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In His Own Words: Coach Ash Speaks Out

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NCAA Football: Big Ten Media Day David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

This morning in Sports Illustrated’s Campus Rush, Rutgers Football Head Coach Chris Ash explained his view for the future, as well as how he views the changes in the program since his arrival.

The article, written by Coach Ash himself, is a great picture of how he sees the changes which have occurred since December 2015.

He shared his vision about reshaping not only the campus, but the bodies of the student-athletes as well. His surprise note in the article was a piece of info that many thought would occur, and that is that Tariq Cole, who has dropped 32 lbs as well as 7% of his body fat, will start at left tackle this season.

His concept of how he will recruit is fascinating. He knows that right now, Rutgers can not compete on a level playing field for the typical 5* recruit against the Ohio States and Alabamas of the football world, but he knows he can get good young men who will be willing to work with him to over-achieve, and that’s his plan. If you look at the list of recruits already lined up in the 2017 class, that’s what you’ll see there, too!

Energy is critical to the Chris Ash program, too. As he himself said in the article, “I'm big on juice, on aesthetics and energy, and our entire building is teeming with it now.” He goes into some detail about the new look inside the Hale Center, with HD televisions running, upbeat music, and bright colors to make the aesthetics something that draws in a recruit and makes them realize Rutgers football is different. He’s not finished, either. Below is what he wants the final product to look like, so you get a good idea of his vision.

Artist Rendering of revisions to the Hale Center
Photo courtesy of rutgersbigtenbuild.com

How he deals with players as a part of the team is very telling. If a player attempts to cheat or “get by” in an area, his entire unit is penalized. He terms it “shared suffering.” He gives two examples: in the first, a player attempted to gain weight put a beanbag in his pocket. The entire unit was thrown out of the locker room. A second example was a player who strained a hamstring due to not keeping a proper level of hydration. He got called out for letting the unit down. Both are perfect examples of the “#10 Strong” philosophy that has been preached since Ash’s arrival.

Another opportunity to look into the mind of Chris Ash was the discovery of another mentor other than Urban Meyer. Meyer has been linked to the Rutgers Head Coach since his arrival, but evidently another football mind Chris Ash admires is Seattle Seahawk’s head coach Pete Carroll. Ash talks about how he likes how Carroll makes practice fun as well as hard work, and he attempts to do the same. Also, it is obvious Coach Ash plans to be in it for the long haul, too. Ash is impressed and focused upon the idea that Pete Carroll’s age doesn’t keep him from connecting and playing with his players, either.

Finally, he also discusses the need to make high school coaches feel welcome, in order for recruits to feel welcome as well. The players, as many fans have said through the years, are the best recruiters. Coach Ash echoes that as well when he said, “We feel like recruiting starts in our own locker room and building a culture in our program.”

The article is a great window into the mind of our new head coach as he stands just a little more than a week away from his first-ever game as a head coach. On paper, this absolutely looks like a program on the rise. It won’t be long before we get to see it on the field as well!