Spring Warm Up: Offensive Two-Deep

Spring practice is still a month away, but football fans are nothing if not impatient. As Scarlet Report looks ahead to spring camp, we project the two-deep on offense. The projections below represent what we think the two-deep should look like on March 30, and not necessarily what we think it will look like.

Quarterback -- 1. Chris Laviano (Soph.) OR Hayden Rettig (Soph.) – Let’s be realistic. One of these two will replace Gary Nova, and both need a real chance to win the job. With a lack of depth on the offensive line this spring (only 10 linemen expected), both guys need reps with the ones, and equal time with star receiver Leonte Carroo. The smart play is a complete balance of playing time between the two unless one magically breaks through during camp. Laviano has the experience edge, and Rettig brings an impressive skill set. May the best man win.

Running back -- 1. Josh Hicks (Soph.) OR Robert Martin (Soph.), 2. Desmon Peoples (Jr.) – Hicks and Martin became the clear leaders at the position by the end of the season. Spring practice is about fundamentals, and both need improvement here with less than 12 months in the Rutgers program. Rutgers knows what it has in Peoples. He can be both a mentor and change-of-pace guy. Until Paul James gets healthy and Charles Snorweah enrolls, Justin Goodwin is best off at running back – though a few reps elsewhere would not hurt.

Fullback -- 1. Sam Bergen (6th Yr. Sr.), 2. Kevin Marquez (Jr.) – What does the future hold for the fullback position under new offensive coordinator Ben McDaniels? Time will tell, but Bergen is the obvious starter at the position. Marquez surpassed the departing Jacob Kraut already, and should also see plenty of action in spring. When it comes to special teams, Marquez is one of the best Rutgers has available.

Wide Receiver X -- 1. Leonte Carroo (Sr.), 2. Carlton Agudosi (Jr.) – No explanation needed. A healthy Carroo likely leaves Rutgers as the best in school history. Give Carroo the “Brian Leonard treatment” this spring, and get Agudosi plenty of action.

Wide Receiver Z -- 1. Andre Patton (Jr.), 2. John Tsimis (Jr.) – Rutgers should try multiple receivers in multiple roles, but must make sure Patton gets on the field with the ones as often as anyone else on the roster. Tsimis is sure-handed, but must improve upon his ability to separate against Big Ten level cornerbacks.

Slot Receiver -- 1. Janarion Grant (Jr.) OR Ruhann Peele (Jr.) – Both of these guys should get plenty of reps both in spring and this season. Grant proved what he can be at his best against Maryland last year. Is Peele better off at defensive back? Maybe, but Rutgers can’t take away one of its better play-makers before the freshmen arrive. Peele’s best position could very well be cornerback, but there is too much need elsewhere this spring.

Tight End -- 1. Nick Arcidiacono (Jr.), 2. Logan Lister (R-Fr.) OR Matt Flanagan (Soph.) OR Charles Scarff (Soph.) – Arcidiacono is, by default, the guy to start off spring after the loss of Tyler Kroft. He improved when possible but also battled injuries. Nobody, however, battled injuries the way Lister did in his first year at Rutgers. He has a good body and, at worse, is a strong blocking option in the pro-style scheme. Yes there is still room for George Behr, and walk-ons Matt Flanagan and Charles Scarff should see time as well. In a group with so many unproven guys, give them all a look and see what happens.

Left Tackle -- 1. Keith Lumpkin (Sr.), 2. Zack Heeman (R-Fr.) – Again, obvious. Lumpkin will be an anchor in 2015, and Heeman brings a similar frame and the basketball background to the position. He needs to learn as much as possible from Lumpkin while possible.

Left Guard -- 1. Dorian Miller (Soph.), 2. Ryan Brodie (Jr.) – The staff groomed Miller as Kaleb Johnson’s replacement in 2014, and he was close to a starting job when others battled injuries throughout the season. Now is Miller’s spring to shine. For Brodie, the move inside to guard appeared beneficial. Every lineman develops at his own rate, and perhaps the lack of offensive line bodies for spring gives Brodie the chance he needs.

Center -- 1. Chris Muller (Jr.) OR Derrick Nelson (Jr.) – When you know what Muller brings to the table at right guard, why not try something new in spring with concerns over Betim Bujari’s replacement. If the experiment does not work, then Muller should have no issue bouncing back to right guard. If it does, great. Nelson has limited playing experience and needs another talent like Muller to push him for real competition in spring.

Right Guard -- 1. Tariq Cole (R-Fr.), 2. Jacquis Webb (R-Fr.) – Cole was the guy to watch in bowl practices. He is a big boy that reshaped his body and will be a multi-year starter for Rutgers. This is another experiment worth the effort in spring, and the best two between Muller, Nelson and Cole should play.

Right Tackle -- 1. J.J. Denman (Jr.), 2. Marcus Applefield (R-Fr.) – There is nothing wrong with the co-starter alongside Taj Alexander in 2014 stepping into a fulltime role. With that said, Applefield has promise and spring No. 2 could include a push for a starting job.

Check back tomorrow for part two of Scarlet Report’s depth chart chat.

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