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Rutgers’ quarterback situation still a mystery following roster release

Head coach Greg Schiano explained his handling of the position less than two weeks before the season opener.

Rutgers v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

It’s official. We have a football roster for the 2020 Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Greg Schiano released the official roster on Monday with the depth chart expected to be out next week. All eyes will be on the most important position on a football team — the quarterback. Schiano did not commit to a starter during his weekly conference call, but did say that he is “starting to tighten down” the quarterback depth chart.

Rutgers opens their season in 12 days when they have a date with Michigan State in East Lansing. There are six quarterbacks listed on the roster — senior Noah Vedral, juniors Johnny Langan and Artur Sitkowski, sophomore Cole Snyder, freshman Evan Simon, and walk-on Austin Albericci. There were talks of Peyton Powell switching positions and the roster confirmed those talks. The former Baylor Bear will move to defensive back, a position where he was initially recruited.

“I think they’re all doing a good job,’’ Schiano said. “We’re starting to distribute reps a little more precisely as we get closer to game-week. But it’s definitely an ongoing competition. Without spring practice, without training camp — I just think it’s true at so many positions but it’s obviously more heightened at the quarterback spot — we just haven’t had enough time.”

Sitkowski was the Scarlet Knights’ started as a freshman in 2018. He started three games in 2019 before deciding to redshirt once Chris Ash was fired. He was replaced by Langan, who started the final eight games of the season. This position will enter the season with more depth than in recent years with Snyder and Vedral, who is a graduate transfer from Nebraska. The idea of playing two quarterbacks is unorthodox, but not one that Schiano has ruled out.

“At any position really, we’re going to always do what gives us the best chance to win,’’ Schiano said. “So if I felt (playing multiple quarterbacks) was the best chance to win we would do it. It’s too early for me to even speculate on that. We’ll see how it goes.”

In recent years, Rutgers has struggled with ball security and it begins with the quarterback. Under Schiano, this is something that will be a point of emphasis.

“We’re going to be fast, and we need to be physical,” Schiano said. “That is something that we are working on right now. Fast thinkers, fast players, fast everything. And then we need to take care of the football. Those are the three things that we are really emphasizing with our offense.”

The depth chart for Rutgers’ game against the Spartans will be released on Oct. 19 and this will give more clarity into the quarterback battle. One thing we know for sure is that Schiano will not commit to one quarterback, even after naming a starter for the first game.

“We just don’t have enough data to make really informed decisions. So you go on your gut a little and you know you may have to reverse them,” Schiano said. “The whole thing that I learned over the years is you can’t be afraid to make a decision but then you can’t be afraid to change it if you feel it wasn’t the right one. And I’m comfortable doing that. Early on you say, ‘I made this decision, I have to stick with it.’ Well, that’s not true. You make a decision with the information you have at the time and if it’s right you stick with it and if you don’t think it’s right you change it.”