Position Analysis: Quarterbacks

ScarletReport.com continues its positional analysis with a look at the most crucial position, and what Rutgers is looking at if Tom Savage returns or chooses to transfer. It is a position that absorbed 61 sacks, and accumulated 13 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions during the 2010 season.

The most significant moment building toward the 2011 season will take place before Christmas.

Sophomore quarterback Tom Savage will meet with Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, talk with his family, then decide whether to battle with freshman Chas Dodd for the starting spot in the spring, or shun the competition and seek his transfer release.

Even if Savage doesn't beat Dodd out, there are no givens at the position, and injuries happen so depth is needed. The competition should benefit each player, but beyond the duo there isn't much to push.

Beyond Savage and Dodd, the roster is filled with two walk-ons, Steve Shimko and incoming freshman Mike Bimonte.

And neither Savage nor Dodd did anything during the season to prove they should be the unquestioned starter.

Savage began the season as the starter, but looked uncomfortable behind a leaky offensive line and often held onto the ball too long because receivers couldn't get open, or his protection broke down before he could locate them.

Even before being felled by a hand injury in the first half of the Oct. 2 homecoming loss to Tulane, Savage struggled with his accuracy and his reads. After missing two games because of the injury, Savage returned as Dodd's backup.

When given a chance to stake a claim for the starting job during a second-half relief appearance against Syracuse, Savage went 6 of 12 for 76 yards and took a pair of crushing sacks late in the fourth quarter.

He finished the season 43 of 83 for 521 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

However, Dodd didn't exactly cement his status despite playing well at times and leading fourth-quarter comebacks against eventual BCS participant Connecticut and Army.

Dodd also held onto the ball too long at times, missed open receivers and was the starter for the season-ending six-game losing streak, but he also exhibited strong leadership and showed he wasn't afraid to try and fit passes into tight areas.

Dodd completed 123 of 223 passes for 1,637 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. After those two, though, there is not much depth. Shimko, who will be a red-shirt junior, contemplated transferring after last season, then missed the 2010 season with a shoulder injury.

Walk-on freshman Jason Friday and walk-on red-shirt freshman Tyler Belia, who prepped at Paramus (N.J.) Catholic before spending a year at Wagner, ran the scout team offenses.

Rutgers has a commitment from Manalapan High's (Englishtown, N.J.) Bimonte, and also is in the running for Bergen Catholic High (Oradell, N.J.) quarterback Tanner McEvoy. The Scarlet Knights are also looking at the junior college ranks to add quarterback depth.

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