Teel Poised To Have Air Attack Take Flight

The Fresno State game didn't go the way the Rutgers offense thought it would. They were held to seven points and the explosive passing game wasn't able to get a TD through the air. QB Mike Teel knows changes need to be made for this offense to return to its '07 form.

Last year, Rutgers became the first team ever in NCAA history to have a quarterback throw for 3,000 yards, a 2,000-yard rusher, and a pair of 1,000 yard receivers. Even though Ray Rice moved on to NFL glory, the offense still had plenty of weapons to ambush opposing defenses.

After averaging nearly 33 points per game the previous season, Rutgers struggled to score points and was only able to manage a single touchdown in its 24-7 loss to Fresno State.

Fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Teel knows the offense didn't produce anywhere near the level it's suppose to. For things to return back to normal, everyone is going to have to use the opener as a learning tool for improvement.

"Overall, the whole thing needs to get better," Teel said. "I need to get better and the receivers need to get better. ... I need to be sharper, I'm a fifth-year senior quarterback. I can't go out the way I did.

"We looked like a team that wasn't ready to play. I think mentally and physically we got ready to play, but for whatever reason, we didn't play well."

The Knights offense wasn't completely stonewalled by the Bulldogs' defense. Rutgers finished the game with 369 total yards, with 263 of them through the air. Teel was also able to put together four solid drives: the offense went nine and 12 plays on the first two possessions of the game, and then marched 11 and nine plays on two drives in the second half.

What stopped Rutgers from scoring points were its deficiencies in the red zone. The offense had two chances to score inside the 5, but came away with zero points on both trips. Special teams also played a role with two missed field goals, and the Knights were just 4-for-14 on third down conversions.

"We had the ball inside the 5 twice before," Teel said. "If you expect to win and you don't score when you're inside the 5 — let alone inside the red zone — you're just kind of wishing. We need to score points, that's our job. We were able to get the ball up-and-down the field, but we didn't finish and that's one of our major [points] of emphasis."

Another factor in Rutgers' struggles was the Fresno State defense taking potential First Team All-Big East wide receiver Kenny Britt out of the game. He was making plays in the first half with 61 yards receiving, however, in the second half he was a non-factor with just two receptions for 28 yards.

The way Fresno's defense attacked Britt could be seen as a positive because the offense will need to readjust its game plan. Rutgers had a way to go about certain defenses, but Teel said he will now have to look upon his other options to move the ball.

"It's tough because we play our guys, they play cover one and we know we're going to Kenny with one-on one [coverage]," he said. "The way they ran their ‘will' linebacker right at him, there's a collision. The way they double him with the safety, it's something that they kind of expected to happen and now it's going to have to make us use different combinations.

"The way our offense is, we're trying to get it to the backside one-on-one. When there's not one-on-one, we need to be able to do things on the front side to give us a chance."

Right now, the goal is to pick up the first win of the season against North Carolina. Teel said the offense pressed and that played a role in the loss. For the offense to get back in motion, the players need to loosen up and just take it one play at a time.

"I think the most important thing for us to do is go out and play the way we're capable of playing," "That means from me all the way down, we need to go out there and execute when it was 0-0 in the second and third quarter. I think we all pressed and it wasn't happening. As soon one of those situations happen, you have to give yourself a chance."


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