John McNulty is a familiar face and also newest offensive coordinator for Rutgers Scarlet Knights. It has seemed like Rutgers was leasing their offensive coordinators like cars over the last decase, as McNulty is the ninth offensive coordinator in as many years. However, Rutgers and third year head coach Chris Ash may have finally found the offensive coordinator that can give the Scarlet Knights the direction they desperately need on that side of the ball. McNulty has the combination of well-rounded experience and is the perfect age for this job.
His resume speaks for itself. McNulty is seasoned coach ranging from college to pro levels throughout the past two plus decades. McNulty coached some high caliber players such as Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Antonio Gates, and plenty of others. He also oversaw the best three year period for a Rutgers offense in program history with Mike Teel, Ray Rice, Kenny Britt and others. WIth multiple types of experiences through coaching at various levels, John McNulty has the potential to bring a spark to an offense that needs new life.
To say the past two seasons that Rutgers struggled offensively would be an understatement. In 2016, the results were dreadful with OC Drew Mehringer, as the power spread offense failed miserably. Rutgers suffered four shutouts and the offense averaged just under 16 points per game that season. Mehringer left Rutgers for Texas, leaving Chris Ash to scramble for a new offensive coordinator. He turned to Jerry Kill, but Rutgers was second to last in offense (128th) and again had a almost non-existent passing game. Kill did improve the structure of the offense from the previous season for Rutgers and got more out of the run game than the previous season, but he was forced to retire due to chronic health issues.
Chris Ash didn’t see positive results with his first two offensive coordinator hires, but I think he got it right this time around. John McNulty has the experience to implement multiple offensive sets and build the game plan around the strengths of his personnel. In addition, his familiarity with New Jersey culture and the demographics after his first stint on the banks should help Ash on the recruiting front as well.
McNulty could certainly become a head coach at the FBS level someday or take another NFL coaching gig at some point, but it was a big win for Ash that he decided to come back to Rutgers where he had the best success as coach. Stability is needed on offense and McNulty should now provide that moving forward.
What will John McNulty bring to the table for the 2018 season? Most importantly, mentoring the stable of young quarterbacks and implementing an offense that can produce big plays. Rutgers have some talented quarterbacks that need to be cultivated. Each quarterback comes with a different skill set. Sophomore Johnathan Lewis and incoming freshmen Jalen Chatman are dual threat signal callers, while Artur Sitkowkski and Gio Rescigno are pro style/pocket passers. John McNulty is utlizing a hybrid pro style/RPO type of playbook. It will be similar to the style of what Marcus Mariota ran for McNulty with the Tennessee Titans, where the quarterback can be a dual threat, but also dangerous throwing out of the pocket. This style and approach will benefit all of QB’s and each can play a role if needed, hopefully.
McNulty will manifest an unique playbook to galvanize an offense that needs a jolt for the Rutgers fans to cheer about. Expect both simple and complex plays, in order to produce big results. It will be a challenge for McNulty, especially in year one, but his expertise and knowledge will be a major asset on the field.
McNulty is a mature man with innovative ideas that potentially could produce an offense that reminds Rutgers fans at some point soon of the 2006-2008 period, the high water mark for the program. Adding talent to the offense through recruiting is a must, but there should be confidence that he has the vision to develop the potential of those prospects over time. With his experiences of coaching talented, young quarterbacks in the pros, McNulty is an ideal fit to develop the current players at that position group on the roster. Also, McNulty will bring creativity to the offense with a mixture of RPO’s (run-pass option) and pro style, which should excite the fans. The new playbook will be diverse and gives both second year QB Johnathan Lewis and Artur Sitkowksi an opportunity to thrive in this new offense. With two decades worth of knowledge and experience, Rutgers picked the right man for the job!