Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Is this when the Rutgers program turns under head coach Chris Ash?
Two years ago, Ash inherited a mess.
He took over a program that underwent a house cleaning, and he did it just when the Big Ten East turned into the toughest division in college football.
But after the last few seasons, the talent is starting to come in, the depth is forming, and there’s reason to believe this could be a dangerous team in Year Three of the Ash era. After doubling the win total from two to four, it’s not asking for the world to get two more this time around …
If the offense shows up.
Under former offensive coordinator Jerry Kill – who made his name as the head man at Northern Illinois and Minnesota – the attack was slow and stagnant, with few big plays down the field, not enough scoring in the red zone, and an ultra-conservative style relying on not taking a whole lot of chances.
That might have been good enough to slip by Purdue and Maryland in close-call games that could’ve gone either way, but it also led to a 16-13 loss to Eastern Michigan, too.
In comes John McNulty, an NFL assistant coach after working as the OC at Rutgers for a few years in the late 2000s. He’ll want to keep pounding the ball, and he’s not going to go crazy with a high-octane style, but there will be passing. There will be more production, and there will be more points.
Start there, rely on a defense with a terrific-looking back seven, and the rebuilding process should start to yield real results.
It’s the quarterback derby of quarterback derbies with way too many options to choose from – hoping for freshman Artur Sitkowski to really and truly be the star he looked like at times this spring.
Boston College transfer Jon Hilliman is a ready-made back to work behind a veteran line, there’s speed at wideout, and just like that, the team that closed out last season scoring 13 points in the final three games, and the program that scored 14 points or fewer in 15 of the last 21 game might actually start to do something.
This wasn’t going to change in a day, and again, Rutgers will still have its issue in a division with Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan, but for the first time in a few years, Scarlet Knight fans should start to have some fun.