Sam Hellman / Scarlet Report

Rutgers Coach Chris Ash's Final Media Session Before Kickoff

Today's Big Ten coach's conference call with the media was Chris Ash's final media availability before Rutgers kicks off at Washington. Read his comments inside, including expectations for receiver Andre Patton and the challenges of a cross-country trip.

Rutgers coach Chris Ash's opening statement...

“Our first game is this Saturday in Seattle against a very good Washington football team. We're excited to pack up and take our football team on our road. It's a really, really good barometer for our program to see where we're at against a veteran football. They finished the season last year very strong, very well coached. They're a very talented football team, so it's going to be a challenge for us. I really like our football team right now and the way we're coming out of camp. I like our chemistry, our attitude. I like our toughness. I'm really excited to watch these guys play. We are a healthy football team, as healthy as any team I've been around coming out of training camp at this point. We've gotten a lot better because of the reps that we've been able to get through training camp. It's just now about going out and seeing what we look like after the foot hits the ball on the opening kickoff.”

On expectations on a cross-country road trip...

“Just how they handle themselves. It's a business trip. When we go out there, do we pack all of our stuff? Are we meeting on time? Are we handling the environment? Just the time change is a big deal. A three-hour time change is a big deal. I just want to see are we a mature football team? Do we handle our business the right way? Are we focused on doing our job the way we need to do our job? If we can do all of those things and hopefully winning will be a byproduct as we move forward. That's really what I'm looking for, just how we handle this type of trip. We haven't taken a trip together and it's a big one. It's the opening game and I'm just anxious to see our players respond to it.”

On experience with Seattle Seahawks and if he's seen the University of Washington...

“I've never been to Washington before. I don't know much about the campus. I do know about the reputation of the stadium and how loud it can get there. I went through video with the players about that last night just so they're aware of the surroundings and the elements that we're going to be facing on game day. I've never been there before. I've only been out to Seattle one time, this last May to visit the Seahawks for the day and just see the culture that they have in their organization. I've been really a fan of Pete Carroll for a really long time. He's an outstanding defensive coach. He's been a successful defensive coach at different places. Any time you get a chance to go and watch him interact with his players and coaches and just watch him run the organization, I got the opportunity, I wanted to jump at it. I learned a lot when I was there.”

On Andre Patton's growth and involvement...

“Andre has been completely engaged in everything that we're doing offensively. He knows his assignments when he's out there at practices extremely well. He's an intelligent kid. He's very focused on having a great senior year. What type of weapon is he going to be for us? Honestly I hope a big one but I don't know until we actually play games. I really like the intensity and the focus that he brings to our offense in practice when he's out there. I'm anxious to see what he does when the ball is snapped and hopefully big things happen for him.”

On being a first-time head coach...

“There's similarities and there's difference. The time commitment and the demands of your time are the same. But the things that I've got to focus on are a little bit different. Right now it's our first trip as a new staff together, and our new support staff together. I'm definitely involved in a lot of the aspects of the trip planning. We're going out a day in advance. We're playing on Saturday, going out on Thursday, so it's a different type of a trip. But just being involved with all of that stuff as well as being involved with things defensively makes it different. ... That's quite a bit different. That's probably the biggest thing is what you focus your time on as opposed to doing just offensive or defensive stuff.”


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