Rutgers has Taken Tri-State Area by Storm

Scarlet Fever…Catch it – Rutgers has finally built a nice team. Like many, we always wondered what it would be like if they were able to keep New Jersey and area kids from going to the bigger programs like Penn State. Greg Schiano has managed to do that and it is paying dividends.

He still has good Florida connections, which always helps, but it's the homegrown talent that is important to the program. We don't know how they will fare against the likes of West Virginia and Louisville, whom they face on Thursday, but they should be very competitive. We like their two RBs, Ray Rice and Brian Leonard. Rice, a sophomore, has a good running style. He can turn a three-yard gain into a seven-yard gain. He uses his spin move to gain extra yards effectively. He's got good moves and vision and he should be a good pro back. Leonard was moved to fullback when Rice emerged. He is a certain pro prospect. He can run, block and catch and he is an unselfish player. We could easily see him in a one-back offense. He should be a high pick in this coming draft. Their TE Clark Harris could also be a first-day pick. He has good size and excellent hands. He runs good routes and is a willing blocker.

Heisman Hopeful – Troy Smith, the QB of the number one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, is believed to be the current leader in the race for the Heisman Trophy. He certainly would be a worthy winner if it happens. Unfortunately, besides the honor of winning the trophy, very little else goes with that award. It certainly has no bearing on whether the winner will have success in the NFL. We will be honest with you. Before this season started, we thought Troy Smith was an athlete who happened to play quarterback. We thought he had a pro career in front of him, but probably at another position. After watching him play this season we may have been wrong. He has developed as a pocket passer and has looked very good. He has really improved his game this season. He has made great strides in his technique and he has also improved his accuracy. He is very mobile and he has a strong arm. He is especially good at throwing while moving. He has impressed. The one thing he can't do anything about is his height or lack thereof. Ohio State lists him at 6 feet even and we know many times schools are generous with the tape measure. The rubber will meet the road at the Combine where the tale of the tape will tell for sure.

Olde South Revival – When the Giants left Atlanta a few weeks ago; they had basically left the Falcons for dead. The Giants humiliated them and there was talk that Michael Vick was a bust as a QB. Since then they managed to use that thrashing by the Giants as a rallying point and remarkably they have resurrected their season. Most of the credit goes to Vick, who has suddenly become a pretty good pocket passer. Truthfully, we didn't think he could do it for a number of reasons. While he has always had a strong arm his accuracy was never too good. He always looked to run rather than pass. We never thought he fully grasped the Falcons offense. He still will run efficiently, but now he looks to stay in the pocket and make plays with his arm and it's been working. They can thank the Giants for making them take a step back and reassess the situation because when they did the light went on.

The Monsters of the Midway are coming – The Giants tangle with the mighty Bears in what could be a great game. One thing is for certain; it will be a hard-hitting game and an intriguing matchup. It's a great game to look forward to. The Bears defense is probably a little better than the Giants but there is not that much difference. They are very similar. Both have very good D-Lines. Both have studs at MLB, Brian Urlacher and Antonio Pierce. In both cases, their secondary is their weakest defense unit. We think the Giants have an edge on offense, especially if Rex Grossman throws a clunker, of which he's perfectly capable. It should be a great tactical game to watch, where field position and turnovers will be huge. We can't wait.

A Preview – We got a taste of things to come in the Tampa Bay game. Tiki Barber had trouble running and Brandon Jacobs came on in the fourth quarter and basically put the game on ice. His hard running style charges up his teammates as well as the fans. He's a fun player to watch for sure. Last week we wrote about our fear about having a big back that runs over people instead of around them. They take a lot of hits. Late in the Tampa game, Jacobs injured his knee while trying to bowl over defenders. It apparently was just a minor hyperextension, but it makes a point. Even though the job of replacing Tiki rightfully goes to Jacobs, they better be sure they have another competent back on board. They must draft one fairly high in this next draft or find someone in free agency.

A Lesson to be Learned – The Giants traded up to draft Sinorice Moss in the second round. Except for one catch for four yards we haven't seen very much of him and with each passing week it doesn't look like we will. This is the problem with taking little guys too high. It would have been good to have his presence felt in the offense. He would give them another dimension. He's probably missed even more on special teams where Chad Morton has not been effective.

Impressive Debut – We like what we have seen from Gerris Wilkinson so far. He looks like he will be a player. He's gotten the chance to play because of injuries and he is making the most of it. We can see his versatility and his athleticism. Eventually he will be a starter.

Time to ‘Fess Up – We admit we have been on Luke Petitgout's case for a while and not without reason. The penalties drive us crazy and we didn't think he was worth what they were paying him. We thought he was an average at best left tackle. Well, based on his performance this year we have to eat those words. So far so good. He has really put together a strong year, perhaps his best year ever. Both his run and pass blocking have been very good. While he is still not an elite left tackle, he's a lot closer to it this year than we ever thought he would be. Good job Luke.

Just Wondering – Since Chad Morton is struggling we wonder when we will see Michael Jennings returning kickoffs? We understand if they don't want to try him as a punt returner. One thing about Morton is that he is sure-handed and we want that from a punt returner. Eventually the punt return job should go to Sinorice Moss or R.W. McQuarters. Kickoffs are another story. Jennings has exciting speed and we would love to see what he could do returning kicks. Some better field position is always helpful.

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