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OTB Staff thoughts on Greg Schiano’s return to Rutgers football

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It’s finally happening and our contributors give their takes on the decision

Cincinnati v Rutgers Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Greg Schiano is the new head coach of Rutgers football and it’s certainly been a wild ride to make that a reality. Our staff got together to give their reactions of the news and discussed their thoughts on the future ahead for the program. Let’s kick things off here.

David Anderson: I don’t think Greg Schiano is the best football mind that would be available prior to the 2020 opening kickoff. I have doubt that the Rutgers offense will evolve enough to score enough points and scare Big Ten big boys (though Schiano knows offense a lot better than Ash did). All that being said, Rutgers did use one advantage they do have and that is to get a new coach in place prior to the end of the season (though RU is done early). This not only helps in salvaging the 2020 recruiting class but also assists significantly with 2021. Schiano will be on top of what Rutgers was not on top of the last seven plus years and be the consistent single voice that this program needs to all be on the same page heading into a critical offseason. So do I think this is the best shot at a long-term successful hire? No, but after the mess during negotiations once this direction was chosen it ended up the only option. Let all the current players start getting on the bandwagon to steady the ship in the short-term and at least donor support will remain for the next two years, TBD after that.

Nick Kosko: During the post Kyle Flood era, there was speculation that Rutgers would bring back Greg Schiano to fix his mess. I was not on board then considering the sequel is almost never as good as the original. However, after watching the Chris Ash era unfold and ultimately crash and burn, I saw no other option than to bring back Schiano for 2020 and beyond. However long it lasts, I see this as an immediate boost for recruiting, program respectability, and competitiveness. Will this solve all problems? I don’t think so. However, Rutgers fans at this point want bowl eligibility, bowl wins, some upsets, and not to be a laughingstock throughout college football. I for one, am welcoming back Schiano with open arms. The savior has returned.

Cara Sanfilippo: If you would have asked my opinion the first time the rumbling of a Rutgers & Greg Schiano was announced, it would have been a lot different than it is now. My first reaction was that if we had made the drastic decision to fire our coach four games into the season, we should exhaust every option, and leave no stone upturned. I still don’t think that has happened after all this time, but I went to Rutgers so I am used to the RU screw. However, when I heard this weekend that the deal was off the table, I was surprisingly really angry. Fun fact, I have been in New Zealand for the past two and a half weeks on my honeymoon and still following this story closely. Loyal fan here. Anyway, my anger did not stem from being part of the Schiano or Bust contingent. It was because, as Aaron put it so eloquently, that during this lost season, these poor Seniors, Rutgers had not shown they weren’t committed to playing real-time B1G football. I was ready to give up my season tickets for that reason alone, as there is only so much you can spend to sit through misery each week for an administration that seems not to care.

Another fun fact, as someone who negotiates for a living, after reading all the coverage post Schiano removing his name, I turned to my husband in a New Zealand coffee shop, and said do you think this is all part of the negotiation and ultimately they will have to bring back Schiano? To which he agreed, and as if this soap opera couldn’t get any weirder, its happened. All this to say, I think this is the best choice. As Aaron mentioned, this is likely the only choice after the reaction. What really turned it for me were learning how prepared Schiano was for his job interview, knowing that he has been trying to learn and improve at all his stops since Rutgers, and knowing the immediate boost it will bring to season ticket sales, fans, financial and former player support, etc. The other was seeing that the Plan B (s) was another assistant. Really Rutgers? Way to instill confidence that you know what you are doing. So with that, I hope this is a new and improved Greg Schiano, and that this will right the ship of Rutgers Football in the short and long-term. I hope he keeps on Nunzio Campinele because he deserves it, and is well-respected in the NJ High School football community, and maybe can bring on his brother Anthony. I hope he improves on his game day coaching skills, and is able to relinquish control a bit. Regardless, I may just keep those season tickets, According to Pat Hobbs, we are going to a Rose Bowl, and I would like some front row seats on that train.

Fred Gaudios: Given the current state of the football program and the struggles literally any new head coach would face in bringing Rutgers back to respectability, I believe the Schiano hire is a solid decision. Schiano has more institutional knowledge about Rutgers football than anyone, and though at the time of this writing I don’t know what his specific demands were for the position, assuming they were reasonable (e.g., an upgrade to indoor practice facilities), he was correct to ask for them. While the Rutgers football team has individual players who are talented, this program needs help in every way possible - recruiting, facilities, national perspective, etc. Schiano likely provides a boost to all of this, and I also can hope he’s learned from (and been humbled by) the mistakes he made in his thirties and forties. Now in his early fifties, there is an opportunity here to save this program as a capstone to his career. I’m not looking for a Rose Bowl out of this hire, whether it be Schiano (or anyone) leading this program into the future. If we end up complaining about a six win season in four years, that’s a good problem to have.

Danny Burrick: I think that this hire is a great move and I am very glad to have the old coach back. He brought Rutgers from the bottom all the way up to the top in his first go around. He will be a great recruiter as he was before and will bring respect back to the banks. I think that everybody will need to have a little bit of patience and let coach Schiano work his magic.

Lance Glinn: Last week, what was so inevitable came crashing down. What we all thought was a no-brainer, left Rutgers Athletics looking like they didn’t have a brain. What a difference a week makes. Greg Schiano is back and I am so excited for his return! Aaron Breitman and I have recorded four Greg Schiano Podcasts. The first two never aired because it was announced Greg Schiano wasn’t going to be the head coach, the 3rd was published and broke down the news that Rutgers was going in a different direction, and now the fourth, the best of the 4, Episode 54, breaks down this great news and how important the hiring of Greg Schiano is for this program and University (Listen of course on Apple Podcasts, any of your favorite Podcast platforms, and as always at onthebanks.com). I said from the beginning, no coach could unite and re-energize the fanbase like Coach Schiano could, and the proof of that happened this week. Rutgers fans, alumni, boosters, politicians, really the state of New Jersey, came together to bring Greg Schiano home. It has been a crazy few weeks here in Piscataway. Negotiations were nothing like any of us have ever seen before. But then again, it’s Rutgers. Did we expect anything less than mayhem when trying to find a new football coach? As Patriots Coach Bill Belichick once said, “it’s a good day for Rutgers.” No Bill, you’re wrong. It’s a GREAT day for Rutgers!

Aaron Breitman: Now that it has finally happened, only one thing really matters. Who is Greg Schiano 2.0? We know the original version was a visionary, a program builder, a brand manager, a developer of players and assistant coaches, a control freak, hard to deal with at times as well as a crisis manager. What has Schiano reflected on since he left the program almost 8 years ago and how does he plan to adapt to the current state of Rutgers? How did his experiences at Tampa Bay and Ohio State help shape the coach he is now? How did his short stint with the New England Patriots lead him back to Rutgers? How adaptable will he be the second time around? These are all important questions that will help answer whether the sequel will be a success. No one could have won the press conference better than Schiano. He also got the Governor of New Jersey to make this deal happen. However, how he actually performs in all facets of rebuilding this program will determine whether he was the right choice in the long term at Rutgers.