Friedgen tries to ready Rutgers for Big Ten debut

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 20, 2014 at 1:57 pm •  Published: June 20, 2014
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Ralph Friedgen can tell just by the look on Kyle Flood's face when his new boss at Rutgers is having a bad day.

Friedgen spent 10 years as head coach at Maryland before he was fired coming off a 9-4 season in 2010.

In a career that spans 42 years and took him from a national championship team (Georgia Tech, 1990) to a Super Bowl team (San Diego Chargers, 1994), the 67-year-old Friedgen has pretty much seen it all.

Flood, the 43-year-old first-time head coach heading into a pivotal third season at Rutgers, hired Friedgen as offensive coordinator to fix a quarterback, make the offense more creative and give the Scarlet Knights a chance to compete in their Big Ten debut.

As a bonus, Friedgen has also been a sounding board and sage for Flood.

"He asks me a lot of questions," Friedgen said recently. "He wanted that to be part of my role."

Flood said he wasn't looking for a mentor when he was trying to hire an offensive coordinator, but he acknowledges it's nice to tap into Friedgen's wealth of knowledge, whether it's on player issues, end of game strategy or practice schedules.

"I think it's a tremendous bonus," Flood said. "Those conversations to me are invaluable."

Friedgen had been out of the business since Maryland fired him with a 75-50 record and seven bowl appearances.

Flood first attempted to hire him after the 2012 season, one in which the Scarlet Knights were a victory away from their first conference title and BCS bid.

Friedgen wasn't up for it then. His wife was having health problems and his daughter had already set an October date for her wedding.

After going 6-7 last season and dealing with speculation he was already on the hot seat, Flood shook up his coaching staff.

On the defensive side, Joe Rossi was shifted from special teams coordinator to defensive coordinator and Bob Fraser, who worked at Rutgers with Flood under Greg Schiano, was brought back to be special teams coordinator and linebackers coach.

Rossi and Fraser have the job of rebuilding a defense that was all but helpless against the pass last season as Rutgers broke in a batch of new defensive backs.

Flood also made another run at Friedgen. This time, he got his man.