With college football season rapidly approaching, Rutgers held their annual Media day on Sunday and head coach Chris Ash covered a variety of topics about this year’s team. Ash has proven early on to be a straight shooter and pretty honest in his assessment of things over the past year and half that he has been head coach. This season will prove whether or not all of the changes that have occurred are moving the team forward on the field.
Winning Starts By Having a Winning Culture
One aspect that is hard to quantify in the first season of a head coach taking over a program is the amount of time and effort it takes to implement their new system, communicate expectations, and change the culture in a positive way. While Ash inherited a roster lacking depth and playmakers, he also inherited a program that desperately needed renewed focus and direction. As the players are now in year two of Ash as head coach, it seems like the program has taken a big step forward, in terms of the new culture in place. Ash spoke very highly of the players and the work they’ve put in. For a coach that is very straight forward in discussing his team, it was nice to hear him open up a bit about how positively he feels about the players in the program.
The bailing of Rutgers fans became an undercurrent of the Scarlet Knights’ 2-10 campaign. So on Sunday, when Ash was asked about his hopes for attendance this season, he took a more logical approach.
“When you win they all come. That’s what it is,” Ash said. “We at times over-complicate attendance. We want fans at our games. We want people there to create a tremendous environment. But I also know a lot that is determined by the product you have on the field.”
“We hope to be more competitive. We hope to be winning more games this year. We hope the fans will want to come out and watch us play and watch some of the exciting football we play here in the stadium.”
Quarterback Competition Coming To An End Soon
The quarterback battle between Kyle Bolin, Gio Rescigno and Johnathan Lewis is approaching an end and after Saturday’sscrimmage, Bolin still appears to be the odds-on favorite to start.
“We’re getting closer to naming a quarterback. We’ve got three weeks to go before we play, and we’d like to do it sooner than later,” Ash said. “We’ll probably get through this week, keep sorting it out a little bit, and then get ready by the end of this week, first of next week, to go ahead and name a starting quarterback.”
Rutgers Success Or Lack Their Of, Could Ride On Freshman Class
There are going to be a lot of freshmen playing this season for Rutgers and Ash named a few who have caught his eye through the first two weeks of camp.
“Raheem Blackshear at running back has really stood out,” Ash said “He’s going to be a guy that’s going play for us. Bo Melton has stood out. Really all those wide receivers that we signed last year have stood out: Bo Melton, the Hayek brothers have both stood out, Shameen Jones, Everett Wormley. All those guys, really, are going to have a chance to compete for playing time on offense and on special teams here this fall.”
“We’re still not in position to determine what freshmen exactly are going to help us,” Ash continued. “We still have some time to sort through that, but those are the ones that are really standing out.”
Fans can also expect to see a freshman tight end on the field at some point this season.
“Travis Vokolek at tight end is going to be an outstanding tight end. He’s got great length,” Ash said. “He can run. Just got to get bigger and stronger, but really like his football IQ and just the way he works every single day.”
The Future Of Rutgers Football Could Be Bright
Fans of Rutgers Football should be excited about the up coming season. After just two wins last season, Coach Ash seems to be looking to build on that record and make Rutgers Football great again. Who knows, depending on how fast certain players develop, more success is possible. Patience is key and is the right approach.