After a debut season that saw his Scarlet Knights surrender an average of 48 points per game to East Division foes, second-year Rutgers coach Chris Ash is making a tweak at defensive coordinator.
NJ.com reported Thursday that safeties coach Bill Busch — like Ash, a former Ohio State and Wisconsin assistant — has been promoted to the role of co-defensive coordinator, joining incumbent Jay Niemann in the role. Niemann is expected to retain play-calling duties, according to NJ.com’s report.
Busch, who went to Piscataway, N.J., from Ohio State along with Ash before the 2016 season, has Big Ten connections all over the map. The Nebraska native was a graduate assistant with the Cornhuskers from 1990-93 and coached safeties, outside linebackers and special teams for the Big Red from 2004-07. Busch was a graduate assistant at Wisconsin in 1994 and returned to coach safeties there from 2013-14.
Busch was a defensive quality control assistant at Ohio State in 2015.
Rutgers ranked first in the Big Ten in fewest opponent passing attempts per game (24.6) and fourth in passing yards allowed per game (186.5), but those numbers were ‘helped’ by the worst rushing defense in the league (264.2 yards per game and 5.7 yards per carry allowed on the ground). The Knights ranked 13th in opponent passer rating (140.10), 13th in opponent yards per attempt (7.6) and 12th in touchdown passes allowed (21).
Busch had been the defensive coordinator for one season at Northern Arizona (1996) and over two seasons at Utah State (2009 and 2010). The Aggies’ 2009 defense ranked No. 98 nationally in points per drive allowed against FBS opponents (2.68), while the 2010 unit ranked 100th overall (2.72 per drive).
The Knights allowed 2.60 points per drive against FBS teams in 2016, which ranked 89th nationally.