Former Player Perspective

The former player perspective is a feature where a former Scarlet Knight reviews the past week's game or the season to date and provides viewpoints. This week's installment features Reggie Funderburk's (Class of 1997) perspective on the Connecticut game and his outlook for the remainder of the season.

My name is Reggie Funderburk. I played wide receiver from 1993-1997.  I was recruited from DeMatha Catholic H.S. in Hyattsville MD.  I had a couple of good years and also had a few injuries which cut my career short.  I was fortunate to play with a great group of guys that competed every week but we just could not turn the corner. 

After graduating, I earned an MBA in finance at Rutgers.  The past five years I have worked at Citigroup, formerly Salomon Smith Barney, in the fixed income department.  Currently I am a bond trader on the high-grade secondary desk.  I live in Manalapan, NJ with my wife Sheri, and daughter Reghan.

From a former player's perspective, to write a quick recap about the game is a little tough but I really enjoy watching our offense move the ball.  This group must be considered as one of the most talented ever, and as an old wide-out I can appreciate their success.

OFFENSE:
The offense is the heart and soul of the team.  Maybe I'm biased, but as they go, so do the Scarlet Knights.  I have been extremely impressed by the talent at wide receiver.  They are deep and they will get after you.  As I watch the receivers run their routes during the season, I notice how fast they are able to collapse the defensive back's cushion.  It's my belief that this small detail helps the running game, more than people know. 

As a DB, if you are concerned about getting beat deep, you are less likely to be a factor in run support.  So what else can a defense do to disrupt the passing game?  Blitz!!! This means man to man coverage, usually with safety help overtop.  I remember when I played, Steve Harper and I would love man coverage because all you would have to do is run deep and the cornerback would follow, and once our running backs get past the front seven good things will happen.

Our talented duo of Raymell and Brian, ran all over Uconn.  Ray has steadily improved every week.  He shows good speed but has a solid running style, which demonstrates balance and patience. He has a tremendous upside and will be a solid contributor for years to come.  Now, what can you say about a back who does it all.  Brian has impressed me since he first stepped on to the field. 

HE DOES IT ALL.

Since 1992, he has been the most complete RB I have seen at Rutgers.  Although, I believe the wide-outs represents the wheels on the bus, Brian is by far the engine that makes the offense go round and round.

As I watched the UConn game on television, it's hard to appreciate how difficult it is for an offense to perform in adverse weather conditions.  An offense needs to have rhythm and wind and rain can certainly cause a player to miss a beat.  I felt that the weather conditions limited how we could exploit their defense.  However, in the second half we had a better understanding of where we could take advantage of UConn. 

We were able to take our shots largely impart to Rice's big 2nd half rushing attack.  I can't forget to mention Ryan Hart's performance -- he played a huge part in our success, and I loved his composure and leadership.  I think both QB's have enormous potential and can definitely run our offense.  Having two great QB's is not a bad problem to have and  I would think most coaches would love such a dilemma.  

DEFENSE:
The Defense was outstanding again.  Our D-line continues to get pressure and force a lot of negative plays.  As Schiano mentioned, this group of guys are scrappers and fighters. They give 100% every time they step on to the field.  As with any team tackling and turnovers always improves a defense but having disciplined players, who know their responsibility, helps tremendously.  I remember last year when there were a number of broken plays and missed assignments.  As I watched the Uconn game, we were in the proper positions to make plays.

I also like the way we kept applying pressure to the UConn QB.  Late in the game with a lead, usually some teams would relax and play the prevent packages but we continued to stay on the attack.  I think this demonstrates how much confidence Schiano has in his young secondary.  Our D-line led by Ryan Neil needs to continue their dominance. 

GAME SUMMARY
Winning games on the road is never easy but finding a way not to loose is the true test.  Good teams find a way to change momentum or make plays that impact the final score.  Against Pitt, Syracuse, and now UConn we are finding ways to win.  I believe that as these behaviors and attitudes start to grow, we will expect great things to happen instead of waiting for the alternative. 

Success is not born it's taught and the Scarlet Knights are improving each week. 

Overall the game was well played considering the weather conditions.  I truly believe that we have always had better athletes than UConn, as the stats will show, and now the final score confirms it!

  In closing, as a true Rutgers fan I think it is extremely important that we do our part as fellow supporters and continue to stay positive.  Negative distractions and comments only impede what we're trying to do.   As a former player, I never realized how many head coaches and talent evaluators were in the stands on Saturday until now.  We should let our coaches due their job and lets collectively cheer and support on our team and coaches.

Thanks,
Let's go Rutgers!! Beat Navy!!


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