On Mitch Browning
"When you look at Mitch's resume and what he was able to do at Minnesota for a long span of time in the Big Ten, it's hard to top it. Three consecutive seasons of 3,000 yards, two 1,000-yard rushers in three consecutive years and things I don't think have been done before or since at that school. I've known about Mitch for a long time. … I'm certainly familiar with who he is. When we had an opportunity to bring him here, I thought he could really help us with our running game."
Does Ben McDaniels' natural recruiting ties to Ohio help broaden the recruiting base?
"I think that question is always a little bit of a tricky question because you don't ever want to lose your base. And our recruiting will always start in the state of Rutgers and the state of Rutgers always begins right here at home in New Jersey. With that being said, I don't think you ever want to lose an opportunity to take advantage of relationships. Both Mitch and Ben have a lot of home-grown relationships in the state of Ohio."
As a follow up, what makes you confident he'll be a good recruiter with his limited experience?
"I think Ben's got experience building relationships with coaches and players. I think that's really what recruiting is about. Ultimately recruiting is about relationships and I think he'll do a great job."
What went into the decision to bring back Mike Teel?
"I'm really excited to have Mike back on staff. Part of it is the fact that I think he can be a great example for the current players in our program of how to achieve at a high level – both on the field and off. I think it's important that I say this. Whether it was Darnell Stapleton, whether it's Charlie Noonan or whether it's Mike Teel, when you bring a former player back they have to be ready for the job. I've had a lot of conversations with Mike over the last two years about coaching football for a living. I really felt that this time, he was ready for the job and he was the right person for the job. When all of those come together, you have great situation. I think we had that with Darnell. I think we currently have that with Charlie and I think we will now have that with Mike and he's going to do a great job for us."
Why will Teel work with the wide receivers?
"When I hired coach [Ralph] Friedgen, one of the things that was important to me and I had this conversation with him right away, was that I wanted him to coach the quarterbacks. I knew the success that he had in the past, and it's such an important position on a football team. From the very beginning, he was the guy that I wanted to coach that position. Mike certainly will add some knowledge to the room, but there's a lot of receivers. There's going to be multiple receivers in the game at a time, and I think having Mike's understanding of the quarterback position is only going to make him a better coach."
How important was it to have a complete staff before you start recruiting weekends?
"I think that's important. I think to have those weekends before your staff is intact, I don't know if that really would have been in our best interest. We're going to have some people on campus in the next couple weeks, and I'm really excited. I think when these recruits come on campus, they're going to see the things they know we already have. They're going to see great facilities. They're going to see a beautiful stadium. They're going to see a great campus environment. They already know they're going to get a great education. But now they get to see the most important, which is the people. And now we've got a full staff with great people."
How much of a luxury is it for all of the starters to be back on the offensive line
"I don't think there's ever a drawback to experience. I think what bringing five starters back does is it gives you a chance. It gives you a chance to go into your first conference game with guys that have already been in that environment. I think the experience advantage is always an advantage. My first year here, I think I inherited three returning starters. Darnell was a junior college guy and I think Pedro (Sosa) might have been a part time starter. I think all of those things were positives for me when I first got here, and I think they'll be positives for Mitch also."
What's your reaction to coming back to Rutgers as a coach?
"I'm excited about it. Obviously I'm thankful for the opportunity. I was talking with someone last night and, the fact that I was able to be here as a player and be a part of the success that we had here and kind of the resurgence of the program and now that next step, heading into the Big Ten. It's a great opportunity for myself and for the team to kind of change what the path of Rutgers football has been, and I'm excited to be a part of it."
What has your time been like since leaving the NFL?
"My first time ever coaching was at a D-III school here in New Jersey (Kean), and my kind of perspective was skewed of what the coaching world entails. … That was something that I kind of battled myself with for a while. I said I needed to go try something else to see what else was out there. That kind of led me to Wall Street, and for the year and a half I was working at Wall Street, all I wanted to do was get off of Wall Street. I just didn't really know what kind of path to take. I made lists and lists of pros and cons of all different scenarios if I take this job or try to do this job. At the end of the day, every list led me to wanting to be a football coach, wanting to be around football players, football coaches, football people. And ultimately I was able to have a conversation with coach Flood and I was able to be given an opportunity to come back here, and I'm excited about it."
What are your thoughts on working with the receivers and Ben McDaniels instead of quarterback?
"I'm excited to sit in staff meetings and watch how he approaches coaching the wide receiver position. I know I'm a younger guy that coached at a 1-AA school (Wagner) and a Division III school. For me, it's a great learning experience to see how a guy who has been at the highest level has coached those guys and been around those guys and how you build relationships and how you coach some guys compared to others. I'm excited about being in that room. I'm excited about really learning the intricacies of the wide receiver position. Playing quarterback, obviously you interact with the receivers all the time, so I've built relationships with guys that I've played with. I'm assuming that it will be similar in how I build relationships with our current players."
What about working with Gary Nova?
"Of course, but coach Friedgen … he'll be working with the quarterbacks and I know that they're excited that they're working with him."
On being around since bowl practice and offensive line experience
"I agree with what Coach said. I think it's a tremendous luxury. You've got five guys that have played a lot of football around here and experienced a lot of success. I think it's something that you build off of. I think maybe for the younger guys, they set the standard for the younger guys. I think it's a tremendous asset for us."
Does being here early help you be ahead of the curve?
"The No. 1 thing, it obviously helped me to get to know the players and get to know some of the other players as well. I think it's a big asset. It's a big plus for me going into spring. I look forward to working with these guys. I think they all have tremendous assets, and I think they all have tremendous upside."
Have you been eager to get back to the BCS level and how would you explain recently being at programs like Davidson?
"I had a couple of detours in the road, but I was very fortunate to stay in coaching. … When coach Flood called, it was definitely a situation that I wanted to pursue that I was very interested in. I'm very excited to be here. I think it's great timing going into the Big Ten. The direction the program is going and the commitment that these people have been made, I think it's just awesome to be here right now, so I'm extremely excited."
Is there a difference to coaching at different levels? Is coaching coaching?
"I think coaching is coaching. I think, obviously, there is a difference in talent, but any way you cut it you still have 11 guys on offense and 11 guys on defense. Schematically it's the same. Technique and fundamentally it's the same. Motivation is the same. I think the biggest difference is just the talent level."
Do you have anything to share about when Ben McDaniels worked at Minnesota as a graduate assistant?
"I hired him sight unseen. I knew his dad for a long time. His dad's a tremendous high-school coach in the state of Ohio for geez, over 30 years. He won a national championship. … So I had known his dad for a long time. I really didn't know Josh (New England Patriots offensive coordinator), but he comes from a good football family. The one thing about recruiting and hiring coaches, you can't go wrong hiring a guy that's the son of a high school coach or a college coach."
What are your thoughts on recruiting?
"It was just a short stint there at Columbia, but I just got my feet wet a little bit getting back to college football at that point. I'm excited about the opportunity to recruit and build relationships with kids and their families and having the opportunity to help young kids grow both as young men and as players."