Greg Schiano: If I didn’t leave for the NFL, Rutgers football would be similar to Iowa

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Greg Schiano believes that if Rutgers football is to succeed, it needs to be a developmental program. On Monday, he reiterated this mindset with the program, even going so far as to say that if he hadn’t left for the NFL, Rutgers would be similar to Iowa in their stature as a Big Ten program.

Fitting, since Iowa is the program Rutgers plays this Saturday in an important Big Ten match-up for both schools.

Schiano left Rutgers after the 2011 season, which ended in the Pinstripe Bowl with the Scarlet Knights beating Iowa State. Schiano spent two years in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before landing back in college with Ohio State as their defensive coordinator and then briefly with the New England Patriots as their defensive coordinator.

Now with Saturday another measuring stick for Rutgers, Schiano believes that had he never left for the NFL, his program would have grown into what Iowa has been and currently is.

Like I said, I have nothing but great respect for Coach Ferentz and the way that he’s built his program over the last 25 years. You know, had we stayed, had I done — made the right decision and stayed here, it would be very similar I think. But we didn’t. We took a nine-year break. So we are playing catch-up for sure.

But I do have so much respect for how they play and what they do, and we are just in a spot where we’re getting better slowly, and we’ve just got to continue to do that. Will it be enough? We’re going to find out here in whatever it is, five days, six days.

Schiano currently has Rutgers at 6-3 (3-3 Big Ten) and bowl-eligible outright for the first time since 2014.

Iowa comes into this game with a record of 7-2 (4-2 Big Ten). The Hawkeyes are currently atop the Big Ten’s West Division.

They have made a bowl game every non-COVID-19 season since 2013.

The Hawkeyes have finished ranked three of their last four seasons under head coach Kirk Ferentz.

Schiano called Saturday “a huge challenge” for his program.

“So much respect for what Coach Ferentz has done at Iowa over a long period of time and really, what they have done lately. You look at their last 15 games, they are 12-3, and you look at what they have done over the last four years in the month of November, they are 15-1, which is astounding,” Schiano said.

“So we certainly are going into one of the toughest places to play in America against a team that’s leading the Big Ten West, 7-2. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us.

“So it’s right back at it every week in the Big Ten and that’s the way we like it. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and Saturday, and then we’ll go lay it on the line.”

On Saturday, Rutgers held a 9-7 halftime lead on No. 1 Ohio State. Down 21-16 early in the fourth quarter, Rutgers lost 35-16 to the Buckeyes.

Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire