Rutgers football: 2019 success hinges on one word – Control

Chris Ash, Rutgers football. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Chris Ash, Rutgers football. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Rutgers football
Rutgers football. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

Control the line of scrimmage

This may be the most basic tenet of football, control the line of scrimmage. It’s an easy thing to say or write, but it’s very hard to do, especially against good teams. The good news is that the Knights don’t have to win every battle every play. What they have to do is have more wins and stalemates along the line of scrimmage than they do losses.

Offensively, it means opening up holes for Blackshear because the junior running back may be the team’s top playmaker. Additionally, they have to protect the quarterback. Last year, Rutgers did a good job in this area, but QB Artur Sitkowski still struggled with oncoming rushers. Whoever takes the snaps, Sitkowski or McLane Carter, he needs to know the men in front will keep the heat down.

On the other side, Rutgers has to control the line and get a strong push. There are plenty of good offenses in the Big 10 and the Scarlet Knights can’t afford to get manhandled up front. By controlling the line of scrimmage, they can limit the damage done.

Playing in control along the defensive line also means doing your job. The defensive ends must keep containment on the outside and not allow cutbacks or scrambling quarterbacks to get by them. On the inside, Rutgers DTs can’t allow opposing offensive linemen to reach the next level on run plays to take out their linebackers. For pass plays, at the minimum, battle to stalemate and do what they can to get a push toward the QB.