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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How Rutgers football's offense could change in the next few weeks

(AP photo)
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

PISCATAWAY — Nick Arcidiacono played only 11 snaps last week at Navy, but the sophomore tight end's presence should grow in the coming weeks.

Along with the potential returns of wideout Andre Patton (probable, upper body) and reserve lineman Bryan Leoni (probable, lower body), Rutgers' offense should benefit.

Here are three differences you could see from Rutgers' offense in the next few weeks:

— Arcidiacono, slated as Rutgers' No. 2 tight end in preseason, should give Rutgers more flexibility to use two-tight end sets. In his first game back, coordinator Ralph Friedgen ran nine plays with 12 personnel, by far its most this season. 

"It adds a lot of variation to our offense," Arcidiacono said. "If we can run the ball, we're just going to run the ball. ... I'm hoping I'll be implemented more in the pass game in the future if we need it. But we just needed to run, so that's all we did."

—Arcidiacono's return should lessen fullback Michael Burton's workload. Burton had doubled as a blocking tight end the last three weeks. Burton played a season-high 61 snaps last week.

"Michael Burton's one of the best fullbacks in the country," receiver Leonte Carroo said. "He's a fullback, so we probably just need him to play fullback. Now that we have Arch back, we can have Arch do different things that Burton couldn't do. It's just great having everybody back in their spots and doing what they're supposed to do."

— Patton's arrival should create a jam at the Z receiver spot opposite Carroo. John Tsimis and Andrew Turzilli had split reps there. Carroo rarely leaves the field.

"It gives us more flexibility, the ability to use two- and three-tight end sets, the ability to use three- and four-wide receiver sets," head coach Kyle Flood said. "A really good pro-style offense has a mix of all those personnel groups."

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