“You guys saw him out there Saturday,” Ash said. “It's obvious he's not ready. If he was, he would be out there full-time. He's not. He's got a long way to go. We're trying to bring him a long but he's got a long way to go.”
Starter Chris Laviano completed just three passes against Ohio State – all to red-shirt freshman Jawuan Harris. He remains the starter heading into Saturday against Michigan.
“The quarterback position is a position that we've been struggling at but that's not the only position,” Ash said. “We've got a lot of positions that we've struggled at when we've played really good teams.”
From Ryan Hart to Mike Teel to Gary Nova, every Rutgers quarterback shouldered the spotlight. That comes with the job in big-time football.
Laviano is no different, but there is plenty of blame to go around, Ash said.
“Everybody talks about a football team's quarterback,” Ash said. “That's just the nature of the business. If you don't want to be in that coverings, don't be a quarterback. Can some of our passing issues be contributed to Chris? Absolutely. Are they all contributed to Chris? Not at all. Again, it's offensive line. It's route running. It's catching. It is throwing. It is proper mechanics. It's decision making, so there's a lot that goes into it.”
Laviano goes into game six with completions on 49.6 percent of his passes, five touchdowns, two interceptions and 680 passing yards. He has three straight turnover-free games.
“Chris has improved and I know some people will look at the stats from last Saturday and say, no, he hasn't,” Ash said. “Well I'm just telling you, that's a pretty good defensive secondary in front that we played against. We probably need to be a little more creative on how we can get guys off of press with, whether it be motions or certain alignments that allow us to do that so we are not pressed all the time.”
Worth Noting – Banged up after another top-five foe and the lack of a bye week, Rutgers did not practice Sunday and focused instead on the film room.
Linebacker Greg Jones' and left tackle Tariq Cole's respective availability for Michigan remain questionable.
Quote of the Day – “It was a comedy of mistakes, alignment mistakes, fundamental mistakes, guys just not communicating well as defense. The one thing I will say, that dominates your thought process a lot of times when you come off of a game like that and you give up the points and the yards that we did. When you do put the film on and see the plays where the guys are lined up right and doing what they're supposed to do, the communication works like it's supposed to, we were a good defense. There were some plays in there, which you have to look for because there were a lot of bad ones, but there were some good ones in there too. Our guys can gain confidence from knowing that, hey, even against an offense as good as Ohio State's if you line up right, you see the right keys, you take the right steps, you do the right assignments, you get the right communication going. When things are working the way they're supposed to, we can be a good defense.” – defensive coordinator Jay Niemann.null