Coach speak, cliches — things Rutgers fans have become accustomed to over the years.
Rutgers Football took the field for its first scrimmage of training camp on Saturday. Coaches got a chance to observe the team while players simulated game-like action. After a lackluster offensive performance, head coach Greg Schiano took on a different tone speaking to media.
Entering year four in his second stint in Piscataway, Schiano needs to show that Rutgers is improving.
“Early on we were sloppy,” Schiano said. “Not very precise. Later in the scrimmage, we got better. I don’t know if it was nerves.”
So far, this is the second change we have seen from Schiano. First, he named Gavin Wimsatt as the starting quarterback prior to Big Ten Media Days. Kirk Ciarrocca was hired as offensive coordinator and might have had a hand in that decision. Now, Schiano eliminated coach speak and was candid speaking on his team following the scrimmage and his quarterback.
“Most important thing, he took care of the football,” Schiano said of Wimsatt. “He seemed a little sped up at times. I think just excited so we’ll have to play that out of him. He ran the offense and got us in and out of the plays we wanted to get in and out of. When I say sped up, he wasn't as accurate as what we saw in practice but encouraged.”
Schiano also spoke on other positions after being asked about the play of Wimsatt. There are many question marks offensively for the Scarlet Knights and they were not answered on Saturday.
First, it was the play of the wide receivers.
“Inconsistent,” Schiano said. “Made some really fine plays then dropped some of what you would call easy ones.”
Then, Schiano moved onto the tight end position.
“Johnny and Shawn have done some good things,” Schiano said. “He can do somethings better. Victor’s injury is a pretty serousdeal. He missed an entire season. He went through spring and now has his feet under him. He’s too good of an athlete and too big of a man to not be playing more than he is right now. Mike is a tremendous athlete. He just has to continue to grow in the blocking portion. Those will be the four that are really up right now.”
Defensively, Rutgers is ahead of the offense and it showed on Saturday. Schiano mentioned penalties being an issue once again, which has been the case over the last few years.
“I thought the defense played better than the offense but I’m not sure that’s a revelation right now. They’re a little bit ahead,” Schiano said.
“Today, the one’s and two’s didn’t turn it over. As a head coach, defense didn’t take it away. We have to take the ball away. When you go against yourself, you're going to be happy or sad. But the best thing we did today on offense was we didn’t turn it over.”
The thought surrounding Rutgers Football is that the offense can't be as bad as last season, right? Well, what if it is?
Of course, there should not be much overreaction to one scrimmage. Actually, the tone around the head coach should bring positive feelings to fans. This means that there might be a new standard set this season and that is the production from last year will not be tolerated.
Rutgers has a chance to begin building this season. The regular season kicks off in three weeks and fans will be able to see if there is an improvement from last season.