RU unveils adjustments against Eagles
From the time head coach Greg Schiano walked away from the podium following the Rutgers football team's 35-14 loss to West Virginia last December to the start of training camp, all the questions surrounding the program began to pile up.
Although all the answers will not be available immediately after the final horn sounds tonight in Piscataway, Schiano can be sure about one thing — the pile of speculation will finally begin to diminish.
That is if everything goes according to plan.
"To be in a game, no matter how much we try to simulate game situations, it is different," Schiano said. "I'm anxious to see how some of them respond. Everybody responds differently when the lights come on. So I'm really there."
Even though the Knights make their season debut against a team making the jump to Football Championship Subdivision, the level of preparation put into the contest did not diminish for any members of the squad. The Eagles return nine starters to their spread offense from a year ago, a style of offense Schiano sees plenty of during Big East play.
Junior strong safety Duron Harmon and senior free safety David Rowe are sure to be tested if Eagles junior wideout Geovonie Irvine, who led the team with 53 receptions and five touchdowns last season, gets his hands on the ball.
NCCU's running game could also prove problematic for a new-look defensive front, as well, with players jumping around at linebacker and defensive ends Marvin Booker and Manny Abreu, respectively, settling in on the edge.
But the offense will be the phase most fans have their eyes on, and junior wideout Mark Harrison and the rest of the unit are ready to get their attention.
"We feel so comfortable with this new offense, and we feel like it's going to open a lot of doors for a lot of people," said Harrison, who broke out last season with 829 yards and nine touchdowns. "O-line, wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks, we're all just going out there as a group and collectively trying to perfect our tasks and everything that we do out