Whether you were talking about the Big Ten or the nation as a whole, Rutgers had one of the worst offenses.
The Scarlet Knights struggled with consistency, injuries, quarterbacks, offensive line, play calling — you name it. This led to the hire of Kirk Ciarrocca in the offseason. Now that spring practice has started, Ciarrocca got a chance to give his first thoughts on what was a poor unit last season.
“We’re installing a system right now,” Ciarrocca said. “As we go through spring, we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at. It’s going to take a spring.”
Of course, it begins with the quarterbacks. Last season, head coach Greg Schiano refused to name a starter and this led to a situation that no one wanted to be in or watch. Let’s hope that this will not be the case once again. With that being said, Ciarrocca is focused on getting to know his personnel early on.
“The biggest thing for me and the quarterbacks, besides just getting to know each other and getting comfortable with each other, is they’re an extension of me out there,” Ciarrocca said. “I’m trying to learn their strengths and weaknesses. I’m trying to get them to think the way I would. Think the way we want them to think in this offensive system so they can just play when the ball snaps.”
Whoever the quarterback is, he will have a young and inexperienced group of wide receivers to work with. That is not always a bad thing. The group has a chance to be talented if used the right way and put in positions to be successful.
“We just have to be patient and allow those guys to develop and grow everyday,” Ciarrocca said. “They’re going to have some growing pains. I might not like it when it happens but Im gonna take a deep breath and see where they’re at tomorrow.”
Ciarrocca was quick to credit the coaches at each position. Rutgers has some experience in the coaching room that can be used to help younger players.
If Samuel Brown is able to stay on track, Rutgers is prepared to get its leader back in the running back room. Just a sophomore, Brown has taken on an extended role and proved that he can be a work horse in the backfield. He has a chance to lead a group that might be the best of the bunch.
“That might be our deepest area we have right now,” Ciarrocca said. “For me, I’ve just seen them on film. I haven’t seen them break a tackle yet. I haven’t seen their ability after contact to fall forward.”
“I love the way they’re working. I love the way they’re picking up the system. Their experience out there, you can tell they’ve been through the battles. I’m excited about the position.”
It is just the first week of spring and Ciarrocca will begin to get more comfortable with his players. Despite the effort of the offense last season, the Scarlet Knights have a new leader and are hoping they turn it around quickly.
“I love the way the guys are working. I think they have potential and ability there. Now it’s my job to get it out of them.”