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Pros and Cons of Nunzio Campanile as interim head coach

Illinois v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Rutgers has officially moved on from the Chris Ash era and will play the rest of the season with interim head coach Nunzio Campanile in charge. We covered his first press conference on Monday here. Now let’s take a look into his coaching profile and how prepared he is for this step in his coaching career.

Pro: Jersey Guy, Connections

Campanile began his coaching career at New Jersey high school powerhouse Don Bosco Prep where he was the offensive coordinator from 2000-2009 under a very highly respected coach Greg Toal. While at Don Bosco, Campanile helped the Ironmen win six state titles in his time with the team along with a national championship in 2009. After his time with Don Bosco, he moved on to become the head coach of another New Jersey powerhouse in Bergen Catholic. He led the crusaders to become a nationally ranked team along with winning the non-public group 4 state title in 2017 over St. Peter’s Prep. Because of these experiences, Campanile has developed many great relationships with players and coaches within New Jersey allowing for him to generate excitement and build on relationships within recruiting circles in the state. While Campanile said he wouldn’t be actively recruiting as interim head coach, he led the recruitment of seven of the ten current commits, so him being in charge right now helps to keep the 2020 recruiting class intact during this transition. It also gets the New Jersey high school football community more interested and engaged regarding the program.

Con: No College Head Coaching Experience

When arriving at Rutgers, Campanile was given the position of running backs coach before moving over to coaching the tight ends at the beginning of this season. When arriving ‘On The Banks’ in 2018, it was his first time being a coach at the college level. With the firing of Chris Ash, athletic director Pat Hobbs has put his trust into Campanile for the remainder of the season. How will he handle his first head coaching job at the college level?

Pro: Change

When you hear someone bring up Rutgers football, you don’t usually hear anything positive come out of that person’s mouth unless it has something to do with the Greg Schiano era. With Chris Ash going 8-32 and 3-26 in Big Ten play during his tenure at Rutgers, there was a much needed change to this program. By going to the games, I could feel that something wasn’t right with this team and the somewhat of a crowd there. What I could figure out was that there wasn’t the same type of energy that I had felt in previous years with the coaching staff and players. While Chris Ash received plenty of criticism, there were some positives that he put into this program but not that were felt on the field. With Campanile taking the reins, a new energy will be exposed to the players. Hopefully, a greater turnout from the fans can motivate the players to perform exceptionally well, beginning Saturday against Maryland.

Con: Load Management

Campanile has now been assigned the roles of interim head coach and offensive coordinator along with calling plays. With this being his first experience at the college level of head coaching/coordinating, you have to wonder how he will be able to handle the challenges that come along with these. With having to prepare for top big ten opponents every week, will Campanile have enough in the tank and in his players tank to be able to get a couple wins? He did talk in detail here about the team effort among the offensive coaching staff in helping him take all of this on at once.

Pro: Job Appeal

If Campanile can bring the team together and get more wins this year, the job will look more appealing other coaches who are interested. Potential candidates will likely more interested in the job if Rutgers can get more wins this season. It would show there is more talent on the roster and rebuilding the program isn’t as steep as thought of right now.

Con: Matching Up Against Experienced Head Coaches

In all of Rutgers last eight games, Campanile will be facing off against experienced head coaches aside from first year head coach Ohio State’s Ryan Day. Due to lack of college head coaching experience, Campanile could have a difficult time matching up against the more experienced coaching staffs, including in game adjustments. With experience week by week, Campanile will begin to gain confidence and become a better head coach as the season progresses.

Pro: Offensive Impact

With Campanile’s experience on the offensive side, the hope is that he will be able to make a positive impact on the performance of the offense. Coming from his background of producing successful quarterbacks, he should be able to help Art and the other quarterbacks fulfill their long-term potential. All in all, because he has been working with this offense for the past two seasons, the players are already familiar with him and his style.

My Opinion:

I think Nunzio Campanile was a good choice to make the interim head coach/offensive coordinator. I believe with his Jersey connections will energize the fan base and that will benefit the program in the short term. Overall, I believe this will give Rutgers new firepower and hopefully help lead to a couple more wins this season.