Rutgers QB Hayden Rettig Stays Motivated after Demotion to Third Team to Start Training Camp

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Where does Hayden Rettig stand at the start of training camp? The redshirt junior assesses his situation with input from Chris Ash and Drew Mehringer.

Roughly two years after his decision to transfer to Rutgers, Hayden Rettig starts his latest training camp on the outside looking in.

With training camp underway, Chris Ash’s initial depth chart pegged the redshirt junior below Chris Laviano and Zach Allen, who each open up August ahead of Rettig as the co-starters under center.

Despite the ground to make up, Rettig said he refuses to let it alter his approach.

“I don’t get discouraged because anything happens in football,” Rettig said. “Stuff changes all the time. It’s the first day of practice. Coach (Ash) only talked to us about how he’s doing it and whoever is best, whoever wins the competition’s going to win the competition, no matter if you’re fourth, three, two or one … whoever goes out there and runs this offense best, works hard, does what he has to do on the field and shows coach can play is going to start.”

Ash made competition a point of emphasis when he arrived at Rutgers, and reiterated it all offseason.

He singled out the quarterbacks at Big Ten Media Days and said the unit lacked consistency and competitive fire to his standards, which played into the arrival of Allen as a late graduate transfer from TCU.

Asked about Rettig, Ash made it clear in his generalization of all positions that quarterback is no exception.

“To be honest with you, we talk to all of these players,” Ash said. “I don’t care what you were in the past. That has nothing to do with where you’re at today or where they’re going to be at in the future. It’s a clean slate for everybody and they have to earn the right to go out and play and to be a starter on this football team.”

Offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer provided his take on Rettig’s growth since he began to coach the quarterbacks and install the spread offense.

“I think he’s right there, and he’s been there,” Mehringer said of Rettig. “What he’s got to do is like we go back to what everybody’s got to do. He’s got to execute a job responsibility, and some of the things he did well are very encouraging and some of things he didn’t do well were not and that’s with everybody.”

While Laviano and Allen jump out with more mobility on the surface, Mehringer remained firm on the bottom line the offense can be molded to match any quarterback’s skillset, including Rettig’s.

“You’ve got to execute your job responsibility at a high level,” he said. “Nobody’s asking you to go out and be Cam Newton. We’re asking you to go out and manage the offense appropriately.”

Rettig compares the similarities of tempo and setup to the spread he ran years ago at Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral, referencing Mehringer’s offense from James Madison in 2014.

“It’s coming along great,” Rettig said of the install. “I did a lot of this stuff in high school, so I’m used to being in shotgun and taking snaps that way.

“With this offense, we watched tape with JMU and some of the guys coach would talk about aren’t the most mobile guys but they managed the game, they managed this offense and do good.”

With the quarterback room more crowded now than before, who emerges from the pack remains to be seen. But regardless of the conditions, Rettig still views the position battle through the same lense.

“I feel like everyone has ground to make up,” Rettig said. “We’re all trying to get better, we’re all trying to win a spot and I don’t make the final decisions.”


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