Perhaps Not a Major Transition After All

The major news coming out of post-LOI Day/pre-Spring Camp was, undoubtedly, the large turnover in staff. Rutgers has six new assistants, including newly promoted Chris Hewitt. Six, a half a baker's dozen, may seem large enough, but the transition to Rutgers may not be all that difficult.

"I grew up in New England and Connecticut, so the transition really isn't that big of a deal. Whereever you wind up going to, coaching is still coaching, and that's what I plan on doing here at Rutgers," stated Gary Emanuel, who takes over as RU's new defensive line coach for the departed Cary Goddette.

What Emanuel brings to the table is no shortage of experience. With over two decades of coaching experience, Emanuel has spent time in the NFL and has been highly successful in the college ranks as well. It's the combination of success, at both levels of competition, that may wind up benefitting both the current crop of Scarlet Knights while also grabbing the attention of potential recruits.

Emanuel has coached a dozen college players that have gone on to the NFL ranks. Prior to his stint at San Jose State, Emanuel also spent two years as the San Francisco 49ers defensive line coach, an experience that will no doubt benefit Rutgers.

"You would hope that all the guys here have aspirations of competing to get to the next level. But whatever their goals are, my hope is to help these guys achieve their goals, on and off the field," continued Coach Manuel.

Formerly the director of speed and skill development, Chris Hewitt makes the shift to Cornerbacks Coach, and much like Emanuel, envisions a smooth transition.

"The only transition that I see is in personality. The guys already know me. We've come along in the program together," stated Coach Hewitt.

Like Emanuel, Hewitt also brings NFL experience to the table, though of a slightly different variety. A Dwight Morrow High School [Englewood, NJ] alumnus, Hewitt enjoyed four season with the NFL's New Orleans Saints. Initially a Graduate Assistant at Rutgers, Hewitt has seen the growth and progress of the Scarlet Knights defense first-hand.

"Obviously, these kids have grown and developed themselves to get to the next level. These guys know the actual game of football now. It gives them an advantage," stated Hewitt in reference to the stable of veterans he will enjoy coaching. "It's very important when you have a group of veteran guys out there. These guys are an extra group of coaches out there on the field."

Coach Gary Brown, formerly a Penn State standout when Head Coach Greg Schiano was but a Graduate Assistant in Happy Valley, joins the staff as the Running Backs Coach. It's the single position where the depth chart may have its greatest volatility. Finding a replacement for arguably the greatest running back in school history in Ray Rice, brings with it opportunities and challenges. The challenge of replacing over 2,000 yards of total offense will not be an easy one. Rutgers, however, does have significant backfield talent, and there are choices to choose from.

"I think anytime you come into a situation at this level you know you'll have talented guys waiting for their opportunity. They will have to be taught, you have to help them keep their head in the game, and they'll be fine," said Brown.

The common theme amongst the newcomers is their affiliation with the local area (i.e., northeastern guys), and desire to enjoy an opportunity to succeed, at Rutgers.

"I totally appreciate Coach Schiano to give me a chance to come here," said Coach Brown. "I'm really looking forward to next week. We have a very good group of guys, guys like Mason Robinson, Jourdan Brooks, Joe Martinek, and I'm excited to see what they can do and what we can do together."

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