Savage officially named starter for Howard

After going 15-for-23 for 135 yards and a touchdown in his first career game at Rutgers, true freshman quarterback Tom Savage is set to make his first career start Saturday against Howard.

Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano officially named the former Cardinal O'Hara star as his quarterback for Howard after today's practice.

"Tommy's going to be the starter," Schiano said after practice. "Dom's going to back him up. … It was a lot of things. I don't want to get into everything, but our policy is all things being equal off the field, we're going to play the guy we think gives us the best chance to win. We don't claim to be right all the time, but you have to do what you believe is best."

With just two days and change left for Howard, it will be a quick adjustment for Savage after learning today at practice that he would be the starter.

Despite the quick turnaround and general lack of experience at the college level, Savage said that he feels ready.

"It's definitely going to be different, but I'm just doing what Coach [Schiano] told me to do," Savage said. "He says go out there, I'm going to go out there. … It's the same thing even if I'm third string. You have to go out there and watch the film. You have to analyze the defense and you have to take each game seriously."

To get ready, Savage said that he's looked to the leaders of the team for advice.

"[Dom Natale] is helping me out a lot," Savage said. "He's just tells me the ins and outs of the program, the ins and outs of the defense. He's seen a lot more defense than I have so he definitely helps me out a lot."

After being informed that he would be with the second team after an inauspicious first half against Cincinnati, Natale said he'd do everything in his power to make sure Savage was ready to play and that he was ready just in case.

"I kind of expected it. I failed to execute. That's all on me. I just have to go out there and keep working," he said. "I just have to keep going really. I mean, it's not easy, but at the same time … I have to help [Tom] out. We're all on the same team here."

Junior left tackle Anthony Davis was in a similar position just two seasons ago. After not playing for the first half of his true freshman season, Davis stepped in at right guard for a then-struggling Kevin Haslam. So naturally, the big man has some advice for Savage.

Don't try to do more than your job, just do what you need to do. Just play football," Davis said. "I'm sure he feels good, because it's a big accomplishment. I know Tom, he's just going to work."

The other news at quarterback from today's practice is that senior Jabu Lovelace will still see playing time in the "Jabu Package" come Saturday "if the situation dictates," Schiano said.

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