Scarlet Report broke the news yesterday that former Rutgers assistant Phil Galiano will be returning to fill the final vacancy on staff created by Joe Susan's departure several weeks back. I actually had considered listing Galiano as a candidate for the opening on the defensive line, but did not consider him a viable option. Bringing back two former assistants is an interesting caveat to the widespread sentiment that Coach Schiano is an over the top workaholic.
Galiano spent four years on staff the first time around, moving up from a graduate assistant to linebackers coach. The linebacking corps often struggled during that time. (It was a problem area for years, excepting 2006, before finally turning the corner in 2008.) Galiano was then demoted to defensive ends coach, and that unit was very good, although he was working with Cary Godette. Phil was then hired by our old friend Mario Cristobal at FIU, who just decided not to renew Galiano's contract.
My initial reaction to this hiring was negative. It's unclear exactly what his role be with the new staff. Perhaps he'll assist on defense, and someone else will coach tight ends. Or, Galiano himself will coach that unit. Honestly, if he did, that part wouldn't necessarily be a huge concern, as tight ends are probably the smallest and least important position group on the team. It's hard to make too much of a mistake in that area.
There are other reasons to be concerned though. No one will have a problem with bringing back Randy Melvin, but Galiano's linebacking units did not play well for the most part. Sure, he was young, and is more experienced now, but the track record as FIU doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. The hire will raise questions about cronyism, the budget for assistants, or even with striking out on more high-profile candidates. Doesn't necessarily mean that those questions are fair, or accurate, but they'll be out there and hard to avoid.
The other main concern is with recruiting. With Joe Susan off to Bucknell, my personal hope was to land another strong local recruiter. Rutgers looks to be in great early shape with a deep class of 2011, but one final solid hire could have helped to seal the deal. Now, as Luicci noted, Coach Schiano did seem to hint that Rutgers may not necessarily go with a traditional recruiting coordinator going forward, as the duties may be split around to other staff members. It's also the case that other members of the staff are starting to spread their wings a bit in that area.
You didn't hear much about Ed Pinkham on the trail in the past, and now Rashad Knight credits Pinkham with convincing him to choose Rutgers. Fraser, Smith, there could be other assistants starting to assume a bigger role. Always could move Trivers out of the G.A. position for a boost in Maryland too. If you're looking for upside, Galiano did just spend the last few years in Miami, and it'd be nice if he built some ties down there. Alex Hesquijarosa on State of Rutgers downplays that factor, but really sells Galiano as a big recruiter in South Jersey.
I'm still uneasy, but reserving judgment until the moves are officially announced. What's important are the new positional coach assignments, and how exactly recruiting duties will be divvied up.