1. Hit the Phones – The Rutgers 2016 recruiting class is sick of the limbo that comes with a coaching change. The Scarlet Knights only lost two commitments – Tymir Oliver and Elias Reynolds – this week and the faster Chris Ash introduces himself and his plan to young men like Anthony Russo, Elijah Johnson and Phil Campbell, the better.
2. Build a Staff, and an Offense – Ash has a clear defensive identity, and it is impressive. The offense he brings to Rutgers, however, is unknown. When the question inevitably comes during tomorrow’s introductory press conference, Ash better have a good answer. As far as his staff, there are a ton of good coaches with good connections in need of a job with so much change in the Northeast (including some already with Rutgers). Rutgers is one of the more attractive regional jobs and Ash should attract some interesting candidates. It’s important to get multiple assistants with real New Jersey ties in the recruiting game.
3. Lay Down the Law – When Ash meets his players, the nonsense stops. Ash needs a “no more Mr. Nice Guy” speech ready for the Hale Center. Patrick Hobbs hired Ash for a reason. Ash is the right man to clean up a program in need of discipline. When players get away with skipped meetings, tardiness and disrespect, they push the limits. Rutgers needs a coach that controls the little things.
4. Get on the Same Page – At a school like Rutgers, football and academic support have to work well together. Kyle Flood’s relationship clearly collapsed before and during the Nadir Barnwell email disaster. Rutgers has excellent academic support and educational opportunities. They need to be a tool for Ash and not an adversary.
5. Crash Course on New Jersey – New Jersey is not Columbus, Ohio and it certainly isn’t Fayetteville, Ark. New Jersey, and Rutgers specifically, is an adjustment for any coach when it comes to the politics and media culture. Ash has to be ready to fight. Sure, he worked as a GA with Princeton early in his career and recruited is not without recruiting experience in the state. To be successful, Ash needs to click with the New Jersey power brokers and prepare for the scrutiny that comes with the job. Early networking and assimilation are musts.