For Rutgers football, it is time for a renewed emphasis on controlling the clock

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Expect to see Rutgers slow down the tempo a bit more on offense in an effort to play complementary football. It is something that head coach Greg Schiano thinks fits the make-up of his team.

In Saturday’s 24-17 win over Indiana, Rutgers held 38:53 in possession time. That was over 10 minutes more than their previous game, a loss to Nebraska.

Even in the Week 3 blowout win of Wagner, Rutgers clocked a time of possession of 32:09. So to see Rutgers with such dominance in possession was eye-opening.

The switch to a more pro-style offense, where the play clock is utilized more fully, is one of the more notable changes under interim offensive coordinator Nunzio Campanile. His predecessor, Sean Gleeson, favored tempo as part of the spread offense.

Related

Preston Carey visits Rutgers football for Big Ten win

But when the offense wasn’t clicking, this led to very little time on the field and gave the opposition a chance to get the ball back quickly.

“Well, I think when you have a good defense it is. You know, if you’re going to get into a shootout with people, that’s one thing right then time of possession doesn’t matter,” Schiano said on Wednesday.

“But if you have a good defense and you shorten the game a little bit by controlling the football and you know, it’s kind of – I hate to say it’s like Russian roulette, right? You spin the chamber the more time you spend it, the more likely one of them’s gonna have a bullet in it. So if you limit the times that their offense has to spin the chamber and you’re playing good defense, you got a chance. I think the way we’re playing kind of lends to that a little bit more than maybe before.”

In Schiano’s first stint with Rutgers, a benchmark of the program and the offense was clock control. Rutgers ran the ball effectively during those bowl years which allowed them to control the clock and the game.

Saturday’s win over Indiana, even as the offense was a bit one-dimensional towards the run, perhaps hint at where Schiano wants to see the offense go moving forward.

Related

Rutgers basketball: Ladji Kalilou Dembele gets a Scarlet Knights offer

The switch to a more pragmatic, time-consuming offense hasn’t affected the number of plays that Rutgers is running. Even as they’ve slowed down the pace, the Scarlet Knights are still getting plenty of opportunities to make plays.

Against Nebraska, Rutgers ran 68 plays. This past Saturday, they had 74 plays from scrimmage. So a fast tempo doesn’t necessarily mean more plays if the offense is faltering.

Related

Greg Schiano talks about how the new-look Rutgers offense performed on Saturday

Conventional wisdom holds that one advantage from this emphasis on time of possession is that it gets the defense off the field a bit more. This allows for a chance to rest, regroup and review their assignments and adjustments.

The players on the defense, however, don’t think it matters much.

“I’m not worried. We’ve got depth,” defensive lineman Wesley Bailey said. “We’ve got two, three, four where all of us are ready to play football.”

List

Rowan Byrne talks visit to Rutgers football, Notre Dame interest and Syracuse

Rutgers football got a Big Ten win on Saturday and hosted New York offensive lineman Rowan Byrne.
Rutgers football got a Big Ten win on Saturday and hosted New York offensive lineman Rowan Byrne.

Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire