Dodd Named Starter: The Good and Bad

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood named Chas Dodd his starter prior to Monday's practice in preparation for Connecticut. Dodd replaces junior captain Gary Nova, whose starting streak snaps at 23 games. Dodd beat Connecticut as a true freshman, and is here to examine the positives and negatives of a change at quarterback.

With the way junior Gary Nova struggled in losses to Cincinnati and UCF, a quarterback change was the only logical decision. Though the decision could have been made earlier in the season, head coach Kyle Flood making the announcement Monday gives Rutgers the best chance to win.

And that's what matters.

Senior Chas Dodd is set for his first start since the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and it come against Connecticut where he made his spectacular freshman debut. With the decision made and announced, takes a look at the pros and cons of a quarterback change.

Removing Nova because of recent struggles is best for business. It sends the right message to the locker room that the best players will play. It also sends the right message to every quarterback recruit in the 2014 and 2015 class. The starting quarterback position will go to the one who earns it, which came into question at times this season during Nova's struggles.

Flood made the move to Dodd against Connecticut, which is not a good football team. Rutgers does not need an elite passer to top the struggling Huskies, but it needs ball security. Good decision-making on a cold, road game are all the is required at the quarterback position.

That is Dodd.

Dodd made perhaps the best start of his career three years ago against Connecticut. Starting for the first time, over an injured Tom Savage, the true freshman went 18-for-29, 322 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers for a 27-24 win. That win was against a Connecticut team destined for the BCS, not the current 1-9 roster with an interim coach.

There are positives for Nova when it comes to this decision as well.

Flood's decision sends the message to Nova that something needs to change. Nova came into camp with a fire, and in the best shape of his life after an ugly end to 2012. Perhaps some time on the bench will reignite the flame. Nova remains the future at the quarterback position, and will likely return as a team captain to the Big Ten 2014 roster.

This move gives Rutgers the best chance to beat Connecticut, but does nothing in building toward the future. Rutgers should not go into next season with Nova as the only quarterback with experience under center. The best way for Nova to improve as a senior is for others to push him. That becomes harder if Mike Bimonte, Blake Rankin and Chris Laviano have no in-game experience.

Beating Connecticut should absolutely be the primary goal for the staff, because Rutgers does not have the luxury to look ahead to anything after two straight blowout losses.

Dodd taking over likely gives the offense better ball security, but it puts significant limitations on it as well. The red zone options are limited with Dodd's skill set. Dodd struggled with accurate, touch throws inside the 20-yard line during his previous games as a starter.

Run game coordinator will be an adjustment. Making the right reads and pre-snap adjustments is what initially set Nova ahead of Dodd under Greg Schiano. Connecticut has a tough run defense, and Paul James will have to make big plays.

Nova is a team captain, and his leadership will be missed in the huddle. Dodd holds the respect of the team, but during comebacks against Arkansas and Temple, everyone pointed to Nova's presence in the huddle as a reason why.

The best advantage for Rutgers in this change is that it was made quickly and decisively. Dodd has three full practices and two smaller ones where he gets first-team work. He played a complete game against Eastern Michigan, and saw the field twice in the last two weeks.

Rust will not be an issue, as Dodd prepares to start for the 17th time in a Rutgers uniform.

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