Upon Further Review: USF Analysis

Rutgers won its Big East opener 23-13 against South Florida. The defense dominated and the offense was good, but there is much more to the game. As it will do after every game this season, ScarletReport.com took a long look at the game and offers an in-depth analysis of what worked, and what needs to get better.

Watching the game live is one thing, and presents a real-time look at what is happening on the field.

However, pop on the game tape and you may see something different, or further validation of what your eye thought it saw while watching live.

After each Rutgers game, ScarletReport.com will take a look at a slowed-down, rewound version of what took place on the field.

Rutgers beat South Florida 23-13 as the defense was dominant again. Meanwhile, quarterback Gary Nova made a bundle of big throws to convert third downs and Jawan Jamison iced the game with a video game move on a 41-yard touchdown run.

What To Like

  • Everything about Jamison. The spin move on the 41-yard run doesn't just look cool, it shows confidence, incredibly quick feet and the ability to react in a micro second. And he did the spin move at full speed.

    Throughout the game he showed incredible patience waiting for holes to develop and was rarely tackled by one defender. He also picked up blitzes.

  • The play calling by defensive coordinator Robb Smith and offensive coordinator Dave Brock. They were both sensational.

    Smith blitzed often, and it usually came from the right side of South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels. He saw it coming, and he panics quickly in the pocket. That is when his mechanics break down and he throws off his back foot, or without a solid base, and the accuracy suffers greatly.

    On one play in the first quarter, Rutgers blitzed three linebackers and safety Lorenzo Waters to go with its four defensive linemen rushing Daniels.

    Brock did a fantastic job of mixing play calls, allowing Nova to throw nine times on first down. He also took advantage of the size of Rutgers' receivers by allowing them to run short crossing routes in front of the USF linebackers (who often dropped back into coverage too far). And USF's smaller defensive backs had trouble covering and tackling after the catch.

    Dave Brock
  • Nova's ability to move in the pocket and his quick release. USF has an athletic front four, but they were neutralized in the passing game because the offensive line protected well, Nova didn't hold the ball long and he also felt pressure and moved quickly.

  • Second and third down passing. Nova was 10 of 18 on second down and a sensational 10 of 15 on third down. He was accurate and made quick decisions.

  • Recognizing the blitz. Rutgers did a tremendous job, again, of picking up the blitz, and Nova did well to read it. On several occasions, USF brought pressure and Nova attacked the spot where the blitzer came from. He found tight end D.C. Jefferson over the middle in the first half and Tim Wright to the left in the third quarter. Both were open when the blitz came from that area.

  • Varying formations were key. In the first half, Rutgers used a lot of two tight end sets and didn't use fullback Michael Burton much. And how the Scarlet Knights lined up even with two tight ends was unique.

    On one play in the first half, Rutgers had two tight ends in the game, but emptied the backfield and put Jamison and tight end Paul Carrezola in the slot. When Jefferson released off the line of scrimmage, it gave Nova five receivers.

  • The pressure from the middle of the defensive line. Scott Vallone and Isaac Holmes were constantly getting a push up the field and were disruptive to USF's running game, and were also an integral part of flushing Daniels out of the pocket.

  • Khaseem Greene did a very good job spying Daniels. The weakside linebacker had 10 tackles, and he showed good patience and awareness in waiting for Daniels to make a move and tracking him.

  • Cornerback Logan Ryan had a strong game tackling (9) and also did a tremendous job against USF standout receiver Andre Davis. Davis made eight catches, but Ryan was able to limit his big play ability.

    One example of how good Ryan was came on third down when Davis ran a short crossing pattern and tried to use a pick. Ryan recognized it and went behind the possible pick and then closed quickly to make the tackle on Davis and prevent a third down conversion.

  • The coverage units. Much is made of Rutgers not being able to get its kickoffs into the end zone, but it didn't matter. USF returned three kicks, and the average starting field position was the 25 (same as a touchback).

    What To Work On

  • There are too many penalties, and they are lack of discipline penalties. From Betim Bujari not snapping on the right count to start the game to Kaleb Johnson's hands to the face to the defensive jumping on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter, it has to get fixed. Another 11 flags for 85 yards is not good.

    Justin Doerner
  • Punter Justin Doerner needs to find a rhythm. It's not even a consistency thing. It is just bad punting. Doerner punted six times for a 32.7 yard average. That is not even close to being good since none of the punts pinned USF deep or were short because of a short field.

  • Right guard Taj Alexander will grow into the position, but he still needs to improve his leverage. He wasn't pushed back a lot, but he wasn't get the push the other offensive linemen were getting.

  • Moving inside to defensive tackle as a freshman would be tough for anyone, and Darius Hamilton is no exceptions. His lack of girth (it will come) is a disadvantage and several times he went up the field but wasn't able to get around USF's guard.

  • Nova's first down accuracy was not good. He was 3 of 9 on first down, and missed several wide open receivers that could have resulted in big plays down the field.

  • That lack of use of Jeremy Deering. He is too dynamic not to get the ball in his hands at least a few times a game. USF's kickoffs all went for touchbacks, which meant Deering was relegated to watching the ball fly over his head.

    RT Miles Shuler
    Not To Worry

  • Sophomore receiver Miles Shuler was open several times but didn't get the ball thrown his way. It will come. At this time last season he couldn't break into the receiver rotation, and now he is playing regularly and showing he can get open.

    Keeping Perspective

    Kyle Flood
  • Rutgers was very good, but this was a South Florida team the Scarlet Knights match up very well against, and also know how to defend. In short, the Bulls are not a great team, so thinking this win will serve as a catapult to a Big East title is being a bit eager. Rutgers played great defensively and was good on defense, but this is not the type of team that can start checking off wins just by showing up.


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