The time has come for many publications to preview the upcoming 2023 football season. As usual, Athlon Sports has come out with its predictions for the Big Ten.
Along with its usual breakdowns of each teams, standings predictions, and All-Conference teams, Athlon polled coaches in the conference about other programs. One assistant from the Big Ten, who has remained anonymous, has plenty to say about Greg Schiano and Rutgers.
Here is the full comment:
“Whatever buzz Greg (Schiano) had by going coming back, it’s pretty much gone. He’s turned over a significant amount of staff, and word is out that it’s a highly stressful environment. They had two quarterbacks play poorly last year, and they changed the coaches but didn’t portal any new QBs. That tells you something. There’s building pressure for them to get it right and ‘back,’ but that’s not possible. The guys who hired him back think they can have those Big East seasons again. … The OC hire (Kirk Ciarrocca) is a really solid pick: he got thrown under the bus by (James) Franklin at Penn State during the COVID year, but he’s a solid play caller and a good QB developer. … Defensively, they’re running the same stuff Greg did in Columbus; they’re just not executing with that talent level. … The schools seems committed to him long-term, but they haven’t made any kind of real step up to being a Big Ten-level program under him.”
The question is, are they right?
Unfortunately, the comment has more truth to it than lies.
In 2020, Rutgers went 3-6 in a conference-only schedule in Schiano’s first year back. This matched the amount of Big Ten wins from the previous four years combined. So far, that has been the highlight of Schiano’s second tenure. That is not supposed to be the case.
The offense played at an extremely low level last year. The anonymous coach referenced the two-quarterback system used and the head-scratching fact that one was not added in the portal. Both fair points. The fact that Rutgers has not named a starting quarterback consistently is a big problem. There is no semblance of stability on the offense and naming a starting quarterback would at least bring some.
The positive? Kirk Ciarrocca. The Scarlet Knights have high hopes for an experienced play-caller in the Big Ten that can bring a different system. There is a small amount of hope that Rutgers can take a step forward this year but who knows? The Scarlet Knights have been near the bottom of the Big Ten for years now and have picked up some wins over other bottom-feeders.
“They haven’t made any kind of real step up to being a Big Ten-level program under him.” Unfortunately, that's a true statement and will be until further notice. Is there any chance that the turnaround can begin this year?