Now that the Scarlet Knights have a few practices until their belts, there is an early sense about what things will look like moving forward. At the same time, there are still some questions that need to be answered. That will happen naturally overtime.
Here is what we do know — Rutgers has a ton of returning production and their core players will continue to be the leaders. With that being said, there is plenty to watch moving forward leading up to the first game on Sept. 2 against Temple.
How will Johnny Langan be used?
To answer the questions quickly — anyway possible.
“He’s a quarterback but he’s also a multi-positional player,” Greg Schiano said following the Scarlet Knights’ first practice on Wednesday. “So he can lineup at wideout, lineup at tight, or lineup at running back. He can lineup in different packages and different spots. I think thats a good weapon to have.”
Langan is listed as a quarterback but with his 6-foot-3, 223-pound frame, Rutgers likes to get him involved as much as possible. Noah Vedral will return as the definitive starter under center which means offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson could continue to find creative ways to get Langan involved.
“Roles are earned,” Schiano said. “If he deserves it, there will be a bigger role. I hope so. I think hes difficult to defend if he can do multiple things.”
In 2020, Langan was used primarily as a ball carrier and it became a bit predictable when he was in the game. There are plenty of possibilities for Langan this season and it will be interesting to see where and how his role progresses.
“We’re not asking him to understand everything about every position,” Schiano said. “Johnny has things that Johnny does in each position.”
What will the defensive line depth look like?
The offensive line is a big question mark but the same can be said about the other side of the ball as well.
Michael Dwumfour is gone. Rutgers welcomes back Mike Tverdov, Julius Turner, and CJ Oneychi. The Scarlet Knights will have plenty of newcomers along the defensive line so who will step up?
Temple transfer Ifeanyi Maijeh seems like a likely candidate. He will attempt to soften the blow of losing Dwumfour. Also, defensive line coach Jim Panagos will be back full-time after missing last season due to knee surgery. Maijeh is an immediate transfer that could make an impact but there could be some former ones involved as well. Mayan Ahanatou, Aaron Lewis, and Ireland Burke could help Schiano make up a bit of a rotation.
“What we like to do, and I’m not saying we can always do it, but we like to play eight to 10 to 11 guys and literally like hockey waves, just rolling guys out there fresh,” Schiano said.
The Scarlet Knights feature plenty of newcomers as well with Ryan Keeler, Keshon Griffin, Jordan Thompson, and Henry Hughes.
The overall experience
Training camp is back and there is plenty of excitement around the program.
“It feels like training camp,” Vedral said. “When school is going on, it feels kind of like practice. Just a long period of practice before your first game. This feels like training camp. Wake up, football. By the time you go to sleep, you’re waking up again to play football. It’s fun that it’s back to back to back and it’s hard too.”
The strange format of last offseason made everyone realize what sometimes can be taken for granted. Players and coaches can return to a bit of normalcy this season with the way they prepare in the offseason and for games.
“We’re in what we call the install period,” Schiano said. “We will install 95% of our offensive, defensive, and kicking game in six practices. So you can imagine that is just a rush of information. But then you go back the rest of the camp and you shine it up.”
Yes, the backup quarterback and offensive line situations will be focal points of training camp. There is plenty of time for that. For now, there are plenty of other aspects to look out for while others continue to work themselves out.