A little more than a year after his arrival as one of Chris Ash’s first hires, Bill Busch has been promoted from the defensive backs coach to co-defensive coordinator along with current DC Jay Neimann. This was first reported by Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media here. As Dunleavy indicates, Busch’s bio here on scarletknights.com is updated with his new title.
Make no mistake about it, this is a great thing for the program. By utilizing a co-coordinator philosophy, it expands the focus, it puts more conversation and discussion among the staff by having more than one voice involved. When it is done with staff who have experience at it, as both Niemann and Busch have, it will have positive repercussions throughout the spring and summer as the team gears up for the fall campaign. Coach Ash creating this demonstrates both his respect for both Niemann and Busch, but that he felt his time as a Co-DC at Ohio State provided benefits.
How and why this occurred is more easily understood when looking at the numbers. For two of the seasons between 2013 through 2015, Rutgers was in the list of the ten worst pass defense teams in the country. Their only good year among the three was the Scarlet Knights’ most successful Big Ten season to date, 2014, where the pass defense moved from 119th to 69th nationally. Unfortunately, that unit was dramatically impacted by the debacle that began with the arrest of five Rutgers players, and continued as Kyle Flood attempted to illegally assist another of the defensive backs. Those two together led to Flood’s firing a day after the last game of the 2015 season, along with former AD Julie Hermann.
Last year, the first year under Coach Busch, the DB unit moved up to 18th nationally against the pass. That in itself is pretty impressive, though considering the rushing yardage against Rutgers last season, it is partially teams taking a path of less resistance, literally. The struggles and successes of our defense were covered extensively by our own staff immediately following the season. If you want a refresher on it, look here.
Additionally, Coach Busch has made a name for himself as a recruiter as well, albeit primarily for out-of-state recruits. As On the Banks’ Chris Drabek stated, when speaking about the departure of Assistant DB coach Aaron Henry to NC State:
“Busch is a natural replacement on the recruiting trail as the main defensive backs coach, but seems to be locked in on recruits outside of New Jersey. Busch has played a hand in landing OLB Olakunle Fatukasi, WR Tim Barrow, and WR Shameen Jones - all of whom hail from New York.”
Co-coordinators is unusual at Rutgers in recent years, but is something that is very familiar to several of the current coaching staff. Coach Jay Niemann as well as Coach Ash both have experience in the shared roles. Neimann was in a shared role earlier in his career at Hardin-Simmons, and Coach Ash was hired in that same capacity when he took the position at Ohio State, as well as earlier in his career at Wisconsin.
In Dunleavy’s article, he reported that while they are sharing the defensive coordinator title, Coach Niemann is expected to continue to be the main play-caller for the defense in the coming season.
As with most coaches in college and pro football, Busch has been somewhat of a nomad in his 25+ years as a college coach, with stops along the way at Nebraska-Kearny, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Northern Arizona, New Mexico State, Utah, Nebraska again, Utah State, Wisconsin again, and Ohio State before being hired in December 2015 by Chris Ash as the DB/Safeties coach.
Spring practice for Rutgers football begins on March 23rd and for a complete view of the schedule, click here.