Rutgers announces John McNulty as offensive coordinator
Head coach Chris Ash's search for a new offensive coordinator ended Tuesday afternoon, as John McNulty was officially hired by Rutgers.
McNulty was previously an assistant under former head coach Greg Schiano from 2004 to 2008, as the wide receivers coach from 2004 to 2005, quarterbacks coach and assistant offensive coordinator in 2006 as well as the head offensive coordinator in 2007 to 2008.
Under McNulty in 2007, the Scarlet Knights became the first team in NCAA history to have a 3,000 yard passer — Mike Teel, a 2,000 yard rusher — Ray Rice, and two 1,000 yard receivers — Tiquan Underwood and Kenny Britt. All four of those players went on to be drafted into the NFL.
After his first stint at Rutgers, McNulty made a career as an NFL assistant. He coached wide receivers for the Arizona Cardinals from 2009 to 2011, and then coached their quarterbacks in 2012. He held the same position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013 and the Tennessee Titans from 2014 to 2015, before spending the last two seasons with the Chargers coaching tight ends.
“I’m excited to welcome John back to the Rutgers football family,” Ash said in a press release. “He has a wealth of football knowledge and experience, and I look forward to him helping develop our quarterbacks. John is a great leader, man and coach, and I’m excited to see him shape the identity of our offense.”
McNulty is tasked with reviving an offense that has been at the bottom of the NCAA during Ash's first two seasons. While also having the title of quarterbacks coach, he will have junior Giovanni Rescigno, freshman Johnathan Lewis, and incoming freshmen Jalen Chatman and Artur Sitkowski to work with.
When McNulty spoke to reporters for the first time on Tuesday, he elaborated on how he is expected to bring new life to the Knights offense.
"I think the general theme is developing a quarterback sooner than later that we feel good about, developing more of a vertical threat passing game and (pushing) the ball down the field," McNulty said. "That’s always what I’ve believed in."
His first stretch on The Banks backs up that philosophy. He often found ways to get wide receivers open down the field and developed some of the best receivers in Rutgers history such as Britt, Underwood and Tim Brown.
The Knights have had a glaring weakness in that respect, as junior Janarion Grant's injuries often completely eliminated the ability for the offense to produce explosive plays.
McNulty will be tasked with getting the most out of players like freshmen wide receivers Bo Melton and Hunter Hayek, who saw extensive playing time in 2017, but never quite made an impact.
He will also get the chance to work with the 2018 recruiting class, of which the top nine ranked incoming freshmen — per 247 sports — are all on the offensive side of the ball.
Players like Jalen Jordan, Daevon Robinson and Zihir Lacewell all present big-play ability with their size and athleticism.
"The ball has to go down the field. You have to create chunk plays, you have to challenge (defensive backs) down the field to give yourself a chance to advance and score," McNulty said.
With Rutgers losing just three starters from its offense a year ago, McNulty will be in a better position to succeed than past offensive coordinators on the team. When you combine that with his experience and proven success, things are looking up for the Knights' offense in 2018.
"If there’s something that you can do to help us win, we’ll put you in there and let you do it to help us win," McNulty said. " … If they can do something, we’ll find it."