the jaws of life to get him out. But the 250-pounder has shown he can block.
Yes, this needs to happen. The team played much better last season with Morales in the lineup.
DON'T SAY: "Bench Mike Teel for D.C. Jefferson."
Look, no one salivated over Jefferson's arms strength more than us writers during the summer practices. Kid's got a cannon attached to his shoulder, no question. But you don't want him replacing Mike Teel. Why? Because the same velocity and power he puts behind a 50-yard bomb, he puts on a 5-yard pass. Believe me, as bad as Teel has been thus far, Jefferson is only a freshman and would make more mistakes.
SAY: "I want to see more Chris Paul-Etienne."
It may be bumpy at first, but (in practice at least) CPE has shown to have the smoothest release and most consistent arm of all six QBs. He's mobile (which this team desperately needs) and can certainly throw the ball. Jabu Lovelace is a nice alternative to come in a provide a running threat at the QB position, but I don't think any coach will be scared of him throwing the ball. CPE can do both and he should get a look, at the very least.
A thousand times yes. D.C. Jefferson would just exacerbate every flaw of Teel at this point. I also want to ask again what exactly has happened to Dom Natale. Jabu is not a I-A quarterback if he isn't playing the option.
I thought McNulty called a good game last night. There were countless times that I was staring at my television, sighing as Teel stared down his primary receiver while other options were open downfield.
SAY: "They need a better pass rush."
Three sacks in two games isn't terrible, but it's not great either. If this defense wants to prevent the big plays that have haunted this team in its first two games, then the secondary needs to be given a little more time to make a play. DE Jamaal Westerman has a 1.5 sacks and DT Pete Tverdov has one. (LB Manny Abreu has the other.) Rutgers needs more of a push up front to give the secondary more time to make a play on the ball. I say DE George Johnson needs to get going soon.
It's not about sacks per se, it's about making the opposing QB uncomfortable. They did that vs. Fresno State, but couldn't vs. UNC.
SAY: "This conference is still up for grabs."
South Florida is the best of the Big East by default essentially. They squeaked by Central Florida last weekend and have a huge test tonight against Kansas. West Virginia and Pitt have already stumbled. Cincinnati lost their QB for two months, Louisville still has no defense and Syracuse is, well ... Syracuse. The wild card here is UConn. They will likely still be a tough out.
No, we have to be realistic. The Big East looks bad right now, but Rutgers is going to have a hell of a time at this point of going .500.
Well, Rutgers had its day, won a couple bowl games, and that was fun. But I'd say the egg the Knights laid in front of the country tonight officially moved them from "respectable/on the brink of good," to "totally regressed,"
Like it or not, this is what the rest of the country thinks today. All I can do do to stay sane is to argue that the past two games snowballed out of control due to momentum, and the team has the capacity to play better. Can the coaching staff wave a magic wand to fix everything? No, but Rutgers did not lose that game because its players are physically weak or slow. That's why they used to lose games, there's a different culprit at work now.