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September 30, 2019

Nunzio Campanile

Piscataway, New Jersey

NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yesterday was a really tough day for our kids. You know, Coach Ash had great relationships with these young guys, and I know a lot of them loved him. It was a big change for them. But you know, they're handling it the right way, and I know they have a ton of respect for him.

I just want to start by thanking Coach Ash for giving me the opportunity to coach here and to coach with him. I think he's a phenomenal football coach. I know he's got an absolutely great future ahead of him. He's probably the hardest-working guy I've ever met in my life. His commitment to Rutgers Football was absolutely exceptional.

It was an honor to work John McNulty. He's a phenomanal football coach, and I got an opportunity to learn a great deal from him. I had the opportunity to watch him coach many years ago when was coaching Mike Teel, and you know, to get to work with him the last two years has been great.

Want to thank Pat Hobbs for the opportunity and his trust in giving me this opportunity to help guide our program through these next few months.

The biggest thing is making sure that we take care of our players, that we give them a chance to be successful; that we keep them together. Obviously it's a tough time for them and our leaders are doing a great job of keeping everybody on task, and I guess for me, probably one of the biggest things, it's a tremendous honor as a guy that's from New Jersey and loves New Jersey to have the opportunity to represent Rutgers and represent New Jersey is really special for me and it's an unbelievable opportunity to represent our players.

Really excited about it and hopefully -- if you guys have any questions.

Q. What's the last 24 hours been like for you? When did you find out this was going to happen and what have you done since then?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: It's been pretty crazy. I guess almost a little less than 24 hours ago, I found out, and you know, I guess you just kind of have to hit the ground running. We made plans pretty much on the fly. The coaching staff has been awesome.

Obviously a tough day for all those guys, but they are real true pros and they have been incredibly helpful in every way. So really that's been the big thing is communicating with the players, trying to keep them on task and making sure we are communicating with the staff and see what things we are going to keep the same and what minor changes we are going to make that we think will help the team.

Q. You're going to be the offensive coordinator?

Q. What types of changes will the offense undergo in your mind?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I don't think you can make major overhauls. We have basically five days to get ready for a game. It's kind of a lot of it, just streamlining what we do. Making sure that the players understand what we do. Maybe some minor tweaks in the way that I see things and communication with our entire offensive staff. We have a bunch of guys that are really close in there that work really well together.

I don't think there will be any major changes. I just think that we'll do the things that we think give our kids the best chance to win and give our players a chance to be successful.

Q. A lot of times, any level, any sport, when changes like this are made, can go one of two ways. Sometimes it sparks guys. Sometimes it doesn't. What have you seen from the players in terms of, you know, their reaction to this and how they are at least trying to deal with it, and will this fire them up? How have you seen their attitude?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I'm sure it's a mixed bag because it's a very emotional experience for them.

As I told the kids yesterday, everybody in the room, including me, is here because of Chris. Obviously we all have relationships with him. So that's a big part of it.

You know, the thing we said is we have eight games to go and we have a lot of great opportunities in front of us, so it's really been -- a big part of it is just getting them to understand that and stay focused. We have great leadership. We have really some guys that have been here that have a lot of time and work invested and they have done a great job.

Our leadership council and captains have done a great job communicating with the young guys and saying, let's stay the course and go figure it out over the next two-plus months and we'll go from there.

Q. A lot of even experienced coaches struggle with doing both jobs of running the program and managing an offense. How do you manage your time, and is that a big ask for what's going on inside the program now?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I know it's not the same level, but I did it for eight years. I also think that we have a great offensive staff. We have a lot of like-minded people that see things the same way, so while I'm here talking to you, those guys are working really hard at putting things together.

Pete Rossomando, was a head coach for a long time, great offensive mind. Lester Erb does a great job with our receivers, but he's been a running back coach. He has tremendous experience. Kolby Smith has tremendous experience.

Drew Lascari ran the same offense I ran at Don Bosco; so he understands the way I think and a lot of the things that we are going to do.

I think there is a lot of continuity and we are going to count on those guys to really help do a lot of the work.

Q. Can you just talk about how you're handling the recruiting aspect of it now and will there be more responsibilities divvied up among the staff?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Obviously the guys that we have committed, we're certainly going to honor that and do everything we can to keep them. I don't think it's my responsibility to be out there offering guys scholarships.

I'm the interim coach, so I think it's my job to make sure we keep those guys interested and that we show them, you know, what we have to offer about Rutgers and obviously keep encouraging guys to stay interested and involved with what we're doing.

But we're going to kind of pretty much stay status quo, kind of hold down the fort until some other decisions are made.

Q. Do you hope to be a candidate for the permanent job?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I would tell that you I've worked my entire life to prepare myself for this opportunity and to me, this is like the Holy Grail, so of course. But I understand there's a lot more that goes into that and that's way over my head. I'm just going to go do my job the best I can.

Q. Coach's son; coaching family. I'm sure it was not the perfect ideal circumstance that you would want to run a college football program, but how ready are you for this? You've been doing this your whole life. How ready are you to be a college football coach?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I guess we'll find out in the next eight weeks. The truth is, I think that football is football. I've literally spent my entire life on a football field.

I've been on a football team since I'm five years old. My dad is a coach. All my brothers are coaches. Basically every positive male influence in my life was a coach in some way, shape or form. You know, I think that I'm prepared to help these guys going forward, but the biggest thing is, you know, just keeping them focused on the task at hand. I'm not really worried about the future. I'm just worried about getting ready for practice tomorrow.

Q. Is Art your quarterback? You're obviously very familiar with Johnny. Is he going to feature more into the offense?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I've already told him, Art's going to start the game, and you know, we'll see some of the stuff that Johnny does well, obviously I have a tremendous amount of familiarity with him. I've told the quarterbacks already, if there's a role that he could play, that helps us win games, then we are absolutely going to do that, too.

I think Art has played really well the last couple weeks. He's shown improvement and worked really hard. I think the biggest thing is those guys are great friends and leaders and they are going to work hard to help each other.

Q. You don't anticipate Art redshirting this point?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I do not anticipate that, no.

Q. I just want to make sure, you're calling the plays, right? You haven't come out and said that --

Q. Any other staff changes? Are you adding anyone to the staff?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Not -- no one from the outside. You know, I guess we could shuffle some things around inside but nothing.

Q. Who is going to handle the tight end responsibilities, and Carter, do you have an update on his status?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: John Weiss will handle the tight ends. And I actually don't have an update on McLane. He's not ready to play this week. I know that.

Q. You said that players are handling it well. You played four games. Coaching change. Do you anticipate any transfer issues, guys entering? I know it's early in the process.
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Not at this point but that's kind of the way college football is going. I guess anything is possible. You know, we'll deal with it on a player by player basis.

But right now, the guys have done a really good job of staying the course and we are right in the middle of season, so it's not like anyone -- I think they have a pretty good sense of that.

Q. You have several home games left. What would you say to the paying customers who will be looking inside, saying, what's going on in there?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: I would say, you know, we've got a great group of kids that are working really hard. They are going to play really hard on Saturday, and you know, we'd love to see the whole state of New Jersey come out and support these guys because they need it. They have worked really hard and obviously the results aren't what we wanted but you know, I believe that we are moving towards something and I think that we have an opportunity to get better and grow this week.

You know, I'm very confident that our kids are just going to go out and play really hard.

Q. Have you looked at any Maryland film?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, I have. Obviously I think that they have a dynamic offense. I mean, you know, Coach Locksley is a great coach, and they do a great job. I know they had a tough game the other night but we can relate to that a little bit.

I think it's got an opportunity to be a great game but right now the focus has to be on us. We can't worry a whole lot about them. We have to streamline some things and get ourselves squared away, and by the time we get to practice tomorrow we'll have a better sense of what we're looking at from Maryland.

Q. Specific on the offense, I know you said minor changes, four games into it, eight games left, but I know you're a spread guy, generally speaking. Is there any way that we're going to see more spread concepts? Can you change it overnight?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Basically my thought process had always been that we are a multiple-i team that adds the elements that come with the spread offense, whether that's the RPO stuff or it's the quarterback reads or whatever.

Really, the biggest thing is what can our kids handle and what can we get to. I think that we have all the things built in to do what I would like to do, but you know, it's really going to come down to what can our players execute because we have to put them in a position to be successful. That's the most important thing because they have to feel confident in what we're doing.

Q. When you mentioned about Maryland, you said our biggest focus right now has to be on ourselves, are you referring more to the game plan and the improvement week-after-week, not the side stuff about coaching changes and all that kind of stuff, you're talking about game stuff, right?
NUNZIO CAMPANILE: Yeah, I'm talking about what we're going to do to go out and try to win a game on Saturday. We have to make sure that our house is in order and that we understand what we're doing.

I think Andy has got some plans for the defense that he thinks, okay, these might be some minor things that we could do to help our players. Same thing on offense and same thing on special teams. Once we have a good sense of that, then we'll really worry about the other team.

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