Rutgers Football: Scarlet Knights Use Bye Week to Prep for Ohio
Coming off a tough loss to UNC, the Scarlet Knights enter a bye week to lick their wounds and prepare for the Ohio Bobcats on September 24 at 2:00 p.m., EDT.
The bye week brought roster news for the Scarlet Knights and their fans.
This week, we learned of tailback De'Antwaan Williams' departure from the program. Williams came to RU with a four-star rating according to recruiting service, Rivals.com, and was the center of online debate among Rutgers supporters.
Many fans pointed to the handling of Williams as emblematic of Greg Schiano's stubbornness, not giving the youngster opportunities as a freshman and sophomore. Fans saw ineffective running game and wondered why a "four start prospect" didn't get a chance.
But that seemed to fly in the face of Schiano's m.o.
Schiano has played many true freshmen, including Ryan Cubit, Tom Savage and Chas Dodd. And of course, Ray Rice played running back as a true freshman. Then, Mohamed Sanu and Deering played in the wildcat look as true freshmen in 2009 and 2010.
This summer, the running back did get opportunity to shine, taking a lot of first team reps with Jeremy Deering and Jawan Jamison injured.
Who wins in two weeks?
As for next week, the Ohio Bobcats represent a significant challenge for a Scarlet Knight team that is trying to recapture the winning atmosphere that existed in Piscataway from 2005-2009, when they attended postseason bowl games for five straight seasons.
Since Eric LeGrand's tragic paralysis, the Knights have lost seven straight FBS football games. Their only win in that span is a 48-0 win over FCS opponent UNC-Central.
Ohio enters the game with a record of 2-0 with a very real opportunity to go 3-0 as they host Marshall this week.
Ohio is a team that has grown accustomed to winning, going to back-to-back bowl games and playing in the MAC Championship Game in 2009.
The last time these two teams met, they played the famous 2006 Rutgers team tough, losing 24-7 at Piscataway.
Ohio favors a balanced running attack and passing at opportune times off of play action and in favorable downs.
They will send a few backs at Rutgers front seven, including Donte Harden, Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin.
The most potent outside threat is still senior Lavonn Brazill. Brazill is a big play threat, and look for Ohio to try to get the ball in this playmaker's hands often next Saturday. Brazill is fifth all time on Ohio's all-time receptions list and just four catches short of fourth place.
Rutgers must re-establish the running game against Ohio's undersized front.
Against UNC's talented front four, the Knights could not get off the line of scrimmage, which forced Dodd to throw all day. That allowed UNC to tee off on Dodd, gaining hits on the QB all day.
Ohio's defensive strength is their speed, and they would love an opportunity to simply fly at Chas Dodd all afternoon.
The game will be a good litmus test for Rutgers. As the UNC game proved, RU is not completely overmatched by teams as they were in the final three games of 2010. The Ohio game will show us if RU can handle an opponent in a game where the Knights have the size and talent advantage.
Could Ohio be Rutgers' first FCS win since beating Army in the fateful Eric LeGrand game?
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