Rutgers Scarlet Knights
– New head man Greg Schiano inherits offense that finished second-to-last in the nation in both total yards and scoring, and now needs to find a positive identity under new offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson. He comes in from Oklahoma State, and he’s all but starting from scratch.
The team only scored 159 points, and 92 came in two games. You were promised there wouldn’t be any math here, but that means the O scored just 67 points over the other ten games, averaging fewer than seven points per outing.
The program has come up with ten points or fewer in 11 of its last 15 games and scored more than 21 just six times in the last 33 games – that’s not very good. But there’s a positive – at least the O returns a ton of experience. The line will need a while, and the team needs playmakers, but expect a more physical identity from the start.
– New defensive coordinator Robb Smith is a veteran with pro experience and comes in from Texas A&M. He worked with Schiano during the 2010s, spending 2012 as the DC.
The D wasn’t the worst in the Big Ten, but it wasn’t great – it didn’t get a lick of help from the offensive side to stay on the field.
Fortunately, the top 11 tackles are expected to be back with a decent-looking linebacking corps to start with. The line has to learn how to get into the backfield more, and the secondary that only came up with five picks could use the help.
– Plenty of parts will be different, but you know what’s coming. Great running backs will work behind elite offensive linemen in the ultimate ball control offense built on third down conversions and maximum efficiency.
The Badgers finished second in the Big Ten in total offense, led the nation in time of possession, was ninth in third down conversions, and managed 35 points or more eight times.
However, all four losses came when the O scored 27 points or fewer – only getting by Northwestern and Iowa when failing to hit 30 – and now the attack has to be better and more consistent without Jonathan Taylor and top receiver Quintez Cephus.
Again, it’s Wisconsin. You know what it’s going to do.
– The defense was special. Coordinator Jim Leonhard – who somehow isn’t someone’s head coach yet – put together a killer that finished fourth in the nation overall and No. 1 in third down defense.
18 of the top 20 tacklers are expected to be back, but two guys missing are big ones – Zach Baun and Chris Orr were amazing linebackers.
The pass rush will come from several spots – there are just enough options to play around with the rotation – and the defensive front is going to be phenomenal.