Michael Redden: Red's Take on it All
Jan 31, 2012 | By: Random Blogger
On a cold day last week, I got home from work and cracked a beverage to celebrate the commitment of of Ryan Brodie and went on StateofRutgers.com to review what could be the recruiting class that we as Scarlet faithful have always coveted; where the wall around New Jersey was clearly built.
I then wrote a blog-piece that pretty much stated that we were so lucky to have a coach as loyal and dedicated as Greg Schiano, a piece which would never be published. The next morning, I was in my office cleaning up my e-mails when my co-worker came in and let me know that Adam Schefter tweeted that Greg Schiano was, in fact, leaving Rutgers for a job with the Bucs. Having heard such rumblings before, I quickly brushed him off before realizing that when it comes to these things Adam Schefter is a fairly reliable source.
Once I realized that the news was in fact true, the range of emotions I felt were weird. Why was this bothering me so much? Where do we go from here? I had always been a Rutgers fan since the days of Spitzer, Battaglia, and Lucas. However my fandom reached new levels the day I signed a Letter of Intent to run track for Mike Mulqueen and the Rutgers Men’s Track Program.
My first year at Rutgers was Schiano’s first year at Rutgers, and through the years I developed an affection for the program that surpassed the way I felt about the Yankees, Jets, and Knicks combined. Through the past 11 years I have seen this program at the absolute bottom of college football, and have seen it capture the attention of the entire sports world.
When I finally came to the realization that Schiano was actually leaving, I felt like part of me was dying inside. The program and school that I had grown to love so much was delivered a death blow that it may never recover from. We have all heard the rumors: Schiano to Penn St., Schiano to Michigan, Miami etc. Being from South Orange (N.J.), a town that has never truly embraced Rutgers (Seton Hall is in South Orange), I have been the subject of ridicule, and back-handed comments for all these years.
People used to say I was delusional when I said he would never leave. Perhaps I was. I didn’t really get over the anger and feelings of betrayal until Tim Pernetti’s press conference which really put things in perspective for me.
After that press conference, my feelings once again became optimistic. At the end of the day, the team that we have coming back next year is absolutely loaded. It also occurred to me that the now-open head coaching job could be very attractive to some really good coaches, some of which may already be employed at Rutgers. It also occurred to me yet again, that the one guy that were lucky to have could really be Tim Pernetti. The way he has been pro-active these last couple of days while taking ownership of the situation and getting involved in recruiting has really impressed me.
At the end of the day, Greg Schiano is gone. Let’s get over it. A lot of people only know the guy who was a public relations genius, defensive guru, and public speaking mastermind but what people never saw was the way he and his staff work themselves to the bone, often sleeping in their offices and dealing with all kinds of chaotic situations on the team that never make it out to the public.
The man has always been exceptional at walking into a room and commanding attention, which is one of the reasons why after thinking about it, I think it’s possible he may find success in Tampa. But now he is gone. Instead of bashing the guy, I think that we as fans need to be thankful for what he did here at the University and for achieving the impossible which is turning the blemish of our sport into something that our state can be proud of. It’s time to move on and embrace the changes that we as a University, and fan base are now facing.
When Tim Pernetti says “Our program has never been stronger”, he is in fact correct. As of today, we still have one of the best strength and conditioning programs in the country headed by Jay Butler, a man with an engineering degree and a knack for turning boys into NFL-ready men. We still have the best academic support staff, and people that work behind the scenes who do a tremendous job such as former RU stars Will Gilkison and Shawn Tucker and a medical staff that has been proven capable of handling situations as tough as Eric Legrand's.
If Rutgers can keep the core of this recruiting class together, in particular the offensive line commits, there is no telling what this program can accomplish on the field in the next few years. While the recruitment of Darius Hamilton and others has grabbed the headlines, I strongly believe that the Steve Longas, Ruhann Peeles, and Delon Stephenso’s of the world will continue to be what really makes this program go.
While Devin Fuller may have decided for UCLA after having his heart set on Rutgers, what will really keep this program going in the right direction is our ability to find the kid from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania or Florida that everyone else wrote off and turn them into stars. Guys like the McCourtys, Ramel Meekins, Brian Leonard, Brandon Renkhardt, and countless others.
While the last week has been a complete whirlwind, I have never been more confident in the future of this program. I have complete faith that Coach Flood and his staff will do a tremendous job in holding things together.
As a fan-base let's close this thing out by supporting our guys. We don’t need to keep lamenting on what happened. We are fortunate to still have a team made up of “winners”, and a class that I think will still make us all very proud. The Chop won’t stop baby. There’s still a Rutgers ring on my desk, and I still bleed Scarlet.
My sources confirmed that Yuri Wright had indeed told the staff that he was coming to Rutgers before switching to Colorado. Based on what I have heard, that may not be a bad thing. However, I truly hope Wright realizes the opportunity he has ahead of him and makes the most of it. I myself was a knucklehead at his age. While some have speculated that Mike Strizak would come back into the Rutgers mix, that is unlikely to materialize.
With most of Rutgers' commits re-affirming their commitments, do not expect random offers to go out to un-offered kids with the exception of Kye Morgan who was always “In the mix” (sorry couldn’t help myself).
One thing that hasn’t really been mentioned is that with Coach Schiano now in the league, many of our guys who have working their tail off for a big break there may get another look. Guys like Tim Brown, Brandon Bing, Joe Lefeged and others. When Steve Spurrier become the Redskins coach, he ended up with close to 11 or 12 former Gators on his roster. I am willing to believe that Schiano is as loyal if not more loyal to his guys and will be giving some of them jobs.
In addition, it will probably create another team in the league that will utilize fullbacks, and undersized defensive lineman that can play in the 4-3. With the Colts likely switching to a new defense, this could really help some of our guys