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Rutgers Football: Offensive Scheming

Many fans wanted a more in-depth look at the offensive schemes that Rutgers has been using this year. Your wish has been granted

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

For reference, I have watched the highlights uploaded by Rutgers as well as the Penn State highlights via Penn State since Rutgers did not upload anything from that game.

I have already analyzed the offense and defense from Norfolk State in separate preview pieces for the real games.

Washington State

The Pitch

Rutgers often runs the pitch play to the strong side with 3 blockers. Notice here how Keith Lumpkin gets out in front of Josh Hicks to clear the way.

TE Stick

This play is a staple in almost every offense. Notice how Matt Flanagan runs straight then makes a read on which way to cut and Chris Laviano hits him with a surprisingly quick pass. This is not a check down, as Flanagan was the primary target.

Jet Sweep

This is by far the most under-utilized play in the playbook. This ball gets Janarion Grant the ball right away and the whole play lies on him, which is better odds than anyone else on the field. Grant is trusted to hit the edge and get into the open field as soon as possible. He clearly has no problem with that.

Spider 2 Y Banana

Motion? Check. Fullback flat? Check. Y Banana? Check. Big Gain? Check. Good throw? Not so much. This is a strange but smart set up. Instead of running that play to the QB's strong side, Ben McDaniels use the open side of the field and a good throw by Chris Laviano is an easy touchdown for Sam Bergen.

On the very next play, it was basically the same thing except to Laviano's strong side. Matt Flanagan was left wide open. This is quickly becoming Rutgers' go-to play in the red zone and on the goal line. Flanagan has 3 TDs this year all on that play.

The Run Play

Rutgers' favorite play is the counter. They run it all the time and it is basically out of the same formation and setup every time. They will motion a receiver into the line of scrimmage and try to have the HB hit the outside as the WR seals the edge. The play above is exactly what is supposed to happen every time, but obviously it doesn't work like that every time.

Penn State

Obviously not much offense in this game, but it is a good time to look at what doesn't work on offense for this team.

Not Blocking

This is that same counter play that worked so well against Washington State. However, it doesn't work when no one blocks the defense. No running back in the country stands a chance when he is met by 3 defenders in the backfield the second he gets the ball. The offensive line simply gets dominated on this play

Out Routes

This play is a simple 5-yard out route but there are a couple of things wrong. For starters, Chris Laviano floats the ball and throws it way too high for even a 6'6" receiver like Carlton Agudosi. My other issue: WHO THE HELL CALLS A 5-YARD OUT ON 3RD-AND-8???? Even if Laviano completes a lazer, Agudosi is right on the sideline with a defender on top of him. He's going nowhere. It isn't like Chris Laviano had options down field either. Agudosi was the furthest man downfield and was still 3 yards short of the sticks. This is horrible play calling by Ben McDaniels

Whatever this was

The only positive here is that Laviano scanned the field, a little bit. What boggles my mind is that he had to have seen all the DBs roaming the middle of the field. Somehow, he proceeds to float a pass over the middle. When you float a pass over the middle, one of two things happens. Your receiver gets lit up or you throw an interception. Surprise surprise, Laviano threw a pick on this play.

Full House

Rutgers comes out in the full house set, which I have never seen utilized by the Scarlet Knights. Andre Patton is lined up to the heavy strong side and run a simple flag/out route. He has a DB draped all over him and there is no chance that Chris Laviano makes that throw. The issue here is that Patton is the only player running a real route. 3 players blocked and Robert Martin jogs out for a check-down. That play is way too simple to expect any results.

Let's run some more people to the corner of the end zone!

I mean, really? The Rutgers offensive line finally gives Chris Laviano all day to throw and there winds up being 3 receivers all running to the same corner of the end zone where there are 4 defenders. That is not a recipe for success. Laviano also displayed very poor pocket presence. He drifted around and then broke the pocket when there was no reason to do so. He looked like he couldn't wait to get out of the pocket and throw on the run in the rain. That is one of his worst tendencies that I have noticed this year.


For once, and only in a desperation situation, Rutgers decides to throw the ball down the field. Carlton Agudosi is wide open but Chris Laviano floats the ball high and the second he lands on his feet, Agudosi is met with a big hit that forces the ball out. While we're on the topic, however, that hit was clearly helmet to helmet and targeting but did not get called. To think that all stems from Laviano floating a pass over the middle. Nothing good EVER comes from that.


LMAO Chris Laviano

Uhhhhhhhh, not even sure who to blame here but Chris Laviano is the one looking like a fool. This was actually a successful play, as Laviano found Andre Patton on the deep in. I really like the design of that play, y'know minus the whole QB/HB miscommunication.


Single coverage press on a 6'6" receiver wasn't your best move, Kansas. All Laviano had to do was throw it up and let Carlton Agudosi do the rest. Truthfully, it was a horrendous throw. The ball was not thrown high enough, and didn't exactly fade to the receiver's back shoulder. Instead, Agudosi had to dive inwards to make a great catch. They should probably practice this play more because it can be very effective with a good throw.

HB Counter

This is a perfect example of how a counter play should be run. Laviano does a great job selling it to the strong side while everyone on the line holds their blocks and seals the edge for Robert Martin. This was a thing of beauty for the Scarlet Knights and is a play they hope to utilize a lot for the remainder of this year.

HB Bubble Screen

This is an excellent wrinkle by Ben McDaniels that gets the HB in space quickly. Andre Patton draws both DBs with him and Paul James sneaks into the flat with plenty of open field to work with. As long as Patton can bring defenders with him or seal the edge, this play will work great every so often.

Janarion Grant Bubble Screen

This is my favorite play they have. Just get Grills the ball and get it to him quick. If he has the ball in his hands, who knows what can happen. Laviano gets it out to him and Grills has blockers to pave the way for him. There needs to be more plays like this that get the ball to the best playmaker on the field. Notice how Kansas is playing a soft zone, which is an awful defense against a play like this.

Heavy Toss

Rutgers loves to run this play. The key is that the three players all bunched up get to their blocks fast. You can see here that 2/3 of them do, but one missed block left a man open to tackle Robert Martin.