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OTB Staff Round Table: Our Thoughts On Jerry Kill As Offensive Coordinator for Rutgers

Minnesota v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Bob Cancro: Hmm. We-l-l-l. Ya know.... And then there’s.... Uhhh....

Jerry Kill is a former Big Ten Coach of the Year. He is well respected as a coach. He brings maturity to a staff that is rather young/inexperienced. But he hasn’t actually called plays in over two decades and he had serious health issues that caused him to “retire” from coaching, though that seems to be under control. His offenses with the Gophers were not eye-popping and record-setting. He may have been the only coach to actually interview with Ash and he has the same agent as Hobbs, Ash, and Pikiell, making it sound more like a typical New Jersey no-bid contract than a transparent interview process. This is not the homerun or, at least, exciting hire that I thought was going to come out of this. Can he be great? Sure. Could he be "okay" and still be better than Mehringer? Absolutely. Will he be the answer to Rutgers’ offensive issues. Like Inspector Clouseau above, I’ll wait, because I’m still wondering what happened here.

RutgersNation86: While I agree with Bob that Jerry Kill’s health issues are somewhat of a concern, I trust that head coach Chris Ash and company did their due diligence with respects to his health. Furthermore, his much improved health condition has been reported on by the media on several different occasions. Overall I am very happy with the hire due to the much needed veteran experience the Scarlet Knights offense needs. Additionally his 20-plus years of experience running a spread offense is the kind of expertise this offense needs. Hiring a former Big Ten Coach of the Year as an offensive coordinator? Sign me up.

Cara Sanfilippo: I have mixed feelings about this hire as well. I am not as concerned with his health issues as I am about his time away from play-calling. I think he has will be a great influence on Ash and this coaching staff, and he has great credentials. Big Ten Coach of the Year? At Rutgers, wow. After the atrocious offensive play-calling this year, Rutgers could do a lot worse. But he has not been an offensive coordinator since the 90’s and was never a quarterback coach. I think he will still be a major step up, and will bring a lot of overall value to the coaching staff. I like that Ash has course corrected from such a young hire with Mehringer, but I also feel like this is a stepping stone for Kill back into the head coaching world. Time will tell if he can live up to his last name and legacy, and kill it with offensive play-making. I would have liked to see a longer interview process, and proven due diligence, but there are definite positives here.

David Anderson: Cara’s point was also reflected in many of the comments we have seen so far, people are much less concerned about the health issues than the on-field performance. At minimum, Kill will serve as inspiration to this program. For an 8th year in a row it’s a roll of the dice so why not go with the most successful guy, and likely smartest football man they could find? I don’t think he is the tactical offensive mind of Ralph, but this guy has a habit of winning wherever he goes. That might be contagious and personally all I’m expecting is two years before we do this again. Sadly, that would be an improvement and the offense can’t be ANY worse, we think? To be clear, I much prefer Kill on the sidelines in 2017 than Drew, but if you are looking for stability I don’t see how this brings it.

Griffin Whitmer: If you were to tell me when Mehringer left for Texas that Jerry Kill would be his replacement, I’d tell you you’re crazy. However, this so clearly is an upgrade, although it comes at a cost, as he’s slated to make $1.875 million over 3 years, an average of $175k/year more than his predecessor. Just go look at Minnesota’s offensive stats from his time there and you will see his QBs run the ball plenty and score lots of touchdowns in addition to having a feature back. You wouldn’t think it because Minnesota is a classic B1G team, but they did in fact run the power-spread and did it very effectively. I’m not entirely sure how Ash thought of Kill for this position, but right now, I’m sure glad he did.

Aaron Breitman: After being initially concerned about his health issues, I am less so now after reading this and learning he has been working 12+ hour days with his current job. Of course, being the OC at Rutgers will bring more stress and pressure than being a chief administrator at Kansas State. There is always a risk, but I think Kill deserves the benefit of the doubt here. In terms of him taking over the offense, I look at it like this. Imagine someone has worked hard in their career and took the opportunity to own a business for the first time. The first year, they hire a young hotshot that their good friend recommended to run the day to day operations, only they deliver very poor results. After said hotshot uses his connections to get another job with some established wall street powerhouse firm for said friend, the owner reassesses his situation. He changes his philosophy, deciding to hire a proven and established person that can bring instant credibility and experience to his company. This move would be universally praised in the financial world and it’s exactly the same thing that Ash did in hiring Kill. Whether Rutgers fans want to hear it or not, Apple or Google we are not. Those not happy with this hire should reassess their own expectations and focus on the positives of this decision. At the end of the day, any organization dies when it’s leadership stops growing and evolving. Ash proved he is doing both with this hire.

Matthew Pisani: Many people may be shocked about this Jerry Kill hire. I am not one of them. This is the kind of hire Coach Ash needed to make initially; an experienced coach who will not be overwhelmed by failure and Big Ten play. On top of that, Kill has been coaching for over 30 years and Mehringer was not even 30 years old. I am glad Mehringer left as it seemed he could not handle his own here. He was overwhelmed by failure and adversity and decided to leave at the first opportunity he got. I lost respect for Drew Mehringer when he had to audacity to resign from the OC position after putting up NCAA-worst numbers last season. He could have costed Rutgers recruits, but he was only thinking of himself and his good friend Tom Herman. At the same time, how upset could you be at a coach for wanting to go to Texas? With the state they are in, still pretty darn upset and betrayed feeling. On the contrary, Jerry Kill will be a perfect OC for Rutgers despite any health issues. He is a veteran on a younger staff and leading a team that was young, but now has some experience. He can rejuvenate this offense instead of trying to do what clearly did not work. Kill is an experienced coach and an experienced coach is what Rutgers needed after last seasons offensive disasters. Say what you will about Kill, but at least he is experienced and proven and he resigned for health reasons. This should turn out to be a solid hire for Ash and Co., and it makes me that much more excited to see what next year has in store for Rutgers Football.

Jim Hoffman: There were two main complaints regarding offense this past season. The first was that Mehringer was too green, with no offensive coordinator experience. The second was that he only got the job due of his ties through the coaching tree to Head Coach Chris Ash. With him, we ended as the absolute worst offense in FBS. The hire of Jerry Kill is a home run in my opinion. He has a long track record as an OC, all of it successful. With that track record, he brings experience to the position and the coaching staff. Also, he was hired due to his quality, not his relationships. Therefore, it is an upgrade on every level. The additional piece is if desired by Chris Ash, he can be a sounding board, as he has successful experience as a Big Ten coach, and even named Coach of the Year three seasons ago. The only negative doesn’t seem as though it will a problem, as stress is a major factor in his illness, and moving down to OC will lessen that stress dramatically. I hope that like Ralph Friedgen, he sits in the box above the field to call plays. Taking him that much further from the excitement on the field will only help him as he deals with epilepsy. I am truly psyched to see what will change with great recruits, a new OC, and some stability.

Bill Tharp: While I agree that Coach Kill is probably going to be a coaching upgrade, my biggest concern is on the recruiting front. Drew Mehringer connected on a level with the players that was deeper than just scheme and play style. Mehringer’s youthful, energetic style was key to bringing in some key recruits, and although most of the major recruits (Lewis, Melton, etc.) stayed, going forward it will be interesting to see if Kill and Ash can continue to recruit as well.