Rossi came to Rutgers in 2012 after time as the defensive coordinator at Maine. His only other play-calling experience came as the interim defensive coordinator in the 29-16 loss to Notre Dame in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Rossi worked with the defense during bowl practices and received positive reviews in replacing Dave Cohen.
"I think he brought a new type of intensity," said rising senior linebacker Kevin Snyder during bowl practice. "Obviously not that coach Cohen wasn't intense, but a different kind of intensity and a different mentality and we just hit the ground running with it. After the first meeting, we came out and said ‘let's go out, let's perform and let's get better, and from there we've been able to make more plays."
Rossi's special teams units provided consistent play making in 2012 and 2013. As the interim defensive coordinator against Notre Dame, Rossi and Rutgers surrendered 31 points and 494 total yards.
"At the end of the day, coach asked me to do the job so I'm going to do it to the best of my ability," Rossi said before the game about his role as interim defensive coordinator. "Just like throughout the course of my career, no matter what it's been, that's always the way I've approached it and that's been my mindset with this."