Chris Ash Shakes Up Quarterback Room with Two Offseason Additions

CHICAGO -- Rutgers coach Chris Ash offered an honest analysis of why he added Zach Allen and Tylin Oden to the offseason quarterback competition.

From day one, Chris Ash preached competition across the depth chart at Rutgers. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that Ash assesses the vacant starting quarterback slot as the same.

“Right now, it’s an open competition,” Ash said at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.

Asked about the additions of TCU grad transfer Zach Allen and 2016 signee Tylin Oden, Ash alluded to Chris Laviano and Hayden Rettig in revealing a four-man race entering training camp.

“We have four guys that will compete for the starting quarterback position once we start camp,” Ash said. “… We added Zach Allen, a graduate transfer from TCU, into the mix here this summer. As I look back and we evaluate each position group coming out of the spring, we felt like we had to make a change in that room and we had to do something to help the football team, so we brought in Zach.”

Immediately eligible, Allen came over to Rutgers from TCU in June and returns to his natural position under center after experimenting at wide receiver last year with the Horned Frogs.

Oden, a late flip from Louisville to Rutgers right before Signing Day, was the first quarterback commit for Ash and offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer shortly after they arrived.

While returning pro-style quarterbacks Laviano and Rettig lack the ideal fit into the new spread offense, they bring the experience and round out the competition that lies ahead in August.

“They had a great summer, all of the quarterbacks have had a great summer,” Ash said. “They provided great leadership, they’ve worked extremely hard. They continue to learn the offense. They put together a lot of player-run 7-on-7s and 1-on-1s for those guys to go out and work and continue to improve, and I’m excited to see what they do once we start training camp.

“But right now, we have four guys and they’ll all get an opportunity to prove what they can do and fairly quickly in camp, we’ll start to identify the one or two that give us the best chance to have success.”


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