PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Through three games, the Rutgers football offense has had some predictable and understandable ups and downs. For head coach Greg Schiano, however, there is the hope that the best is yet to come.
The encouraging news, for Schiano, is that overall the offense has been improved from last year. In the second half against Boston College, an offensive line that was much maligned a season ago was impressive. Against Wagner the following week, the offense was predictably explosive against an over-matched opponent.
So in many ways, it is really last Saturday’s 16-14 win at Temple, a game where the offense did not score a touchdown, that is casting a bit of a pall over the assessment of the unit’s growth.
Rutgers on Saturday had 201 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. It wasn’t a prolific showing against Temple, a team that Rutgers beat in their season opener by 47 points.
On Monday, Schiano talked about Sean Gleeson, expressing his confidence in the third-year offensive coordinator by saying ” we got the right guy” to lead the rebuilding of the unit. On Wednesday, Schiano was asked about the offense’s growth and what makes him feel positive about their development through the first three games.
“Well, I think our offensive line is improving. Wasn’t our best outing Saturday, but I see it in practice, and I saw it in two games,” Schiano said.
“And you know what? When you have a chance to at least run the football and make them defend the run that’s going to open everything else up. I think we’ll open it up some too…we’ve been playing a little close to the vest.”
Saturday’s opponent, Iowa (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten) has had a bit of a slow start to the season. But defensively, they’ve been strong.
Through three games, Iowa has allowed just 13 points. In their win over Nevada last week, the defense pitched a shutout.
“I’m looking forward to it…it should be an opportunity for our offense. They’re really good,” Schiano said.
“So we’re gonna get a chance to measure ourselves against, quite honestly one of the best defenses in America. So we’ll see where we land.”
Rutgers hosts Iowa on Saturday night at 7 P.M. ET. The game will air nationally on FS1.