The Scarlet Knights are coming off their first Big Ten victory this season in Week 8 against Indiana.
Now, Rutgers is prepared to hit the road against a Minnesota team with plenty of ties to Piscataway.
Schiano is currently in his second tenure with Rutgers. During his first, Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck spent two years as the wide receivers coach on the staff. In 2010 and 2011, Fleck worked under Schiano in Piscataway before both left for Tampa Bay. Schiano lasted two years as head coach of the Buccaneers and brought Fleck to be his receivers coach in 2012.
The following year, Fleck became the head coach of Western Michigan, which was no surprise to Schiano.
“There’s so many guys that have Rutgers connections that are on P.J.’s staff, and I love that,” Schiano said during his press conference on Monday. “I’m proud, really, really proud of the job P.J. has done. You mentioned he was here at Rutgers with us and then he was at Tampa, as well, and always did a great job. I knew, heck, probably a day into his time here that he was going to be a head coach. I could tell you countless stories of what a big difference he made in our program, both here and at Tampa.”
Minnesota Offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca and defensive coordinator Joe Rossi also spent time at Rutgers over the course of their careers. In this matchup, Rutgers also has some ties to Minnesota.
Schiano hired Joe Harasymiak as defensive coordinator in January. He spent three years on the defensive staff for the Golden Gophers. During his first season with the Scarlet Knights, he is making an immediate impact.
“Joe has done an excellent job,” Schiano said. “Joe is an excellent football coach. He’s a really fine communicator and connector with the players. I can say that for the whole defensive staff, though. I really have been impressed the way that they have come together, the way that they’ve connected with our guys, the level of detail that they’ve coached with.”
“I’m very pleased, very, very pleased with the way those guys work together and the way they’ve bonded with the players. I just look forward to seeing that continue to grow because a lot of those players are young guys.”
Harasymiak and his unit will be tested on Saturday against a strong rushing attack and the experience of Minnesota. Leading up to the matchup, there will be plenty of storylines between two staffs that know each other well.