Regardless of your thoughts on Gary Nova, watching him lay on the turf in Lincoln, Nebraska was a disheartening sight. I have crucified him. I have waxed poetic about him. It really depends on the week. No matter what your thoughts are on him, he is the best option Rutgers has at quarterback. Honestly, its really not even that close. Sure, Laviano had some nice plays with his legs in the second half. When push comes to shove teams aren't going to allow him to roll out and run 46 yards on a quarterback keeper every week. We need Gary healthy and fast.
There's been a ton of criticism directed towards Kyle Flood for the situation in which Nova got hurt. Rutgers, a team that usually runs out the clock in similar situations, aired the ball out. Attempting to go 94 yards in the last minute of the half. I refuse to put this on Flood. Was it the smartest decision in the world? No. Was it extremely improbable that Rutgers put up points on the drive? Definitely. However, you can't play scared. I have been clamoring for Rutgers to stop doing it for years, so I'm not going to be a hypocrite when a freak accident happens. Nova could get hurt on any given play this season, that's the nature of football. Rutgers was down 14 in a game where their defense was shaky and Nebraska was receiving the ball after the half. The difference between 21-7 and 21-10 or 21-14 is worth the risk of throwing the ball. No one expected Nova to get hurt. Hindsight is 20/20. People would be talking about how big Flood's cojones are had they put up points there.
The last few games have proved one major thing. The Knights need to get bigger on the offensive and defensive lines. Games are won in the trenches. The smaller quicker players aren't going to cut it. There's no short term fix to that. It's an issue that needs to be addressed in recruiting in the coming years. Rutgers was constantly pushed 2 yards downfield on defense. Those big cornfed honkies were dominating Rutgers up front. The offensive line was getting no push. I don't think it's a matter of lack of talent, but rather a matter of size and strength.
The secondary. Oh God, the fucking secondary. If the line isn't going to get push up front, the one thing Rutgers is going to have to depend on is the secondary and linebackers making tackles when they are there to be made. Lorenzo Waters looked like a fish out of water. I have played better safety on Madden and I couldn't tackle a chicken in a phone booth on Madden. By count, I think he missed 300 tackles yesterday. Yes, making those tackles is going to be much harder job when the defensive line is getting no penetration. That's no excuse for missing tackles by 5 feet.
Hats off to Ameer Abdullah. I hate giving any sort of credit to the opponent. It's just not in my nature. I got to give it to him though. Dude is a beast. He has monster holes to run through, but he is extremely slick in the open field. Quite frankly, he made the Rutgers defense look silly. They didn't need any help Ameer, they could have done that themselves. Just looking at the picture below makes me want to toss up my shrimp tacos.
Please get healthy Gary. It's Badger hunting season next week, and you got the sawed off shotgun.