Friday, September 12, 2008

Panic in Piscataway?


Let's begin with stating the obvious, but remembering the bigger pictere. Last night Rutgers was embarrassed on national TV by North Carolina, 44-12. Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The pain has never left us. We all know someone, or at least know someone who knew someone, who died on that terrible day.

And as I type this Hurricane Ike is poised to strike the Texas Gulf Coast. It should make landfall at or near Galveston, a city that lost 8,000 citizens in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1900. A sea wall was built to protect the city from future storms. At this time, it appears the sea wall will be useless against Ike; only half of Galveston's population heeded the order to evacuate.

RU getting pasted by Carolina only reinforces this thought; in the long run football is only a game.

But On The Banks Of The Old Raritan football has become a big game with big stakes involving big money, big media, big expectations, big risks, and big rewards.

And last night Rutgers came up remarkably small. The Red Team could not find upstream in any way, shape, or form.

Let's look at this cliche by cliche.

"The biggest improvement a football team makes is between its first and second game"

If anything, the team took several steps backwards. At least in the Fresno State loss the defense played very well in the first half. Against UNC Rutgers defense appeared to be the ones stuck in tar, not the 'Heels. Rutgers was torched at the rate of 9.6 yards per throw, 15.8 yards per reception. Carolina had big plays on offense that smoked the RU defense. And UNC's D' forced 4 interceptions for 154 yards in returns for one TD, and set up short field scores for the Tarheels.

The Rutgers offense actually gained more yards that UNC, 383 to 374....time of possession was close to even, UNC leading 30:35 to 29:25...and RU still lost by 32 points.

The ugliest stats of all; Turnovers Rutgers 4 (all interceptions), UNC 0; 3rd Down Conversions UNC 8-16, Rutgers 0 for 9(!!!).

"Its all about senior leadership"

Really? Mike Teel, 3 INT's...with his 1st TD pass of the year coming in the 8th quarter of the year. TE Kevin Brock dropping a pass on the UNC 6 yard line that could have set up a first and goal; DB Courtney Greene was the Invisible Man. CB Jason McCourty was toast, because he was burnt so many times. All Big East receiver Tiquan Underwood made a bonehead play on the opening kickoff of the second half by stepping out of bounds on the two yard line.

The list of miscues and bad play is too long and extensive to go into....it will only produce a worse migraine.

"The loss of Ray Rice to the NFL is the reason for the debacle".

Ray Rice could of helped in the run game, but even so RU had a respectable 140 rushing yards at 4.8 a carry, with red shirt freshman Jourdan Brooks beginning to emerge with a very respectable 42 yards on seven carries (6.0 average). Mason Robinson did run for 82 yards on 16 carries, with a long of 25; but he is not an every down back. He has breakaway speed, but always seems to go down on the first hit.

"Bench Teel and play Jabu Lovelace at QB"

It will do nothing to improve the offense. Lovelace has yet to prove he can play quarterback at the college level. Last night; three passes, no completions, no touch on the ball, and one INT.

"Most of this is on the coaches" or my favorite, "We were out coached."

Wrong- its about execution...and to borrow the line from the late great Coach John McKay, if we're talking about execution, this team certainly deserves it. Its not the play calling...its the mental mistakes and physical miscues. Its too easy to blame the coaches when a bunch of 18, 19, and 20 year olds screw up.

The Navy game could tell the tale for the rest of the season. If the ship isn't righted in Annapolis, the good will and momentum of the past three winning seasons and bowl appearances will be out the window....and the villagers will be storming the message boards with even more verbal pitchforks.

Greg Schiano just might have the biggest challenge of his coaching career in the next couple of weeks. He finally got Rutgers to a point of unprecedented success.

And now he has to find some guys who will fight to restore and maintain that success.

And they have to do it right now.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails