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Episode No. 93: How good can the Rutgers defense be next season?



Nov 19, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive lineman Wesley Bailey (23) sacks Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) during the first half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Episode No. 93 of The Scarlet Faithful podcast focuses on the ceiling for the Rutgers defense next season.

In 2022, the defense was improved. However, injuries, a brutal November schedule, a lack of production from the offense took its toll. Even so, Rutgers finished in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten in efficiency (7th) and total defense (8th). There should be hope this fall, the unit will be even better.

The defense lost several key contributors from last season including Christian Izien, Christian Braswell, Avery Young and Ifyeani Maijeh. However, there are many key contributors returning as well.

Aaron Lewis, Wesley Bailey, Mayan Ahanotu, Kyonte Hamilton, and Kenny Fletcher form a strong defensive line.

The starting linebackers for the Rutgers defense are back in Deion Jennings and Tyreem Powell. In addition, former 4-star recruit Moses Walker is healthy and in the mix.

Of course, Mo Toure is healthy too and could play multiple spots for the defense next fall.

The secondary returns Max Melton, Robert Longerbeam, Kessawn Abraham, Desmond Igbinosun, Shaquan Loyal and others. In addition, key transfers to the defense include Flip Dixon and Eric Rogers.

I discuss the reasons for optimism for the Rutgers defense in taking another step forward in the 2023 season in detail. Includes the depth and talent that returns, the stability within the coaching staff and the lack of elite offenses on the schedule.

You can listen and watch the latest episode of The Scarlet Faithful podcast below.



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  1. RUinChiTown

    June 15, 2023 at 5:30 pm

    A lot more confidence in the D this seaso. Lots of proven talent. Keep gam s between 7-10 points and we have a shot at 6-6!

  2. pj43

    June 16, 2023 at 3:35 pm

    I share the optimism about the defense. Can the offense be “average”? There are so many questions about the offense that you have to be very cautious about even expecting “average” performance. Any optimism that I have about the offense centers around the OC and the offensive coaching staff. I like Ciarrocca’s record at MN where he built a balanced offense around the run and use of the TE. If Flaherty can accelerate OL development, I like Brown as the lead RB (with good RB depth) to establish a respectable run game. That could open up the passing game and use of the TE in a predominately short/intermediate pass offense with the occasional deep pass. If Wimsatt is, in fact, making the steady progress at QB that Schiano is telling us he is, then maybe the RPO offense can at least be “average”. That’s a lot of “ifs”! Can those “ifs” be resolved early enough in the season to go 4-1? If so, 6 wins becomes an attainable goal. If not, a 3-2 start probably means a 5 win season is more realistic. I’m on the fence. What about you?

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