The Week 2 victory over Wagner gave Rutgers a chance to work on different aspects of the offense.
By the time the second quarter hit, the Scarlet Knights held a massive lead and could do whatever they wanted moving forward. One interesting aspect is the backfield.
Rutgers had nine players carry the ball on Saturday, including Gavin Wimsatt and Johnny Langan. The Scarlet Knights were without Aaron Young once again who continues to work back from injury. Kyle Monangai finished with 10 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown. Monangai was viewed as the workhorse with Young out but Sean Gleeson has used different players in many ways.
Interestingly enough, this includes Rashad Rochelle, who committed to Rutgers as a wide receiver.
“He’s a very good athlete and is dangerous with the ball in his hand,” head coach Greg Schiano said. “So we’ve been working him at both positions with AY down, we kind of more heavily favor him towards running back, and I think he’s going to be a really good receiver, too, as he grows and spends more time with JB in the weight room and all those things. He’s already changed his body a little bit but I can see this guy being just a little muscle man out there that can really run and that’s going to be the key because he’s going to get hit, right.”
Rochelle carried the ball 11 times for 41 yards and a touchdown. This was the second highest total on the team, behind Samuel Brown V, who logged 12 carries and scored twice.
The Scarlet Knights have displayed speed over the first two games of the season. It begins with Al-Shadee Salaam. The sophomore scored the game-winning touchdown against Boston College. Salaam led all running backs with 69 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
“When he touches the ball, we all kind of hold our breath. He has a different gear than people we have had around here. Al-Shadee is legitimately fast, fast,” Schiano said.
“So is Rochelle. He’s got another gear, too. One thing I am excited about is our team speed is markedly getting better each year. You know, I just believe speed, I don’t like to say speed kills, I think that’s corny but I think speed is hugely effective in the game of football when you have fast people. They cover up mistakes well and allow you to take advantage of things well and we’ll continue to hunt that at every position.”
Rutgers is hoping to get Young back soon — preferably before the start of Big Ten play. Once he returns, the backfield will be even more crowded and this is a good problem for Rutgers to have.
“Right now, you can legitimately say there’s two, maybe three guys getting touches, right,” Schiano said. “It’s a good running back room, that’s what I like and we have to make sure that we play to each guy’s strengths, you can do that if you’re organized and make sure you have the right guys in to do things for their strengths, and as they improve their weaknesses, they can they can do it.”