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RU?enters first search with Flood

<p>Head coach Kyle Flood walks the sideline at Florida Citrus Bowl?Stadium following Rutgers’ loss to Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl.</p>

Head coach Kyle Flood walks the sideline at Florida Citrus Bowl?Stadium following Rutgers’ loss to Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Kyle Flood must find a new offensive coordinator — the Rutgers football team’s fourth in as many seasons — following Dave Brock’s hiring Jan. 18 as head coach at Delaware.

Flood said Jan. 18 any candidate must have play-calling experience and run a variation of a pro-style offense.

“For me, a pro-style system should always be one that is able to utilize its weapons,” Flood said. “A pro-style system will be a two-back offense, and sometimes a pro-style system will be a one-back offense, and at times a pro-style system will be a no-back offense.”

Flood served as co-offensive coordinator from 2009-2010, when the Scarlet Knights flirted with the Wildcat formation and other sets that deviated from their traditional past.

The Knights lost Jawan Jamison, the team’s leading rusher, to the NFL Draft, and little proven talent remains behind junior Savon Huggins.

The result is likely creative play-calling.

“The system is the system because it’s the one I want, and that’s not going to change,” Flood said. “Whoever the new offensive coordinator is, he’s going to be somebody that’s going to be able to use the weapons that are in the program to the best capabilities.”

If Flood’s hire holds true, he could look to the passing game.

The Knights return four veterans, including leading receiver Brandon Coleman, at wideout next season, along with a corps from their 2012 recruiting class.

But a lot rides on the development of junior quarterback Gary Nova.

Nova averaged six yards per pass attempt in Rutgers’ last four games — a 1-3 finish. His struggles in the Knights’ overtime bowl loss to Virginia Tech were well documented.

He will now learn from his third offensive coordinator in as many seasons, although Flood insists the offense’s existing language will remain.

“Gary will handle it like a professional, and I think that’s the way he has handled most things in this process,” Flood said. “It’s certainly not ideal, and it’s not his fault or my fault or Coach Brock’s fault that this is happening.”

Flood’s philosophy, based on creating one-on-one matchups in the passing game, could come from several sources. He said he would not limit himself in a coaching search, which will include in-house candidates Rob Spence and Norries Wilson.

“I think it’s important to really explore every option,” Flood said.

Flood found himself in a similar situation nearly a year ago, when Greg Schiano’s move to the NFL prompted Athletic Director Tim Pernetti’s head coaching search.

Former Florida International head coach Mario Cristobal, a former Rutgers assistant, was rumored to be the frontrunner for the job. Flood met with the media at the Louis Brown Athletic Center following his interview, and he replaced Schiano a few days later.

“I don’t have a timeframe that I’ve put on it,” Flood said. “I think if it could be before signing day [Feb. 6], there would certainly be some advantages to that but only if you found the right person. The real key and the importance of this search is to find the right person for our football program.”

It will likely be someone familiar with Flood.

Including Brock, six of Flood’s assistants have ties to the Colonial Athletic Conference, where Flood coached on staffs at Delaware and Hofstra. Every member of Flood’s staff, except for tight ends coach Darnell Dinkins, has coaching familiarity with the Northeast.

Flood likely hopes Rutgers’ newest play-caller makes his permanent residence in Piscataway.

“You certainly would like to have a continuity of having the same offensive coordinator year after year,” he said. “It’s part of the reality of our program right now that this is happening.”

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow Tyler Barto on Twitter @TBartoTargum.

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