The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are in the midst of a rather large transition heading into this season. Not only will Rutgers be joining Maryland to compete in a more competitive Big 10 conference for the first time, but the Scarlet Knights are moving some pieces of the coaching puzzle to try to make it work. After bringing in new offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen, Rutgers is opting to stick with senior quarterback Gary Nova as the starter to begin the season despite his history of inconsistency.
Rutgers could have taken advantage of a great opportunity here and decided to start with a fresh arm at quarterback. Head coach Kyle Flood is only heading into his third season with the program, and with his team now trying to compete in the Big 10, he has more wiggle room than most third-year coaches who are trending backwards.
Nova gave way to Chas Dodd, who has expired his eligibility, late last season. Neither of them found a rhythm within the offense, and the stats accurately reflect that. Nova only completed 54.5 percent of his passes and threw 14 interceptions. Dodd, given a smaller sample size, threw three touchdowns compared to six interceptions.
Statistically speaking, Nova actually took a step back last season after for about 500 more yards and four more touchdowns in 2012. Part of that can be blamed on the play-calling; former offensive coordinator Ron Prince didn’t exactly run the most quarterback-friendly offense last season. But it still goes to show the level of inconsistency that comes with a quarterback like Nova.
It’s slim pickings for Rutgers at quarterback this season. Outside of Nova, the only other options are junior Mike Bimonte and redshirt freshman Chris Laviano, and neither of them saw the field last season. Still, with all the transition already taking place, this is the perfect opportunity for Rutgers to continue the trend and start over at quarterback, especially when that quarterback would be able to work under a now great offensive coordinator.