The biggest question to answer on offense

The difference between a mediocre offense and a successful one is having that go-to guy. A guy for a quarterback to turn to on 3rd and 14 in the two-minute drill or on 4th and inches with the game on the line makes all the difference in the world.

The Steelers turned to Santonio Holmes in the Super Bowl and Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators turned to Percy Harvin to get things done in the BCS National Title game.

The Rutgers football team had a pair of go-to guys the last several years in Brian Leonard, Ray Rice and Kenny Britt, but with all in the NFL, the offense needs to find another go-to guy during training camp and head coach Greg Schiano has but a few options to choose from.

No single player has the playing experience or the star power that Leonard, Rice and Britt had going into their final training camps with Rutgers, but there is a small core of players on the offense that all have the potential to find that niche as the premier player at the skill positions.

The two potential breakout guys at running back are a pair of sophomores in Jourdan Brooks and Joe Martinek.

Both have already shown strokes of brilliance with Brooks nearly single-handedly carrying the Scarlet Knights to a victory over Navy last year and Martinek putting on an impressive second half of the season, but neither has been able to do it over the course of an entire season.

Yet.

Martinek took his first step this spring, shouldering the running load for the entirety of spring practice because of injuries and impressed.

"I think Joe's done a great job," Schiano said of Martinek after a three touchdown performance in the spring game. "I think he's really sore, he's had a lot of carries this spring, but he just kept playing … He has the makings of a great running back."

Brooks may be behind Martinek on that level, but will use the upcoming training camp to work on being more consistent in the backfield.

Catching passes, it also comes down to two names with the potential to evolve into a go-to guy, but these two, both seniors, have less time to make that transition.

Wide receiver Tim "Duce" Brown and tight end Shamar Graves both will be safety blankets to whomever takes over at quarterback, but the question as to whether either of the two can take the next step and transition into the go-to guy remains to be seen.

Brown certainly has the ability to do it and has shown sparks in all three of his seasons at Rutgers. In his first year, he exploded for two touchdowns in the Texas Bowl. He overcame serious personal issues last summer to remain on the team and took advantage of it by being second on the team in receiving yards behind Britt, recording 565 yards and six touchdowns.

Graves has a long way to go, but an entire summer as the team's No. 1 tight end should help him build on a strong second half of last season.

In other Rutgers news, senior center Ryan Blaszczyk was named, on May 20th, to the Rimmington Award Watch List for the second consecutive year. The Rimmington Award is given annually by the NCAA to the nation's top center.

Blaszczyk, one of 44 centers in the nation to make the list, has started every game at center for the last two season on the Banks and served as one of the team's two honorary captains, alongside senior linebacker Ryan D'Imperio, at the spring game.


Scarlet Report Top Stories