While Rutgers ran through eight offensive coordinators in eight years, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep head coach Rich Hansen watched them all as an interested party.
Hansen had plenty of interested with some of his own former stars in Rutgers uniforms and plenty of visits from Scarlet Knight coaches during recruiting periods. Used to change in the OC offense at Rutgers, Hansen calls the move to Jerry Kill “an all-out positive.”
“It's like coach [Chris] Ash said, he checks all of the boxes of the things that he was looking for,” Hansen said. “He's won national championships as an assistant. He's been the national coach of the year. He's proven he can rebuild programs and sustain positive relationships. He's been able to sustain success wherever he goes. He's a proven entity.”
For prized Rutgers quarterback Johnathan Lewis, one of Hansen's stars, there is no concern about the change.
“The bottom line is that they're going to run the offense that they recruited Johnathan to play,” Hansen said. “That's not changing. Coach Kill has experience developing quarterbacks. He's an experienced head coach and a play caller. Johnathan just wants to be coached. After four years with us, he's come so far. The table is set and I think he's going to be very successful with coach Kill and how he intends to use him. From that perspective, John is on a great path.”
The soundbite quote from Kill was music to the ears of Lewis, and every other quarterback with a Rutgers scholarship offer.
“We will add some stuff that I think will be critical to the success of the quarterbacks that we have,” Kill said. “It will be a quarterback-friendly offense, I can tell you that. We want to use our quarterbacks’ legs as well as use their arms.”
Kill spoke with Lewis and his father as soon as possible. Lewis expressed as little concern after the conversation as he did at the time of Mehringer's departure.
“He has a great reputation. He coached many quarterbacks that went on to great things. He coached a winning team, and I'm excited to have him as a part of Rutgers."
And to no surprise to anyone that follows Ash, when a change went down – Ash had a plan.
“I spoke to Chris after Drew [Mehringer] accepted the position at Texas,” Hansen said. “As I've known Coach to be, he had a plan in place and he was very adamant on pursuing his plan. His plan was Jerry Kill. I know he feels it's a great fit. John and his dad are comfortable with everything he brings to the table. … The bottom line is you and I and everyone will judge him on how many games he wins.”