It is senior week here in Piscataway as Rutgers prepares for their final home battle of the season. Coming to town for this one is Penn State. Everybody hates Penn State. Rutgers is 0-2 against Penn State, although should be 1-1. Christian Hackenberg still should not have won that game.
Coach Chris Ash spoke to the media today about Penn State, but really talked about his seniors. Coach and the players want this game for the seniors. This is their last home game, and, for some, the last game of their careers.
Crazy to think I only got two more.— Darius Hamilton (@RU_Kid_91) November 15, 2016
Coach started off his press conference by saying this week’s motivational speaker compared this team and program to a Bamboo Tree. Basically, the analogy was that you can take care and water a Chinese Bamboo Tree everyday for years and the roots will thicken and grow stronger but the tree looks the same. After five years, the tree itself will start to grow. This is not Ash saying it will take five years to build this program, he is just preaching patience.
Coach Ash knows of the ‘rivalry’ Rutgers and Penn State have as well as the fact that a lot of the players on these teams know each other and have played against each other in the past. Ash brushes it off as every game is a big game no matter who the opponent. I do not buy that because he was a part of Ohio State and Michigan the past two years and those are not just ‘normal’ games.
Ash straight up tells the media that this game on Saturday is for the seniors. They are preparing for the seniors and they want to win for the seniors. Playing spoiler for Penn State’s Big Ten championship aspirations is not as significant or as important to him as playing and winning this game for his seniors.
One of his more influential seniors, Darius Hamilton, is someone who deserves a lot of credit. Ash says that without Hamilton, a lot of what he has done and tried to do this season would not have happened. Hamilton may not be the most vocal of athletes, but, when he does speak up, everybody listens. Having Hamilton’s support throughout the year has been imperative and highly appreciated by Ash.
Ash got asked a question about the attendance in the stadium but he brushed it off as something he cannot control. He did make it a point to kind of ask everyone to come out to this game for the seniors. It is a natural ‘rivalry’ and it is senior night. Ash is hoping for the Banks to be rocking Saturday night to help support this team en route to a Nittany Lion beat down.
Speaking of seniors, Janarion Grant got brought up. Grant’s rehab is going great and a decision as to whether or not he will be announced with the seniors on Saturday is still unclear. Whether he is announced or not has no influence as to whether or not he will be going to the NFL or not. That decision will not be made until December Ash says. Either way, Grant has been around and is in good spirits with rehabilitation going well, which is all good news.
If Rutgers can pull off this monstrous upset of Penn State, their year will feel complete. They came so close their first year in Piscataway, and not so close last year. The third time is the charm, right?