THE NO TIGHT ENDS OFFENSE, THE ROME BOWL
AND OTHER TWISTED IDEAS
By Mike Fasano
I am so tired of preseason reviews saying that Rutgers has no proven tight ends.
Play without any. Yes, play without any.
What good is it having five killer wideouts if you can't put them all in the game at the same time.
Think about this for a second.
There are (generally) four opposing defensive backs and three opposing linebackers. If RU plays five wideout sets, how are opponents going to handle the match ups. If each defensive backs covers one wideout that means that the remaining wideout is covered by a linebacker.
Okay, which wide out gets covered by a linebacker? Kenny Britt, Marcus Daniels, Tim Brown. The sight of a linebacker trying to cover Tim Brown would be so brutal, I'd have to call the ASPCL (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Linebackers).
The problems isn't just with linebackers covering RU wideouts, it applies to defensive backs also. Just how many defensive backs can cover Kenny Britt one-on-one . . . or Tim Brown one-on-one. I couldn't cover Tim Brown one-on-one if you glued his feet to the turf.
So, what's an opponent gonna do?
Okay, the defense adjusts. They play zone.
However, speed stretches zones and tall wideouts can more effectively attack creases in zone defenses. This is because the defensive back not only has to get to the crease to pick up the wideout, he has to be able to get there and go up with him at the same time.
Rutgers has both speed and size.
Go ahead, zone us.
I dare you.
If that's not enough, let's look at it another way.
Forget about five wide outs. Put another lineman at the tight end position. Use the extra lineman to open another hole for Ray Rice. Rice is hard enough to stop when you know where he is going. Adding another blocker to the line gives Rice one more crease to shoot through. Let opposing defensive coordinators ponder that one for a while. Especially if Teel occasionally fakes it to Rice and gives it the other way to Cordell Young.
Go ahead, defend against that running game.
Or look at it another way yet. Another lineman gives Mike Teel more time to throw. Last year Rutgers gave up 8 sacks in 13 games. The least in the Big East. The least in the nation. Imagine if this year Teel was given five or six full seconds to find one of his wideouts.
Five or six seconds? Are you kidding me? Kenny Britt would be in the endzone - reclining in a chaise lounge – waiting for the pass. Tim Brown would be next to him doing a jigsaw puzzle.
The point is this. Rutgers has so much offensive talent that it is absurd to sweat the tight end "problem". It's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned. All you need is a little innovation.
A BUFFER ZONE
With all the talk of Big Ten expansion, why is no one talking about the obvious way to stop another raid on the Big East?
The solution is easy. It's obvious. Get Notre Dame to join the Big Ten. If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, tell me just what conference is left to raid the Big East?
Not the ACC, they have 12, teams.
Not the SEC, they have 12 teams, also.
Not the Big 10, the addition of Notre Dame would give them 12 teams also.
Not the Big 12, they also have twelve teams in their roster.
The only way that the Big East could be threatened is if the PAC 10 went after Connecticut – something I would definitely consider to be a low probability event.
So you see the solution to the Big 10 expansion is simple. Get Notre Dame to join the Big Ten. It creates a buffer that extends beyond the Mississippi. And Big East fans could live happily ever after.
The question is: how do you do it?
Well, the basketball schedules for next season are out and Tranghese really blew it. If I had set that schedule, I would have filled Notre Dame's itinerary with 16 away games against Louisville, Georgetown and Pittsburgh. That would have done the job.
31 POINT FAVORITES
The initial Vegas line installs Rutgers as 31 point favorites over the Buffalo Bills.
I don't like that one bit.
I can just see Buffalo's head coach smackin' that one right up on the team bulletin board. I can see Schiano telling his team to just ignore it.
It is not good.
But for me, it is worse
Call me superstitious but things like that give me the creeps.
I remember years ago a friend of mine telling me:
"Hey, Mike, will you stop worrying. Do you honestly think that Fred Gruninger will actually hire Craig Littlepage as our next basketball coach. Do you think he's stupid or something?"
Well, that is exactly the type of freak occurrence . . . the once-in-a-lifetime; tear-in-universe; cretaceous-bombardment; Terry-Shea-recruit-qualifying type of improbable event that has me spooked.
I don't like it one bit.
But there's something we can do.
Here's my plan.
I am calling on two hundred Rutgers fans to come to the rescue. Those two hundred fans should go right to your nearest Buffalo Bulls bulletin board start posting messages like this.
"Hey, guys, I am a Rutgers fan and I just read the line on this game and I think it is ridiculous. This game is a pickem at best. And I mean ‘at best'. Sure, we have a home field advantage but I think that you have the edge in overall team speed and strength. When you weigh one against the other, I'd favor you by a few points or call it a pickem at the best. I don't know about you but I would never bet a penny on that line. It's downright crazy."
With two hundred Rutgers fans posting thousands of messages like that, Buffalo fans will conclude that Rutgers is treating them with due respect and then nothing bad will happen.
Then again, they might conclude that Rutgers is filled with a bunch of moonbats.
THE ROME BOWL
I am still furious over the Texas Bowl.
Hey, I have nothing against those good Texas folks who invited us. That was very nice of them. It was their first bowl and I wish them tons of success in the future.
But there was just one problem.
WE DIDN'T BELONG THERE.
WE BELONGED IN THE SUGAR BOWL.
Think about it. We blew out Kansas State in the Texas Bowl; LSU blew out Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. Both results were eminently predictable. Wouldn't it have been much more logical if Notre Dame had played Kansas State in the Texas Bowl and Rutgers had played LSU in the Sugar Bowl. You would have seen two hugely competitive games involving equally matched opponents.
Now, wouldn't that have been much better?
Of course it would have. And don't give me that crap about Notre Dame bringing the television audience. By Sugar Bowl halftime most Notre Dame fans had switched to reruns of the "The Beverly Hillbillies."
But I am under no illusions. Politics being politics, I don't expect things to change this year. So I offer a solution. Let the Big East create their own bowl.
Originally, I thought that New York City would have been a great location. Look at it this way. When people go to a bowl, they just don't go to a bowl – they take a mini vacation. Hey, why not the Big Apple. People vacation there by the millions.
But bowl games in the Northeast just never seem to make it. Maybe when people go on mini-vacations in the winter they look to get away from the cold rather than vacation in it. That's why there's all these bowls in Florida, Arizona, California and Hawaii. And therein lies the problem. All these places are already loaded with bowls.
So here's my suggestion - The Rome Bowl. Yes, a bowl game in Rome. No, not Rome, New York or Rome, Georgia. I am talking about Rome, Italy. The winter weather is warmer than NYC and it's a great vacation spot. The first game would be between Boston College and Rutgers in the Coliseum. We could bill it as a re-enactment of Catholics being thrown to the lions.
The Rome Bowl.
I think this is a really sound idea.