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Looking Back, and Forward, After a Season of Covering Rutgers Football

It was not pretty, but it sure was fun

Penn State v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

2-10, 0-9 is not the record any fan predicted coming into this season. The hopes were high with a breath of fresh air being put into the Hale Center. Things started off not too bad with a 2-1 record, but conference play screwed everything up. Getting shut out, and badly, by Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State were all terrible games to be a part of.

Now that season one of the Chris Ash Era is over, coaches can reflect and improve, players can rest up and work on their craft, and recruits come into the building looking to improve this program.

I covered all of the games this year via the game threads. Thank you, first of all, to all of those that chimed in in the comments section. You guys are great and funny and entertaining to read. A lot of you have a lot of good to say and some get a little too extreme. Regardless, we fended off the trolls and supported our team every Saturday, and that, my friends, is what school pride and fandom is all about. Stick it out till the very end, no matter how egregious.

Things are already changing, maybe for the better, at the Hale Center. Three of our numerous quarterbacks have already transferred from the school. Hayden Rettig announced his transfer Monday and Chris Laviano announced his Wednesday. Next was Mike Dare with his Wednesday. This leaves Giovanni Rescigno, Zach Allen, Johnathan Lewis, and Tylin Oden as the four signal callers that will be competing for the starting job in the spring and summer.

Chris Ash also announced via telecast that no coaches will be let go. Ash came into the season with ten new coaches, and all ten are intended to stay for a second year. Many fans were looking for Drew Mehringer to be let go, but I say let the young coach figure it out. New players and a new season may just help the guy. If we are an anemic offense again next year, that is a different story.

The coaching does need to improve. There is no reason to be shut out and embarrassed in games like we were this year. Rutgers became the laughing stock of Power Five football. Rutgers was Kansas this year; completely irrelevant and a guaranteed win for the opposition.

Again, next year is a new year. Most professionals perform better the second time around and I look for Coach Ash and his staff to utilize and recruit players that will help his scheme. Ash should also modify the game plans and schemes ever so slightly to fit his player’s strengths. The players seem to like Ash and the fans should be willing to give him time. He will need to improve next year and some fans may have the pitchforks ready, but patience is a virtue; nothing happens overnight.

Disappointing season aside, the future is still bright. We eliminated two quarterbacks, one of which was really not good at all, and we still have a young defense and secondary and a senior running back in Robert Martin. Not to mention Gio has half a season of really good competition under his belt. He got blown out by good teams and played close-ish against middle-tier teams (not including Michigan State).

The recruiting trial is underway and it is up to Coach Ash to convince these young athletes that Rutgers will give them a chance to start and play and make a difference. Tell them they will be a part of the team that turns this program around finally. Take it from Schiano and Flood to Ash.

Ash has a different philosophy and maybe that will allow us to get over that hump of mediocrity. Schiano and Flood were practically the same, Ash is much different. That could be good, it could be bad. Let Ash do his thing and convince recruits to be a part of this historic institution. Let them know they can make a difference.

Recruiting is the most essential part of college sports, especially in college football in this area of the country. After a 2-10 season, it is even harder; no one wants to lose. At the same time, people want to be known and loved and remembered. What better place to do that than at Rutgers?

I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you Rutgers fans throughout the off-season, into the spring and then the summer. Then, it will be time for some more Rutgers Football. It cannot get any worse, so strap it up and get ready for the ride; it should be a lot of fun.