Do you even onsides, bro?
I tried to be happy. I tried to enjoy the win. I tried to accept it for what it was, a comfortable double digit victory against a terrible opponent. Alas, this team finally came out for the second half and all of that contentment went directly out the window. All that positive energy I had fraudulently built up in hopes of not sounding like an unbearable pessimist got released in what I am sure sounded, to my neighbors anyway, like a domestic dispute at a construction site. I don't want people to think that I don't appreciate the win. Trust me, with how few and far between they have been this football season (college and NFL), I treasure every opportunity to reign triumphant. With that said, as far as frustrating victories goes, this just about tops the list.
I get it. I get that each game has it's own identity. I understand the '1-0' narrative that COACH (happy Norries?) Flood nauseatingly crams down our gullet every time he's not busy writing 'Dance Appreciation' papers for college kids that don't know how to read. I get that all Rutgers had to do to win today was line up and run the ball down Kansas' throat. I actually enjoyed it to an extent. Sometimes it's fun to impose your will on your opponent without taking too many risks. However, while it resulted in a win this week, what happens when Rutgers takes on the #2 team in the nation next week? What happens when they are in the heart of their brutal Big Ten schedule? I know they don't think they are running the ball for 300 yards against Michigan State. I know they don't think passes that cover no more than 6-7 yards are going to dissect one of the best defenses in college football. What then? Do we just give up? Pack it in? Continue to throw a quarterback, that quite simply cannot throw the ball at a D1 level, back out under center? Today may have been a win, but it's win that brought attention to everything that is wrong with this program from a football perspective.
It's a win that should have been a blowout if Rutgers had a quarterback that could take advantage of his weapons on the outside. If only. If only, out of 28,000 students, there were one that had a NCAA caliber arm. Hmm, I wonder, where can we find on of those....
Listen, I am not saying that Hayden Rettig is Brett Favre in his prime. Quite frankly, I don't know the extent of what he can do on the football field. I do know he can make one read and make a safe 7 yard throw. I do know he's not afraid to throw the ball downfield. I do know he can throw the ball out of bounds when he's under pressure. In fact, the only conceivable reason that Rettig isn't starting would be if he's really bad at handing the ball off, because that's pretty much all Chris Laviano did today. The guy doesn't need to walk on water to give Rutgers a better chance to win against the likes of Ohio State and Wisconsin. Today I saw what I have seen all season. A kid with a weak arm. That pads his completion percentage on throws that Drew Brees could make laying on his back with a torn rotator cuff. A kid that, even when given time, is understandably scared to test his arm strength downfield. A kid that his prone to mistakes that make Rutgers fans long for the days of Freshman Gary Nova. Chris Laviano is like an athletic Chad Pennington if Chad Pennington had the football IQ of a 12 year old girl, and not the one from 'Remember The Titans'. If Cardale Jones, the guy that won a National Championship, can get benched, then I think you can justify benching a kid that can't even give up on a play without throwing an interception. Nothing I have seen from this team makes sense. Chris Laviano plays like a game manager, but makes the mistakes that a game manager is supposed to avoid to earn the label "game manager". Rutgers threw for about 20 yards in the second half against KANSAS. They were afraid to drop back and pass against one of the worst football teams in a Power 5 conference. Now tell me, without making serious changes under center, how do they expect that game plan to translate next week? But hey, at least they got the W, right?
P.S. The throwback jerseys looked FRESH. I kind of miss them, and I think that officially makes me old.
P.P.S. Congrats to Norries Wilson on his first win as Rutgers Head Coach! Find myself wishing he was more than just an interim each and every day. Just don't tell him I said that...