At his first Scarlet Knights press conference, Schiano needs to take the mic and acknowledge that the program has not been up to snuff since his departure in 2011. Careful not to place blame on anyone, in particular, the returning coach needs to tell the players, fans, and alumni surrounding the program that they deserve better than they have gotten. It’s his mission to make Rutgers football something the university and people of New Jersey can be proud of.
Ther is no need to call anyone out or go into specifics. His words have to be positive. Rather, Schiano can tell everyone what they can expect from HIS program. That includes winning games, bringing in good citizens, and graduating players. Patience from everyone will be needed because this is the Big Ten and it takes time to go from down and out to contender. Optimism for the future of Scarlet Knights football has to be the takeaway.
Last Thursday, star running back Raheem Blackshear put his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal. As a quick refresher, the junior opened the season as part of a very good one-two punch in the Scarlet Knights backfield with Isaih Pachecho. Blackshear played in the first four games, gaining 88 yards on 29 carries.
His biggest contributions came when catching the ball out of the backfield. Blackshear caught 29 passes for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns. When Chris Ash was relieved of his duties after Michigan crushed RU 52-0, Blackshear told interim head coach Nunzio Campanile that he wanted to redshirt in order to preserve two years of eligibility. He entered the portal after talks broke down with Schiano last week.
Sitkowski can go, he’ll be lucky to start on a decent FCS program. Schiano, however, has to talk Blackshear into staying. He and Pachecho, when used correctly, are the thunder and lightning of Rutgers offense. For his part, Blackshear can excel under the new regime and work himself into an NFL draftable player.