Ben McDaniels is a first-time play caller in big-time college football, so it is natural for a coaches’ son to seek advice.
McDaniels has plenty of great minds available for consultation – father, brother and coworkers.
But he also seeks advice from his top offensive player, and receiver Leonte Carroo knows who he wants to recommend for more playing time.
“Mainly my advice is ‘hey, I want the ball on this play,’” Carroo said. “If it’s third down, if it’s fourth down, I need the ball. I’m going to make a play for you.”
Carroo has a working relationship with McDaniels, who coached receivers during his first year at Rutgers. When the NCAA changed offseason rules in 2014 for more classroom work between coach and player, Carroo took advantage for plenty of time with his new offensive coordinator.
McDaniels is the fourth coordinator in four years for Carroo, who saw what went well and what did not with the last three.
“He looks at me as the leader for the offense, so I have to kind of be that leader,” Carroo said. “He asks me for advice on what I think we should do on certain things because he trusts me. I was in the room with him all year. He knows I’m a smart football player. I enjoy playing for him.
“…I ask him if we can switch up this type of route or if I think we should do it another way, and he’ll explain to me why he agrees or disagrees. I kind of like that about him. He always asks for my input and listens to my advice.”
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood did not make McDaniels available to speak in spring, and remains tight-lipped about the offensive style. He even made a joking death threat at Big Ten Media Day.
Flood revealed one nugget last week, however, and said Carroo could be more involved on inside routes.
“I’m very excited about that this year,” Carroo said. “It’s just another way for me to get the ball in my hands. That’s what I ultimately want. I want the ball in my hands all of the time. I’m a very selfish receiver because on fourth down, I want the ball. Third and long I want the ball.”
The offseason coaching shakeups created a welcome reunion for Carroo. The former Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco superstar now plays directly underneath his old offensive coordinator – Anthony Campanile.
“He counts on me to be that vocal leader inside the meeting room,” Carroo said. “He always wants me finishing first. He always wants me doing things. Just to be with Campy all the time, I missed it. Just hearing that voice and hearing the way he pushes me is awesome. We text more than ever. After anything, we talk and every conversation ends with ‘I love you.’ He’s been that coach for me ever since I was a 13-year old boy.”