Line improves with Civil back at tackle
Senior right tackle Andre Civil labeled the Rutgers football team’s offensive line struggles Oct. 10 at Louisville a communication problem.
The unit allowed eight sacks against the Cardinals. Junior quarterback Gary Nova’s movement out of the pocket that night prevented the total from reaching double digits.
“From my experience, I knew communication was off,” Civil said. “I can’t speak for everyone else, but I think communication was off and guys missed big cues and we were off our games.”
Civil, who did not start against Louisville, had to play when right tackle when junior Taj Alexander came out.
He has not left that spot since.
“I think Andre has given us a consistent game of football,” said head coach Kyle Flood. “You know how much I value consistency of performance. Certainly we want consistency at a high level, but not everybody is capable of the same things. Andre has given us a consistency at right tackle. I think he’s playing better. I think he’s earned the right.”
With Civil on the right side against the Cougars, Rutgers did not allow a sack. While Nova tossed three interceptions, the line gave him several opportunities to get the ball off.
It was a vast improvement from the Knights’ game against Louisville, where the inconsistency of the offensive line did not allow the offense to gain a rhythm.
The unit also quietly paved the way for freshman running back Justin Goodwin to rush for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
Though Civil’s insertion into the starting lineup cannot be the exact reason why Rutgers has performed better, members of the offensive line are excited for what his experience could bring to the right side.”
“He’s a veteran player,” said junior left guard Kaleb Johnson. “He’s played every position on this line except for center, so just having him out on the field has really helped us.”
Flood will decide during the next couple days if he will name senior defensive end Marcus Thompson a captain for the rest of the season.
Thompson served as a game captain for Saturday’s Homecoming contest against Houston.
“I thought when I first designated Marcus captain of the possibility of him remaining a captain for the rest of the season,” Flood said. “We’ll announce that [today] in terms of what we may do. I really can’t say enough positives about how Marcus goes about his business every day in terms of how he prepares and how he practices and certainly you see the results on game day.”
Thompson leads the team this season with 4.5 sacks.
Redshirt freshman Ruhann Peele continued to work at corner yesterday at practice.
Peele switched to cornerback from wide receiver for at least the week as Rutgers continues to deal with depth issues at that position. The Linden, N.J., native is the Knights’ third-leading receiver this season with 18 catches for 163 yards and a score.
“Speaking to the defensive coaches yesterday, they were pleased for his first day,” Flood said. “You have to be careful of the expectations with a guy who is out there for the first day. We’ll look at the tape and see how we did.”
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