Nova to be Spring Starter at Quarterback

Speaking in his season wrap-up teleconference, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood fielded questions centered around the quarterback position this spring. Flood reaffirmed Gary Nova as his starting quarterback and discussed in-depth the position in 2012 and moving forward.

Gary Nova will be the Rutgers starting quarterback heading into spring practice. Head coach Kyle Flood reiterated his confidence in the rising junior on a post-season conference call today.

Nova struggled to keep his first-half magic moving in a poor finish to his sophomore season, but remains the best option in the program, Flood said.

"One of the things I'm most excited about is to have somebody coming back who, for the first time in a long time at that position, is going to get the reps that our starter gets," Flood said. "I think the thing that maybe got lost in the postgame … if there's ever a situation if there's a player who is clearly the best player at the position, then they'll start. There are no endowed positions at Rutgers."

Flood said he still would not have played backup Chas Dodd in the Russell Athletic Bowl if he could go back and change what he did.

"I wouldn't handle it differently," Flood said. "If I felt like the quarterback wasn't playing well but the rest of the offense was and I felt like a change could have a significant impact, then I think you consider it. That game on offense, there was not a lot of things going right at any position. And I think to expose somebody that hadn't been in a game, and put him in that, I didn't see what kind of positive outcome that could have."

Dodd started 16 games in his first two years at Rutgers and was 8-8 in those games. He threw just one pass as a junior.

Flood does not have concerns about Dodd transferring for his final year of eligibility.

"I spoke with Chas. Am I concerned about it? No I'm not concerned about it," Flood said. "Do I understand that those things happen at times? I do. It's part of Division I athletics. I think at a position where only one guy gets to play generally, those things tend to happen. … Chas has done a tremendous job the entire year as the backup in terms of his preparation and his work ethic and his leadership. … I've never once doubted Chas' commitment to the program and I think the world of him."

Nova now has 18 starts since winning the job from Dodd as a true freshman and Rutgers is 12-6 with him under center.

Nova threw for 2,695 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore, but that came with 16 interceptions.

"I think Gary has a unique opportunity of coming in as a starter and getting the starter's reps this spring," Flood said. "That's something that neither he or Chas had the advantage of last spring. … I'm really excited to see where Gary's game can go."

Naming Nova a starter this year, Flood said, is not a concern when it comes to taking anything for granted.

"I think if you have players that have complacency problems, it's because you recruited the wrong players," he said. "I don't have that concern with Gary."

The offense's inability to put up points, scoring four offensive touchdowns in the 1-3 finish to the season, falls on everyone and not just Nova, Flood said.

"In three of the four games, I can tell you that when you don't run the ball with consistency, you're going to struggle on offense," Flood said. "…We want our offense to play at the same consistency that our defense does and we haven't gotten there yet."


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