Q: What are your goals in improving the offense?
Rutgers OC Jerry Kill: “I want to get good at something that we can believe in. Having a whole bunch [installed] this summer and trying to get good at it, we probably won't be very successful. We want to get the basics in and get good at something. Say, 'hey we're going to get good at these three plays. We're going to get good at this pass concept.' Then we'll go from there, but let's get good at something. I think that's important with building. My theme at Minnesota was brick by brick. We've got to lay the foundation down, and I believe in repetition. I don't believe you can run two plays in practice and then try to run them in the game. You can do a lot of different things and still run the same play. I want our kids to come out in spring ball and say 'we're good at this.' We're good at this part of the game. You can't put 200 things in and say that. Fundamentally, it still comes down to fundamentals. We have go get better upfront – they're all young – using their hands, technique fundamentals, quarterback fundamentals. If you don't have the fundamentals, you can't do anything right. I think we've got to spend a ton of time on technique and fundamentals and teaching. I think we've got to. That's where it all starts. If you don't have that, it doesn't matter what scheme you're in. We've got our work cut out for us to do the things that I feel like we need to do to be successful.”
Q: What were the challenges in turning around Minnesota?
JK: Getting the players to believe. First of all, you have to do exactly what Chris [Ash] did. You come in with a plan and a vision and this is how we're going to do it. This is the way it is. Usually when you take a job – I don't know how it was here – but academics were a mess there. APR was a mess. GPA was like a 2.1. We had 24 kids on academic probation. I had to hire some more academic people. I think now they had three semesters over 3.0. Make sure the players understood that going to class and being on time and doing what you're supposed to equals wins on the football field, too. We wanted discipline throughout the whole program. Sell them. I was a hard-nosed guy. Most people would tell you. Sell them on that and it's going to equal wins was not easy to do. As recruiting comes in, you change that culture in the locker room. As you change that culture, you get what you want. I think it's exactly what Chris is going to do. He's got men working hard. He's got a great setup. Everybody knows what they're supposed to do. Lay the foundation. Now we've got to recruit to the foundation. We've got to recruit to Rutgers. Everybody gets caught up on this guy being a 13-star or whatever the hell that is. It's more important to me is recruit to your culture and what you want out of your football team and who you want to bring in. That's the most important thing. Again, I go right back to [Bill] Belichick and New England. You can name three or four players on their team, but the rest of them no one really knows about sometimes. He recruits to his culture. I think that's what we've got to do here and that's what we're doing.”
Q: Where do the quarterbacks start?
JK: “I don't want to know anything [about what they did last year]. I've watched film and stuff like that, but I haven't asked a lot of questions. I kind of want to see it on my own. Me and coach Ash talk about it. Me, I want to see the whole team. It's a whole new ballgame. I'm the new guy. Some guys get second chances when maybe they didn't think they were ever going to play. You never know what's going to happen. Everybody comes in with a clean slate. I want to see people compete and show me what they got. They ought to be fired up. I've just got to do a good enough job so I'm not the ninth coordinator that goes. That's my whole goal. I want to stay here longer than a year and not get fired.”
Q: What are the biggest challenges at Rutgers?
JK: “Number one is that I think we've put a good staff together. Lester Erb was a big hire for us. I've got a guy coming in for quality control that has been with K-State's offense for seven years. I think that's important. It's our job, like I told the offense, I don't want to hear about it's the player's fault. It's our fault. It's our job to get the players on the field. It's our job to teach them. If we get out-athleted and he's better than us, what are you going to do? But there's a lot of games in there that we could have won last year. We just didn't finish the job and didn't do the little things in the kicking game, et cetra. I think the biggest challenge for coaches is to get the confidence of the players. Hey we know what we're doing and we're going to be better. When you've been losing for a while, that's a bad habit. It gets to be one of those deals. We've got to get them to where they believe they can win. The way you do that is you've got to build confidence. We need to get tougher mentally and physically. All of those kinds of things. The big thing is convince them we can win. There's no reason we can't win here at Rutgers. To me, there's no excuses. There wasn't at Minnesota. Find a way. What you don't have, are you going to cry around about it or are you just going to go to work?”