We have finally reached the last team in this series of post-spring wrap-ups and that’s the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. If you missed any of the reviews in this eight part series click on the team name to take you to a particular review: South Florida, Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, West Virginia.
Team Strength: Rutgers depth chart is stacked top to bottom at wide receiver with guys who can play this position well. The problem last year was the lack of a running game/ the ability to keep the quarterback upright to throw the ball (see below). The wildcat formation that banged up Mohamed Sanu and severely limited him in the second half of the season is gone. Sanu will join Mark Harrison, who led the Big East in touchdown receptions (9) and yards per catch (18.8.) as the starting receivers. Tim Wright will return after missing all of last year with an injury. Brandon Coleman is also an emerging threat for this group.
More after the jump...
Team Weakness: The offensive line was the dregs of the Big East and indeed, FBS football in 2010. The rushing game as a whole only picked up 1,211 yards on 2.7 yards per carry. Freshman quarterback Chas Dodd was sacked 45 times during the season, or on 15.8% of his touches (120th in FBS). If we are looking at sacks/sacks+pass attempts that percentage is 16.8%. In the Louisville game, Dodd was sacked nine times at a rate of 22% of his attempts+sacks. West Virginia and Pitt were able to top Louisville by sacking Dodd on 24% of his attempts in their games against Rutgers. Unfortunately for Dodd, the offensive line will still be the weak spot for the Scarlet Knights going into the Fall.
Emerging: Redshirt Freshman Brandon Coleman was my standout player from the Rutgers Spring game. After watching Coleman’s performance you can only wonder what Greg Schiano was thinking not playing him last year. There is plenty of depth at receiver but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coleman emerge with plenty of playing time in the Fall.
Opportunities for Impact Freshman: Without question running back Savon Huggins is the player all Rutgers fans have their eyes on. The five-star recruit could immediately push former wide receiver Jeremy Deering for the starting job in the Fall. But, can Rutgers block for either of them?
Injuries: JUCO transfer Dallas Hendrikson was expected to be the starting center and was injured at practice on April 26. The injury it turned out was a torn ACL. Hendrikson will miss the entire 2011 season and take a medical redshirt.
Post-Spring Expectations: Rutgers has scrapped the terrible excuse for an offensive scheme they used last year for a Pro Style with incoming coordinator Frank Cignetti. Cignetti was Pitt’s offensive coordinator so I expect a very boring offense that is stronger than last year’s model. I think Rutgers will fall short of a bowl game again this year but will be more competitive.