Cignetti Q&A, Part I

New Rutgers offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti spoke Friday with the media for the first time since joining the Scarlet Knights staff. In the first of our two-part Q&A segment, he talked about his offensive philosophy, whether he will use the Wildcat, his recruiting philosophy and more.

New Rutgers offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti spoke to the media today for the first time since being hired last week. Here is what he had to say in the first part of the Q&A:

Can you define your offensive philosophy? "I'll give you the Cliff notes. First and foremost, it's going to be a pro-style offenseThere's two offenses that are kind of in the National Football League. You have the west coast offense, you have the Bill Walsh west coast offense that's trickled down through his tree and then you have the digit system, the Don Coryell offense, the Norv Turner offense, that's kind of trickled down through that family tree.

"I've been blessed enough to be a part of the West Coast offense that Mike McCarthy ran when I was his quarterback in New Orleans, and part of the digit system Norv Turner ran in San Francisco.

"What you're going to see here at Rutgers is the west coast offense digit system. Now, what does that mean? NFL pro-style systems use multiple personnel grouping, multiple formations, multiple shifts, multiple motions.

"What it allows you to do is get your playmakers the ball. It allows you to create match-ups and mismatches because you have the formation flexibility and the personnel flexibility to get your guys in any spot on the field possible.

"What you're going to look at is a balanced system in terms of running the ball and passing the ball."

"The style of play is we want to attack a defense. We want to look at a defensive structure, who are they? Are they a 4-3 team, are they a 3-4 team? Are they a one high safety team, a cover-2 team? Exactly how is that defense playing? And we want to go attack it and we want to dissect it schematically, and we want to make sure we have the players in the right positions to make plays. I always think about, am I putting the offensive players in a position to be successful to make plays?"

Do you run any Wildcat in your offense?
"At the university of Pittsburgh, we had the wildcat package. They had done a great job prior to when I got there of having the full wildcat package. They went to Ole Miss, they studied it, they implemented it. It was something that we always had as part of our supplemental offense. We felt like we didn't need it.

"The wildcat will certainly be something we will discuss. Will it be the foundation of who we are? Absolutely not, but it could be part of our supplemental offense."

What do you know about Rutgers' personnel on offense?
"I think anytime before you take a job, you're going to take a look at film because you want to make sure you go somewhere where you feel like you're going to be successful, and that starts with the leadership of Coach (Greg) Schiano.

"There's no doubt in my mind he is the right guy at the Rutgers University. He's a tremendous football coach, and more important, he's a tremendous person. Great faith and great family man. Looking at the personnel of Rutgers, I felt very good looking at the offensive personnel that there's going to be a bright future here."

What is your philosophy as a recruiter?
Very simple. These young men that we are going out and recruit are getting ready to make the biggest decision of their lives. They're getting ready to chose where to go to college, where to get an education, who to surround themselves around in terms of having a positive influence, and who can maximize their potential as a football player.

"To me, it's very important that you go into school, then you just put the facts on the table and (say), ‘Here's what Rutgers University can do for you as a man and as a football player.

"For myself, I think it's very important you establish a relationship. I think relationships are the key to recruiting. I think relationships are the key to life, and you want to be able to trust people. And I mean sincerely trust people, to be able to look them in the eye and know that these young men can trust you. That you have their best interest.

"Recruiting is becoming where it's more about relationships than your logo. I think that's what (new Rutgers assistant Jeff) Hafley and myself were able to establish at the University of Pittsburgh. We established great relationships with these young men.

"So, I'd say my philosophy is one that you have to make sure that these young men understand (they're) getting ready to make the most important decision in your life, you have to make it for the right reasons; academically, socially and athletically. So, you present yourself, ‘Here's what Rutgers and Rutgers University can do for you.' And then you have to build the relationship of trust."

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