Ash Era: The Rebuild of Rutgers Football
After the recent drubbing to Ohio State the fanbase seems to be defeated and rightfully so. Granted, this loss was not as embarrassing as the 78-0 defeat suffered against Michigan last year, but this one stung nonetheless. I left the stadium Saturday night feeling somewhat hopeless, dejected, and honestly embarrassed to suffer yet another very lopsided loss. We’ve all heard the “Give it time..”, “This is a rebuild..”, “Have faith..” words of encouragement, but at what point do those words start to lose meaning? Now that some of the sting has worn off, I am able to see things more level headed. I have spent the day really evaluating all of the things I have not only thought to myself, but have heard from other fans. I have reviewed the stats, listened to the press conferences, and went through the research. And then I asked, “Chris Ash what have you done for me lately?”
Thus far in his tenure, Ash has cleaned up most of the character issues, boosted the APR, navigated NCAA sanction issues caused by former head coach Kyle Flood, improved strength and conditioning, stabilized recruiting, and has been able to improve the facilities through generous donations from alumni. So, what has been missing? Plain and simple: The results on the field.
When head coach Chris Ash took the job two years ago, the message to the fanbase was clear: This is a multi-year all hands on deck rebuild. His assessment of the job then and now is truthfully spot on:
“Moving forward, I have a message for fans, supporters, administrators, players, basically anybody that loves this program: We need to create some positive energy around this program. It’s going to take an extreme amount of work. It’s going to take a lot of the right people going in the same direction. Organizational alignment here in this athletic department and in this football program is going to be essential to our success.”
So here we are in year two of the Ash Era rebuild and where do we stand? Let’s take a closer look.