Chris Laviano Seeks Sharper Quarterback Play against New Mexico

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Chris Laviano put a bumpy start behind him and the junior quarterback tossed for three touchdowns against Howard. Now, Laviano looks to sharpen his game ahead of Rutgers’ final non-conference game of the season.

Chris Laviano was the first to admit that he needs to make adjustments.

Between his passing, run game and ball security, the junior was honest with his self-assessment through two games.

“I personally have to get better at a lot of things,” he said.

With a 1-1 record to show for his play as the starter, Laviano leads the Rutgers offense into its third week of game preparation. The Scarlet Knights host New Mexico (1-1) for a noon kickoff at High Point Solutions Stadium.

Laviano has a 56.5-percent completion rate, 305 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble through two games. That came against a top-10 team in Washington and a low-FCS team in Howard.

What I saw on game day — his performance was okay, not great,” said offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer. “I still stand by that. I think he can play a lot better. There's some things that I think we can cleanup technique wise in the discipline of where his eyes are, making the right reads and I think, maybe for him, it was a technique problem. Not a huge fix, but one that has to happen for him and for our football team.”

While Laviano remains the starter, head coach Chris Ash evaluates the position and the junior quarterback’s performances.

“It's like I said after the (Howard) game, Chris Laviano did some good things,” Ash said. “He did some bad things. Ball security continues to be a major concern. Quarterback fundamentals continue to be a major concern. We've got to get him better. Decision-making continues to be a concern.

“But did he do some good things to help lead our offense down the field and score points? Absolutely he did. He made some good throws. He made some good decisions, and the run game, he's got to be more consistent at getting us in the right protections at times based on the defensive look.”

In a spread offense that thrives off the run and heavily uses on zone reads, Laviano has 16 attempts for 20 yards on the ground so far. Before factoring sacks, Laviano is 10 for 41 rushing.

Laviano said the run plays are all reads. Different looks from the defensive ends and linebackers can alter how the offense runs it.

“You kind of read the coverage and then you kind of anticipate what they’re going to do,” he said. “But you also have to react. You can’t just assume.”

While Washington and Howard sit on opposite ends when it comes to their talents and schemes on defense, Laviano said New Mexico provides a new look for Rutgers. Whatever the defense throws at Rutgers, it should test Laviano and the run game once again.

“We haven’t dived into film too much this week on New Mexico,” he said. “But from the last two days that we’ve been watching them, they just bring a lot of different kind of pressures that we haven’t really seen so far.”

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