The offensive line is a unit that impacts the entire offense as a whole.
It protects the quarterback, opens up holes for running backs, and gives wide receivers time to get downfield in routes. For Rutgers, this has been a weakness for two years since Greg Schiano returned but it is hoping to have depth this season.
“I think we’re getting better on the front,” Schiano said following practice on Monday. “It’s by inches but we’re getting better. That’s just going to have to be a steady climb the entire season for us to be effective in our schedule.”
“Right now, it’s about building mental toughness and building cumulative reps. That’s what we’re gonna do.”
The Scarlet Knights added transfers during the offseason that have a chance to help upfront right away. J.D. DiRenzo and Willie Tyler are experienced lineman who can help make up for some key losses — including Reggie Sutton, who is expected to miss the 2022 season following a knee injury.
For a group of five that has not worked together, it could take some time to gel but Rutgers is hoping to have cohesion by the time conference play begins.
“The entire season is going to have to be an O-line progression but we are progressing so that’s good,” Schiano said.
The competition under center continues and it does not seem like it is close to ending. The Scarlet Knights have been monitoring all three quarterbacks closely during practices and through the first scrimmage.
Schiano might wait until right before game time during Week 1 to name a starter but it is likely that we see all three options get time this season.
“The quarterback deal, they all made some plays and they all did things that they wish they could have back,” Schiano said. “It leaves us in this block of guys competing for the job, which I’m okay with.”
Wide Receiver Depth
The loss of Bo Melton is not an easy one to overcome but Rutgers was aggressive in the transfer portal on the outside as well. Taj Harris and Sean Ryan are two newcomers who will be part of the offense right away.
Aron Cruickshank is working back from a season-ending injury suffered in 2021 against Wisconsin. He will immediately be the most explosive player on the offense once he is able to return.
“I think we have depth at the wide receiver position,” Schiano said. “It’s just competition. We generally play three at a time so who are gonna be the first three and who are gonna be the three that sub in for them.”