Any coach that takes over the job as Rutgers’ head football coach inherits a difficult job. But first-year head coach Chris Ash is looking to prove a fresh start and a clean slate can lead to great things in New Jersey.
For Ash, the rebuilding job didn’t start with putting together a solid recruiting effort. It began with giving the football facilities a face lift.
“One of the first meetings I had here, that was with the custodial staff,” Ash recently said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While most of the changes done under Ash’s watch have been smaller in scale compared to blueblood programs installing waterfalls in the football facilities, they have not gone unnoticed. We’re talking more along the lines of repainting the walls to a more welcoming color scheme, or how rooms are set up, ideally for more efficient work being done off the field. He also added some life to other dead spots around the football facilities by having music played non-stop, instead of the regular silence that had been prevalent around the program.
Ash is looking to take some tips from his previous job and boss. That would be at Ohio State, under Urban Meyer. Many of the efforts utilized by Ash to this point have been nothing short of Ohio State-esque in execution. And why not try to emulate what has worked so well for the Buckeyes? It can’t hurt to try, right?
It may not make much of a noticeable difference in what we see from Rutgers on the field on Saturdays, but the 2-2 Scarlet Knights will be a work in progress and that work starts off the field. For Ash, it is important to provide an environment off the field that will lead to a positive vibe and good work habits. Making Rutgers football facilities more welcoming is a good place to start, considering where the program was a year ago at this time.
Rutgers may not turn into the next Ohio State, but if Ash sticks to his plan and Rutgers backs him up, there is no reason to suspect Rutgers will be a constant door mat in the Big Ten East.