Chris Ash long over-due firing has finally come, as Rutgers has released their head coach of his duties as of Sunday 9/29.
Rutgers football has been a mess for years now. Their move to the B1G Ten has not made any impact other than that Rutgers can not compete with schools such as Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and other major football schools that make up this power 5 conference. As a student at Rutgers for the last 4 years, and now an intern in the Athletics department, it really sucks not having a football team to be excited about on Saturday. College Football has become such a big deal, every Saturday the hype is unbelievable and the fact the biggest school closest to New York City, arguably the sports capital of the world, is not any good, sucks.
Over the last couple of days I have been thinking about the different ways this University can go in turning around the football program. Would throwing crazy money at an Urban Meyer, probably having to give him control of the university, work? Probably not, and that just is not going to happen. Would waiting for New Jersey lover Jim Harbaugh to be fired from Michigan and offering him upwards of 6 million work? Maybe, but I do not see him taking on another college football gig if he does get canned at Michigan. I like the idea of interim head coach Nunzio Campanile taking over full time based on the remaining results of this year, but I am not sold on that idea either. Finally, I was wondering if Rutgers could follow Syracuse's model of returning to college football relevance. They hired Dino Babers a smaller football name, after their program lost their way after Doug Marrone left for the NFL. (Sound Familiar?) Suddenly they beat the #1 team in the nation and were ranked #22 to start the year this year. Lance Leipold coach at Buffalo fits that bill. But still, there was something about the idea of getting a hard nosed smaller school coach to come in and try and recruit big talent in this state that did not make sense. All of this thinking led me to what is probably the only way to fix this program. Greg Schiano.
Greg Schiano as well all know brought Rutgers back to college football relevance back in the mid to late 2000's. Rutgers was even ranked as high as 6th in the nation back in 2006. Schiano brought in and groomed many NFL stars like Ray Rice, Brian Leonard the McCourty twins, Anthony Davis, and Muhammed Sanu to name a few. Schiano is familiar with the school already and he is currently without a job, it almost makes too much sense for him to come back to lead the Scarlet Knights. Adding to that reasoning is also how he has already spent some time in the current Big 10 being the defensive coordinator for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. To me it seems as if all the stars are aligning for Schiano to come back as head coach. New Jersey is such a hotbed of talented football players and none of them want to come to Rutgers, that is the problem Chris Ash endured in his tenure. He was not able to keep the players in the state. Shciano was able to do that. Now, do not get me wrong Schiano was not able to keep the 5 star recruits to come to Rutgers because we have to be honest, Rutgers does not have that prestige. What Schiano was able to do was keep the 3, 4 star recruits in the state and turn them into stars. They wanted to play and play hard for Schiano and that is what made them a competitive football team going to bowl game after bowl game. That is what Rutgers needs again.
Another interesting fact on Schiano is that he actually landed a job in the NFL this year with the New England Patriots. Bill Bilichek has always been a fan of Schiano, which is known for the amount of Rutgers players he has drafted or signed. Bilichek hired Schiano to be the defensive coordinator for the Patriots, but Schiano surprisingly resigned, quoting family as the reason for backing out of the job. Soon after the speculation rose that Schiano left the Patriots because he and some knowledge that the Rutgers job would become available. The rumors of Schiano baling on the Patriots to get a coaching staff ready to come back to Rutgers do make sense though. People forget Schiano has been wanting to get back to the head coach position, he got the job at Tennessee before the students rioted and got him fired. It would make sense if he wanted to come back to Rutgers and rebuilding this team for the second time would be quite the resume. His first stint landed him a job in the NFL.
My prediction is obviously that Schiano comes back and that as an alumni I will be able to root for my school. It was obvious and now it is obvious based on athletic director Pat Hobbs decision to fire Ash, that change is needed and on the way. For the first time in my 4 years at Rutgers there is fresh new hope around the football team.