Find a Quarterback
The Big Ten was a running back league in 2014, and Rutgers has plenty of ammunition at the position moving into its second season. But a legitimate quarterback wins games in any level of football. Gary Nova showed that with a successful senior season, but the torch now passes to another.
Head coach Kyle Flood should open up the quarterback battle to every man on the roster this spring. Sophomore Chris Laviano has the experience edge. Sophomore Hayden Rettig brings a four-star background after transferring from LSU. Red-shirt freshman Giovanni Rescigno brings a different level of mobility to the position. May the best man win, and the earlier the better.
Go 1-0 in 2016
The Rutgers staff has a can’t-miss opportunity in the 2016 recruiting class. Flood has three meaningful commitments from Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips linebacker Jonathan Pollock, Glen Mills (Pa.) Garnet Valley lineman Ted Field and South Brunswick (N.J.) receiver Mohamed Jabbie.
That’s a nice start, but things could be really special if Rutgers makes the right pieces fall into place. It is a long shot, but there are real opportunities at many of the lite local five- and four-star Scout prospects. Paramus (N.J.) Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary and Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic quarterback Jarrett Guarantano have ties to Rutgers dating back to childhood. Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic five-star running back Kareem Walker and Potomac (Md.) Bullis School quarterback Dwayne Haskins have many ties to the school and legitimate interest. Make it happen.
Close the Gap
Blowouts happen everywhere, just ask Wisconsin how it felt after the Big Ten title game. Rutgers suffered four in its first Big Ten season, and it decreasing that number is a must in 2015. The win-loss record may be all that matters at the end of the year, but how those games play out affects everything from morale to momentum to recruiting.
Eddie Jordan needs some help. Athletic director Julie Hermann updated Scarlet Report on facilities at the end of the year. Complete the feasibility study, generate buzz, generate revenue and at least get something planned in 2015 for Jordan and C. Vivian Stringer to show recruits. Rutgers is leagues behind the rest of the Big Ten. It’s time to catch up. Hermann has every intention of upgrades (see Louisville accomplishments), and 2015 is year that needs progress.
Keep it Tight
Rutgers needs to control its message and cut down on ugly headlines. Wherever fans’ personal opinions stand regarding 2013 and 2014 scandals within the athletic department, each one damages the goals and reputation of the State University of New Jersey. Keep the focus on the field and in the classroom.
Rutgers sits in the biggest media market in the world – and grabbed plenty of attention and ratings with a memorable Dec. 26 in Detroit. No one person is at fault for the ugly parts of the last two years (how can you blame anyone at Rutgers for Ray Rice?). It’s up to everyone at Rutgers to carry themselves the right way. There are plenty of sources of pride in Piscataway and New Brunswick, and the rest of the country deserves to see that.