Newly hired Rutgers head coach Chris Ash doesn’t have to travel very far for a reminder of the potential of his new program. Likewise, incoming Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano will spend his first month in Columbus observing the man who helped rebuild the Ohio State secondary into a powerful unit – a level he’ll be tasked with maintaining.
With Ash agreeing to coach Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl but Schiano already on campus as he prepares to transition to his new job, the two have seen plenty of each other in the week since Schiano arrived in Columbus. On the bright side, at least they each have some personal space for the month or so they’ll be working under the same roof.
“I’m in a different office,” Schiano said. “But we’ve seen a lot of each other over the last six days. Again, any way I can help him, I’ve tried to. And he’s done the same. I’m going to be coaching guys that he coached and he’s helped me try to get up to speed with that. So, it’s been a really good thing.”
It’s an interesting situation to say the least. When Ash was hired by OSU division rival Rutgers (“Thanks for reminding me,” he said) in early December, that opened the door for the most successful coach in Rutgers history to take the job he vacated. Schiano has been out of coaching since a two-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended in 2013, and the opportunity to work with his good friend Urban Meyer proved too good to pass up.
It’s at least a little weird, right?
“It's been great, to be honest with you,” Ash said. “I was fortunate enough to be able to build a relationship with Greg during my two years here. He's had a great relationship with Coach Meyer, he's been around here several times, I picked up the phone and called him on a lot of things and he's been a great resource for me. I think it will work out great here having him on staff. And from an outsider looking in, having Greg and I standing here together and me going out to go to Rutgers and him coming in to take my job here at Ohio State looks odd and looks a little challenging, but it's been fine.”
Added Schiano: “Oh, I guess it’s odd in that Rutgers being involved and Chris at Ohio State. But nothing in this business really surprises you.”
Schiano’s current situation is unique in the sense that he can’t coach but can recruit, but Ash is dealing with the difficulty of balancing his coaching duties at Ohio State with the need to recruit on behalf of Rutgers. If it’s any consolation, the person who’s done his next job better than just about anyone is right down the hall.
“The balance of time management of getting stuff done here for game planning and the preparation for the bowl game and doing the things I need to do, both talking to coaches that I'm trying to hire, talking to recruits that we're trying to recruit, commits that we're trying to keep committed, all of that stuff is managed throughout the day,” Ash said. “And it's a challenge, but it's fun. I've really enjoyed it. And then, like you mentioned, I've had a chance to sit down with Greg a couple times and just talk about Rutgers and his experience there and he's been very helpful.”