COACH MEHRINGER: Good afternoon. I'm Drew Mehringer. First off, I'd like to say I'm very excited to be here for a number of reasons. First off, I can't imagine an opportunity coming about like the one that I have in front of me. More specifically being able to work for probably the most motivated, one of the most precise, best plan-building people I've ever been around in my life.
He's extremely detail oriented. I can't thank Coach Ash enough for the opportunity to be here at Rutgers. I'm very excited to be in this conference and at this university. Every time you get to say you're at the birthplace of college football, it's a tremendous opportunity and one I'm really excited about.
Coach Ash has done a phenomenal job of surrounding us as assistant coaches with great guys, whether they be in a support staff role or other assistants. The guys on offense I have are extremely motivated and intelligent football coaches that seem to have the same intensity and passion for the game that I know I have and that Coach Ash has, as well.
We're going to be an offense that's exciting to watch. If you know anything about what Coach Ash just said about where I come from, the people that I've learned the game from, you'll have kind of an idea of what we're going to look like offensively.
Like I said, I'm excited to work with these guys. They're all really good people. Good guys to be around, intense people that are competitive, and are not here to just be excited at Rutgers, they came here to win. This is an exciting time.
So thank you to Coach Ash, President Barchi, our AD, Pat Hobbs, as well.
With that, any questions.
Q. How would you describe your ideal quarterback to run your system? What are you looking for?
COACH MEHRINGER: I think the ideal quarterback in the system, everyone is going to wonder is he a dual threat guy, a pro style guy. I don't think that's necessarily important. There's no one system ever that has been the saving grace of football, whether it be at the professional level or college football level.
You look at what Tom Brady has done, Russell Wilson, Vince Young did in college. The ideal quarterback for us is going to be a guy that is extremely competitive, an intelligent guy that's going to come in with a relentless passion to win.
Really I think the intangibles of the position separate itself far from the measurables and the style of system that he fits in. Ideal quarterback-wise, extremely competitive and super intelligent.
Q. Coach, as much as it may be a fun, exciting offense to watch, probably just as fun to play in, how much of a draw is that when you go out on the recruiting trail?
COACH MEHRINGER: That's a good question. If you look at the lineage of this offense, where it's come from, the people that have coached it in the past, you take it all the way back to Coach Meyer being at Utah, there's been Alex Smith, he goes to Florida, then Chris Leak, Tim Tebow, it goes to Ohio State, Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett. It goes to Houston and there's Greg Ward. They finished No. 8 in the country this past year.
I think it's exciting. You look at all those quarterbacks that have played in this offense, that position specifically, they've all had a lot of success. You look at some of the skill position players like Percy Harvin that have come out of this offense. You look at the draft picks, Devin Smith is in the NFL, Corey Philly Brown is in the NFL. Some of those guys, the offensive linemen that have come out of this offense, Jeff Heuerman got drafted, James Casey got drafted when he played at Rice. Very exciting offense to play in whether you're a skill position player or offensive lineman.
We're going to be an offense that spreads the ball around. We're not going to be isolated on a single receiver or back or on the quarterback specifically. We plan to use the entire field and all 11 people on it.
Q. Have you had a chance to speak with Chris or Hayden? What was your first evaluation?
COACH MEHRINGER: I've talked to all the quarterbacks. You reach out to Chris, being the starter from this past year. Very good conversation with him on the phone. I talked about the expectations we have. The same thing with Hayden, the expectations we have for that position. When you address Hayden, I hope you didn't come in here to be the backup. As Coach Ash said, there are no starters, backups right now, it's open competition. All the way back down to even Gio and those guys. It's open for all of those guys at every single position.
If you didn't come here to compete and win, your position, or game for that matter, you don't really belong here.
Q. Obviously 28 years old, first coordinator job in the Big Ten. How do you answer those concerns about maybe he doesn't have enough experience?
COACH MEHRINGER: I think that's going to be one of those things that keeps recurring until we play some games and have some success. The only thing that I can tell you is Coach Ash is a smart man. I think that he probably did his research. I feel certainly very confident and I have a lot of belief in my ability to get the job done. I'm surrounded by great guys on the offensive staff that are intelligent football coaches.
I think as an offensive staff we'll be more than ready. It's not one person that's going to get this job done. It's going to take all of us. We're very excited.
Q. A lot of people have a lot of doubts about your youth, but they don't look at the positive side, you have a presence on Twitter. With this youth, do you think you will relate to these players better on the recruiting trail?
COACH MEHRINGER: I do think I have the ability at this current age that I am right now to relate a little bit more to some of those high school players. I'm not that far removed from playing college football or being recruited, for that matter. Being able to allay some of the fears that parents and prospective student-athletes might have, I think I do have that relate-ability. I think that helps.
There's also the flipside of that as well that you have to battle. Knowing the right hash tags, stuff like that, the emojis, the cool Twitter jokes, it's fun, I enjoy that. (Smiling).
Q. Obviously there's a limit on how much time you can spend with players in spring ball. How will you get up to speed?
COACH MEHRINGER: That's one of the things we have set in the calendar. We have dedicated time for that. I think at this point, though, the biggest concern for us is preparing ourselves as a team mentally. Coach Ash talked about the competitive drill work that we're going to do on the field.
I think if we get over that hump, if we become a competitive, tough football team, the X's and O's will come. For good coaches, we can get that part done. If we don't have a tough, competitive football team, I don't think the X's and O's will matter much.
Q. As a coordinator, do the players have to fit the offense or do you have to be able to tweak the offense to fit the players?
COACH MEHRINGER: As a coordinator, if you have the gall to say you're going to make the players fit to your offense, you're not going to be a coordinator for very long.
Our job as coaches is to put our guys in the best position to win and be successful and to utilize what they do best and put them in those positions to win.
We're going to assess what we have on the field through winter conditioning and in spring ball, then adapt the principles we believe in to fit those guys and put them in the best positions we can to go help Rutgers win football games.
Q. Janarion Grant has the ability to thrive in an offense like those you mentioned thus far today. Have you spoken to him? Do you have any kind of idea what role you'd like him to play in this offense?
COACH MEHRINGER: Me and Coach (indiscernible), we were on a phone call with him the other day. Had a great conversation with him, talking about, We're going to ask you to do a couple things. If you open your heart up and allow us to coach you, we're going to put you in a position to be successful. It's not for you, the lack of ability obviously. We've seen that on the field. But for you it's going to be whether or not you're open and willing to give us your heart and be coached and become part of this program.
If you're willing to do that, you look at the people that have played that position, they've all been very, very successful for six, seven eight years now. If you're willing to do that, if you're willing to be open to that, some really cool things are ahead of you. But if you're not, we're going to struggle a little bit from that standpoint.
We all want the same things. We want Janarion Grant to be successful. We want him to have the success he dreams of on the field. For us to do that, first you have to be open to the coaching, the new culture, the things that Coach Ash is bringing into this program.
Q. You mentioned something about tight ends a minute ago. Tight ends and fullback, do they still have a place here, but a different role?
COACH MEHRINGER: Absolutely. I think the tight end is one of the most important positions in our offense. We have a stable of them here. They're talented players that we plan on utilizing. They provide a major avenue for us to do different things in the run game as well as the pass game as well, whether that be from a down-the-field perspective or whether in pass protection or whatever it may be.
But absolutely, they are definitely a part of our offense.
Thank you, guys.