The upcoming quarterback battle in spring practice is perhaps the most interesting in a decade’s worth of competition at the position for Rutgers.
For the first time, Rutgers is all-in with a spread offense (the Kirk Ciarrocca years simply don’t count), and that means a mental transition as well as the physical requirements at quarterback. Rutgers offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer’s scheme cannot take form until a quarterback steps forward.
Scarlet Report looks at the key players in spring.
Junior Chris Laviano– Laviano is not a running quarterback, but he did enough with his feet in his first year as a starter. The transition to a spread benefits Laviano for two primary reasons. Laviano is a fast learner, and can be a quicker decision-maker in a no-huddle attack. Laviano’s arm strength was circumspect, and a more lateral attack allows for shorter throws out of the shotgun. Like it or not, Laviano remains a favorite at the position.
Junior Hayden Rettig – Rettig is a glass cannon at quarterback, and mobility does not have to be the primary skill for a quarterback in the spread. Should Rettig win the job, his receivers and running backs can handle all of the running that Rettig does not. The challenge, again, comes down to the playbook. If Rettig struggled in a slower-developing pro-style offense, how will he handle decision-making in a fast-paced, no-huddle offense where decisions have to be lightning fast?
Sophomore Giovanni Rescigno – Rescigno is a runner and anyone that watched him in high school or on the scout team over the last two years can see the athleticism. He needed refinement at quarterback after starting just one season in high school, and two different position coaches in two years did not help to start off his college career. Rescigno has never gotten a true look at quarterback before this spring, but Mehringer has to like what he sees from an athleticism standpoint in workouts.
Honorable Mentions: Red-shirt freshman Mike Dare and walk-on Jack Clements will get chances but are still incredibly green. True freshman Tylin Oden, who arrives in June, mirrors the ideal Mehringer skillset and mentality but he is significantly behind the curve in the playbook, classroom and weight room.