High sack total frustrates O-Line
Senior offensive lineman Andre Civil was angry when he heard how many sacks his unit allowed Thursday night against Louisville.
“Whenever you don’t perform the right way and your quarterback gets sacked eight times, you’re going to be upset about it, and I was extremely upset,” Civil said.
One of Rutgers football head coach Kyle Flood’s priorities this bye week is to find a remedy for the offensive line, which has allowed 22 sacks in six games. Only Hawaii, Connecticut and Idaho have allowed more.
“Unfortunately there is no good time for it to happen,” Flood said yesterday. “And when it does we have to try and examine it, try to see what those issues are that aren’t the physical issues. … I think we could have performed better and could have won more one-on-ones.”
Flood said the high sack total against the Cardinals was not entirely the line’s fault, as he pointed out there were times running backs missed assignments that resulted in junior quarterback Gary Nova either scrambling or being brought to the ground.
But the majority of the mistakes lie upfront, and Flood did his best to fix it during the Scarlet Knights’ last game.
Flood inserted both Civil and senior guard Antwan Lowery on the right side of the line for junior tackle Taj Alexander and redshirt freshman guard Chris Muller, both of whom dealt with injuries throughout the contest.
It was Lowery’s second time receiving extensive time off of the bench in the Knights’ past two contests, as he entered for Muller in Rutgers’ 55-52 win Oct. 5 against Southern Methodist.
Lowery believes whoever Flood chooses to run out with the first team will have enough experience to be effective.
“At some point, everybody who’s taken the field has played with everyone before,” Lowery said. “It’s all about taking extra time with each other and just communicating and getting on the same page. Whoever he decides to go with, all of us have played so it will be [an] easy [transition].”
Flood said he would like to get a better look at all four when completely healthy, and he has 10 more days to decide the five who will start up front Saturday against Houston.
The bye week will also allow the offensive line to focus on not underachieving in pass protection.
“It’s just us not playing well, the offensive line and the offensive unit as a whole just not keeping the quarterback clean,” Civil said. “I think this week we’re going to focus on it and get better.”
Sophomore tight end Tyler Kroft made the John Mackey Award midseason watch list yesterday.
Twenty-eight other candidates made the watch list for the award, which is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end.
In six games this season, Kroft has 18 receptions for 268 yards and three touchdowns. That includes a 1-yard reception for the Knights’ only touchdown in their 24-10 loss to Louisville.
The semi-finalists for the award will be named Nov. 18 and the finalist Nov. 25.
Flood said he will not try a lot of defensive players at different positions during the bye week, but will continue to get younger players and reserves more reps.
“I don’t think you need to experiment, but I do think the bye week affords guys opportunities to play a little more,” Flood said. “And the more a player shows he can do it in practice, the more willing you are to give them the opportunity to do it in the game.”
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