The week began on a high as Rutgers fans were still enjoying their conference opening victory versus Pittsburgh. Don Forbes gave Rutgers fans a chance to see some of the action from the field including a chance to see exactly what Scarlet Knight players from the past were on hand to see the nationally televised contest against Pitt.
As Monday arrived Andrew Bone's interview with Trey Womack was published. Womack, a a 6-foot and 170-pound wide receiver prospect by way of Malvern Prep. in Pennsylvania, listed a Top 2 of UVa and Tennessee but indicated that Rutgers is in the mix among his Top 5.
One of the more sought-after running backs in New Jersey this year is a prospect by the name of Jaslee Rouson. Andrew Bone discussed recruiting with the 220-pounder from the Hun School in Princeton. "I went to the Rutgers-Villanova game," said Jaslee Rouson. "It was amazing. I had an awesome time. The facilities were amazing. They are a program on the rise, and I love the coaching staff." Rouson revealed his Top 3 which does include his home state school.
More positive news continued to pour in to Scarlet Knight-land early in the week as it was revealed that Jr. WR Willie Foster had been recognized by the Big East as Special Teams Player of the Week for a second time this year. In the Scarlet Knights' conference opening victory versus Pittsburgh, Foster returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown. It was Foster's second touchdown of the season, his first a 93 yard kickoff return against Villanova.
The local media, often intentionally, though not admittedly, biased of the New Jersey based program, didn't know what to make of Rutgers' conference opening victory. Some chose to look at the final outcome. Others looked at the impact the game had on the Scarlet Knights' depth chart, a key observation that would certainly play an impact as the season wore on.
Lost amidst all the football commotion was a special weekend and a great honor for Rutgers' Women's Basketball Head Coach, C. Vivian Stringer. The New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame inducted Stringer and eight new members in a ceremony at the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel last weekend. Coach Stringer, a three-time National Coach of the Year has led Rutgers to a 203-111 overall record including seven NCAA tournament bids, two Elite Eights and one Final Four.
Indeed, much of the focus, despite the win on national television remained on Rutgers' injury woes. Three defensive players have been knocked out for the season – DE Eric Foster, S Jason Nugent and LB Terry Bynes, and all will require surgery. Moreover, the focus, largely on the West Virginia game, remained cautious as both Ron Girault and Courtney Greene seemed banged up.
Midweek, High School fans had a chance to see a video recap from Week 1. This is a feature we will continue throughout the fall season with upcoming clips featuring St. Joe's, Teaneck, Hackensack, and Don Bosco.
In a special feature only available at Mike & The Big Dog's, this week's installment of Player's Perspective was brought to you by former Rutgers FB Wes Bridges. "When I finally arrive inside the stadium, the crowd looks great! I can't remember a student section being consistently this loud. Keep it up! Just to be a loving husband, I sat with my wife in section 128 for a few series while Rutgers man-handled Pittsburgh during the first half. By way of observation, this is the most physical offensive line that I have seen at Rutgers for a very long time," wrote Bridges. We plan to continue this installment throughout the year and fans should keep checking for new updates.
On Thursday Don Forbes published his interview with Keearye Griffin. Griffin is a talented running back and defensive back from St. Peter's Prep that lists a Top 3 of Michigan State, South Florida, and Wisconsin. Later that day the focus switched to recruitment of defensive linemen, the Scarlet Knights' current position of most need. Don Forbes published his interview with Charlie, a 6'3"-255-pound defensive lineman that runs the forty yard dash in 4.72 seconds and boasts a bench press of 390lbs.
In what may have been the most anticipated New Jersey HS game of the year, Matei published a preview of St. Joe's vs Don Bosco through the eyes of some of the Green Knight letterwinners.
With the week drawing to an end and the focus completely on the contest pitting two undefeated Big East teams, Matei published a statistical breakdown comparing the two squads. Boasting several players with top NCAA rankings, the Scarlet Knights, at least paper, looked to have key advantages in certain areas, most notably, the passing game.
Dan Welch published his preview to the Rutgers/West Virginia game by detailing 5 Team Keys that Rutgers needed to capitalize on to ensure a statement victory over West Virginia. Headlining the list was the very Fast Start that gave the Scarlet Knights the advantage over Pittsburgh.
Given the majority of WVU's attack is based on a potent ground game, Welch stated that the manner in which the Eight-Man Front of Rutgers would compete could become pivotal in deciding the contest.
"Therefore, Rutgers cannot deploy two deep safeties because that will give West Virginia a +2 advantage at the line of scrimmage. And the threat of the QB will force an unblocked defender to check the QB. If Rutgers plays a two deep safeties, West Virginia will slowly bleed the Rutgers defense with running plays. Schiano can play a Cover 2 scheme, but he should play both safeties shallow (8-10 yards) unless in long yardage situations," stated Welch.