Chris Ash

Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Chris Ash continuing to overhaul Rutgers coaching staff

4 Comments

After going 1-11, Rutgers head coach Chris Ash knows there really is no particular area of the team that should be considered safe this offseason. In a potentially pretty critical offseason for Ash after his third season in charge of the Scarlet Knights with a cumulative record of 7-29, Ash is reportedly making some adjustments to his coaching staff.

Among those changes is the hiring of a new defensive coordinator. According to multiple reports, Ash will replace Jay Niemann with Andy Buh as defensive coordinator, according to NJ.com. Buh spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Maryland under former head coach D.J. Durkin and interim head coach Matt Canada. With Maryland hiring Mike Locksley away from Alabama to lead the Terrapins program moving forward, Buh became available amid coaching changes in College Park.

Maryland had the Big Ten’s 7th-ranked defensive unit last season, allowing 390.4 yards per game. Maryland also allowed 28.7 points per game, which ranked 9th in the Big Ten. While those ranks may seem rather pedestrian to many, it is important to remember just how low Rutgers was in those defensive categories. Rutgers allowed 31.4 points per game, with only Illinois allowing more points per game among Big Ten teams last fall. Rutgers also gave up 401.5 yards per game last season, an average that actually improved with the defensive yardage allowed in a positive trend over the last month of the season against Wisconsin, Michigan Penn State and Michigan State.

Ash has already made a couple of staff changes and there could be even more to come before all is settled for the program ahead of spring practices and the upcoming signing day. Given Ash has already had to receive a vote of confidence from Rutgers last November amid a miserable football season, it is fair to suggest Ash needs these staff changes to lead to some noticeable result son the field next fall. If they do not, he may not get the chance to make any more adjustments himself.

Rutgers fills vacancy at defensive line coach

Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Needing to fill one spot on the coaching staff, Rutgers head coach Chirs Ash has reportedly added former Miami Ohio defensive line coach Corey Brown to fill the same role on his staff in New Jersey. A report from NJ.com confirmed the hiring of Brown over the weekend.

Brown will come to Rutgers after four years at Miami Ohio, but Brown is no stranger to the Big Ten. Brown played college football at Iowa. Brown will have a young defensive line to work with at Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights continue to try and beef up their presence on the line against Big Ten opposition. The disadvantages on the line of scrimmage continue to be one of the biggest areas of concern for Rutgers as the program prepares for its fourth season as a Big Ten member in 2018.

Rutgers was 12th in the Big Ten with 16.0 sacks and 13th in the conference with 50.0 tackles for loss last season. The Scarlet Knights also ranked 11th in the Big Ten in rushing defense after allowing 181.83 rushing yards per game.

Ash has taken strides in attempting to change the way the defensive line has been built, but the kind of change Rutgers has needed to undergo does take time before the program can start going toe-to-toe with division opponents like Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State. It may end up being another work in progress this upcoming season.

Brown will replace Shane Burnham as defensive line coach. Burnham left Rutgers for a job at UCF with new head coach Josh Heupel.

Rutgers reportedly reworks Chris Ash contract through 2022

AP Photo/Mel Evans
2 Comments

A former Rutgers head coach may be having a difficult time being hired for another head coach gig, but current Rutgers head coach was just given a boost of confidence from his bosses. According to a report from NJ.com, Rutgers has reworked the contract of Chris Ash to now run through the 2022 season, giving Ash a two-year extension as a result.

Ash originally signed with Rutgers in December 2015 on a five-year contract, which was valued at $11 million. In addition to commitments to improve the football facilities, Rutgers is now investing more in their head coach as part of the new agreement in place. Per NJ.com;

The two additional years on top of the three he had remaining are worth $5.1 million total, according to a Rutgers official. Ash’s starting salary was $2 million per year with annual raises of $100,000 and those terms remained unchanged: He will make $2.2 million in 2018.

As noted in the report, this is actually the first official contract Ash will have on the record. The previous two seasons, Ash was working off a signed Memorandum of Agreement with the promise of working out an official contract. That deal was in place as Rutgers was awaiting word from the NCAA on any potential sanctions stemming from incidents that occurred under the previous head coach, Kyle Flood.

Ash took the Rutgers job prior to the 2016 season, his first job as a head coach after serving as an assistant under Urban Meyer at Ohio State. The first year on the job did not go well with a rebuilding project on his hands and injuries to key players. The Scarlet Knights went 2-10 in 2016 and suffered humiliating losses in Big Ten play. The 2017 season saw some steps forward for the Rutgers program result in doubling the win total from the previous season. The gaps between Rutgers and the top programs in the Big Ten were still visible from the moon and the season ended with a loud thud in the form of a 40-0 loss at Indiana and a 40-7 setback at home against Michigan State, but the larger picture of Rutgers in 2017 had some positives the 2016 season simply did not.

Jerry Kill “expected back shortly” following seizure over weekend

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images
1 Comment

Rutgers offensive coordinator Jerry Kill has a well-documented history battling seizures, and unfortunately, it has once again resurfaced over the weekend. According to a report from NJ.com, Kill has been hospitalized for a minor seizure on Sunday morning, but he is expected to return to work as soon as today, according to Rutgers head coach Chris Ash.

The seizure may have been a result of a sideline collision involving Kill during Saturday’s game at home against Eastern Michigan.

“Coach Kill had a minor medical setback,” Ash said, according to NJ.com. “He is going to be fine. Saturday, early in the game after the first drive, he got tumbled up. He was really discombobulated in the first half from it and had some headaches Saturday night.”

Ash said Kill is doing fine and just awaiting release from the hospital later today or tomorrow.

Kill parted ways with Minnesota after the two sides were unable to work out a new contract for an administrative role following the 2015 season. Kill had stepped away from coaching the Gophers earlier in the 2015 season, citing health concerns related to his seizures and epilepsy preventing him from being able to focus on the job of head coach the way he would prefer. Kill had fallen victim to seizures on sidelines during his time at Minnesota and made the decision that was best for his health and the program at the time, but his desire to stay involved as a coach never went away.

Rutgers signed Kill as an offensive coordinator this year, with Kill suggesting his ongoing seizure concerns will not interfere with his coaching. That will hopefully be the case here.

Rutgers announces new six-year deal with Adidas

Rutgers Athletics
2 Comments

Rutgers is ending a partnership with Nike and embarking on a new six-year partnership with Adidas.

Announced today, the new contract between Rutgers and Adidas will officially begin on July 1, 2017, at which point the current contract with Nike will expire. Adidas will provide all athletic programs at Rutgers with footwear, apparel, and accessories, which means Adidas will get a chance to see what they can do with the football uniforms.

“Everyone here at Rutgers is excited to be partnering with Adidas,” Rutgers Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs said in a released statement. “Our coaches and students know they will be getting outstanding apparel and equipment with which to compete. As important, Adidas will bring unmatched service to our programs. We look forward to celebrating much success together, both on and off the field.”

“We are extremely excited about our new partnership with Adidas,” Rutgers head coach Chris Ash said. We are committed to giving our student-athletes the best to help them on and off the field. Adidas is the perfect partner to outfit our players as they compete.”

The terms of the new contract (how much Rutgers will receive from Adidas) have not been reported at this time.

What the new Rutgers football uniforms will look like remains a mystery to the public at this time, although it is likely a proposed uniform has already been mocked up if the company is going to suit Rutgers up starting this season. Rutgers will be the third Big Ten program to have a contract with Adidas, with Indiana and Nebraska already under the Adidas banner. Nebraska has a five-year deal signed in 2013 that pays the school $15.53 million. Last spring, Michigan and Nike signed a $173.8 million apparel deal, making Michigan football the first team to wear the Jumpman logo on a football uniform.

Adidas also has contracts with Arizona State, Arkansas State, Central Michigan, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan, FIU, FAU, Georgia Southern, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Miami FL, Miami OH, Mississippi State, NC State, Northern Illinois, Rice, Texas A&M, Texas State, Troy, Tulsa, UMass, UTSA and Western Michigan.