OPINION: Colonial football needs questions answered, actions taken after struggling start

By Collin Wilson

The 2016 campaign has not started the way head football coach John Banaszak and the Colonials envisioned, as Robert Morris fell to 0-2 this past Saturday and has yet to score an offensive touchdown.

With Darrin Hicks gone and Mike Miller replacing him as the offensive coordinator, the problems were supposed to eradicate; however, it looks as if even more have arrived. Who’s to blame for the lack of progression?

The answer is Banaszak.

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If RMU cannot put together a season that out-performs its 4-7 record in 2015, coach Banaszak needs to go. Last year, I was a firm believer Hicks was the cancer in the football office, but as I see Mike Miller have the same struggles I get weary.

Miller is a seasoned veteran in the coaching realm, having served as an offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011-12. Miller also played a key role in Super Bowl XLIII, where he coached the receivers unit that included Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The problem with Miller here is that his weapons are limited. Recruiting seems to be focused on defense and not the necessities. I understand Banaszak fits as a more defense-minded coach, but the offense needs addressing. This means more than just hiring Miller, though.

The lack of progression in the offense resulted in four true freshman starting on the offensive line for the Colonials. Additionally, RMU has seen injuries pile up beginning in the spring and continuing into the season. This comes with the territory, but 24 non-contact injuries going into the year turns heads and raises concern of players in their summer workouts.

There has to be more repercussions to individuals coming into fall camp out of shape. The fatigue and inexperience were in full display against Division II foe, Alderson-Broaddus, as the Colonials were handled up front, resulting in a mere 16 rushing yards.

Moving forward, Robert Morris’ schedule does not ease up as contests at Youngstown State, Duquesne, and Sacred Heart lay ahead. I see the offense progressing under Miller due to his nature, but in order to maximize his abilities to turn this unit around, Banaszak must open up more for the offense or the program must take measures into their own hands.

Not to take away from what coach Banaszak does defensively, the Colonials have performed well in the past couple seasons on that side of the football. In total defense, RMU ranked 21st last season in Division I-AA. The team can not be one-sided, however. In 2015, Robert Morris ranked 117th out of 123 teams in Division I-AA for total offense. The previous season, being the first under Banaszak, RMU finished 119th in the same category. Through two difficult games in 2016, the Colonials sit at 113th in total offense with an average of 105.5 yards per game.

Struggling Robert Morris will visit Youngstown State Sept. 17 as they will seek revenge from an overtime loss to the Penguins last season. The hot seat is only going up in temperature for the head man at RMU if the offensive woes continue.

Another week without a score is the last thing Robert Morris athletics wants to see.