Aftermath: Rutgers Coach Chris Ash on Loss to Penn State

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers coach Chris Ash speaks on his vision for the program and what went wrong after the fourth shutout loss of the season.

COACH ASH: Go ahead and start. Just want to thank our seniors. Disappointing that Senior Night didn't end on a positive. Didn't give them an opportunity to leave their legacy in this football program and this university the way that we wanted.

You know, my hat's off to Penn State. They made the plays, and we didn't get much going on the offensive side of the ball. And you know, you can't run the ball, can't protect the quarterback, and you know, third down was, again, another issue. We're going to struggle.

But can't say enough about the seniors. They have helped us lay a foundation that we can build on for the future. Their buy-in, their commitment, their work ethic, their leadership has been outstanding in the year that we've been here and my heart goes out to them right now because we really wanted to finish on a positive note for them.

The good thing is we have one more opportunity for this group of individuals to go out and play the game that they love together one more time, and keep trying to find a way to let these seniors enjoy a moment together here at the end of the season.

But we have to roll up our sleeves. We've got to go to work. We've got a lot of work we need to do to make improvements in a lot of areas moving forward and we'll do that. There will be better days than there were here recently, and obviously tonight. So.

With that, I'll go ahead and just open up for questions.

Q. Offensively, the same logistical problems, first downs, third down conversions; how do you fix that, and is it a case of being a little too predictable?
COACH ASH: No, it's not about being predictable. There's a lot of things we've got to fix. First it starts up front. We have to be able to run the ball and we have to protect the quarterback. You know, when you talk about being able to run the ball, we've got to have some sort of a pass game threat and right now, we don't. If we can't protect the quarterback, it's tough to throw the ball.

Q. How much of it do you put on Drew as your play-caller?
COACH ASH: It's on everybody. It's on everybody. Our coaches are coaching their tails off. Drew is calling a lot of really good plays. Players are out there fighting and scratching and clawing and trying to execute stuff.

But if you're a one-dimensional offense, and right now, we're not even one-dimensional. You look at the stats, there's not much going well. But that's on all of us and we've got to find a way to get it fixed moving forward.

Q. How much did it hurt to not get anything out of that first possession?
COACH ASH: It hurt. You know, you go down the field, you kick the ball off, you recover a fumble, and we lose yards and then can't put the ball between the uprights for some points. That hurt.

Q. The decision to use Tylin as much as you did, was Gio banged up?
COACH ASH: No, that's a part of the game plan. That's what we want to be able to do, and Tylin did some good things.

Q. One-dimensional, is it just --
COACH ASH: You look at the stats, we're not even one-dimensional.

Q. Is it just, guys just aren't good enough?
COACH ASH: There's a combination of things. Like I've said before, I'm never going to make an excuse. I'm not going to ever say it's about players. It's about us coaching and executing and finding out what our players can do and we've got to do a bet eastbound job of that.

Q. What do you think about the defensive effort, forcing four field goals, but obviously was not enough in the long run?
COACH ASH: I thought for the first three quarters, we were playing pretty good. Good enough against a quality opponent with an outstanding tailback, and I think the quarterback is a really good player, too.

I thought the effort and execution what have we were trying to do defensively was there. Fell apart in the fourth quarter. Game got out of hand and got wet and sloppy and I hate to see that. First half I thought was pretty good. Third quarter I thought was pretty good. Defense was put in a bad spot with the blocked punt in field position, but we have to get better on all phases. It's not just offense, defense or special teams. It's all phases.

Q. The blocked punt, was it a missed assignment?
COACH ASH: A missed assignment.

Q. Do you have some concern that your message of hope in the future gets lost a little bit in just the number of shutouts and the lopsided scores?
COACH ASH: No, look, I came here with a plan, came here with a vision. You go back to the opening press conference that I had standing right here in this room, I never told anybody it was going to be easy. It's going to be difficult; we've got a lot of challenges that lay ahead, but we'll get there. And I'm not going to make any predictions on when, but we'll be there; I can promise you that.

We're going to be swinging really hard. We are developing the players that are on the roster, the younger players right now. We are going to be recruiting really hard. Those things will never change. Our goals for the program are not going to change. The vision is not going to change. The plan is not going to change.

We have to roll up our sleeves and go to work, and we've got to coach, and we've got to develop and we've got to recruit. And guess what, that takes a lot of time and it's going to take some time.

Q. Is it bigger than you thought it would be, the rebuild?
COACH ASH: I knew there was going to be a lot of challenges.


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