Coaching Spotlight: Dave Cohen

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – New linebackers coach Dave Cohen brings head-coaching experience to the 2012 staff and is thrilled with the group of linebackers he inherited upon arrival. took some time with Cohen to get all of the details on his transition from Hofstra to Western Michigan to Rutgers.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Linebackers coach Dave Cohen joins running backs coach Norries Wilson as one of two coaches at Rutgers with head-coaching experience. But for Cohen, the intangibles of the collective staff stands out above all else.

"First and foremost, I think coach [Kyle] Flood has hired great people," Cohen said. "You're talking about good family men, good husbands, good fathers and good people. It starts with that character and trust. I think there is a high level of energy in our staff, but I think the most impressive thing is that they're all good teachers."

Cohen joins the Rutgers staff after making many stops along the way. After ending his four-year tenure as a head coach at Hofstra when the program was disbanded, Cohen spent two seasons at Western Michigan, serving as the defensive coordinator for the Broncos.

Announced after National Signing Day, Cohen's hire was particularly exciting for freshman linebacker Steve Longa.

"[Cohen] was my first offer at Western Michigan," said Longa, who committed to Rutgers over eight other FBS programs. "He's a great coach, a great teacher too. Every single time in the meetings, he's trying to make me better, asking me questions and I like that repetition. As I work through it, I get better and he's a great person and a great coach."

Cohen brings a passionate coaching style to the field, but said he feeds off the energy from other coaches in leadership roles.

"There's not a lot of screaming and yelling going on, it's more teaching and learning and growing and helping these young men grow into men," he said. "We all learn from each other. I know I've learned quite a bit under coach Flood and [defensive coordinator Robb] Smith and we all kind of give and take and chip away at things together."

Despite Cohen's experiences, this is his first go-around in a BCS conference.

He was a two-year starter at defensive tackle at Long Island and had scattered jobs since 1988 all over the northeast region.

He is enjoying the talent of his new group, but was quick to applaud the leadership of two of his seniors, Steve Beauharnais and Khaseem Greene.

"Steve and Khaseem have obviously had tremendous careers, their preparation off the field is as impressive as their preparation on the field," he said. "That makes it fun for me because we talk at a high level. You're almost talking to other coaches and not talking to players."

Cohen has play-calling experience and will work closely with Smith to get the best out of the Rutgers defense.

"I think we have very smart players," Cohen said. "It all started with coach [Greg] Schiano having multiple schemes. … The preparation off the field here at Rutgers has impressed me as much as the preparation on the field. The kids work at it, they're bright kids, they study it on the video but also on the chalkboard, so those things have been very positive."

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