Dodd Talks Offseason at Special Olympics

EWING, N.J. — In a time where organized team activities are minimal, a strong contingent of Rutgers football players spent time together earlier in the month at the New Jersey Special Olympics. spoke with quarterback Chas Dodd about the importance of team unity and updates on the offseason.

EWING, N.J. — A year ago, Chas Dodd was a fresh face at Rutgers as a recent arrival from Byrnes High School in South Carolina. A 6-foot quarterback, Dodd was simply happy to be a scholarship athlete at a Division I school and was ready to learn under Tom Savage.

Flash-forward to June, 2011 and Dodd may have been the most recognizable face at the New Jersey Special Olympics. Taking over the starting job midway through last season, Dodd put up a strong true freshman campaign and spent the spring as QB 1 on the depth chart.

"It's great," Dodd said. "We've come a long way and I've come a long way since [I enrolled]. I'm not sure if you would have told me a year ago at this time, that this is what it would be like, I would believe you. I'm blessed to be here and have such a great time doing it."

Dodd threw for 1,637 yards last season and 11 touchdowns and was Big East Freshman of the Week in his first career start against Connecticut. Mentally, Dodd said he is much stronger than he was in October.

"I'm more used to things now.," he said. "I know what is expected, but I'm still trying to learn as much as I can. We have a new offensive coordinator, new offense and a lot of new guys. The learning never stops."

Training camp is more than a month away, but Dodd said the learning process between spring and summer camps is in full effect.

"We just need to keep learning and really get the playbook down," Dodd said. "That way, we're masters of it when camp comes. We're able to go out and run plays constantly and not have the kind of mistakes we were having [in the spring]."

At the start of training camp, Dodd said he can't wait for his full complement of receivers to be healthy and ready to play.

"I'm super excited," he said. "We have a great receiving group and I'm excited to see all of them in action. As long as everyone stays healthy, I'm excited to see where it can go."

Don Bosco quarterback Gary Nova joined the fray three weeks ago when he enrolled for the first summer session. Dodd, who was in Nova's position last season after coming from a top high school program, said he and Nova get along great so far.

"It's good getting to know him," Dodd said. "I've been trying to build a relationship with him since he committed and trying to help make friends with him. He's fun to hang out with. I'm trying to teach him the system now and teach him what things are like at Rutgers."

Dodd joined approximately 20 teammates at the New Jersey Special Olympics opening ceremonies. He said he did not participate last year, but plans to come back every summer the rest of his Rutgers career.

"This sort of thing doesn't get old," Dodd said. "It's great to get out here and give back to the community that does so much for us. It's good to get out here and have fun with the guys and experience something that most people might not do.

"It's important to do things with your teammates during a time when you're not in practice or training camp together and just doing summer class. We're experiencing these things as one unit. It's an awesome opportunity to do something together."

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