Brennan: What’s Wrong With the Robert Morris Offense?


Zach Tanner takes the snap and scrambles away from the defender Photo credit: Bailey Noel

Cole Brennan

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Opinions are of the writer’s own and do not represent Colonial Sports Network as a whole.

The Robert Morris football team is off to a dismal 0-5 start and Bernard Clark is off to his worse start during his tenure as head coach.

Who is to blame for the Colonials’ struggles?

The offense!

RMU has not scored a touchdown at home since its week one game against Dayton.

In order for the Colonials to capture their first win of the season, they need to play a lot better on the offensive side of the football.

When it comes to getting first downs, the team ranks 115th in the FCS rankings with a 70.

Anthony Chiccitt (16) being helped up frustrated after an interception (Photo by Ethan Morrison)

The Colonials also average 59.4 yards per game which is second last in the country. RMU has not gotten the production from Alijah Jackson they hoped for. During the 2022 campaign, Jackson has rushed for 221 yards on 69 attempts with a rushing average of 2.9 yards per carry. He has no touchdowns so far this season.

The Colonials only have four rushing touchdowns on the season while opponents have 12. Three of their rushing touchdowns have come from Anthony Purge while Parker Fetterman has the other.

Alijah Jackson needs to be the player they can rely on for the offense; he is a graduate senior and a veteran for the team.

RMU only has 18 rushing first downs while opponents have 47.

The Colonials also average 59.4 yards per game which is second last in the country.

Robert Morris has also had trouble keeping control of the football as they have lost five fumbles so far this season averaging one fumble per game. Turning over the ball must be limited to prevent opposing teams from scoring.

To say the least, the Colonials rushing attack has been abysmal.

Another struggle for the team has been the offensive line.

The offensive line has allowed 16 sacks through five games this season. The line has not opened up the running lanes for Jackson and the other running backs. One of the reasons for the line’s struggles is the Colonials have four new starters on the offensive line. The offensive line is young and there are opportunities for them to grow as a unit.

The Colonials have allowed 16 sacks and are ranked 110th in FCS rankings.

For the run game to be solid, the offensive line needs to help the running backs by giving them lanes.

A good line can be very beneficial for the run game and will help improve the run game.

As the line has been a struggle, they are not helping the quarterbacks by giving them time in the pocket to throw the ball and find the open receivers.

The quarterback situation has been a mixture of four players who have played at the position so far this season. Anthony Chiccitt, Corbin LaFrance, Jake Simmons and Zach Tanner have all played at the position for the Colonials.

Anthony Chiccitt started the first two games of the season against Dayton and Miami. Chiccitt has thrown for 327 yards on 42 attempts while having one touchdown pass and three interceptions.

Corbin LaFrance has not started yet for the Colonials but he has gotten in a couple of games. LaFrance has thrown for 66 yards on 13 attempts and has one interception on the year.

Alijah Jackson turns the corner in their game against Dayton (Photo by Ethan Morrison)

Jake Simmons started against Delaware State and East Tennessee State but has appeared in four of five games. Simmons threw for 268 yards in 62 attempts so far for the Colonials along with one interception and one touchdown.

Freshman Zach Tanner was just recently named the team’s starting quarterback by coach Bernard Clark and started this past week against Gardner-Webb. Tanner has thrown for 199 yards on 51 attempts, but he has thrown four interceptions and no touchdowns.

Limiting interceptions must be a priority for all the quarterbacks for the rest of the season.

The Colonials pass game has struggled and the team has switched between four quarterbacks so far this season. It is time for the team to stick with one quarterback and let him play.

The team has only passed for two touchdowns this season while their opponents have thrown seven touchdowns. Quarterbacks are a focal point for an offense and strong quarterback play is essential to a teams success.

The Colonials offense has only scored a total of 46 points while opponents have 160. The team will need to figure things out on offense if they want any chance at turning their season around.

From the outside looking in, it looks like there is a disconnect between players and coaches. When teams begin to lose coaches, they are more likely to have a disconnect with the players.

Just as the offense and defense have both struggled, the special team unit has been no exception.

Special teams have gotten a punt blocked as well as a muffed punt. The blocked punt was ran back for a touchdown by the opposing team.

Saturday’s game was not good for the Colonials field goal unit as they missed two during the game. For the success of the team, all aspects must play better the rest of the season

Robert Morris will take on Campbell this Saturday as the Colonials look to get their first win of the season this Saturday at Campbell.