Five Things I’m Watching For In The Scarlet-White Game
Rutgers will hostthe Scarlet-White Game on Saturday at 3 p.m. at SHI stadium. Click here for more information. You can also catch up on all of our spring game coverage that includes press conferences for every position coach. Below are five things I’ll be watching for in this game.
What Does The New Offense Look Like
Okay, we know new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca isn’t going to unload the entire playbook on Saturday. In fact, he’ll probably call mostly scoops of vanilla with perhaps some toppings here and there. But Rutgers fans aren’t asking for much either.
If we get to see some screen passes, dump offs to a speedy back with space, or quick passes to the slot receiver it’s a win. We want to see some semblance of a modern offense that puts its players in a position to make plays. And of course, how the quarterbacks perform is something every fan will be watching for.
Who Are The Playmakers?
We know Chris Long and Rashad Rochelle are very athletic and talented players. Can they show out on Saturday and make a statement that they’re ready to fill big roles in the fall?
Will Aaron Young and Isaiah Washington have been talked about in a positive light this spring. Can they have big performances to demonstrate they’re ready to be consistent contributors next season?
Will newcomers in the secondary like Flip Dixon, look comfortable?
Can Rutgers finally get consistent production from the tight end position?
Which less known player has a big game?
Is it asking too much for all of these to happen?
How Will The Specialists Perform?
Last year’s starter Jude McAtamney is competing against Jai Patel this spring. Both will get opportunities in this game. The heir apparent to the immortal Adam Korsak is Flynn Appleby. I’m not sure how many chances he will have to punt on Saturday, but hopefully he makes the most of it.
One big point is that the weather is supposed to be cold and rainy. Any positives in the kicking game on Saturday will be perceived to be even more so due to the difficult conditions expected.
Did any younger players standout?
There are a dozen early enrollees at spring camp. Does Ajani Sheppard show flashes of his potential on Saturday?
Will athlete Davoun Fuse make a case that he will be on the field next fall?
Can Kenny Fletcher, who showed flashes in spots last season as a true freshman, take the next step?
Do speed receivers Jesse Ofurie and Dylan Brathwaite produce in a way that they make a case for the two-deep in training camp?
Don’t forget about the dozen or so young offensive lineman who have joined the program over the last two years.
Are any developing fast enough to be able to help next season? It’s certainly exciting to think there are more than a handful of first and second year players who are developing in useful pieces for next season. Hopefully, the mistakes made in practice are minimal and the last game of spring serves as a showcase.
Who Will Be Spring Award Winners?
The last two Douglas A. Smith Award winners for most improved defensive player the past two seasons were the starting linebacker duo from last fall, Tyreem Powell and Deion Jennings.
The Mark Mills Second Effort Award given to the most improved offensive player was received by Hollin Pierce in 2021. He has become a staple on the offensive line.
Who is next on both sides of the ball? Hopefully we will all see the progress this team made as a clear improvement on Saturday. But whoever wins these awards that are held in high regard signals a positive for their future on the field for Rutgers.
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April 29, 2023 at 8:57 am
The offensive will likely have to stay vanilla given the weather and stage of development. I’m going to reread your article before I head over to the stadium with my dad. You’ve made some really good points for what to watch for. Dad is in his 90s and says he won’t melt from a little water. He likes to watch how the lineman operate. I’ve tried to but, in real time, unless there is an obvious missed block or sack I have to rely on rewatching on the theater screen.
In addition to the areas you’ve mentioned I’d like to see how Brown looks. Also, in every spring game we throw a couple of deep passes which are rarely caught. Instead of long balls and arm strength I’d like to see accuracy, finesse and touch along with a few run options.
I expect we’ll have a dropped ball, fumble, broken play, penalties etc. Fifteen practices and a couple of scrimmages aren’t enough time to work out all the kinks. However, holding them to a minimum would be progress. Above all else, I’d like to see us have a solid injury free performance to have as a springboard into fall camp.
April 29, 2023 at 10:09 am
I assume that Brown is not going to play. Schiano has talked multiple times about him taking “mental reps” but Aaron can correct me if I am wrong. I completely agree regarding the accuracy of the QBs and throwing with touch. That’s a great point. I am starting to think that “two scoops of vanilla with a topping here or there” is what the offense if going to be, yet again, this season. Schiano will continue to emphasize complementary football which will mean that RU will run the ball and play stout defense. Play to their strengths. While this makes a lot of sense, it can be boring to watch. I think the “ground and pound” philosophy became even more likely when the NCAA said that the clock will no longer stop after each first down. Grind the clock and hope the D comes up with a big play here and there. I feel like that is what 2023 RU football will be.
April 29, 2023 at 11:23 am
I was unaware of the Brown comments. Thank you for resetting my expectations. I’d rather see a 100% Brown in the fall than see him risk reinjury on the last day of spring training.
April 29, 2023 at 11:52 am
Agreed as Batali said, I don’t expect him to play. I think we won’t see several players as Schiano mentioned last week there are some injuries. Especially with the weather conditions too.