After a Summer of intense competition, Chris Laviano has earned the starting nod at QB over Zach Allen and Gio Rescigno. Head coach Chris Ash made the announcement via a teleconference with the media this afternoon.
Chris Ash announces that junior Chris Laviano will open 2016 as Rutgers' starting quarterback. #RFootball— Greg Johnson (@gregp_j) August 22, 2016
This decision now confirms what many expected. The bottom line is that Chris Laviano had a really strong summer workout period that propelled him past TCU transfer Zach Allen. He was not able to make up ground on Laviano during fall camp.
Although Laviano “battled” for the starting job last year, this was his first true test. Kyle Flood always held Laviano in higher regard that Hayden Rettig, no matter what he told the media. All Laviano had to do was stay healthy and the job was his. This year, he had a new coach, new playbook, and new quarterbacks to compete with.
Entering Spring practice, Laviano was sharing first-team reps with Hayden Rettig and Gio Rescigno. However, TCU grad-transfer Zach Allen entered the fold for Summer workouts and gave Laviano extra competition. This is where Laviano went above and beyond and earned the job. Coaches and teammates have praised Laviano for his work in the weight room and in the locker room, becoming a true leader for this team. If there were any doubts whether or not he had locker room support last year, they are gone now.
With that being said, this is not closing the door on Zach Allen, or even Gio Rescigno getting meaningful playing time. Both Chris Ash and Drew Mehringer have stated that they are open and willing to use a two-QB system if that is what gives the team the best chance to win.
If you remember, Aaron Breitman wrote a piece on why you should root for Chris Laviano and I could not agree more. Yes, he had a rough season last year and played in moments in which it was probably best for someone else to be in the game. However, as fans, we put him through a lot of shit and I have no problem with him egging on the booing crowd against Maryland. He has fight and spirit.
This is a new year and a fresh start for him. Anyone who has a problem with him being named the starter probably has a personal problem and needs to let go of that grudge. Chris Ash has given us every reason to trust his decisions and it is time we mature as a fan base and support Chris Laviano as he leads us into a new era of Rutgers football.
Ash says Laviano "has earned the trust of the staff and the players'' #rutgers— Keith Sargeant (@KSargeantNJ) August 22, 2016
Ash says Laviano has shown "most consistency'' and is "best decision maker in the group.'' #rutgers— Keith Sargeant (@KSargeantNJ) August 22, 2016
Ash: "Chris is our guy. Chris is no different than any other position, he has to perform well." No clear length of leash on him. #Rutgers— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) August 22, 2016
Ash reiterated that Laviano has to translate his consistency from practice to the game. Depth is there to make a move at any point, he said.— Garrett Stepien (@GarrettStepien) August 22, 2016