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Rutgers hires Kyle Flood

A funny thing happened with Tim Pernetti's plan to hire Mario Cristobal; it fell apart at the eleventh hour, after the Florida International coach had reportedly agreed to terms. Interestingly enough, the exact same thing happened about a month ago with Pitt. They opted then to turn to a candidate who they thought would stick around for the long term. The same can be said for Kyle Flood, but there is one other strong, clear indication here as well: this was a move clearly designed to keep a top-ranked recruiting class in place, and on first glance should be judged by that criterion. It was not an insane, spur-of-the-moment over reaction ala Bill Stewart's elevation in Morgantown. This was a move of panic and desperation, albeit, reasoned panic. That does not mean it won't work out. Indeed, the growing trend in college football (see: Michigan, Clemson, Auburn, etc...) is that top-end coordinators can absolve a lot of sins.

Rutgers had to act fast and pick from a very small list with Greg Schiano departing a few days from Signing Day. Any resulting staff hires are different. Assuming that Rutgers will try to keep every assistant that it can, especially the ones important for recruiting - the goal then becomes to replace Schiano's role as defensive coordinator with an appropriate substitute. Give Scott Shafer from Syracuse a call, because they are leaving for the ACC for one thing, and it's not like Doug Marrone hasn't pulled out every negative recruiting trick in the book. Call Todd Orlando at FIU, just in case he wants to make the move back north that his current boss did not. Tyrone Nix, who was at Ole Miss last year, is still looking for work. Call Chuck Heater at Temple. Heck, former PSU defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and former Miami coach Randy Shannon (who has turned down a lot of recent offers) are still on the sidelines too.

For Kyle Flood, this is the latest step in a Rutgers tenure that has seen wild peaks and valleys. During his first few seasons at Rutgers, Flood could do no wrong, and calling him a future head coach would not have been called a stretch at all. Then, his offensive line turned in a bad season, followed by a horrific one - largely attributable to schematic issues, coupled with iffy talent evaluation. (As a zone blocking guru, Flood had a taste for athletic sleepers that largely did not pan out. It was like he struck complete gold on Darnell Stapleton, and then just kept trying to recapture that magic.) The pass blocking bounced back big in 2011; don't be fooled by the high sack totals, as defenses could focus on the pass with how bad the running game looked. Run blocking, however, was still pretty bad for the most part.

Flood improved enough in 2011 to save his job, but it's quite something to watch how he could go from fans calling for his head (and not in the faux, not-really sense that Greg Schiano always faced from a very vocal minority) to the head man in charge. So be it. Your guess is as good as mine as to how this hire will turn out over the long term, but the next few days will be critical in determining whether Tim Pernetti gambled correctly in opting for stability, or should have made a clean break and/or conducted a comprehensive search through all corners of college football. Keeping Kyle should keep the vital line commits on board. Now it falls to Jeff Hafley to keep the rest of the stragglers in the fold, and land an impact defensive lineman in Darius Hamilton, who would be a key early cog in getting the next decade of Rutgers football off on the right foot. Until then, everyone better start preparing for a deluge of bad, bad puns.