Gary Nova's reign of terror is over, and the scrappy senior from Lyman, SC returns to salvage a terribly disappointing season. This is a decision that has been overdue by about three games, as the Temple game was simply a false positive of true ability for Gary Nova. In the short term, this is basically just a fill-in for a chance to get to bowl eligibility and play Notre Dame in the Pinstripe Bowl. Long term, this is a statement about the quarterback situation going into the B1G.
Before the 2013 started, Gary Nova was expected to take a major step in becoming the program's defining quarterback. Rutgers just came off it's first conference title (shared), and was invited to the promised land of football conferences. In 2012, there were always glimpses of greatness, peppered with mediocre performances throughout. This season, it was supposed to be different. He worked harder in the film room. He lost weight. He was voted captain of the team as a junior (I wonder what his teammates think of him now).
So much promise, and such a bitter ending.
What does this mean for the future? Chas Dodd is a senior, so even if he does end the season with stellar numbers, he won't be coming back to Piscataway for 2014. With two games left to play in the regular season (plus a bowl game), it's hard to envision Gary Nova being the guy for the inaugural season in the Big Ten. Where does that leave us? In quite a pinch. Kyle Flood has invested his entire tenure on Gary Nova's potential, and needless to say, it's been a disaster. Nova is possibly the worst FBS quarterback to play football the past three years, and making that jump to the next level doesn't seem possible in another offseason. The investment in Nova has severely limited the development of the next three options - Mike Bimonte, Blake Rankin, or Chris Laviano.
Mike Bimonte was a member of the 2011 class (what a disappointment this class has been. Savon Huggins and Gary Nova were thought to be the future, and both have been serious busts, while Al Page and Miles Shuler aren't even on the team anymore) and Blake Rankin was signed with the highly-touted 2012 class. Both were low three-star recruits and likely haven't been given enough development to make the jump from practice squad to B1G competition. Chris Laviano was either a highly rated recruit or a sleeper depending on the recruiting site you use. He was a four-star QB on ESPN, a three-star on Rivals, and as low as a two-star on Scout. You always take recruit ratings with a grain of salt, but that variance tells you that Laviano is anything but a solid choice for the position. An indicator of future potential is the list of other schools that offered, and for Laviano, Boston College was the only other program who offered a scholarship. He certainly has the measurables - 6'2", 200 lbs. and arm strength to make all the throws. With Rutgers in a bind for next season, he might give the Scarlet Knights "the best chance to win," to use a form of coachspeak.
Of course, Rutgers is also looking to sign a QB for the 2014 class, and it's entirely possible that Tyler Wiegers comes back into the fold. In any case, the quarterback situation looks like more of a liability going forward rather than a strength, and that's a damn shame when you have a senior quarterback who has started almost every game the past two years heading into his final season. QB development remains a stigma for the RU program, and if Kyle Flood remains on as head coach for 2014, that problem isn't going away anytime soon.
What do you think? Who do you think gives Rutgers the best chance to win going forward? Leave a comment below!