Rutgers Focuses on Fixes in the Trenches

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Despite four returning starters and two team captains on the Rutgers offensive line, the operation at Washington was not a smooth one. Center Derrick Nelson explains the issues and adjustments coming on offense.

For a veteran like team captain Derrick Nelson, the offseason changes under coach Chris Ash were not dramatic challenges.

Tempo, playcalling and conditioning are all new Nelson's fifth season, but he welcomed the adjustments last week against Washington.

I'd say the biggest [adjustment] is that our OC is in the box, so that's the biggest difference for me. Besides that, it's pretty much the same. You go over and correct it on the sidelines."

The no-huddle pace under Drew Mehringer and head coach Chris Ash is not overly-taxing on linemen because of their offseason work, Nelson said.

That's the biggest thing coach Ash and coach Mehringer preach is that condition in practice,” he said. “The more reps you get in practice, the easier it is on game day. We have a very extensive warm up, I'd like to say. It helps us with conditioning through practice.”

Comfort may have been there but execution was not in the loss to Washington.

Definitely a lot of missed assignments,” he said. “It was our first time doing it in real time, so I can understand that there were missed assignments but at the same time, we just need to get better at that and improve."

With four returning starters from last season and two captains in the trenches, Rutgers hopes for fast fixes.

I think we have to work on protection and perfection,” Nelson said. “We have the concepts down. We just have to gel better as an offensive line and as a unit, all of us together. … With more reps, the more you see things, the more you get it, the more you conceptualize and comprehend it."

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