The talk of the town, especially with the game week press conferences over, is Chris Laviano and his job security. While it is clear he is not playing very well, he is still playing well enough for us to win. Will he have enough for us to win in the Big Ten? We will found out shortly. Lets talk about his numbers first.
Chris Laviano had another mediocre day at best. He went 11/27 for 152 yards which is a 5.6 average. He also threw one touchdown and thankfully no interceptions although a few were close to it. When you complete only 41% of your passes and throw for only 152 yards, your day is mediocre. He did not turn the ball over and he received a QB rating of 23.5. That is pretty much abysmal. No one was happy, and the coaches were bombarded with questions regarding Laviano and his play and his job security at their press conferences for game week.
Offensive Coordinator Drew Mehringer says that Laviano needs to play better. He missed throws he should have made, but, overall, it is an offensive wide issue. Receivers and the Offensive Line need to improve. Mehringer says the quarterback competition never stops each and every week. Each quarterback needs to prove their worth in practice and games and there is a kind of, quarterback carousel? Each quarterback has a chance to be the backup quarterback each week. I wonder who the backup will be this week, maybe Laviano?
Coach Chris Ash refuses to talk about Laviano's job security. He said the quarterback position is no different than any other position, and they always get evaluated each week. Despite these evaluations, Chris has earned his right to be the starting quarterback. Ash did mention that even if Laviano keeps "winning" practice, per say, he still must perform. If he does not perform, a change may be made despite how well he does in practice. Coach Ash says Laviano is now in a competition to keep his job. In order to keep his job, he needs to practice and perform better. Sounds like the leash is getting shorter...
Lastly, Zach Allen got a drive of game play and he did decent at best. A lot of the plays were running plays but he did attempt two passes neither of which were complete. He had a very limited showing, but considering he was the only QB to not appear against Howard, Rutgers fans were happy to see him finally take the field.
Coach Ash said that they took Laviano out to calm him down and coach him through some things and wanted Laviano to be ready to go back in if the team needed him to do so. Ash said this act is not uncharacteristic and they have been doing it with other positions all year, and the quarterback position is no different than any other position. Either way, Laviano is getting taken out and Ash is taking a good peek at what his other quarterbacks could do.
Mehringer admits that it is tough having three backup quarterbacks and it is tough to gauge their success. On game day, you have to give the starting quarterback a certain number of reps, but they like to get live looks at their other quarterbacks. They try to give them a fair shot at winning the competition against Laviano, but some may argue that it is not quite fair, especially given Laviano's numbers.
Both Giovanni Rescigno and Tylin Oden got the fans and the team interested in a won game. Even Zach Allen today got a good buzz going. If these players had a big chance to help us win big games, the fans would be much happier. A lot of people, from what I have seen, both in the comments and in New Brunswick itself, really dislike Laviano getting this chance. He is the most experienced of the group, but his numbers are so bland. Rutgers fans want someone with flavor and fun to them.They would rather lose with Oden or Rescigno or Allen than lose with Chris Laviano, but that is just the vibe I get from New Brunswick.
This is not my place to say one way or another who deserves what spot on the quarterback depth chart, but the quarterback situation will start to get more heated and more entertaining as Big Ten play begins. If this truly is a competition, let these backs compete, let them play. If Laviano performs, we will love him. If he does not, we will not like him; and we really aren't too happy with him already. I am intrigued to see what happens either way and if our other quarterbacks can rejuvenate a vegetated offense when they get there chance in the middle of games, whether it be garbage time or not.
It is very fair, and perhaps accurate, to say that there is a quarterback competition in Piscataway, and Laviano's lead is seemingly getting less and less. How long will he be able to hold on?
Here are Coach Chris Ash and Offensive Coordinator Drew Mehringer's press conferences.
Here's to a great win, a 2-1 record, a fun quarterback battle on the banks heating up, and starting off Big Ten play against an opponent that just lost at home to an FCS team.
Go Knights! Beat the Hawkeyes!