Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage has been masterful in protecting the football in his career, and he is doing it again early in this season.
However, Savage hinted last week he may take more chances in the passing game when he talked about throwing through smaller windows down the field. And he explained how to do it without compromising his ability to avoid turnovers.
“It’s just confidence,” Savage said. “You have to go out there and you have to be confident in the window, and also it comes with experience. You have to know which windows work and which don’t.”
A more productive passing game would greatly aid an offense struggling for success, and an identity, after two games.
Savage is 17 of 34 for 220 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His longest play from scrimmage is a 29-yard passing to Mohamed Sanu.
Entering Saturday’s contest against North Carolina’s suspension-laden defense, Savage is hoping to get into a rhythm early to build confidence, but that is not easily done.
“You just have to make the throws,” Savage said. “That’s how you get in a rhythm, just make all the throws they give me and make what I can out of it. Quarterback is all (about) getting into the groove, so I just have to go out there and complete my first pass and then go.”
Sometimes offensive coordinators move to the two-minute drill to try and get his quarterback comfortable and making quick decision, and Savage said he is extremely comfortable in that scenario.
“You know what the drill is,” he said. “You know you have to hurry it up, and also it’s tough for a defense because they’re not going to make too many personnel changes. They’re going to stay on the field, they’re not going to make too many checks.
“You kind of hope they’re going to blitz you in two-minute because you know where you’re at, you know what to look for.”
Feeling spry again
By the third period of Monday’s practice, Rutgers junior cornerback David Rowe knew the two off days did wonders for him.
“I got my legs back,” Rowe said. “You know they’re back when you come back to practice the following week, and you’ll know in the first two periods whether they’re still a little sore or if you’ve got a little pep in your step.”
Rowe didn’t watch the Tar Heels play Georgia Tech (“I can’t take the triple-option, watching it,” he said), but he did see Michigan State’s fake field goal in overtime result in a win.
“I rested and watched that gutsy call against Notre Dame,” Rowe said. “We actually watched it in the team room.”
Minding thy own house
One of the top stories in college football this season is NCAA investigation of North Carolina, which has led to the suspensions of 12 players from the first two games, including a quartet of defensive starters with NFL talent.
Rutgers players are aware of it, but also know the Tar Heels played LSU and Georgia Tech close in losses.
“We don’t pay any attention (to the suspensions),” Savage said. “That’s their business and we try to stay out of that. We have a game to play and we have to be focused on that.”