Posting just a 7-29 record over his first three years in Piscataway, Rutgers Scarlet Knights coach Chris Ash is a fixture on most preseason hot seat lists.

Despite the struggles of the program over the last several seasons, Ash has an optimistic attitude and a message to share with fans entering year four of his tenure.

“This is a different team, this is a different year. I hope Rutgers fans and people in New Jersey will give this team a chance and come out and watch these young men.

These are terrific young people that are going to try to represent this program in a first-class manner with their effort and enthusiasm and the way they go out and compete every day. I hope everyone will give these guys a chance to prove what they can do this season.”

After winning their season-opener over Texas State in 2018, Rutgers lost their final 11 games to finish 1-11, the worst mark of Ash’s stay at the school.

Improvement is possible because of the bar being so low, but Ash knows his team has to show it on the field for people to buy in and see the direction the program is moving.

“There’s nothing I’m going to say that’s going to make them believe it. It’s going to be what we do each weekend. Me talking about what we’re going to do isn’t going to do any good…It’s not going to come from my words.”

The Scarlet Knights open their season at home on Friday vs. UMass at 7:15PM ET.

The quarterback battle between sophomore Art Sitkowski and Texas Tech graduate transfer McLane Carter continues to unfold and while Ash said he knows who will start, he has declined to say so publicly.