Greg Schiano provides reminder of the steepness of the Rutgers football rebuild: ‘It literally was dysfunctional’

Rutgers football is trending up and is emerging from a mess. That was the message from head coach Greg Schiano on Saturday following his team’s 37-0 loss at Maryland to close out the season.

At the end of the third season of Schiano’s rebuilding of the team, Rutgers finished 4-8 (1-7). It was the lowest win percentage of any of Schiano’s three seasons since the famed coach returned to the program.

Following a game that saw his team put up an underwhelming performance against a Big Ten peer, Schiano cautioned that it is important to keep in mind just how deep a hole he inherited when he took over three years ago.

It is clear, though, that there is a steep road still ahead for Rutgers, with Saturday’s discouraging performance a reminder that this team isn’t there yet to compete consistently on the Big Ten level.

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For a coach who usually guards his words carefully, it was a rare sentiment for Schiano to describe the dire state of the team he inherited when he returned back to Rutgers.

“Well, I think we’ve it’s taking shape. You know, we’ve been rebuilding this since we came back. You know, it’s not like we took over this program that was right on the cusp,” Schiano told reporters on Saturday.

“It literally was dysfunctional, right? So it’s gonna take a little bit. We’re working at it, and I’m not going to get into the timeline of, ‘Oh, it’s gotta be this by then.’ I know I look at it. I said, ‘Look, this is what’s getting better.’ Today we didn’t have some of our guys. And we don’t have that many guys, right? So I’m not going to get overly – just because it was the last game – it’s a game. It is one of 12. Now there will be time to self-reflect.”

The 2019 season, in particular, was a low-water mark for a program that has had some bad seasons in recent years. Before Schiano took over for the 2020 season, Rutgers hadn’t won a Big Ten game the prior two years.

In the past three seasons, they have won six games in the conference.

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The Scarlet Knights won just three games in those two seasons prior to Schiano taking over. Under Schiano, Rutgers has won 12 games in three seasons, and that includes a 2020 season where all programs were limited to just nine games (all in the Big Ten) due to COVID-19.

Is it good enough? Certainly not, as Rutgers hasn’t been outright bowl eligible since Schiano’s return. And to see programs such as Maryland and Michigan State rebuild so quickly and effectively is disheartening as those are peer programs for the Scarlet Knights.

Schiano is adamant about staying the course, even if it is the more painful way.

“The reason that I’m in coaching – I don’t need to do this anymore. The reason I’m in coaching is the development of young men,” Schiano said at the end of his press conference.

“You get a great opportunity and platform to develop young men and leave a legacy with they and their families. When I look at the players that we’ve coached here before, and all their families and all their kids, that’s a heck of a legacy. And that’s why I do it. Now, do you have to win games to keep being able to do it? You do. That’s the nature of the business part of it. And I’m not naive to that. As I said earlier, it’s not like we took over the ’86 Giants here. There’s there were things that had to be fixed and we’re fixing it.

“And we’re moving the program forward.”

Maryland, who entered the Big Ten in 2014 alongside Rutgers, is bowl eligible for a second-straight season. As for Michigan State, they finished the season 5-7 after a tremendous 2021 that saw them end the year 11-2 and with a win over Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl.

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Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire