NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - As Pat Hobbs moved into position to speak to reporters on Wednesday, someone patted him on the back as he walked past.
It must have felt good for the Rutgers athletic director who was the object of venom and vitriol during the school's protracted negotiations with Greg Schiano.
Some fans called for his head and some former players called for his job when it appeared that contract negotiations with the popular coach had broken off.
When asked if the hue and cry from the Rutgers faithful helped push negotiations forward, Hobbs was as elusive as a broken-field running back.
"The fans are incredibly important and you always listen to them," Hobbs said. "Negotiations are always hard. I think Coach (Schiano during the press conference) talked about that and we ended up in the right place. He needs to understand that we're going to do the things we need to do to be successful. Some of those conversations take time and there's lot of noise and misunderstandings that happen and that's fine. That's part of the process as well."
When it was pointed out that he was on the receiving end of a lot of that "noise," Hobbs laughed and said, "You can say that."
Reports surfaced indicating that Hobbs was holding up the hiring of Schiano. Other reports surfaced that Schiano was asking for such extravagance as a jet. It seemed as though the sides were trying to cast the other as the villain.
That seemed to be water under the Lynch Bridge on Wednesday.
Hobbs talked about how former players told him how instrumental Schiano had been in shaping them as men.
"Pat Hobbs, watch out for us together," Schiano would say a few minutes later. "We are going to make this thing special and I can't wait to do it with you. So shoulder to shoulder, as (Board of Governor Greg) Brown said, shoulder-to-shoulder, here we go. I can't wait to do it. "
When pressed about whether there will be a power struggle inside the athletics department between him and Schiano, he said, "We really didn't do an interview. When I first met coach, I said 'This is about what does it take to get you to come back to Rutgers?'"
Apparently $32 million over eight years plus the promise in an upgrade in facilities.
Hobbs said the process of upgrading the football facilities began before the coaching search. He said several architectural firms will be interviewed and one will be hired no later than the end of the year. He said among the projects being discussed is a football-only practice facility.