Skating on Thin Ice in Piscataway
I have never met Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood but everything I’ve heard about him from those that know him has been very positive. Stand-up guy, basically good-natured, hard-working. Just some of the ways the 44-year old Queens, New York native has been described to me.
Flood was a Rutgers assistant for seven years and for the last four served as assistant head coach under Greg Schiano who bolted for the NFL following the 2011 season. With support from many, including high school coaches in New Jersey, Flood got the nod to replace Schiano and went 23-16 with three Bowl game appearances in his first three seasons.
Nothing spectacular but pretty solid and the Scarlet Knights surprised many with eight wins in 2014, their first year in the Big Ten. Plus Flood’s done a good job of graduating his players which is something to be saluted. However the wheels may be coming off and a string of recent off-field incidents have many wondering if a coaching change should be made sooner than later.
The latest came over the weekend when standout wide receiver Leonte Caroo was suspended indefinitely for his involvement in an incident outside High Point Solutions Stadium following the Scarlet Knights last-second loss to Washington State. Flood would not say anything else except that an investigation is on-going although there are reports that a female friend of Caroo’s got into an altercation with any female outside the stadium and several others got involved.
It’s Caroo’s second suspension of the season as he sat out the first half of the opener over a curfew violation and it would appear he will likely miss Saturday’s Big Ten opener at Penn State.
What’s troubling to Rutgers students, alumni and fans is the wave of negative publicity surrounding the school and program in recent weeks over the arrest of six players who were suspended and later dismissed from the team. There’s also the school investigation into Flood’s contact with a faculty member over the academic status of a player who just happened to be one of those recently kicked off.
It all adds up to problems in Piscataway and to say Flood’s is on thin ice might be an understatement. Supporters will say the blame belongs on the players and they are right but you can also question the quality of the student-athletes being recruited and that is the responsibility of the head coach. For now it’s Flood but his future at Rutgers is clearly uncertain.