Looking back at Game Two

Mike Fasano looks back at Rutgers stunning loss to the New Hampshire Wildcats

     I had trouble writing an article after Rutgers' recent game with the University of New Hampshire.

    In fact, absent seventy-two straight hours of psychotherapy I couldn't even speak my name ... much less admit that I was a Rutgers fan.

    I took this game hard.

    During that time I did what I could. I slept when I could, fed myself when able and browsed the bulletins board to try to get a perspective on what happened.

    It was an interesting three days.

    Rutgers' fans divided into two groups. I call them the "sky is falling assemblage" and the "kool aid kids."

 

The Sky is Falling Assemblage

 

    These folks took this loss worse than I did. Now they want one thing and one thing only. They want to petition George Bush to bring down a nuclear strike on the Rutgers football program. They want to level it, destroy it, render it null. They'll nuke it, flatten it, obliterate it and spread salt over the places where the stadium once stood.

    They are hard core football fans who are fed up. They have had enough. If, after spending a trillion dollars on the program, we'll still can't beat a Div 1AA program then it is time to annihilate Rutgers football and move on.

    Move on, indeed. These folks more than angry, they are embarrassed. The general plan is that (after ridding Rutgers of the football program) they'll get plastic surgery, move to another country and deny any knowledge that a Rutgers football program ever existed.

    They are seriously upset, to say the least.

    While I can certainly sympathize with such feelings, I think that is a bit of an over reaction ... which takes us to group two.

 

The Kool Aid Kids

 

    These are the same folks who wanted to give Terry Shea one more year.

     Every year.

    It wouldn't matter if we lost 8 games, 10 games, 50 games or a 100 games in a row.

    "Success is just around the corner, if we just stay the course."

    It wouldn't matter if opponents pulled their starters in the third quarter, the second quarter, the first quarter ... before they got on the bus.

    "It takes time to build a program."

    It wouldn't matter is the coach had "666" tattooed on his forehead and it wouldn't mater if he beat old folks with pool cues and fed babies to crocodiles.

    They'd say, "what team did you ever coach?"

    To them anyone who critiques is a "negatoid" and anyone who sees what is in front of his nose is a traitor to the cause.

    These are the "Kool Aid Kids". They trust authority no matter what and won't be deterred no matter how bad things get.

       

    Sorry, that's just not my gig.

 

The Road Less Traveled

 

    In writing on Rutgers football all these years the most important influence on me has been Tom Luicci. Tom always told me to tell the truth as I saw it and not to give a damn what anyone says.

    Here goes.

    I was wrong about Greg Schiano. I opposed his hiring. I thought he was a bad choice. I had listed him something like seventh out of the eight potential candidates for the job.

    I was wrong. He should have been listed first. Schiano has done one hell of a job resurrecting a program that had been reduced to little more than smoking ruins.

    He has brought talent to the team. He has raised the caliber of play. He has brought respect to a program that had become a national joke.

    He has done all that and a lot more.

    That doesn't mean that he is above criticism.

    For a fourth year coach to allow his team to come out like they did on Saturday is inexcusable. The team was flat, there was no discernible game plan that I could see and the contest played out as if the word "adjustment" was not in the coach's vocabulary.

    The Rutgers staff was so badly out coached by their New Hampshire counterparts that it was an embarrassment to the entire Rutgers community.

    Schiano can do better.

     It is time to kick the intellectual arthritis out of each week's game plan and start using the talent on hand. It is time for the play calling to become art rather than rote.

     It is time to sit players on the bench if they don't treat every opponent like Florida State and it is time to demand that the players play the game with their hearts on fire. As one former Rutgers' coach used to say, "every play is a street fight." It is time for Rutgers players to understand that that is the reality of the "game" they are playing. The New Hampshire Wildcats understood that. Why can't we?

    Schiano has taken Rutgers from abyss to potential. But rooting for a team with unused potential can be as frustrating as watching a team with no talent at all.

    Enough is enough.

    Schiano has taken Rutgers far but far isn't enough for this Rutgers fan. 

    Neither, I am sure, will it be enough for Greg Schiano.  

 

Mike Fasano

Mike and the Big Dog's LLC


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