Up next for Rutgers is to travel down to College Park to take on the University of Maryland. This has been a season to forget for Coach Ash, the players, and the fans. 2-9, 0-8 is a record no one wants to watch.
You see some players and fans talking about coaches throughout the country that took three-five years to get to where they are today. Those are always good points, but fans here at Rutgers have been waiting since Greg Schiano and are still waiting.
Give Chris Ash, Drew Mehringer, and Jay Niemann a little more time. They deserve it as no coach should be canned after just one season, generally speaking anyway. Listen to watch the coaches had to say about this week’s match-up with once 4-0 now terrible and 5-6, the University of Maryland Terrapins.
Coach Chris Ash
Coach Ash starts off his press conference by saying that he wants to win this one because he wants this group of individuals to love what they did here and to enjoy themselves. A win on the road against Maryland would end a forgettable season on a better note.
Ash looks forward to competing against D.J. Durkin and close business friend Andy Buh, Maryland’s Defensive Coordinator. Ash believes this match-up could turn into quite a rivalry. Also, Durkin and Ash came from the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry and are in their first year as head coaches. Both of these programs, also, came into the conference at the same time and will continuously be compared to each other over the years because of that. Too many similarities for it to not be a rivalry of sorts, right?
Ash says he is sticking to the game plan, as he has every press conference all season long, and I give him kudos for that. It has got to be tempting to change your philosophy up after a season like this and with performances like this, but sticking to it shows guts and commitment and Rutgers really needs a guy of commitment to guide us through the darkness.
Ash said he will be on the recruiting road Sunday, which is as soon as he is legally able to contact recruits. The coaches talk about recruiting all season long, and all December long they will be on the road. They will do even more through January and into the depths of winter.
One thing he is changing, though, is putting Robert Martin behind Justin Goodwin on the depth chart. In his two games back, Martin has had 10 carries for a total of 37 yards. Ash also made it clear that Martin is fully healthy again, too. Goodwin, meanwhile, has racked up 22 carries for 50 yards. Interesting decision, maybe it has to do with Goodwin being a senior? Regardless, Coach said it was because Goodwin earned the right to be the starter through his middle-of-the-year performances and his work in practice. Robert simply has to earn his way back, coach said.
Tylin Oden was, of course, brought up. The media wanted to know if he was happy he took his redshirt away from him at the beginning of the season. Ash replied with that he is not too happy with Oden’s progression, as he is not where he thought he would be at this point, but, Ash also made sure to mention Oden did progress and the reps were imperative to his growth.
Ash compared Oden to Isaiah Wharton and Blessuan Austin, both were players that progressed drastically from last year to this year simply because they played in real game-time action before they were ready to. Ash looks for Oden to progress that same way.
Coach Ash went on a tangent about Giovanni Rescigno. He said that the Gio you saw against Illinois was a “carefree” Gio that had “nothing to lose.” Since the hamstring injury, Gio hurt his knee against Michigan State and has not been up to full speed yet, despite claiming that he was. Saturday’s conditions may have had an affect on Gio’s play, but Ash has full confidence in Gio. He is a work-in-progress, but, he has been playing really good teams and he has not had the help that a quarterback needs in order to look good.
It will be an interesting spring and early summer for this program and any job is seemingly up for grabs if you practice well enough. This team needs to fight, this team needs to win, this team needs to get better or it will be a ESPN #Bottom10 team perpetually.
Offensive Coordinator Drew Mehringer
Drew Mehringer wasted no time coming into his presser. He started off by saying the second half, third down, and consistency are still huge issues that they really need to work on. Without improvement, we will have significant issues.
Mehringer brought up the reverse they ran against Penn State, and he is trying to shake things up but the execution was not there. With no execution, no offensive, or defensive play for that matter, will ever be performed and produced the way it was meant to be.
Mehringer brought up Tylin Oden and he pretty much said that his playbook is not very big at all. He has only been here a few months so there is some limitation expected, but you also have to work to his weaknesses and strengths. For a quarterback, having throwing be your weakness, it never a good thing.
Mehringer also says Oden needs to go through a maturation process. He needs to be able to get thrown in at any given time and be focused and ready to play. The sky may be the limit, but it is up to him to mature as a Power Five quarterback and perform the way he should and could.
Mehringer says he will look back at his play calling for the year. He will, first, see if you put yourself in a good play. Was it the right call for the right situation? Second, why did the play work or not work? Was it scheme, technique, personnel, or did you ask too much of players? Did they give themselves an opportunity to be successful, if they did, why did it work or not work. It they did not put themselves in an opportunity to be successful, that is all on him and the coaching staff’s scheme.
Defensive Coordinator Jay Niemann
Jay Niemann says there is not going to be any difference in the run game for Maryland no matter who is under center. The passing game may a little, but the runt of the work, the run game, should not change too much.
Kemoko Turay has progressed nicely this season despite missing a lot of time. He has been used primarily as a pass rusher, but Niemann says it is up to him if he can become an every down player. He can do it, he just needs to be healthy during the spring and summers to do so.
The secondary has the potential to all be three year starters for this program. That is something every team looks for because of consistency. Niemann did say these players have a lot of potential, but they still need to play better. Getting them better and smarter is imperative, and then the three-year consistency will be a huge advantage.
All three coaches are not happy with this year, the production, or the consistency. Well, the team has been consistently awful, but there has also been small slivers of hope shining through. They look to evaluate everything, including themselves, this off-season to improve on everything next year. Next year is a new year with new players and a large group of more experienced players.
This may be a year to forget, but at least next year cannot get any worse. Next year will be an improvement and there should be improvement with each year that follows. It is up to us as fans to go out to the games and show our support next year and years after. None of us are happy with what has gone on at the Hale Center and the High Point this season. It is over now after Saturday. Look to the future and show your support.