NEWPORT, R.I. -- Overshadowed by the quarterback competition, one of the biggest storylines for Rutgers heading into training camp is who will be the five guys keeping that quarterback upright.
What once had been strength for Rutgers over the years became a weakness the past two seasons. No one knows that more than Kyle Flood.
Flood had been the offensive line coach at Rutgers since 2005 before being named the head coach at the end of January.
After unprecedented success for the line in Flood's first five seasons, things went sour in 2010 as the Scarlet Knights gave up an NCAA record 61 sacks. And although the putrid line progressed in 2011, its improvement wasn't enough.
An offense that is loaded with talent at the skill positions needs the offensive line to do its job up front. Flood believes this will happen.
"I think we can improve on what we did last year," Flood said at the Big East's media day. "I don't know that I want to set any goals beyond that, but I do expect us to be better than we were.
"My expectation level is we're going to surpass where we were last year, which I think will continue our improvement," he added.
Rutgers certainly has the talent to. The question is who goes where.
After tinkering throughout spring ball, that still hasn't been decided. And it's something that is better served to happen sooner rather than later so the unit can come together.
"We do need to find out who are going to be the five offensive linemen and get them in the right spots so they can build the continuity we've lacked the last couple of years," Flood said.
And three of those five spots are likely already set.
After a successful freshman season at right tackle, Kaleb Johnson flips over to the blind side. As the most experienced lineman after starting 30 games at Maryland, senior R.J. Dill will take Johnson's spot at right tackle. In all likelihood, Betim Bujari will hold off Dallas Hendrikson and start at center.
The question marks come at the guard positions, where four guys are competing for two spots. A competition Flood is antsy to see.
"I'm anxious to see the competition," Flood said. "I think we have people at those spots -- whether it's Taj Alexander, Antwan Lowery, David Osei, Matt McBride -- we have a number of people who we think can go out there and compete and win for us. Now they have to go out and prove that on the field every day, but I think the competition is going to make all four of those guys better."
Development across the line and having those five players jell will be key to the unit's success.
"Another year of improvement at that position and the more continuity we can build and the faster we can build it, I think we have enough talent to exceed those expectations," Flood said. "But I think that [continuity] has got to be our first goal."