Spring Warm Up: Quarterback Battle

As we prepare for spring practice, Scarlet Report counts down the top five position battles for Rutgers football. Position battles rarely end in spring, but are critical when it comes to player development. We look now at the biggest battle – quarterback.

From Mike Teel to Tom Savage to Chas Dodd to Gary Nova, it is time to find the next Rutgers quarterback. This is a battle destined to go through the heart of training camp, but spring means a chance for a head start. Both lead competitors need chemistry building time with the first-team receivers and offensive line. With a new offensive coordinator in place, 15 spring practices mean playbook construction time as much as the search for a new signal caller.

The Competition

Chris Laviano -- Laviano needs to be more than the bootlegging scrambler he was under Ralph Friedgen in his debut as Gary Nova’s backup. Instead of taking away half the field, it is time for Laviano to jump forward through the playbook with hard work and plenty of reps with the starters. Laviano should not be a scrambling quarterback, so it is up to Ben McDaniels to find the right plays to fit his style in spring. The spring is as much about chemistry with the ones and building consistency as it is about mechanical improvement. Laviano committed to Rutgers as his lone offer and top target by the recruiting staff. After two years of development, his first chance at the starting job begins in the offseason.

Hayden Rettig -- Rettig’s path to Rutgers was the polar opposite of Laviano’s. The former Scout four-star and All-American transferred to Rutgers from LSU last year. After a red-shirt year and year on the sidelines via NCAA transfer regulations, the California gunslinger is finally eligible. Rettig excelled on the scout team, but how does he fit in the Rutgers scheme? Rettig only had a handful of bowl practices as a real contributor on the two deep. He needs to show in spring that he understands the play book, makes the right reads and fits well with receivers like Leonte Carroo and Andre Patton. Rettig is a pocket passer with elite arm strength. Spring is about the rest of the quarterback responsibilities.

Other Options -- Giovanni Rescigno is one injury away from a huge spring role. The Detroit area quarterback is behind the other two, but still gets plenty of chances during the spring with only three guys under center. Rescigno improved significantly with his arm strength and mechanics during his first season with Rutgers. Regardless of how well Laviano and Rettig play through 15 spring practices, Rescigno will be in the mix thanks to his mobility. Freshman Michael Dare enrolls in June, and gets his first chance with teammates during summer workouts.

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