Rutgers fans everywhere, myself included, have been clamoring for Hayden Rettig to see the field this year as Chris Laviano experienced early struggles against Washington State, Penn State, and even against Kansas. He finally saw action against Ohio State in garbage time, and made a couple nice throws on his 3-7, 72-yard, 1 TD performance. However, he should not be replacing Chris Laviano just yet. Allow me, a huge Hayden Rettig fan, to explain.
Chris Laviano isn't that bad
Chris Laviano is second in the B1G is passing effeciency. Sure, he hasn't faced great pass defenses every game, but neither has Nate Sudfeld or any other QB in the B1G. He may not be flashy or a big arm hotshot, but Laviano gets the easy stuff done. I love to point out how Laviano is ranked so high, but I also think stats can be over-valued. Take a look at Laviano's stat line against Ohio State:
On the surface, that looks horrendous. However, he was facing an elite defense, and he had no time to throw since he had All-American Joey Bosa in his face all game. It didn't help that Ohio State blitzed up the middle nearly every play and Rutgers couldn't pick it up. Regardless of his cannon of an arm, I don't think Hayden Rettig could've done much better against that defense.
Chris Laviano is getting better
Laviano struggled mightily against Washington State, wasn't good against Penn State, wasn't great against Kansas, but got the job done. Laviano was great against Michigan State and Indiana, playing his two best games of the season. He struggled a bit against Ohio State, but played better than people think. If you couldn't tell, I am leaving out the Norfolk State game since that wasn't real competition. With that game out, here is how I would grade Chris Laviano's performances this year:
I think he has improved in every game with the exception of the one where he played the top team in the country.
In too deep
Kyle Flood has already shown that he is fully invested in Chris Laviano as the starting QB. Rutgers is 7 games into the season, and in my opinion it is too late to make a QB change, unless Laviano really screws up bad. The 2015 season is Chris Laviano's, and it makes no sense to take it away from him at this point. He has built a poise that will suit him well for the future, and has the ability to take Rutgers to a bowl game this year. If Laviano can do that, he will exceed the expectations of nearly everyone outside the Rutgers program.
Rutgers fans, and of course myself included, have been incredibly hard on Chris Laviano this year. However, looking back on this season, he is easily exceeding my expectations and I only expect him to get better, especially as Ben McDaniels opens up the playbook more.