Respect is earned. For Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano, that came recently with a wide receiver room hungry for new opportunities.
Rutgers coach Chris Ash postulated during a Monday announcement that Laviano did not have his teammates trust last season. He absolutely does after training camp, said senior receiver Andre Patton.
“He's been consistent on and off the field,” Patton said. “He's just done things over time to be consistent. You have to be consistent over time to be able to gain trust in your teammates. That's something he did very well. He's standing out. He stood out and he worked very hard in this offseason and this training camp.”
“Chris had a great camp,” Tsimis said. “It's an open competition and he did a great job on the field. He's a returning starter in the Big Ten. That's good. He's got a lot of experience. I'm excited with what we can d o in the offense with him. … He was one of the leaders all summer. He was a grinder. He was always first in, working the hardest. It became contagious. Everyone followed that.”
Matthews echoed the same confidence.
“I think it's great,” Matthews said. “Congrats to Lav, but we're taught as a receiver that whoever is back there at the helm, that's who we're going to trust. That's who we're going to go with. Coach Ash and coach [Drew] Mehringer made the decision to go with Chris. That's who we're going to go with. We're going to win games with whoever is back there.”
The decision allows for consistency in practice reps. Laviano worked exclusively with the ones during Tuesday's afternoon session.
“I think chemistry is always a big things for receivers and quarterbacks because, really, our guys don't need to know about who's throwing them the ball. I always tell the receivers I don't care where the ball's at, you make a play. It really doesn't matter who's throwing us the football but … the chemistry thing will hopefully start to happen as we get closer to the game.”
Senior Janarion Grant was not available to the media after practice, but received heavy praise from his new position coach.
“It's the hard work that he put in this summer,” Williams said. “He spent days on the jugs. He was out catching punts just really trying to improve his craft. He's done a great job.”