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October 5, 2011

The Distorted Mirror That Is Rutgers

Filed under: Coaches,Football — Chas @ 2:06 pm

It was probably more apt when Pitt was a Dave Wannstedt coached team. The teacher and a pupil. The similarities and differences. Now they have a lot more differences than similarities. Yet there is one area where they are now a lot more similar than in the past. A love of blitzing and attacking defenses to get turnovers. Really, it’s been the only thing that has Rutgers with a winning record.

Schiano’s decision to overhaul the defense, making it faster and more athletic in the aftermath of last year’s 4-8 showing, appears to be one of the key factors for a unit that has eight interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries already.

“The more comfortable you are in a scheme, the less you have to think about your assignment, the more you can play with speed and confidence,” Schiano said. “I think putting faster people at the positions, by moving guys down a position, (it helps).

“Takeaways are such a fine line. It’s a tipped ball here and a recovered fumble there. If you’re a little bit faster you get to the ball faster. If you’re a little more comfortable, you react faster. I think that’s why good defenses (create turnovers). Very rarely do you see an inexperienced, run-of-the-mill defense have a lot of takeaways. It just doesn’t happen very much.”

While Schiano is a Wannstedt disciple with speed on defense and valuing the turnover battle, his biggest difference has been using that speed to bring blitzes and attack up front a lot more. Coach Graham is expecting it, if not more than in most games so far from Rutgers.

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