Rutgers Spring Game Wrap-Up
Final: White 21 Scarlet 0
As the Rutgers Scarlet Knights wrapped up their 2014 spring camp, many off-season questions seemed to be answered during Saturday’s intra-squad game.
Entering the 2014 season was the play at the quarterback position. Last season, Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova struggled with inconsistency under offensive coordinator Ron Prince’s scheme and lost his starting job at the end of the season to Chas Dodd. How would senior quarterback Gary Nova fare under a new offensive coordinator (Ralph Friedgen)?
Nova looked very confident in his first series of the afternoon and was very sharp on his first drive-completing 3 of 3 passes for 57 yards. Nova connected on a 30 yard pass to wide receiver Jenarion Grant in setting up the White’s first touchdown of the game. He would finish the game completing 6 of 13 passes for 78 yards. Nova progressed through his reads and knew where he wanted to throw the football. It is very clear that under Friedgen’s system, Nova has many options in the vertical passing game. In the old system under former offensive coordinator Ron Prince, the passing game seemed very basic without attacking every level of the defense. This year, the passing game should help balance out the running game and take the pressure off of the offensive line.
With the loss of big play wide receivers Brandon Coleman and Quron Pratt, would Rutgers have the play makers to score points this season?
The emergence of wide receiver Jenarion Grant will be the key to the Rutgers vertical passing game. Only a sophmore, Grant possess the speed and the homerun ability to stretch the field against opposing secondaries. Listed at 5’11 and weighing 170 lbs. Grant is a burner that runs great routes and has solid hands. Grant finished the afternoon with 3 receptions for 45 yards. The coaching staff is very high on what his ability can bring to the offense entering the 2014 season.
Nova seemed to have a good relationship with fullback Michael Burton. Nova’s first two completions of the afternoon were to Burton streaking out of the backfield. Burton finished with 3 receptions for 34 yards.
Wide receiver Andre Patton had 2 receptions for 20 yards and looked sharp in his route running.
Can the offensive line be productive enough to establish itself against the Big 10's physical defensive fronts?
Rutgers offensive line looked good on the team’s first two drives of the afternoon. The first string offensive line did a good job of protecting Gary Nova and provided running lanes for running back Desmon Peebles. On the afternoon, the White team recorded 81 rushing yards and opened up the holes for Peebles on a pair of 5 yard touchdown runs. As the game progressed, however, the defense was able to gain a push and force the quarterbacks into quick decisions in the passing game. In order to be successful this season the offensive line must gain depth/experience at every position in order for the team to have a successful Big 10 run.
Rutgers will benefit with the addition of offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen and wide receiver coach Mike Teel this season. Friedgen’s scheme should give the Rutgers offense the ability to have quick strike capability. In past seasons, Rutgers relied on a very run heavy offensive attack that was predicated on the play action passing game. Yesterday, Friedgen did a good job in calling passing plays on first and second down to allow quarterback Gary Nova to find his rhythm. Friedgen’s play calling is more aggressive than Ron Prince’s scheme and that will help benefit the offense in putting up points this season. Teel, the former Don Bosco standout quarterback that played for Rutgers, is back on campus and his experience should help with the maturation of quarterback Gary Nova along with recruiting talent to Piscataway. Teel has NFL experience and his knowledge will help the offensive staff. Overall, Rutgers has the offensive talent to be able to score points against opposing Big 10 defenses.
Joseph Lisi is a former ABC Sports college football researcher. He is the owner of www.NCAABLITZ.com and www.GOFORTHE2.COM. Joseph has contributed as a writer for www.Rantsports.com- You can follow him on YOUTUBE at: MRJAL2230 or on Twitter @Goforthe2
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