Chris Ash stepped up to the mic today to discuss Rutgers’ upcoming game against the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ash discussed a variety of topics, but many of the questions were focused on the season-ending injuries to Janarion Grant and Quanzell Lambert. Ash had nothing but positive things to say about the two seniors who were big contributors to the team. Ash also discussed the possibility of Janarion Grant gaining a 5th season of eligibility.
We'll submit the necessary documents to try to petition for it, but it's up to somebody else to make that decision. And you know, you see it all the time in college football, some people get it, some people don't. You're never really sure.
When you do the math, the argument can be made that Grant has played just under 30% of the season, which is the maximum amount of time you can play before applying for another year of eligibility. It is encouraging that Ash will at least go through the motions to try to get this done as it would be very big news if we get another year of Janarion Grant. As for Lambert, he was injured in the second half and is already in his 5th year of eligibility so his career at Rutgers is most likely over.
As for replacing Lambert, Ash seemed very confident about Darnell Davis, who is now listed as a starter on the new depth chart.
He's played outstanding snaps of football already and maybe not as many as Quanzell but not far off and we didn't lose anything when Darnell was in there.
In regards to another defensive end, Kemoko Turay, Ash was not as optimistic.
He got a snap last week. He's still a ways away from contributing significant snaps in a game.
Ash’s tone alone indicated he is not confident in having Turay on the field. This seems like it is precautionary due to his shoulder as well as the fact that he is not playing at the same level he did in 2014.
In evaluating the team as a whole, Ash seemed very positive about their improvement over the past four weeks and their effort as a whole.
We definitely improved. You look at where we were at to week one to where we are at in week four, I think there's significant improvements in a lot of areas with the football team that we are happy about.
Even though they did not win against Iowa, they played without a doubt their best game of the season. The defense looked legit and the offense looked as good as it every has with Chris Laviano. Rutgers has 3 or 4 swing games later in the season and after week 1 it looked like they wouldn’t win any of those. After seeing them play against Iowa, however, they look like they have an outside shot at getting into a bowl game.
Ash also talked about going back to Ohio State, where he spent the last two years as the defensive coordinator.
We had a great two-year run there. It's not about me. It's not about the other people in this program that have been at Ohio State. It's about us preparing our football team to continue to get better and go play against a great opponent. That's all I'm worried about.
He spent a lot of time answering questions about Ohio State, but mostly just talked about how its about the Rutgers players preparing themselves to play an elite team. He also said the fact that he knew the Ohio State players was only an advantage if the Rutgers players knew them just as well. Clearly Ash will spend a lot of time teaching the offense the tendencies of the players he helped develop while with the Buckeyes.
All in all, Ash is all business as per usual. He has high expectations for this team and expects them to go into the Horseshoe and compete. He doesn’t seem intimidated by the fact that he is going up against his former mentor and the team that he is trying to turn Rutgers into.