When Rutgers hired Jerry Kill to run its offense under second year Head Coach Chris Ash, not everyone knew exactly who he was. There has been plenty of promising reviews written about the hiring of the former University of Minnesota Head Coach, but let us examine the hire a little closer.
Coach Kill is a throwback
The most important aspect of the newest member of Scarlet Knight Football Coaching staff is that he has worked his way up the proverbial coaching ladder the old fashion way, he earned it. In this new age of college coaching that we are in, tends to lend itself to the youthful analytical type, as opposed to a nuts and bolts, grease under the fingernail type that dotted the landscape decade after decade in the previous century. Resumes used to be filled with years of apprenticeships that followed their playing careers. Today it seems more important to have coined to new catchy phrase for the style of offense you run than to have actually coached it from the ground up. The Read Option, Power Spread, Wildcat, Run and Shoot, Fun Gun, Pistol, ect ect. Heck, it is the Old Single Wing they ran in the 20’s people, it is not space age new. It is Tom Landry’s offense from the 70’s for those of us who were born after the Great War.
Run, Run and Run the ball some more
He has a run first philosophy and run he does. Unless you have multiple, experienced, strong armed quarterbacks and a stable of receivers that resemble Bob Baffert’s Kentucky Derby hopefuls, you better control the clock and shorten the game (see the NFL Giants Super Bowl XXV season). A ball control style is can be very helpful when you reside in the most talented division in all of college football. The shotgun formation that Kill ‘s offenses have been featuring in the past, is not necessarily a passing formation. Coach Kill’s offense led all of Division II in rushing each of his final two seasons at Saginaw Valley State. Yes, Division II Saginaw Valley, he actually started at the bottom and worked his way up. In 2004 his Division 1AA Southern Illinois’ offense outscored their counterparts by an average of 30 points a game. Yes, I reference 2004 1AA football. Yes Scarlet Knight Fans that was the year New Hampshire whipped Rutgers On the Banks of the Old Raritan.
Big Ten Experienced
Kill is proven in the mighty Big Ten(14 Schools) Conference. Minnesota was 4-4 in 2013 and 5-3 in 2014 in Big Ten Conference Games and he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2014. That is more Big Ten Coach of the Year honors than Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer combined! That may not seem like much but I think we would all sign up for those records in the next two seasons. Rutgers thus far has a 4-12 record in 2 Big Ten Seasons.
Coach Jerry Kill is a survivor
His personal health issues and medical history wore on him as a head coach, but he has learned to control his battle with seizures and epilepsy. He has even beaten cancer as he was diagnosed with kidney cancer that is now in remission. Serving as an Offensive Coordinator relieves him of the media and other various obligations. The overall stress level is much, much lower as an assistant as opposed to being the head coach. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. If the NCAA does send sanctions down the Raritan River, Kill’s experience of battling adversity will be vital to Chris Ash and all of Rutgers.
When the Student is Ready, the Teacher will Appear
He is here to coach student athletes and develop football players. He is not here to audition for another job or use Rutgers as a stepping stone. I’m sure every candidate for every job opening has always muttered those words but I believe that it is truly the case with Jerry Kill. His passion for football and appreciation for the opportunity to coach again will help attract top flight recruits and lead players to prepare well and play hard for their new Offensive Coordinator.
Let us all see that the future of Rutgers Football is much brighter looking forward than it was a week or so ago. Despite a few dark clouds from the previous staff and administration, resurfacing over Central New Jersey, Coach Jerry Kill brings hope and opportunity to Exit 9 on the Turnpike. He is a survivor, he is experienced, he is old school with a modern twist. Jerry Kill maybe just what the doctor ordered to restore the Banks of the Old Raritan.