Monday Notebook: Nova Remains Starter

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- There will be no change in starting quarterback for the South Florida game after Gary Nova's late struggles against West Virginia. Coach Greg Schiano, at his weekly press conference, went in detail on the decision and discussed where blame lies for the 41-31 loss.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — At Greg Schiano's weekly press conference, the Rutgers head coach echoed the same statements made during yesterday's conference call. True freshman Gary Nova will start, but the turnovers have to stop.

"I think it's going to be Gary, but like I said on the call, we have to stop turning the ball over, that is for sure," Schiano said. "The fumble, the [center-quarterback] exchange, I don't know, I don't know who's fault that is to be honest with you. We could sit there and pretend we know, but we've got to get it. Both guys, we have got to get it."

The bottom line for Schiano and the coaching staff is that they feel Nova gives the team the best chance to win the game.

"One of the things, though, I went back and I watched all the games last night until late, just ran them, I didn't grade them; I just watched offensively, watched them, and it was just the passes," Schiano said. "I wanted to see from the beginning of the year and watch [Chas Dodd] and watch Gary because when you lose two games in a row you'd better look at everything.

"But you know what, again, after looking at it all, it looks very similar. You know, North Carolina dropped some interceptions, Ohio dropped some interceptions, Ohio caught an interception. Those things aren't it. What I see is I see Gary making some plays that I think give us a chance to win."

Nova, who has nine turnovers in his last three starts, said confidence is not an issue, but that he, more than anyone, is aware of the consequences of his turnovers.

"Any quarterback turns the ball over, it's a short leash," Nova said. "I wouldn't blame him, if I keep turning the ball over, he has nothing to do but take me out."

Defense at Fault

In Schiano's eyes, the offense did enough to win the game against West Virginia. Against the Mountaineers, 31 points is enough to win, Schiano said.

"We didn't play defense well enough to beat West Virginia, that's what it boils down to," he said. "It's not offense."

The defense surrendering 41 was the reason for the loss and that comes back to him, he said.

"I'm not a big tennis fan, but know there's a saying in tennis, "unforced errors," is that what they call it? That's what it was," Schiano said. "And that's no disrespect to West Virginia; I thought they did a very nice job.

"But there were about 12 plays in that game where whether it was a defensive front, secondary or linebackers where we just didn't do what we were supposed to do, and that comes back on me. I'm the coach. I'm running the defense. And if the players don't either know what to do or follow through and execute it, that's my fault."

Junior defensive tackle Scott Vallone candidly agreed with Schiano's assessment.

"Blew it, that's pretty much how I'd put it," Vallone said. "The offense did enough for us to win the game. They did over-and-beyond. Defensively, we didn't do enough to help us out and we didn't get the victory."

Injury Updates

Rutgers got out of the game OK, Schiano said. Both Desmond Wynn and Jawan Jamison left the game, but later returned with injuries.

Betim Bujari, who did not dress with his foot in a boot, remains a question mark for South Florida.

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