Adrian praises RU athleticism
This will be Pete Adrian’s third trip to Piscataway as head coach of Norfolk State, and one thing has always stood out to him about the Rutgers football team.
“From top to bottom they have so many good individuals and guys who want to make them work and early in the season want to get out and play,” Adrian said. “I just think they’re an outstanding football team from top to bottom.”
The Scarlet Knights are 2-0 all-time against the Spartans, with their last meeting in 2010 resulting in a 31-0 shutout in their home opener.
This year’s team is no different in terms of looks according to Adrian.
“Well, I watched film on them all the time and of course the Thursday night game [against Fresno State],” Adrian said. “They’re a very explosive football team. They’re absolutely huge at 6’7 and 6’8. … It’s a typical Rutgers team. They’re a good football team. They’re going to win a lot of football games.”
One of the players Adrian mentioned was junior wide receiver Brandon Coleman, who at 6-foot-6, is three inches bigger than Norfolk State’s biggest defensive back.
One position the Spartans do have an advantage over the Knights in terms of size is their defensive linemen.
Of the six defensive linemen who saw time in Norfolk State’s opening game against Maine, two of them — Kevin Williams and Lamonte Clark — weigh more than 320 pounds. The unit averages 284 pounds — nearly 20 pounds more than what Rutgers on Saturday will put on the field.
But the Spartans linemen have to face the Knights’ offensive line, which averages around 300 pounds.
“Well, we’re big and they’re bigger,” Adrian said. “We have good size upfront and have some depth. … We’ve been able to stand up with them for awhile and hopefully we can do it for a whole football game, but I think our offense has to try and kick into gear and try to shorten the game on them and try to move the ball, which we haven’t really had any success with both times we went up to play them.”
Another thing that has stood out to Adrian in his past two trips to Piscataway is the defense’s efficiency.
Rutgers has defeated the Spartans a combined 90-0 in both trips, as Adrian said his teams have had great difficulty moving the ball consistently in both contests.
And despite the plus-50 points the Knights allowed in their last game against the Bulldogs, the mediocre performance is the last thing Adrian wanted to see.
“They’re ranked nationally defensively all the time,” Adrian said. “Unfortunately, they had a so-so game last week so I’m sure they’re going to try and make it up with us. They’re just a good, quick and physical football team from top to bottom.”
Adrian knows based on history and the difference in talent that his team is unlikely to win Saturday, but eight FBS teams fell to their FCS opponents in Week 1.
Adrian is just happy his team gets to experience playing higher competition.
“They’re always excited,” Adrian said of his players. “It’s a dream for most of those kids because most of them think they were [FBS] kids and then reality hits, but it’s always fun to go up there. Every time we go up there we’ve had 50,000-plus there and it’s a great thrill for the kids. That’s what they’re going to talk about when they’re done playing.”
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