Rutgers OC Prince Talks Big Picture

NEW YORK -- The offensive coordinator role at Rutgers has been the ultimate revolving door since the Scarlet Knights began building themselves as a national name. First-year coordinator Ron Prince plans to change that by bringing continuity and quarterback development in his upcoming second season with the Scarlet Knights.

NEW YORK -- Since John McNulty left for the NFL in 2008, the Rutgers offensive coordinator position changed as often as the quarterback situation. Ron Prince became the fifth offensive coordinator in Piscataway, N.J., in as many years when hired by coach Kyle Flood in the offseason.

Prince, heading into the second year of his contract, plans to end the one-and-done streak and boost the development of the Rutgers quarterbacks in the process.

"It would mean that I didn't have to move; that would be a positive thing," Prince joked when asked about Rutgers not changing offensive coordinators.

"I think continuity is positive. … I think coach Flood knows what he wants. They've been a pro-style offense for many, many years and we're trying to give them the product we feel the university is worthy of. And that's an ongoing work for us. I don't think our work is anywhere near where we'd like it to be. We feel like we've made some strides, but we're ambitious enough to have a lot more to look forward to."

Prince and the Rutgers staff maintain focus on Saturday's New Era Pinstripe Bow. But that does nothing to stop questions about the future from popping up during a rare media availability for Rutgers coordinators.

When it comes to Rutgers quarterback, starter Chas Dodd will spend the spring planning his future while the rest of the quarterbacks on the roster are expected to compete for the starting job.

Junior Gary Nova is the favorite to return as starter, but Prince spent key time preparing reserves Mike Bimonte, Blake Rankin and Chris Laviano for competition.

"My job is to get them in a position where they can compete, and that's what we're hoping for," Prince said.

Mind of Prince

On constant changes in offensive coordinator -- "I think if every offensive coordinator that comes in has his own offense, and starts from scratch, then yes I think that would be a bit challenge. But if you notice, even at Auburn, coach [Gus] Malzahn was there a couple of years ago. He left, then he came back and had a similar system and they took right up where they had left off seemingly. … I do think that familiarity with schemes can transcend time. I think it can be very, very positive to have that kind of stability."

On picking Dodd over Nova -- "There's a lot of coach speak about a lot of those things, but this is legitimate. We just felt, at that time, with all of the circumstances that were occurring at the time, that Chas gave us the best chance to win that particular week. We stayed with that course. One thing that I would be remiss if I didn't say is how professional Gary has been through the duration. … Any father would be proud of how they conducted themselves in the manner in which both of these young men do."

On evaluating high school talent -- "I can see where all of these high school quarterbacks having that kind of experience is helping them be prepared to be ready. I think the difference is you don't see the complexity of defensive coverages. Frankly, when a quarterback gets hit, everybody's got a plan until they get hit and get hit hard. Then I think that's where having an opportunity to play in those preseason games or in college in the spring game scrimmages, I think those are factors."

On preparing quarterbacks without in-game action -- "I think one of the benefits of college is that you can play very aggressively in practices and make it a style that you can't play in pro football. In other words, I think you can have scrimmages and practices where the contact level is much more elevated when your risk of injury is not as significant as in pro football. The difference in pro football is that you have those preseason games, and I think that you can't underestimate those. That's why I think the work now that kids are doing in high school with all the 7-on-7s and all the stuff that [Scout.com] follows and other guys, this is all a major factor in how much offense you can put in with a young player."

On differences between practice and game action -- "That's the real trick, … because a player can look very good in practices and 7-on-7s and you just feel like something's a little bit off when it's live competition. It's experience."

On junior college quarterbacks -- "I think whether it's prep school or whether it's junior college, any time you can be assembling fine defensive players together, I think it gives you another opportunity to evaluate your systems or your quarterback against competition. I think that you see quarterbacks play in an all-star games, the 7-on-7s that occur, you see them against really fine players. That gives you an opportunity to evaluate what they are doing against corners that really understand how to play certain techniques. … I think any time you have another layer of evaluation, that's positive."


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