Rutgers football: Time for RU to bid Chis Ash farewell

Chris Ash. Rutgers Scarlet Knights. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Chris Ash. Rutgers Scarlet Knights. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

In lieu of our normal Rutgers football “three takeaways” article, we present one big take away. Scarlet Knights head coach Chris Ash must go.

Normally, I do a “three takeaways” article after every Rutgers football game. This week I have one big takeaway from the Scarlet Knights 30-16 home loss to Boston College. It’s a big one though. Head coach Chris Ash needs to go, now.

Saturday was another painful example of why Rutgers Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs must step in and end this madness. Boston College was not only a team the Knights could beat, but it was also one the had to beat. They were playing a mid-to-bottom level team from a power five conference. It was RU’s chance to make some sort of small statement to the college football world. In the end, the loss told everyone that nothing has changed for the hard-luck program in Ash’s four years at the school.

Maybe the worst part of Saturday’s game was that Rutgers beat themselves. BC had a big offensive line and a very good power running attack, but they were very beatable. The Scarlet Knights defense for there part played pretty well in the game. Eventually, they were beatdown, but it didn’t have to go down that way.

Penalties absolutely killed Rutgers in the game. 11 infractions for 100 yards is inexcusable. Worse was the timing of said penalties. It looked like almost anytime RU was putting a decent drive together, they shot themselves in the foot with a penalty. Losing the recruiting war for talented athletes is one thing, but undisciplined football is something completely different. That is on the coaching staff.

Committing penalties on Saturdays shouldn’t be a surprise to Rutgers coaches. It’s not like the team plays clean all week long in practice and self-destructs in games. The Scarlet Knights players can’t do much about the talent gap they face on a weekly basis (Ash could have), but what is in their control is self-discipline.

Ash has to know that Rutgers is far from the most talented team in the NCAA. So the fact that he isn’t teaching proper technique or conditioning is damning. The thousands of empty seats at SHI Stadium are screaming about what the Scarlet Knights have done on the field under Chris Ash isn’t close to good enough.

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One of the big reasons Ash still has a job is his big buy out. It would cost the University over $7M to remove him. Well, welcome to the Big 10, Rutgers. If RU wants to play with the big boys then they have to act like a big boy, which includes firing a consistently ineffective head coach who can’t recruit top players and puts an undisciplined team on the field.

How does the Rutgers football program represent Hobbs “Relentless Pursuit of Excellence” vision for the entire athletic department? It doesn’t Ash is costing the university more than his buyout due to the loser perception he is perpetuating and the apathy shown by Rutgers fans. He has given the A.D. more than enough ammunition to be removed. Ash’s mea culpa during his post-game press conference, “It is all on me. I have to do a better job of getting the team ready” should be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

If Rutgers wants to be taken seriously (otherwise why join the Big 10) then they need to start with a dynamic head coach. I’ll write more on this later, but Mike Leach should be the man to run the program starting in 2020. If Leach can recruit a good team to Pullman, Washington competing against some of the marquee programs in the country, he could do wonders for Rutgers. Most importantly his “Air Raid” offense will put behinds in seats.

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Whoever leads the program going forward is a moot point until the athletic director holds Ash responsible for the mess of a program that is Rutgers Scarlet Knights football. If the coach can’t do his job, then its incumbent upon Hobbs to do his own job and fire Chris Ash.