In partial rebuttal to Kevin's post earlier this week, I wanted to chime in on Kyle Flood and whether he's the right man for the job. A huge part of success in life is managing expectations - you never want to over promise and underdeliver.
So what did we expect from this Rutgers football team and Coach Kyle Flood? Your On the Banks editors put their expectations on the record this summer. I said 7-5. Kevin and Bob said 6-6. Dave was even more pessimistic at 4-8 or 5-7. Only Ray Ransom was more optimistic at 8-4 than currently seems possible, if MSU is a loss.
The national atmosphere was even more gloomy for the Scarlet Knights, with many commentators predicting something like 2-10. Athlon had us at 4-8, with the 14th best QB in the league. Out of 14. (FYI, Nova is second in yards behind behind Hackenburg, 3rd in TDs behind JT Barrett and Connor Cook, and 4th in QB rating behind Barrett, Cook and Illinois' Wes Lunt.)
Raise your hand if, in August, you really thought Rutgers would be in better shape than 5-4 after playing the murderer's row of @OSU, @Nebraska, and Wisconsin at home. Unless you are @RutgersAL, or maybe Ray Ransom, your hand is probably not raised right now. Mine isn't. I had us losing to Navy and beating ttfp, but 5-4. Bob had three B1G wins in Michigan (check), Maryland and Indiana, and three nonconference wins. So far so good in conference, too pessimistic out-of-conference. Kevin had losses to WSU and Michigan, but a win over ttfp. He was wrong about all of those, but came out about right record-wise anyway. So why are we killing Coach Flood for sitting here at 5-4 in the second bye week? Is it because we expected Rutgers to lose, but look more competitive in losses to the Buckeyes, Huskers and Badgers? Ok, I'll bite. We lost 135-41 in those three games. That comes out to 45-14 per game. Obviously, that's not good, and there's plenty of room for improvement. But is that so far below expectations that we are now seriously talking about replacing Kyle Flood? Would you feel better if the average loss was 30-21?
What actually happened was the team started 5-1, and we started feeling good - our expectations went up, I would argue unrealistically.
I don't get it. I don't agree that we can never do better than 8-4 with Coach Flood. I think he is a good man and a football coach that is capable of learning and improving every year. He also can recruit if the situation is not a train wreck around him. Are we really forgetting he had a very good recruiting class last year before the wheels came off in Murphy's Law fashion? I am excited to see what this team can do if the offensive and defensive coordinators stick around for more than a year, for the first time in five years. I am also encouraged by the transfers Coach Flood has been able to pull in - Hayden Rettig, Kiy Hester and Greg Webb.
Kevin concluded his piece by saying he was not issuing a call to action, or calling for Coach Flood's job. I'll take the counter position - I don't think we should be building a Coach Flood statute outside the stadium, but I am also not sure he shouldn't be here for a fourth year next year. This stuff takes time, even for sure-things like Charlie Strong at Texas.
Let us know what you think. I think there are some positives to having Coach Flood here - he is a good representative of the program, has made us proud in the classroom and off the field, and I'm not convinced the future is capped with him at the helm. If we lose out and go 5-7, maybe I can be convinced we need a fresh start. But I'm also not sure what better options we will have in 2015. There aren't that many sure-fire Urban Meyers or Nick Sabans out there, and those that are will probably go to higher bidders than Rutgers will be able to be. Are we really willing to gamble on a MAC coach or power five coordinator, like a Pete Lembo or Narduzzi? Kyle Flood will likely (hopefully) be 3-3 in terms of going to bowls, while dealing with a lot of conference transition: Big East --> AAC --> B1G East. That's not nothing.
Can we please avoid the knee-jerk reactions and roller coaster highs and lows? Let's assess the situation after three complete seasons are in the books.