Rutgers football: Former Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara believes in the direction of Greg Schiano’s rebuild
WALDWICK, N.J. — The return of Greg Schiano has seen growth from the Scarlet Knights over the past three years with the program seemingly on the cusp of competitiveness in the Big Ten. The growth of Rutgers under Schiano is something that former New York Giants center Shaun O’Hara believers will only continue.
O’Hara, a three-time Pro Bowl center who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants, is pleased by the continued progress being made by Rutgers. The talent on the two-deep is solid and Rutgers continues to make solid additions on the recruiting trail.
Plus, this was a big offseason for Rutgers on the offensive side of the ball with three new changes to the coaching staff: offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, wide receivers coach Dave Brock and offensive line coach Pat Flaherty.
O’Hara spoke at a children’s event held at the Superdome Sports facility in Waldwick, N.J. The Children’s Place sponsored a community outreach to over 300 children and included former Giants’ stars such as Eli Manning, Just Tuck and O’Hara.
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The extensive and sprawling event sponsored by The Children’s Place included an Easter egg hunt, stations with food, music, games, the chance to learn football from the Giants players and even custom t-shirts.
“I think Greg coming back to the banks was a big part in Rutgers football climbing in the Big Ten. And look, success doesn’t come as early as everybody wants, and it’s not as easy as everybody thinks,” O’Hara told Rutgers Wire last week.
“But he’s done a great job really establishing his culture there. And I think – you know, the recruiting process is different now with the transfer portal, NIL and the landscape has changed dramatically from even his first stint and even from his first year back there so it’s a challenge, no doubt about it.”
O’Hara even sees Rutgers gaining a more competitive footing in the ultra-competitive Big Ten in terms of recruiting. Since the return of Schiano, Rutgers has done a nice job of adding players in the transfer portal but also finding a good mix of high-end talent and developmental players with a high upside.
“I think he’s done a great job recruiting some talented kids and then really growing the kids in the program. So you’re gonna see guys like Michael Burton, Isiah Pacheco winning the Superbowl,” O’Hara said.
“I think that’s always been one of the biggest things since Greg has gotten there is making Rutgers a pipeline, letting kids know (that) look at Rutgers and you can make it to the NFL. That is attainable. So I know he’s done a great job.”
Eli Manning and Shaun O’Hara attend The Children’s Place Afternoon of Football Fun at Superdome Sports, Warwick, New Jersey, USA –
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At the same event, O’Hara also praised the hiring of Flaherty, who was is offensive line coach at the Giants. With the Giants, Flaherty was the offensive line coach for two Super Bowl champions.
“I know this, you know Greg Schiano and Pat Flaherty do go back a long way. Actually, I think Greg was a GA (graduate assistant) at Rutgers when Pat was a tight ends coach. So they’ve known each other for a long time. Nobody’s gonna outwork that Flaherty. that’s for darn sure. He’s one of those guys that just doesn’t know any other way but to prepare and to make sure his players are prepared.
“You know, he led us to countless victories. He’s got the Super Bowl rings to prove it. So I know he comes to the ‘Banks’ with a lot of merit. But I think he’s gonna really make those kids better on and off the field.”
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