After allowing an NCAA record 61 sacks last season, the Rutgers University football program's offensive line was looking for consistency in 2011. However, six weeks into the season, the Scarlet Knights (4-1, 2-0 Big East Conference) are still trying to find a settled starting five.
On Saturday against visiting Navy (2 p.m. on ESPN3), Rutgers will again have another mix of players rotating in-and-out on the offensive line, which has seen eight different players start this season.
"Andre Civil (LT), Desmond Wynn (LG), Caleb Ruch (center), Betim Bujari (RG) and Kaleb Johnson (RT) are the listed as the starters on the two-deep," wrote Tom Luicci Thursday. "But the absence of a running game combined with some leaky pass protection has prompted Schiano to do more shuffling in the offensive line..."
The Daily Targum's Steven Miller recapped the offensive line's inconsistent starting five Thursday.
"The unit trotted out three different starting lineups through five games. The right tackle never played a down of college football through the first two weeks but played every snap since. The right guard was deposed, returned and now plays every other offensive series. The center sees more time at left tackle."
Despite all the swapping, there's some potential in this young offensive line. Currently, true freshman Johnson has pretty much cemented a spot at right tackle, while redshirt freshman Betim Bajari is at right guard. If those two can develop a chemistry on the right-side of the offensive line, then that promises to be an assets for the rest of the season and for the future. Also, the line is on pace to allow just 26 sacks this season, which is a much better mark than last year.
For right now, the Rutgers starting five is a work in progress, but as long as the Scarlet Knights continue to win the fan base can live with it.