Rutgers has had plenty of injuries and inconsistencies at the quarterback position to this point of the season.
Coming into 2022, the running backs were a question mark because they have not logged much time. Isiah Pacheco was the bell cow for the offense over the last three years and the Scarlet Knights needed a replacement.
Kyle Monangai and Samuel Brown V have stepped up but there is still one missing piece.
Aaron Young rushed for 205 yards and five touchdowns last season. He has yet to make his debut in 2022 but is progressing toward coming back.
“Aaron is improving, yes, and boy, we have missed him, right,” head coach Greg Schiano said Monday. “He’s a multi dimensional guy. He does it on teams, he does it on running back and he does it at receiver.”
The backfield for Rutgers has looked fast. Monangai currently leads the team with 42 carries for 157 yards while Al-Shadee Salaam is averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
Young is a multi-talented back that can do many things well. Schiano has thought about the injuries that Rutgers has suffered this season and Young is an important one.
“That’s another guy — that’s why I had to really pump the brakes myself, because I was really frustrated, as you can tell Saturday night and I don’t have accept it and I don’t make excuses, but I have to live in reality,” Schiano said. “When you look at some of the quality, experienced players that weren’t playing, and yet we were battling and felt really other than a couple of mistakes, were right there, that’s a huge profit. Huge improvement.”
While injuries play a role for each team, Rutgers does not have the depth to make up for it in all areas. When the competition gets tougher, the Scarlet Knights will be at an even bigger disadvantage.
With a trip to Ohio State upcoming, it might be smart to give any players who are not 100% another week to rest and recover. Even at full strength, the Scarlet Knights will have to chalk this up as a loss and move on.
“We jump up in class again, right,” Schiano said. “So if Iowa is one — or if Iowa is 1-A, Ohio is 1, they are third ranked, second ranked, whatever rank in the country for a reason. I understand the culture, I understand the program and I understand the level of talent. For us to have an opportunity to win this game, we have to be consistent, we have to be at our best consistently. I just got done telling you, that’s the last thing to come. But you know what, the challenge is great, and that’s what I love about it league, so I’m looking forward to it.”