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Minnesota replaces DL coach lost to Rutgers

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After Rutgers poached one of his assistants a month ago, P.J. Fleck has filled that lone hole on his Minnesota Gophers football coaching staff.

Thursday, Minnesota confirmed that Chad Wilt has been hired by Fleck to serve as the Golden Gophers’ defensive line coach. Wilt replaces Jim Panagos, who left in mid-December to take the job on Greg Schiano‘s Scarlet Knights’ staff.

This is a Big Ten homecoming of sorts for Wilt as he was the defensive line coach at Maryland for two seasons (2014-15). Last season, Wilt held the same job at Cincinnati.

Wilt’s other FBS coaching stops as line coach include:

  • Army (2016-18)
  • Ball State (2011-13)
  • Virginia (2009)

After 12 wins combined his first two seasons at the school, Fleck went 11-2 in his third. It was the best season for Minnesota Gophers football since 1904.

Latest hire nearly completes Greg Schiano’s Rutgers staff

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Nearly seven weeks after he returned as the Rutgers football head coach, Greg Schiano‘s second first staff is nearly complete.

Wednesday, RU announced the hiring of Bob Fraser as the team’s linebackers coach.  This will mark Fraser’s fourth stint with the program.  In 1987, he was a graduate assistant at the school.  Then, he was a part of Schiano’s staff from 2006-11, including as defensive coordinator for the last three years.  Then, he was linebackers coach again in 2015.

The ties to Schiano don’t end in Piscataway.

In 2012-13, Fraser was an assistant on Schiano’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff.  Additionally, he was on the same Ohio State staff as Schiano from 2016-18.

“Bob and I have worked together for several years at different stops and it is great to bring him back to Rutgers, a place I know he cares about deeply,” said the Rutgers football head coach in a statement. “My faith and trust in ‘Fras’ as a coach and developer of men is unparalleled.”

This past season, Fraser served a coaching assistant for the New England Patriots.

With this hiring, Schiano has now filled nine positions on his 10-man Rutgers staff.  The others are:

  • Sean Gleeson — offensive coordinator (HERE)
  • Nunzio Campanile — offensive assistant (HERE)
  • Augie Hoffman, offensive assistant (HERE)
  • Tiquan Underwood — wide receivers (HERE)
  • Andrew Aurich — offensive line (HERE)
  • Robb Smith, defensive coordinator (HERE)
  • Jim Panagos — defensive line (HERE)
  • Bob Fraser — linebackers coach
  • Fran Brown — co-defensive coordinator/secondary (HERE)

Rutgers taps Robb Smith as defensive coordinator

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Both coordinators are now in place for Greg Schiano‘s second first Rutgers football coaching staff.

Earlier this month, Schiano plucked Sean Gleason from Oklahoma State to serve as offensive coordinator.  Tuesday, RU announced that Robb Smith has been hired as defensive coordinator.

Smith and Schiano are very familiar as the former served on the latter’s first RU staff from 2009-12.  The first three seasons, he was the Scarlet Knights’ special teams coordinator. In 2012, he shifted to defensive coordinator.

His positional responsibilities at RU were outside linebackers, cornerbacks, linebackers an the secondary.

Smith also worked on Schiano’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff as linebackers coach in 2012.

“Robb is one of the best defensive coaches I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” said the Rutgers football head coach in a statement. “We are fortunate to have him joining our staff. He works tirelessly to develop players and help them reach their full potential. We are excited to have him and his family back home.”

After the one-year stint in Tampa, Smith was the coordinator at Arkansas (2014-16) and Minnesota (2017-18).

“I am excited to be back at Rutgers,” said Smith. “We had great success our first time around together and I look forward to working with coach Schiano again to accomplish our unfinished business. My family and I are glad to be back in New Jersey.”

With this hiring, Schiano has now filled eight positions on his 10-man Rutgers staff.  The others are:

  • Sean Gleeson — offensive coordinator (HERE)
  • Nunzio Campanile — offensive assistant
  • Augie Hoffman, offensive assistant (HERE)
  • Tiquan Underwood — wide receivers (HERE)
  • Andrew Aurich — offensive line (HERE)
  • Robb Smith, defensive coordinator
  • Jim Panagos — defensive line (HERE)
  • Fran Brown — co-defensive coordinator/secondary (HERE)

Rutgers’ leading rusher AND receiver in 2018 to transfer to Virginia Tech

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By way of Rutgers, the Virginia Tech football roster has seen a rather significant infusion of backfield talent.

After playing in the first four games of the 2019 season, Raheem Blackshear, a team captain, opted to sideline himself for the remainder of the campaign in order to preserve a year of eligibility. Three months later, Blackshear indicated on Twitter that he has decided to leave RU and continue his playing career with the Virginia Tech football program.

According to 247Sports.com, Blackshear chose Tech over Temple. He had also considered a return to Rutgers.

It’s expected that Blackshear, a redshirt sophomore, will seek a waiver that would allow him to play immediately in 2020. If that appeal is denied, he would be left with one season of eligibility he could use in 2021.

A three-star 2017 signee, Blackshear ran for 238 yards as a true freshman. The next season, he led the Scarlet Knights in rushing with 586 yards.

Blackshear is also a significant asset in the passing game.

In addition to being the leading rusher in 2018, Blackshear also led the team in receptions (44), receiving yards (367) and receiving touchdowns (two). Despite playing in just four games this past season, he was second on the Scarlet Knights with 29 receptions (the leader, Bo Melton, had 30) and 310 yards (Melton had 427). His two receiving touchdowns were tied with Melton for the team lead as well.

Greg Schiano closing in on completing Rutgers coaching staff

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Another day, another assistant added by Greg Schiano to his second first Rutgers coaching staff.

Tuesday morning, Rutgers confirmed the hiring of Augie Hoffman by Schiano.  Other than it’ll be on the offensive side of the ball, a specific title for the coach wasn’t detailed.

Hoffman has spent his entire coaching career at New Jersey high school power St. Joseph’s Regional.  He was an assistant coach from 2010-13, and has served as head coach since 2014.

In six seasons under Hoffman, St. Joe’s appeared in four state championship games, winning two of those.

This will mark Hoffman’s first job at the collegiate level of football.

“Augie is one of the most respected coaches in New Jersey,” said Greg Schiano of Rutgers in a statement. “As a leader of one of the top programs in the state, he has a proven track record of developing elite talent both on and off the field. Augie is a tireless worker and his reputation among the players and coaches in our state speaks for itself. We look forward to welcoming Augie and his family to Rutgers.”

And, with that, Greg Schiano has now filled seven positions on his 10-man Rutgers staff.  The others are:

  • Sean Gleeson — offensive coordinator (HERE)
  • Nunzio Campanile — offensive assistant
  • Tiquan Underwood — wide receivers (HERE)
  • Andrew Aurich — offensive line (HERE)
  • Jim Panagos — defensive line (HERE)
  • Fran Brown — co-defensive coordinator/secondary (HERE)