It was a perplexing answer to a question posed to Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano during his weekly press conference that should have heads of Scarlet Knights fans spinning.
The question was this: "Can you elaborate on what changes you may make in your halftime adjustments?"
"Again, I've said it, you guys have been here so we're beating a dead horse here, I think halftime adjustments are really overrated. Coming from the National Football League, you learn you really have to do it throughout the game.
"So I think the big difference between halftime adjustments is you're not sitting in front of 60,000, you're in a room with an overhead. That's the only difference. We're adjusting throughout the football game.
"Halftime adjustments point I don't think is as big as maybe emotionally. That's what I'm searching for. Is there something emotionally, something we're doing coming out of the locker room, that we're not coming out ready to play? I don't know that. We've talked about it at length.
"Maybe we shouldn't take a halftime. Maybe we should keep playing. We're well-conditioned enough."
I seriously hope deep down Schiano jumped the gun and didn’t really think about his answer before he opened his mouth.
If anything this season, halftime adjustments are a huge factor in why Rutgers is 1-4 (0-1). So far in 2008, the Scarlet Knights have been outscored 52-0 in the third quarter and 75-27 overall in the second half.
Someone needs to pass these statistics along to the man making all the big time decisions during the game.
Those days in the NFL Schiano is talking about? When he coached with the Bears, those teams averaged five wins a season. I highly doubt he should be taking much advice about adjustments from that period of time.
How can a man getting paid all this money to coach a football team not coach and get away with saying it?
Here is something he may be right about: Halftime adjustments do involve getting players emotionally charged, which is completely separate from actual football adjustments. Rutgers can’t even do that this season.
Every second half Rutgers comes out flat and lethargic. But forget that part—realize this coaching staff believes that adjustments at the half aren’t critical to winning. Clearly something is wrong, because if they were right, they should win most of the games this season by making no adjustments at halftime.
Forgive me, teams like Fresno State and Navy must have missed that memo. It appeared both those teams made adjustments against Rutgers—and what happened? They both defeated the Knights.
Schiano must be right though. He must have some facts to prove that halftime adjustments are overrated and aren’t necessary, right?
How about these facts...here are the Knights' statistics with the national ranking first, then the conference ranking, and then the actual stat.
Rushing Offense: 86/8 123.40
Passing Offense: 67/4 207.80
Total Offense: 83/7 331.20
Scoring Offense: 100/8 19.00
Rushing Defense: 84/7 168.40
Pass Efficiency Defense: 104/7 140.72
Kickoff Returns: 105/7 18.38
Passing Efficiency: 104/7 105.25
Sacks: 93/6 1.20
It appears that these stats show why Rutgers is 1-4 and why it may be time to think that what a coaching staff does at halftime may make a difference in a ball game.
Of course, there are other areas of concern to address besides halftime adjustments—the QB play, the defensive secondary play, the O-line, and the number of drops by the wideouts—but it is simply amazing how a coach can say halftime adjustments are overrated.
Maybe fans should have seen this coming. Remember Illinois back in 2005, and Cincinnati, Maryland, and Louisville in 2007? In all of these games Rutgers had a lead going into halftime, sometimes a double-digit lead, and each time Rutgers blew the lead and lost the game in the second half.
If people can sit down and blame the players for their performance on the field, then how can someone not criticize a coaching staff that isn’t doing anything at halftime to try to help its players perform better?
It is simple: Halftime adjustments are NOT overrated. They are actually quite important. If they weren’t important, Schiano would not be explaining himself to reporters about why his team is 1-4 and on its way to a disappointing season.
Can I say it again? 52-0. 52-0!
Maybe coach is right: Rutgers should skip halftime but then also skip the third quarter. Who needs adjustments?
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