Rutgers coach Chris Ash

Chris Ash Discusses QB Reps, Defensive Health and a Potential Two-Way Player

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Chris Ash met with the media on the Big Ten coach’s conference call after Tuesday’s practice. After Rutgers shuffled the depth chart ahead of Saturday against New Mexico, Ash assessed some of the changes on the two deep and more.

While Chris Laviano remains the starting quarterback for Rutgers ahead of its final non-conference game against New Mexico on Saturday, questions linger beyond the junior on the depth chart.

The updated two deep released by head coach Chris Laviano on Monday listed junior Zach Allen and sophomore Giovanni Rescigno as the co-backups behind Laviano at quarterback.

Ash spoke further on where things stand with Allen, who has yet to take a snap for the Scarlet Knights (1-1) after the TCU graduate transfer pushed Laviano for the starting job in training camp.

“Well, it depends on how (Allen) practices and the improvement that he makes,” Ash said. “If he was ready to go in a game, we would put him into a game. Right now, he’s not.

“Zach’s come in, works extremely hard. But he hasn’t played quarterback in a while. Still learning the offense, still trying to get back in the groove of playing quarterback. And if he gets back to the point where we think he could help us win or he has earned the reps over somebody else in practice, then we’ll put him in.”

Allen did not appear in Rutgers’ 52-14 blowout of Howard last Saturday.

In the fourth quarter, Ash inserted Rescigno for one series and then true freshman Tylin Oden for the final series of the game.

Offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer said in his Monday press conference that he and Ash had yet to discuss Oden’s reps going forward. With Oden’s debut in week two, he burned his redshirt for the season and will only now be eligible for one medically.

Mehringer and Ash discussed Oden’s reps later in the afternoon on Monday, but the use of the 6-foot-5, 186-pounder remains to be seen.

“There’s really no resolution (on playing time), and it’s going to be based on how our quarterback situation is throughout the week and how we feel it’s going on Saturday as a game day,” Ash said. “We put Tylin in the (Howard) game to get his feet wet, give him a chance to get some game experience. We’ll do that as we continue to go. A lot depends on how the game is going and what type of week of preparation Tylin has had.”

 Dacoven Bailey is another true freshman to play early. The 5-foot-10, 199-pounder earned time on offense and special teams through Rutgers’ first two games.

In Tuesday’s practice, Bailey wore a cast on his left wrist and worked with the defense at the nickel cornerback.

Ash said the health circumstances around Bailey and the team could lead to time for the freshman on defense.

“(Bailey) could do all (offense, defense and special teams),” Ash said. “Really, it’s going to depend on the health of our football team. Right now, he’s got a cast on his hand. Can’t do a whole lot for us on offense. So if there’s a need where he can help us on defense, then we’ll look at him there also.

“But he continues to excel on special teams and he’s fast, he’s physical, knows how to get to the football and really excited about his future here, whether it be on offense or defense. But he’s doing an outstanding job for us on special teams.”

Ash also received a question about the status of defensive end Kemoko Turay.

“Kemoko’s got a ways to go before he’s a going to be able to do anything in a game,” Ash said. “He’s still rehabbing. He’s getting better. He’s getting closer. He’s still very limited in what he can do with his shoulders, but he’s getting stronger. So right now, it’s just a day-by — really, it’s week-by-week how strong his shoulders get and how much we can get him back into practice.”

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