With an influx of freshman talent for the 2012 season, new head coach Kyle Flood has his hands full.
Not only did he need to convince the University that he was the right man for the job, he then had to fill his coaching staff after many of the assistants also left the program with Greg Schiano.
Even more than the players, the RU coaching staff will be under the greatest scrutiny, as many of the coaches—while they have prior experience—have never been at Rutgers before. With the start of the 2012 season now less than two months away, here is the staff that will look to lead the Scarlet Knights to their first-ever Big East title:
Kyle Flood, Head Coach
The 29th head coach of the Scarlet Knights, Flood began his college coaching career in 1995, having been a member of the Rutgers staff since 2005. It was after Flood arrived at Rutgers that the Scarlet Knights began going to bowl games again.
"The assistant coaches I’ve been able to bring here are good family men, they’re good football coaches," Flood said of his staff. "On defense, we have three assistants who have been coordinators, two on the Division-I level. On offense, three of the coaches have been Division-I BCS offensive coordinators. We have the football minds here."
Dave Brock, Offensive Coordinator/WR Coach
After previous coaching stints at notable colleges such as Temple and North Carolina, Brock will be under close scrutiny this season, which is his first as Rutgers' offensive coordinator.
A frequent complaint of the Schiano era was a lack of explosiveness, so much so that even when the Scarlet Knights had a talented quarterback like Tom Savage, the play-calling was conservative.
Communication between Brock and head coach Kyle Flood should be good, however, as the two spent time together on the Hofstra staff for five seasons.
Robb Smith, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
A seasoned member of the Rutgers coaching staff, Smith has been promoted from defensive backs coach.
Smith has also coached at the University of Maine and a brief stop at Iowa. Reportedly, Smith had offers to leave Rutgers, but stayed on when promoted to defensive coordinator. "I couldn't be happier that he stayed on staff despite pulling and tugging from some other places around the country," Flood said of his new coordinator. "It was critical to me that we were able to keep our defensive system in place."
Rob Spence, Quarterbacks Coach
Yet another coach in his "freshman" season at Rutgers, Spence has 23 years of coaching experience, including 16 campaigns as an offensive coordinator for Bethune Cookman, Clemson, Louisiana Tech, Syracuse and Toledo.
Norries Wilson, Running Backs Coach
Along with special teams coach Joe Rossi, Wilson was one of the last coaches hired to round out Flood's staff. The former head coach at Columbia, he had previously been an offensive coordinator at Big East rival Connecticut.
Darnell Dinkins, Tight Ends
NFL fans may recognize the name Darnell Dinkins, the former tight end of the Super Bowl winning New Orleans Saints. He also played with Cleveland, Baltimore and the New York Giants, and coached last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Damien Wroblewski, Offensive Line Coach
Having coached college programs since 1999, Wroblewski was most recently at Delaware from 2007 to 2011. Previously, he had stops at Hofstra and Pennsylvania, but he may have a difficult time molding an offensive line composed mostly of underclassmen.
Tom McEntire, Assistant Defensive Coach
McEntire is taking a promotion with Rutgers this season, having previously served with player development last year.
Jim Panagos, Defensive Line Coach
A former defensive line coach at the University of Central Florida, Panagos had previously coached with the Minnesota Vikings from 2002 to 2005.
Panagos had played as a defensive tackle in college at the University of Maryland. "My style is pretty simple," says Panagos about his coaching technique. "I'm very high energy and I'm very hands-on. I played the position, so I bring a unique perspective."
Dave Cohen, Linebackers Coach
Another first-year coach for the Knights, Cohen has been a college coach since 1988, having overseen linebackers, defensive lineman and even working as a defensive coordinator. Most notably, Cohen was the head coach at Hofstra (2006 to 2009), where he had a record of 18-27.
Joe Rossi, Special Teams Coach
The former defensive coordinator at the University of Maine, Rossi will pull double duty this season, also serving as an assistant defensive coach. Rossi has two years of special teams coaching at Maine in 2007 and 2008.
The Scarlet Knights open their season at Tulane on September 1. In the meantime, Flood has been busy securing talent for 2013, as the continues to collect verbal commitments from more than a dozen prospects so far.