PISCATAWAY – After a 4,104-yard, 37 touchdown, seven interception season last year, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood knows his team will have their hands full in Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr.
“I think they have an elite level quarterback,” head coach Kyle Flood said. “Any time a team has an elite level quarterback – we saw I think two of them last year with the kid from Arkansas [Tyler Wilson] and the kid from Louisville [Teddy Bridgewater] – they can throw balls and complete balls against receivers that are covered really tight, and they can stick it into tight windows, so there are going to be some footballs that are not going to be defendable and that’s just the reality when you play against an elite quarterback. He’s a great quarterback, not a good football player, a great one, so it’s going to be a challenge for a young secondary like ours.”
So to is the tempo that Fresno State’s offense. It’s something Rutgers will prepare for more so than they have in previous games.
However, it’s not something Flood is overly concerned about. Not when he’ll have players on the field seeing their first collegiate game action and a secondary that has three new starters.
“We’ve played teams that have tried to play at a very high tempo, so it’s not something that we’re not used to,” Flood said. “I think probably the biggest challenge is going to be for the younger players that have not had that kind of exposure to that type of thing and certainly on the road, first game, under the lights, hostile environment, those are the guys you really have to make sure they get enough reps during the week so they’re comfortable during game time.”
But when it comes to Fresno State’s offense, Rutgers would like to keep the ball out of Carr’s hands as much as possible.
“I do believe when you have a talented quarterback and a talented receiving core like them, like they do, you want to give them enough at-bats,” Flood said. “You want to give them enough opportunities to make plays in the game.”
And it’s up to Rutgers’ defense to put a stop to those opportunities.