Whether it be by actions in spring practice or Ash's Wednesday afternoon comments on a Big Ten conference call, Rescigno is the “clear No. 1” for Rutgers football at quarterback.
“He was our starting quarterback the last half of last year,” Ash said. “He has been taking the reps with the ones here this spring. I'm very impressed with the improvement he's made under the new leadership of coach Jerry Kill coaching quarterbacks and running the offense. I think Gio has really been a pleasant surprise.”
Rescigno shared second- and third-team duties behind a packed quarterback room last spring, including the departed Chris Laviano, Hayden Rettig and Michael Dare. The Warren (Mich.) De La Salle former starter is one of two scholarship quarterbacks that remain in Ash's second year.
“He's developed in a lot of areas,” Ash said. “It starts with his leadership in the room and on the offense. He's demonstrated great leadership this offseason and through spring. His decision-making out on the field, he's doing a great job of taking care of the football and not putting the ball in harm's way. Fundamentally, he's doing a great job with the ball. He has two hands on the ball, his footwork, his reads, communication, all of that is improved. Right now he is our clear No. 1.”
Ash credits his new offensive coordinator with a boost in the quarterback room. During the conference call, he reflected upon Kill's return to football in December.
“I had a lot of really strong feelings and respect for coach Kill and what he's done in his coaching career, not only at Minnesota but every stop that he's been at,” Ash said. “Right away, I wanted to go out and I wanted to visit with him and see if our approach and our philosophy here with our program would mesh with his ideas and beliefs on offense. … It didn't take me long to realize this would be a great fit for, not only myself, but for our program, our players.”
On Spring Progress...
I'm really happy with the progress our football program has made in all areas – our chemistry, our attitude, our effort, our standards, the culture in our locker room. The physical development that our players have shown so far has been outstanding. I really like where we're at. We've got to stay healthy. We don't have a whole lot of depth but we keep getting better every-single-day. We've had a very productive spring.
“Outside of our state, we start here in the tri-state area, we consider New York and Eastern Pennsylvania basically in-state territories. We are going over into Ohio to try to recruit. Ohio has got a lot of outstanding football programs and players. We go down the East Coast all the way to Northern Virginia. We'll go into Georgia and into Florida as well.”
On dead snaps...
“It's something a lot of people have been using for a few years. It's just a different way to hold the ball as the center and snap the ball to the quarterback. It's something that we have been trying here, and I think it's helped us. AJ (Blazek) has done some studying to try and find ways to continue to grow and develop his centers to get the ball back into the quarterback's hands more effectively and efficiently and protect the football. I think it has helped us so far this spring, but it is a technique that has been used by teams, not only in the NFL, but in college for a while.”
On Friday night football...
“When it's the first game, I think there are a lot of positives behind it. I think if you play on a short week during the season, there are some negatives to it. We certainly believe that high-school football is made for Friday night and college football is made for Saturday. For us, here, opening up on a Friday night against Washington, I think there's a lot of positives because high school here in the state of New Jersey has not started, at least not all of the schools have started. There's not going to be a lot of conflict with that, plus it gives us an extra day for week two and our preparations for our second game.”