Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by leisure, Aug 29, 2007.
Way to get back into the game
I am going to pound Rutgers hard this year. Ranked 17th in the nation almost everywhere. Ray Rice will win the heisman.
Alright, Rutgers, what can you do for an encore?
The program arrived last year winning 11 games and its first bowl game in 137 years of existence, but now it has to prove it wasn't a fluke. With substantial momentum and a loaded team returning, there doesn't appear to be any slowing down. However, as many before have found out, winning when it's expected is a whole lot tougher than it is to sneak up on everyone.
On a foundational level, Rutgers is building brick by brick with Greg Schiano as its unflappable mason. His decision to remain in New Jersey by spurning Miami and blowing off Alabama resonated even louder than the team's Texas Bowl victory last December. He cast his vote regarding the future of the program and his commitment to it, and recruits, particularly those local blue-chippers that never used to consider the Knights, are beginning to pay attention.
Not that there needs to be a major youth movement. Almost 70 percent of the roster last season had three or more years of eligibility remaining, including the one really, really big star, running back Ray Rice, along with starting quarterback Mike Teel and just about the entire second unit, some of whom will be starters this fall. If Teel is better and is a bigger part of the offense, the team could go from tremendous to truly special.
If last year was the breakthrough, this season should be what cements the program as a power. The Scarlet Knights have the impetus and the returning talent on both sides of the ball to land a third straight bowl invitation, moving further from their dark days, while adding to the swelling masses of believers. There's still time to get on board the bandwagon.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Head coach: Greg Schiano
7th year: 30-41
Returning Lettermen: 36
Lettermen Lost: 21
Ten Best Players
1. RB Ray Rice, Jr.
2. DT Eric Foster, Sr.
3. OT Pedro Sosa, Sr.
4. OT Jeremy Zuttah, Sr.
5. S Courtney Greene, Jr.
6. PK Jeremy Ito, Sr.
7. DE Jamaal Westerman, Jr.
8. S Ron Girault, Sr.
9. WR Kenny Britt, Soph.
10. LB Brandon Renkart, Sr.
Aug. 30 Buffalo
Sept. 7 Navy
Sept. 15 Norfolk State
Sept. 29 Maryland
Oct. 6 Cincinnati
Oct. 13 at Syracuse
Oct. 18 South Florida
Oct. 27 West Virginia
Nov. 3 at Connecticut
Nov. 9 at Army
Nov. 17 Pitt
Nov. 29 at Louisville
What to watch for on offense... While Rice will continue to be the focal point, Teel, with a season of experience behind him, is about to get the training wheels taken off. The junior struggled mightily throughout most of 2006, but made noticeable strides late in the season and will be throwing to Kenny Britt, Tim Brown and Tiquan Underwood, a trio with enormous upside. Don't expect this to be Air Rutgers; Rice will be the offense with Teel along for the ride when things start to get tight.
What to watch to watch for on defense... Rice and Schiano gobbled up most of the headlines, but without the play of the Knights' no-name defense, 11 wins could have easily turned into seven. As a whole, the unit isn't big, but it is extremely quick and aggressive, which translates into takeaways while doing a surprisingly good job against the run. The soul of the group is undersized tackle Eric Foster, whose knack for penetrating into the backfield is contagious and tone-setting. Courtney Greene and Ron Girault, arguably the Big East's best safety combo, fill the lanes instantly in run defense and should be rocks in pass coverage.
The team will be far better if... Teel evolves into more than just the guy that hands the ball off to Rice. The defense, running game and special teams are in good shape, but unless the quarterback can get those exciting, young receivers involved in the offense, contending for a conference crown comes off the table.
The Schedule: The schedule can't be used as an excuse if the team doesn't build on last year's breakout campaign with South Florida, West Virginia and Pitt all coming to New Jersey. The non-conference schedule is more than manageable with four of the games at home and the only challenge of the four (no offense to Navy) to come against Maryland. The one non-Big East road game is at Army; a layup if the team's head is on straight. In all there are only four games: going to Syracuse, Connecticut and Army before finishing up the year at Louisville. In other words, 11-0 is possible before the showdown against the Cardinals.
Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Ray Rice. In a sublime 2006, Rice made the leap from nice player to national phenomenon, slashing through defenses for 1,794 yards and 20 touchdowns, while turning into the national face on one of the year's biggest stories. Even without breakaway speed, he's got the right mix of vision, balance and cutting ability to always crank out positive yards.
Best Defensive Player: Senior DT Eric Foster. After sitting out 2005 with a knee injury, Foster blossomed into the physical and emotional leader of an underrated defense. At only 6-2 and 260, the defensive captain relies on a sudden burst off the snap and tremendous athleticism to embarrass plodding linemen and hunt down opposing backs and quarterbacks for negative yards.
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore TE Craig McGovern. It'll either be McGovern, a Michigan State transfer, junior Kevin Brock, or redshirt freshmen Jessie Cisco and Jeff Minemyer, or a combination of the four, to replace three-time All-Big East star Clark Harris. All Harris did was catch 105 passes for 1,431 yards as the team's main safety valve. Now Mike Teel will have to find a new go-to guy in the clutch.
The season will be a success if ... Rutgers wins the Big East title and goes to the BCS. Last year was just a primer for what should be coming if everything works out as hoped. With South Florida, West Virginia and Pittsburgh all coming to Piscataway, only the season-ending showdown at Louisville should be able to screw things up if RU can hold serve at home. Schiano has built enough of a monster that beating the Cardinals can be expected, too.
Key game: Nov. 29 at Louisville. Of course, if the Scarlet Knights don't beat West Virginia, South Florida and Pitt, and the other Big East teams, the battle in Louisville won't mean nearly as much, but if they win the games they're likely going to be expected to, the late-November date could be for even more than just the conference championship.
2006 Fun Stats:
# First half scoring: Rutgers 204 — Opponents 89
# Sacks: Rutgers 41 for 259 yards — Opponents 8 for 62 yards
# Average yards per carry: Rutgers 4.7 — Opponents 2.9
Who can forget my beloved Boston College
Why would Tom O'Brien leave a program which he guided to eight bowl games (and seven straight post-season wins) to go to a school in the same conference with no real tradition, in what might appear to be a lateral move?
Money talks, and O'Brien, who was unhappy with his salary at BC and no doubt seduced by better facilities, a more lenient academic setting and a broader recruiting base, left Chestnut Hill for North Carolina State and a new challenge. While the move surprised many, it left Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo with a tough job. He needed to find a new head man who wouldn't demand a multi-million dollar contract, but who had the fire and talent to keep BC winning games — it has averaged 8.8 wins over the past six years — within a somewhat restrictive setting.
The winner of the sweepstakes was Jeff Jagodzinski, the former Packers' offensive coordinator who spent a couple of years (1997-98) directing the Eagle attack. Though he doesn't have a big name and there were rumors in Green Bay that his departure was not greeted with wailing and gnashing of teeth, Jagodzinski will likely satisfy the sector of Eagles faithful who weren't always completely thrilled with O'Brien's somewhat conservative offensive philosophy.
The biggest question is whether "Coach Jags" can continue the success and perhaps even build on it, while also adding a bit more pizzazz, with academic requirements that are stiffer than many in the league. Inheriting a team with 17 returning starters, including All-ACC QB Matt Ryan, is a nice start, so there's not likely to be much of a grace period, if any.
Boston College Eagles
Head coach: Jeff Jagodzinski
Off. 18, Def. 23, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best Players
1. QB Matt Ryan, Sr.
2. CB DeJuan Tribble, Sr.
3. DT B.J. Raji, Sr.
4. LB Jolonn Dunbar, Sr.
5. OT Gosder Cherilus, Sr.
6. OG Ryan Poles, Sr.
7. LB Brian Toal, Sr.*
8. FS Jamie Silva, Sr.
9. DE Nick Larkin, Sr.
10. LB Tyronne Pruitt, Sr.
Sept. 1 Wake Forest
Sept. 8 NC State
Sept. 15 at Georgia Tech
Sept. 22 Army
Sept. 29 Massachusetts
Oct. 6 Bowling Green
Oct. 13 at Notre Dame
Oct. 25 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 3 Florida State
Nov. 10 at Maryland
Nov. 17 at Clemson
Nov. 24 Miami
This is a good enough team to get to the ACC Championship game, and it has the right makeup to possibly win the whole thing, if Ryan can ease the coaching transition and make everyone around him better. O'Brien instilled a belief that the program could and should win no matter what. Now those beliefs should carry over, even if the leader isn't around anymore.
What to look for offense: BC's offense averaged 400-plus yards a game while Jagodzinski coordinated the offense a few years ago, but don't expect a wide-open attack. Ryan's strong play will allow for a productive passing game, but Jagodzinski's roots as an O-line coach will mandate a strong running profile with a new zone run blocking scheme. The return of top backs L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender will provide more balance and won't put the entire offense on Ryan's shoulders.
What to look for on defense: The decision to keep defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani was a good one. He'll direct a group that returns the entire front seven, which made play after play after play in opposing backfields. A secondary that produced 21 interceptions last year must replace two starters, but overall this should again be a physical, stingy outfit, particularly against the run.
The team will be much better if ... one of the receivers can become a big-play threat. One of the offense's biggest problems has been its inability to burn teams on the deep ball. Kevin Challenger is solid, but he isn't necessarily a home run hitter. Junior Brandon Robinson or sophomore Clarence Megwa have potential and could provide an instant upgrade.
The Schedule: Jagodzinski has a good team returning, with the potential to get off to a big start if the Eagles can get by a road trip to Georgia Tech and the season opener against defending ACC champion Wake Forest. Army, UMass and Bowling Green in a three-game lull should get the team fully tuned up for an absolutely brutal second half of the year. It doesn't get much tougher than at Notre Dame, at Virginia Tech, Florida State, at Maryland, at Clemson, Miami. Good luck, rook.
Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Matt Ryan. After battling painful foot and ankle injuries, a healthy Ryan returns to the Heights for his final season as the league's most experienced quarterback and a Player of the Year candidate. He's got a next-level arm and Brett Favre-like toughness, to go along with a new passer-friendly offense that's going to supercharge his numbers.
Best Defensive Player: Senior CB DeJuan Tribble. Senior linebacker Jolonn Dunbar will lead the team in tackles, and senior tackle B.J. Raji is the top pro prospect, but Tribble is the star of the defense. He led the team in interceptions, and with a shaky secondary returning, he'll be vital at erasing one side of the field.
Key player to a successful season: Senior RBs L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender. The 1-2 tandem will likely swing more towards Callender, who fits the new coaching style and blocking scheme better. Together, the veterans have to add more pop to an offense that became too reliant on Ryan when things got tight. While these two backs aren't necessarily special, they should provide far more balance if the new coaching staff commits to running the ball.
The season will be a success if ... the steady winning tradition continues with the new coaching staff. With ACC road games against Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Clemson, not to mention the home dates with Wake Forest, Florida State and Miami, an ACC title is likely out of the question. However, for a program that hasn't won fewer than seven games since 1998, anything less than a bowl season and a strong run in the ACC title race will be a disappointment.
Key game: Sept. 15 at Georgia Tech. Could this be an ACC title game preview? Probably not, considering the schedule, but if BC can win its opening two games against Wake Forest and NC State, it'll be 3-0 with a win in Atlanta. It might be a must-win, considering the next ACC game is at Virginia Tech over a month later.
2006 Fun Stats:
# Red zone scores: Boston College 37 of 46 (80%); Opponents 24 of 35 (69%)
# First half scoring: Boston College 194; Opponents 107
# Kickoff return average: Boston College 25.9 yards; Opponents 17.1 yards
It will be an intersting race. Lots of good candidates this year. Slaton, McFadden, Rice, Ian Johnson, Choice, Brohm, Booty, and more.
I know he wont come close but look out for Matt Flynn of LSU. He is a pretty good QB who sat behind JaMarcus Culpepper
Ian Johnson is great but Boise has lost a lot of talent :yes:
Anyone on Rutgers -31.5 vs. Buffalo? Buffalo was pure dogchit last year their rush defense was fahking HORRIBLE they looked like a bunch of highschoolers
LOL! You said he was a gawd last year!!!
don't be a pouzzy Buffalo is arguably the worst team in division one and many division two teams could whoop their asses
Hey guys check this out
BUFFALO: First half scoring: Opponents 252 – Buffalo 57
RUTGERS: First half scoring: Rutgers 204 — Opponents 89
RUTGERS FIRST HALF!!!
No, Cal will cover that is TK's lock of the week for CFB.
I’m looking at Stanford getting 17 at home against UCLA. I’ve never been a Karl Dorrell guy, the Bruins are breaking in yet another new OC, they’re getting love from the sports writers, ranked all the way up to 14…
Could be a case where an overrated team gets larger spreads than they deserve in the early going.
LOL!! Was that the bowling green game!?!?! I got ****ED in the *** by bowling green last year. Was that the game that was delayed like 6 times because of lightning?!?! Most ****ED UP game EVER!!
A rookie head coach is a good thing in this case, Leisure. UCLA is looking at some tape of Stanford, some tape of USD, they don't have a clear idea what to prepare for.
Stanford is HORRIBLE
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