The very latest on WSU opponent Rutgers

RUTGERS TOOK THE STAGE at Big Ten Media Day on Monday. And until Rutgers coach Kyle Flood names a starter at quarterback, that storyline will continue to dominate the news cycle on the Scarlet Knights. But there might be a bigger story brewing in the Rutgers secondary.

Most everyone expects senior Gary Nova to win the QB job long before Rutgers travels to Seattle to meet the Cougs on Aug. 28, even the offensive coordinator. But by keeping the job publicly open, Flood hopes to make all three candidates better, (redshirt junior Mike Bimonte and redshirt freshman Chris Laviano.)

Flood said at the Big Ten media day on Monday he expects to name his QB within the first two weeks of fall camp. Nova's big issue has been turnovers and decision-making - he was benched the final three games of last year after tossing 14 picks in 10 games.

In two seasons, Nova has thrown 30 interceptions. But Flood said today he's improved markedly this offseason in his decision-making process.

Nova performed the best of the trio in spring and new offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen even recently told the Big Ten Network he believes Nova is the starting quarterback.

If not for the QB scrum, the big Rutgers story would be the secondary.

And it should be of special import to Cougar fans given WSU's Air Raid offense. The Rutgers secondary, to put it kindly, is in flux headed into fall ball.

In the depth chart released on Monday, Rutgers listed seven true freshmen and four of them are cornerbacks, (three others were specialists.)

Flood said he looked for JUCO DBs after Signing Day but didn't find any he was willing to spend a scholie on. Apart from starting strong safety Lorenzo Waters, the three other starters and their roles appear up for grabs.

That said, Rutgers played in the ACC last season, with many of those schools employing a spread offense.

Rutgers running back Savon Huggins (shoulder and wrist) is still on the mend and it seems certain he'll be unavailable for the opener against WSU. He was probably going to be a reserve, though.

Huggins was the No. 1 RB at the start of last year before losing the job to Paul James, and James enters the 2014 fall camp as the No. 1 running back per the depth chart. James missed five games in 2013, and still rushed for 881 yards and nine touchdowns.

Punter Joe Roth could be limited at the start of camp but everyone else in the two-deeps looks healthy, Flood said. Backup and converted WR Tejay Johnson has retired due to injury.

  • Outside linebacker Steve Longa racked up 123 tackles at middle linebacker last season. He’s been moved to the WIL this season and Rutgers will look to funnel players to him on the weakside.

  • The Scarlet Knights have been picked to finish near the bottom of the B1G East Division standings by virtually every major preseason publication that has come out.

  • Rutgers lost freshman linebacker Sidney Gopre from their 2014 class, and recruited walk-on quarterback J.R. Reese will also enroll in prep school after failing to qualify.

  • "Moving into the Big Ten, especially in the East Division, the schedule is so challenging. Improvement could mean going 4-8 but they're competitive in those games."
    -Steve Lassan, college football editor for Athlon Sports

  • New Penn State coach James Franklin has drawn the ire of a few Big 10 programs this offseason, including Rutgers. Two months ago, he said Big 10 newcomers Rutgers and Maryland "might as well shut down because they don't have a chance" this season. At the B1G media day, he said he probably shouldn't have said it but didn't apologize, instead saying. "Everybody wants to create drama and controversy," Franklin said. "I didn't mean to do that. I was just trying to have some fun."

  • Flood brought three starters with him to the media day: DT Darius Hamilton, FB Michael Burton and Waters.

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