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Pat Hobbs Should Take His Time Finding the Next Rutgers Football Coach

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NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah. It’s ugly right now. Really ugly.

Players are trying to preserve their redshirts to keep their options open. The defense was a total no show, and the same goes for the crowd. Despite adding a few electric offensive plays, Nunzio Campinile couldn’t stem the tide of losing.

And Greg Schiano is out there, unemployed. Fans are clamoring for Schiano to be hired... now.

But that would be a mistake. I’m not saying that Greg Schiano shouldn’t be the next Rutgers football coach, but rushing to that conclusion would be a mistake and history has shown Rutgers fans that.

Anytime the Scarlet Knights have prioritized speed over a comprehensive search, it has blown up in the face of the Athletic Department. When Gary Waters was fired from his position as head Men’s Basketball coach, Bob Mulcahy did not conduct a national coaching search and instead promoted assistant Fred Hill, Jr. The next decade plus of Rutgers basketball have been a disaster, and Eddie Jordan was rushed into into the head coach position without being fully vetted. But Pat Hobbs took his time (nearly two weeks) and found Steve Pikiell to lead the program back to respectability.

But... you say, that’s basketball, not football. And football is the money maker. We can’t afford to waste time. Look at the stands!

Uh huh.

Remember when Greg Schiano—the favorite son—left just days before signing day to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? What was prioritized during that coaching search? Saving a recruiting class. So, after trying to sway Mario Cristobal, Tim Pernetti promoted assistant coach Kyle Flood. That turned into a scandal-ridden embarrassment.

Even Pat Hobbs only took six days before landing on Chris Ash. And we are still witnessing how that turned out.

Hobbs needs to take his time and evaluate every option. Maybe there’s a candidate out there that would be a splash that we haven’t heard about yet. Maybe Joe Moorhead is willing to make the move to a Big Ten program.

Greg Schiano isn’t the same thirty-something year old that showed up in 2001 with a ton of energy to pull the Scarlet Knights out of the dregs. He’s spent the past few years recruiting at a high level for... Ohio State. It’s not the same job. Does he even have the stomach for another massive rebuild? Or is he looking for an easier fix? Because this is going to be another big job.

If Schiano or Butch Jones is hired tomorrow, it’s not going to stop the losing this season. Would that coach get a head start on recruiting? Sure. But the way football recruiting is now, so many players flip in the days leading up to Signing Day, that whomever comes in in November will have a chance to pull in a solid class. But I don’t think anyone will be coming in here and landing 4 or 5 stars in year one.

Hobbs knows how important this hire is both for himself and for Rutgers. And he needs to find the best possible candidate. Not just the one who is available right now.

If that is Greg Schiano? Great. Sign him up in November.

But maybe there’s a better hire out there.

Perhaps Hobbs fails in hiring a great coach again. It’s possible. But he shouldn’t panic and hire now. He needs to do the best job he can and do his due diligence. Turn off Twitter, stay off the message boards and do your job. Don’t worry about the fans right now.

Because rushing into something has historically been a bad move for Rutgers. Firing Chris Ash early in the season was something very un-Rutgers like. Taking their time is as well.

And that is the right move. Otherwise, it won’t just be ugly now—it could be ugly for a long, long time.