Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports
Taking a look at a possible fit for defensive coordinator. EDIT: Art Kaufman has not been officially linked to the opening at any point. This is simply an introductory look at his background for discussion's sake.
Dave Cohen is no longer a coach for the Scarlet Knights, and we can thank Wake Forest for picking up his buyout tab. The problems with the 2013 Rutgers defense were extremely apparent: missed tackles, inexperience, bad schemes, and a secondary that simply allowed anyone - and I mean ANYONE - to pass on them. Loss of personnel is one thing, but the worst pass defense in school history is a far cry from the talent that is available. With two years removed from the Greg Schiano era, we are now beginning to lose the identity of the swarm and strip. Rutgers may not get that exact identity back, but there are candidates out there who can bring toughness and consistency, which would be a major step in the right direction. Today, let's take a look at the qualifications of Art Kaufman, who has 11 years experience as a coordinator at the FBS level.
- Nominee for the 2012 Broyles Award, given to nation's top assistant.
- Turned around a horrendous Texas Tech defense in 2012, leading the nation in total defense through week 5 in the offensively tilted Big 12 conference.
- Led the Big 12 in pass defense in 2012, giving up a meager 195 yards per game.
- 29 years of coaching experience, giving him a wealth of knowledge about all different types of offenses.
One of the best aspects of Kaufman's coaching acumen is his ability to adapt to different offenses. While he realizes that man-to-man and zone coverage are used frequently from game to game, Kaufman has used his experience to favor one over the other when the need is there. He will never hogtie his scheme to a certain offense if it doesn't work. Case in point, the 2012 contest between Texas Tech and West Virginia
. Entering the game, Geno Smith was the Heisman frontrunner and had Tavon Austin
and Stedman Bailey
in his arsenal, creating a finely-tuned offensive machine. Kaufman's defense held Smith to 275 yards and a single touchdown pass, starting the freefall of the Mountaineers. His scheme abandoned man-to-man defense due to the speed of Austin and Bailey, and instead went with zone coverage to keep the offense in front of them, eliminating the big play. Tech went on to defeat the Mountaineers.
This adaptability is something that has been lacking with Rutgers. Flood and Cohen always preached "stop the run" when they should have been focusing on the pass. Furthermore, schemes never seemed to change in the face of blowout defeats. Kaufman has the experience to do what is necessary to limit the opponent's offense on a game-by-game basis while still fielding the aggressive defense that Rutgers fans want to see.
The big sticking point is price. Kaufman earns a reported $309,487 per year
, which is high for what the Scarlet Knights might be willing to spend. Secondly, Kaufman has worked with current Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville in multiple stints, first at Ole Miss, then at Texas Tech, and now in Cincinnati. It might be tough to pry him away even with a pay increase. However, Flood knows his tenure is on the line. If he wants to keep his job, he should be swinging for the fences in terms of coordinator hires, and Kaufman would be a good one.
What do you think? Do you think Art Kaufman is a good fit to restore the Scarlet Knights' defense? If not, who do you feel is a good choice? Leave a comment below!