Red All Over

By Adam Caparell - October 23, 2006

The owners of the No. 2 defense in the nation is…Rutgers. After defeating Pittsburgh Saturday, and holding Tyler Palko and the high-flying Pitt offense to only 169 yards in the air, Rutgers defense is earning more and more respect every week. And UConn coach Randy Edsall, who will face the Scarlet Knights Sunday, knows why their defense has been so impressive, allowing 223 yards per game – second only to LSU.

“I think they’ve got a lot of good athletes, a lot of good athletes that can run,” Edsall said. “Up front, last year they used to sit there a little bit more. This year they’re twisting them and moving, utilizing what they feel is best for their personnel. They’ve got 11 guys who know what they want to do and know how to play the scheme that they’re in and they do a good job of running to the football.”

Even more simply put: Rutgers has speed and a noise for the ball. The Scarlet Knights have three players with two interceptions each and two players among the Big East leaders in fumbles recovered. Eric Foster is among the Big East leaders in tackles for loss and sacks while Ramel Meekins is tied for the league lead in fumbles forced.

UConn should be in for a long night come Sunday. The Scarlet Knights are only allowing 78.4 yards per game on the ground and 145 yards per game in the air. The Huskies don’t have an answer for the Scarlet Knights speed.

- While Tar Heel fans have seen better days in Chapel Hill, the North Carolina job isn’t a blackhole.

With John Bunting on his way out after the season, there should be some considerable interest in the position from many coaches around the country. It's been proven that you canwin at North Carolina.

Granted, Bunting’s dismissal comes as no surprise whatsoever. The Tar Heels haven’t beaten a Division I-A team yet and may get their only ACC win of the year in their season finale against Duke. He’s 25-42 since 2001 and Bunting now has to suffer the indignity of finishing out the final five games of the season, at his alma mater, no less.

But remember, Mack Brown had considerable success in Chapel Hill before leaving for Texas. During his tenor, Brown lifted the Tar Heels to as high as No. 5 in the polls, guided them to six bowl games and a couple of 10 win seasons. It’s a state school that has a national reputation thanks to the basketball program and Brown showed that you can win at a basketball school.

As for replacements: Akron’s J.D. Brookhart was tossed around as a hot candidate earlier in the season. Don't forget, he made a big impression in North Carolina earlier this season, beating N.C. State in Raleigh on a gutsy last second TD call and he’d probably come relatively cheap if money – as some have contended – is an issue in Chapel Hill.

Fantasy Update lost its second straight thanks to Reggie Ball and the Georgia Tech offense that couldn’t manage to throw one single pass to all-world receiver Calvin Johnson. knocked of, 88.9-75.2, thanks to the zero points scored from Johnson’s performance and a relatively lackluster outing by Darius Walker (thanks to the porous Irish offensive line) in Notre Dame’s win over UCLA.

The loss dropped back to .500 on the season with three games remaining. Pro Football Weekly, ahead by a game in the West Division, is next up on the schedule. We could be looking at a three-way tie for first place Saturday if wins again.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 05:00 PM on October 23, 2006

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