WE'RE BACK ON TRACK
I'd like to thank the Big Dog for giving me a sounding board for my thoughts about old RU. A few of you might remember me from the 90-92 football seasons under Doug Graber. I was lucky enough to be a walk on, won a starting position and then received a scholarship for my punting efforts. I was a three year letter winner and had the longest punt up until that time - 75 yards. After graduating with an Engineering Degree in 1993 I turned to the business world and took on entrepreneural ventures during the "dot com" days of the mid and late nineties. I was involved in some private placements and got to reap the benefits. Since late 2001 I've been working as a financial advisor. Currently I work with the Bank of New York.
Let's get to talking about our guys. "Two and O" would be nice, but what's in the past is in the past. This Saturday's showing was a relief for me as a fan. The team went out to do what they were supposed to do. Our guys played well on all sides of the ball when it was needed and the score reflected that effort. In my opinion a quality 1A program shouldn't even allow a 1AA team to be on the same field with it. It's good to see that this week's score reflected that sentiment.
I really don't have much of an analysis about the game. All in all this proved to be an encouraging outing. Although I don't like the amount of total yards allowed by the RU defense. I'll take this game as a stepping stone for the team on an all around basis. More "three and outs" by the Rutgers D would make me feel better in a match up like this, but this may be attributable to substituting the "young pups" while the starters took a rest. The margin of victory was what I had expected. The D stayed tough in the red zone - bend but not break. And the Offense rolled. It was a good tune up that should prove to evoke an even more confident Rutgers team as they travel up to Buffalo.
This is my take on what we have, both tangible and intangible. There is no reason why we need to hold our collective breath's during the "gimme" games, and Saturday's performance redeemed that feeling in my gut. We will be competitive in every game this season and have the opportunity to take a few big games from teams. The margin of victory/loss will be less than seven points on average in many of the conference games. Because of the tight games we will need to be better at keeping our offensive drives going when we get into the red zone, especially early in the game when we can take our opponents by surprise. Our reputation tends to make some teams think that they can take us lightly. This is a great opportunity for us.
Our defense will need to be more flexible in the second half. Opposing teams are going to make adjustments to their offense at half time. This is in response to being dominated during the first half hour of play. We need realize our defensive vulnerabilities agaist each offense that we face, and from a coaching perspective adjust the Defense as our opponents settle into their second half gameplan.
And... and (this one is especially poignant for me since I was in a similar profession) Jeremy Ito needs to be automatic from at least forty yards and in.
These kids that are playing now, in my opinion have more athleticism and football skills than the teams of the past. I've mentioned it to Big Dog while reflecting about the teams on which we played. They have all the tools to be successful, but they are lacking chemistry. They show some moments of greatness, but right now it's just a fleeting thing. As the season progresses it should take.