Two years ago, a fan revolt cost Greg Schiano the job at Tennessee. In an ironic twist, fan outrage — this time in his favor — seems to have contributed to him returning as the Rutgers football coach.

Schiano couldn’t help himself when asked about the difference in the two situations.

“I think reflecting on it, just shows Jersey people are a little sharper,” he said during his introductory press conference Wednesday morning inside the Hale Center in Piscataway, N.J.

“They get it.”

Roughly two years ago, Schiano had agreed to be the next Tennessee coach, until the university backed out of a memorandum of understanding with the then-Ohio State defensive coordinator. Once news of Schiano’s hire broke, there was a public outcry from Volunteers fans and even public officials against the move.

Some alleged that Schiano, an assistant coach under Joe Paterno at Penn State, knew about the child abuse by Jerry Sandusky, as alleged by ex-Penn State assistant Mike McQueary in a 2015 deposition. Schiano has denied knowledge of such allegations, but Tennessee went in another direction, instead hiring Jeremy Pruitt, who has compiled a 12-12 record.

Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs and Greg Schiano
Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs and Greg SchianoGetty Images

There was similar outrage around the Scarlet Knights fan base, but this time it was when talks broke off between Schiano and Rutgers. Fans and boosters were furious the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement, promising to pull money and support. The “R Fund” raised nearly $300,000 that would be donated if Schiano was hired. Eventually, talks were restarted and Schiano was back at Rutgers eight years after he left, back where he went 68-67 in 11 seasons and led the Scarlet Knights to six bowl games in his final seven seasons there.

“It made me reflect a little bit on what we did in the past, that people did appreciate that, and it gave me even more fuel to do it again,” Schiano said.