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Rutgers Football: It’s not about now

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

In their first game of the season, Rutgers got blown out on the road against Washington and everyone panicked. Then, Aaron reminded everyone to remain calm, as this is a process and we need to be patient. Following Rutgers’ 58-0 loss at the hands of #2 Ohio State, fans began to get a little restless. This stuff is going to happen, though. Chris Ash inherited a roster that is not only nowhere near B1G standards, but with players that don’t fit his coaching schemes. Patience is key with this team, and I certainly have faith in this team.

The biggest weakness on the field for Rutgers is the quarterback position. However, If there’s one thing that a good deal of Rutgers fans have yet to comprehend, it’s that Chris Laviano is the best quarterback on the roster. People clamoring for him to be permanently benched have run out of excuses. Yes, Tylin Oden can run better, but he is too skinny to take hits like that for 60 minutes. We also saw him throw. His first throw was so off target it was unknown who he was targeting. He had two other short throws, both of which were dropped, one being a heinous drop by Matt Flanagan and the other on a contested slant by Andre Patton. Oden is simply clearly not ready to handle running this whole offense from start to finish. He is good as a change of pace guy but not as the full-time starter. However, next year he will have a chance to start.

Additionally, 2017 recruit John Lewis will join the team and will definitely make a case to be the starter. Chris Laviano was not recruited to play in this system and that is pretty clear. However, Tylin Oden was and should be big enough next year. I expect Oden, Lewis, and Laviano to battle for the job next year and one of the two younger QBs to win the job. When running a new offense, you need to give the coaches time to get the right players into the program, which this coaching staff is doing a fine job of.

Another reason Rutgers is struggling is because of previous recruiting. Rutgers pretty much took a 3-year vacation from recruiting and it is showing. The talent gap between them and Ohio State was simply comical. However, there will be plenty of fresh talent next year. Hopefully, Janarion Grant can return for his 5th year. Rutgers will get 2 years from former 4-star recruit and Miami TE Jerome Washington. Big-time Michigan transfer Ahmir Mitchell will have 4 years of eligibility after sitting out this year. The 2017 recruiting class is shaping up to be one of the best in Rutgers history and players like Bo Melton and Tyshon Fogg should contribute immediately. A couple years down the road, Rutgers should have the luxury of playing freshmen because they are really good, not because they are forced to due to a lack of depth.

I don’t think you can truly evaluate a coach until he has a chance to get “his players” and Chris Ash needs plenty of time given the roster he inherited. For now, it about believing in the team and trusting the process. Greg Schiano went 2-9 in his first year, then 1-11. Yes, the honeymoon period is over and the reality is beginning to set in. Rutgers plays a very hard schedule and every so often, a team is going to beat the crap out of them. That’s all part of the process, and we as Rutgers fans need to trust it. Better days are ahead.