The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are going to have a problem next week when they come to Seattle to take on the “home team” Washington State Cougars.
Injuries have plagued the Knights this Fall, especially in the secondary. So much so in fact, that they had to move one of their running backs (Justin Goodwin) out to start at corner. This isn’t the same as what the Cougs decided to do earlier this week, moving Teondray Caldwell to safety to get his athleticism on the field, this is out of necessity because of a thin position. But that may not be the biggest story the secondary of RU faces Thursday.
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Head coach Kyle Flood seems to be set on a constant rotation throughout the ballgame at corner. It’s a very intriguing decision and actually could be a great strategy if the secondary is able to stay more fresh against the constant air raid attack that the Mike Leach offense represents, especially since it uses eight receivers. The problem is figuring out when those rotations will take place and how much effect it will have from drive-to-drive.
It sounds like the top three or four young Rutgers corners are about the same ability level and neither is particularly great in coverage just yet, which is the other problem Flood and Co. face. Connor Halliday and the Cougar offense plan to put the ball in the air 50-60 times, which means constant pressure on an average (at best) secondary. If you think about the damage that WSU did to some of the Pac-12 defenses last year with these types of secondaries (Cal, Utah and even Oregon come to mind), it’s pretty easy to imagine that this offense, which returns 8 players with 30 catches last season, ripping up Rutgers.
If you’re a Cougar fan, start licking those chops! I know that Halliday and Mike Leach are.