The Headline – Chris Ash's state of the union address to his players Sunday had nothing to do with politics.
Rutgers is 2-8 on the way to the end of a painful inaugural year and rebuild. While the results are not on the field, the foundation is underway.
“A lot of people don't know what they're talking about, which is something that I've been able to see from a player perspective and somebody who got to sit out and just hear chatter,” said captain Darius Hamilton. “You know what I mean? Hear chatter, hear words of people who think they really understand the game of football, understand how much time it takes to develop kids, understand how much time they think it takes to win games. They think it's as easy as putting just one person over another. And at the end of the day, people have to play football. But we really see how much work goes into this exactly, how many hours go into this from a coach's perspective and a player's perspective. It's really crazy, and I know for a fact that we're leaving — I'm leaving this place better.”
The message from Ash to players was a bout respect for the game and hard work for two more games.
“We're not sitting around here pointing fingers at anybody,” Ash said. “We're not sitting here feeling sorry for ourselves, we're not sitting here waiting for somebody to come dig us out of a hole. It's year one of trying to build a program. Have we been competitive in some games and had a chance to win some games in the fourth quarter? Absolutely we have. We haven't gotten it done. That's the disappointing part.
“But nobody's down on what we're building. Nobody's giving up hope on what we're trying to do here, the players and/or coaches. And it's a positive environment when you walk in this building. Sundays are tough. Whenever you lose, Sundays are tough. But we get it out of our system. We move on. We get our focus turned to the next opponent and we have practice on Tuesday.”
Worth Noting – Injured receiver Janarion Grant is not at a final decision regarding a fifth year at Rutgers. Whether or not Rutgers honors him Saturday night as a senior has no impact on his return. Both situations are in Grant's hands.
“Janarion's rehab is going great,” Ash said. “He's around here a lot. He's got a smile on his face, feeling really good. He's doing great in the classroom. We're still in the information gathering phase to help him make the best decision moving forward.
“We have not received all the information that we need. It's senior night and he's going to make a decision whether he's going to be announced or not be announced. It's not going to determine anything for the future.”
Quote of the Day – “I'm not going to sit here and say we're not going to see results until five years down the road. But what we are doing in the program in year one is building a very solid foundation. Those roots are growing underneath. They're spreading. They're getting stronger. But the results aren't there on Saturday. And that's where we're at.” – Ash.