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.