September 30, 2014

Rutgers Preview: Stop The Bleeding

After enduring the worst shutout in Fayetteville in 93 years, the Hogs gladly turn the page and welcome the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-0) to Fayetteville. The 6:00 kickoff will be televised by ESPNU.

It still stings.  Most of us thought it could get ugly last Saturday — and it did.  At the first sign of adversity, the Hogs started to melt.  And when you know you can’t score, it’s hard to keep up the fight, especially on defense.  Alabama can do that to you.

The Hogs have to stop the bleeding this week.  The good news is that all signs are pointing to a return for quarterback Tyler Wilson this week.  Wilson was retested again Monday to gage his recovery from a concussion suffered vs. ULM.

“The results were much better than the previous time,” Wilson said.  “Much, much better.  Almost real similar to baseline.  So that, for me, is very, very positive in my probability for this week.  Like I told those guys last night, I’m going to do everything I can do to get back to play QB for this team, this week.”

The Hogs are looking to get some confidence back before making the SEC road trip to College Station.  However, we have a feeling that Rutgers is not going to be very accommodating.

The Scarlet Knights are led by first year coach Kyle Flood.  Flood took over after long time coach Greg Schiano up and took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job earlier this year.  With 15 starters back, Flood is not without weapons.

The strength of this Rutgers team is on the defensive side of the ball, and it starts with the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Khaseem Greene (6-1, 230).  In the 4-3 Rutgers scheme, Greene is a tackling machine, tallying 141 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss in 2011.

Most thought he would declare for the 2012 NFL Draft, but Greene decided to return for his senior season.  NFLDraftScout.com has him ranked as the #4 OLB prospect for the 2013 draft.  The Hogs need to know where #20 is lining up every snap on Saturday.

Rutgers’ soft early season schedule — one that included a road game against a terrible Tulane team and a home contest against Howard — has inflated Rutgers defensive stats a bit it seems.  The Scarlet Knights currently rank as the #12 team in Total Defense (249.3 YPG).  They’re good, but not that good.

In their most recent outing, RU took advantage of four South Florida turnovers and dropped the Bulls last Thursday night in Tampa, 23-13.  Super sophomore running back Jawan Jamison stole the show, carrying the ball 41 times for 151 yards including a ‘video game’ type TD run to seal the deal.

Sophomore quarterback Gary Nova (575 PaYds, 4TDs in 2012) is good.  But his stats have  been pedestrian at best so far, completing 55.1 percent of his passes.  When Rutgers gets in the red zone, Nova looks for big target 6-6 sophomore Brandon Coleman (118 RecYds, 3 TDs).

On special teams, kickoff return man Jeremy Deering is dangerous if he gets his hands on the ball.  The 6-2, 210 junior led the Big East in kickoff return average last season, and has already popped one for 55 yards in 2012.

Believe it or not, some of the RazorBloggers like the Hogs chances to bounce back this week if Wilson plays.  Apparently so does Vegas…Arkansas is favored by 7.  And we hear that we may see the new white helmets this week.  We need all the help we can muster right now.

  • GolfHog

    Maybe this week will begin the healing and quiet the noise. It is hard to have confidence in this coaching staff but, maybe this team can carry the coaches. In so many ways it is a wonderful team. Paul Petrino is the key. He moved the ball a bit on Bama but, still his efforts seemed to confuse his own offense as much as Bama’s defense. There was little that found a rhythm. But, we won’t see those boys again. At least not until Thanksgiving. Even with Tyler back, he has got to find some balance, build on the run, protect Tyler, do better than he has shown so far. Grandpa Smith should be setting a tone. We have yet to play with focus and confidence. Maybe this week. So far, this team is a reflection of their head coach.

    • Roadhiog

      Your comment that PP’s “efforts seemed to confuse his own offense as much as Bama’s defense” reminds me of a snarky comment I made on another site. I said it takes years for the Arkansas players to learn the offense but opposing defenses learn it in one week. I think if you expect to contend for titles at some point you have to just line up and run it down your opponent’s throat, especially in the fourth quarter. JLS has acknowledged it does no good to have fancy schemes if you can’t execute them. I don’t know what it will take to stop the bleeding. That’s a job for the coaching staff. My job is to bitch loudly when things go awry.

      • GolfHog

        We’re doing our job Roadhog, as loudly and as often as needed.
        Paul Petrino just doesn’t seem to have the playcaller’s knack of mixing things up. He had a pretty complex script to start the game. He made yards at times only to come up empty. I thought Allen played very well at times only to make some key freshman mistakes. How much of that was experience and how much was being out of rhythm I’m sure I don’t know. But, I can ask the question.
        Bobby could do it. I know it when I see it. The idea is to get your team in a good rhythm while keeping the defense a bit off balance.
        Paul said he talked to Bobby every day. Somehow the message is just not getting thru. This team is all offense. They have got to have it clicking most of the time.

      • Okie Hog

        Isnt lining up and running it down their throat what Nutt did and everyone hated him for it? I know there has to be a balance but actually what you have to do is complete passes when you pass and make yardage when you run. The entire problem on offense is the offensive line. Holes must be made when we run and the QB must be protected when we pass. Both things we have failed at miserably so far and unless they get on the same page and go to work, we will see more of the same failures. It would also help if we had a head coach that knew what to say when the pressure is on!!

        • JimDoggg

          Truer words were never….. However, “Holes must be made…” is good advice but if holes can’t be made then one must try something else (swing passes, screen plays, option plays even a wishbone with Mitchell? SOMETHING, SOMETHING).
          Again what “Head Coach”? Nutt may have ran it down their throats, but there was also his strategy of telling the QB on third and long to get a first down on a pass play that everyone knew was coming. Hoping the QB would bail him out. Nutt’s calls for such third down passing plays seemed like more of an afterthought. (To be fair, other coaches think like that, or as Woody Hayes once said several things could happen with a pass; all bad). The Hog’s present pass defense seems to be play behind the receiver and hope he drops the ball. Nevertheless, go Hogs.

          • Roadhog

            JimDogg, HI. Meant to get back to you last week on you reply to one of mine. Just got busy and forgot to get back. Apologies.

            I like the Woody Hayes quote. the spirit of it at least. Of course first downs are always good, long first downs even better, and touchdowns through the air are a thing of beauty. As you know the NCAA tinkered with rules a lot since Woody made his last, career-ending tackle. They made the rules more pass-friendly just to liven up the game for the fans. You know, the old “offense sells tickets” strategy. I think you need all the standard plays in your arsenal, as you mentioned, but I don’t think you need COMPLICATED plays, just plays that you can execute. Maybe Petrino knew the only way he could win the the SEC was with a complex offense. He’s probably thinking to himself, or to his brother, “Let’s see somebody else win eleven games in a season with these players.”

        • Roadhog

          Nutt didn’t catch flak for his run-oriented style till he started losing. And people grew tired of Nutt’s personality, I think. You’re right that you have to move the chains whether running or throwing the ball. Obviously you must have the players who can beat the defense. Hard to win with 3-star players. To win you need players with greater size, strength and speed, on both sides of the line. I think Bobby Petrino did the best that could be expected considering the players he had.

      • JimDoggg

        Snarky but true!

    • JimDoggg

      What “Head Coach”?

      • GolfHog

        Exactly.