Chris Ash Introduces His Staff
On Tuesday afternoon, head Rutgers football coach Chris Ash held a press conference inside the Hale Center adjacent and attached to High Point Solutions Stadium to announce and talk about his new staff he has compiled since being hired in early December.
Besides a running backs coach (which Ash has yet to hire as the last of his full-time assistants) all the coaches were available to the media. Offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Jay Niemann were a apart of the presser as well.
The theme here seems to be that all positions on the field are open (including quarterback that saw Chris Laviano start 11 of 12 games), the coaches will bring energy, and all remnants of the Kyle Flood era and prior are gone (no more “CHOP!”).
In addition, Janarion Grant could be a star in the new offense (more than he already is) if he works on catching the ball more this offseason. Grant, a shifty and speeding slot receiver/return man and the school’s single-game all purpose yard’s leader (337 vs. Washington State this past year) could be used and seen as a dangerous Percy Harvin all over the field.
The defense will look to get back to the nitty-gritty after struggling the past few years especially in pass coverage.
With that, take a look at a couple notable quotes from the press conference in which Ash started off about finding the right staff that are compatible to him, competent, are men of character, loyal, know how to win, and can help players reach their full potential.
1. Ash in his opening statement:
“A little bit about the coaches that have been hired here so far. When I accepted this job back in December, I had a very detailed plan of how I wanted to go about building this program really from A to Z. The number one thing at the top of the list was surround myself with great people that were great coaches, a great support staff, and really good players that we bring into this program.
“I think I’ve done a great job of doing that. Very excited about the group of men that I put together to help us do great things here at Rutgers.”
2. Ash on taking his time finding a running backs coach:
“I’m taking my time with it. I have talked to several people. I’m not in any rush to do it. I want to make sure it’s the right fit for the offensive staff, whatever needs I feel like we have left to address as a full staff. I hope to have it filled here fairly quickly. But there’s no timetable. I want to make sure it’s right more so than just hiring a guy by a certain date.”
3. Ash on what he was looking for in a strength and conditioning coach that Ash says was his most important hire and getting Kenny Parker was a home run:
“Well, there are a lot of things that the strength and conditioning coach is going to do here in this program. I’ve said this to a few people. If I didn’t think I could get Kenny Parker with me, I might not have taken the job. It was that important of a hire for me.
“He’s not going to be just a strength and conditioning coach. Is he going to physically develop the players? Absolutely. But the mental development and the confidence and the belief and the training we put these guys through is going to be probably more important than the physical development. The adversity that he’s going to put them through to see how they respond, the competitive environment that he’s going to create both in the weight room and in the off-season drills, on the practice field, is going to be extremely important for us.”
4. Ash on the QB competition and beyond:
“We’ve sent this message already. If you’re afraid to compete, you’re not going to be welcome here at Rutgers, whether you’re a current player, an incoming player, a recruit down the road. The program is going to be built on competition.
“There are not going to be any starters anointed because of what they’ve done in the past, where they’re from, what age they are. The guys better come in ready to compete, they better buy into what we’re doing, buy into our culture, do the things we want them to do or it’s not going to be the right place for them.”
5. Offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer on the ideal QB for the power spread scheme:
“I think the ideal quarterback in the system, everyone is going to wonder is he a dual threat guy, a pro style guy. I don’t think that’s necessarily important. There’s no one system ever that has been the saving grace of football, whether it be at the professional level or college football level.
“The ideal quarterback for us is going to be a guy that is extremely competitive, an intelligent guy that’s going to come in with a relentless passion to win. Really I think the intangibles of the position separate itself far from the measurables and the style of system that he fits in. Ideal quarterback-wise, extremely competitive and super intelligent.”
6. Mehringer on being asked about his age (28) and inexperience as this is his first coordinator on the big stage in the Big Ten:
“I think that’s going to be one of those things that keeps recurring until we play some games and have some success. The only thing that I can tell you is Coach Ash is a smart man. I think that he probably did his research. I feel certainly very confident and I have a lot of belief in my ability to get the job done. I’m surrounded by great guys on the offensive staff that are intelligent football coaches.
“I think as an offensive staff we’ll be more than ready. It’s not one person that’s going to get this job done. It’s going to take all of us. We’re very excited”
7. Defensive coordinator Niemann on finding an identity:
“Well, first thing we want to be is tough, we want to be aggressive, we want to be physical. We want to be a defense that’s fundamentally sound. We want to be a defense that doesn’t give up big plays because we’re fundamentally sound. Sound on our technique, we want to be a group that plays together with a lot of pride. Those are things that come to me.”
8. Niemann on whether he is keeping the 4-3 base defense:
“You have to have a starting point. Coach Ash’s base is 4-3. That’s what mine has been, too. Myself as a coach, when he was playing, he as a player, me as a coach, cut our teeth on 4-3. That’s been a while ago. It does dovetail and go in different directions, different areas with your X’s and O’s. So that’s where we’ll start.
“As Drew said earlier, I think one of our big jobs is to decide what our players can do and make sure we’re not stuck in our ways and set on things to the point that we can’t make adjustments in the scheme to fit the people that are playing it. That needs to be the number one thing front and center, to put our guys in the position to do things they’re capable of doing.”
Keep it locked to DoubleGSports.com as content is coming regarding the second part of Ash’s staff hires after the running backs coach is accounted for. In the meantime, take a look at part one and hires within the recruiting/relations department such as Rick Mantz.
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