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Greg Schiano addresses quarterback progress this spring

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Practices are in full swing and the quarterback room has been a hot topic of conversation.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Vedral is the starting quarterback for the Scarlet Knights. This was apparent coming into the spring.

The Nebraska transfer battled some injuries during the 2020 season that sidelined him for some time. This allowed Artur Sitkowski to go under center and show what he can do. Ultimately, this led Sitkowski to the transfer portal and eventually to Illinois. Now, it is time for Greg Schiano and staff to figure out what the plan is behind Vedral come the fall.

“I really like our room,” Schiano said on his quarterbacks during a news conference on Monday. “It’s a good group and Coach Gleeson has done a heck of a job with those guys.”

Johnny Langan was the third quarterback to attempt a pass for Rutgers in 2020. The problem was that there was only 12 of them. When Langan entered the game, it was expected to be a run and opposing defenses were ready.

Langan went 10-for-12 with his arm for 92 yards and two touchdowns with one interaction last season. On the ground, Langan finished with 201 yards on 56 carries and four scores. Langan is a bull with the ball in his hands but it is important for him to improve as a passer.

“Johnny has physically become, has always been a physically developed guy and he’s even more physically developed after this offseason,” Schiano said. “He’s going to be a tough guy to tackle. As I’ve said earlier in the spring, he needs to be able to make certain throws to change the way defenses play us. I think he’s on his way to doing that.”

Along with Langan, there will be opportunity for some younger guys. Third-year sophomore Cole Snyder and redshirt freshman Evan Simon will have a chance to step up and earn a spot.

Simon did not see any action in 2020 while Snyder was on the field for just one snap at holder. In the spring, there will be some extended action for the youngsters following Sitkowski’s exit.

“With the rest of the guys, I think it’s been steady, not spectacular but not poor either,” Schiano said.” With Cole and Evan, I’m hoping to see one of those guys really take a jump. Noah has a real good feel and understanding for what we’re doing. So what we’ll do is give Cole and Evan a whole bunch of snaps this week and see if one of them can’t make a move.”

Third-year walk-on Austin Albericci fills up the seats in the quarterback room.

“Austin Albericci, I always have to bring him up because he is a really, really great guy to have in our quarterback room,” Schiano said. “Very, very smart and when he gets his chances, he’s done a nice job.”

Spring ball is a chance for some players to show what they can do while others are trying to rest up and get healthy. During the college football process, this is just step one.

“In the end, I’m not sure that anything really gets decided in the spring — at least with me it doesn’t,” Schiano said. “I think that’s what training camp is for. Spring is really a developmental time and to answer your original question, I’m encouraged but we’re definitely a work in progress.”

After a 3-6 season that brought some excitement to Piscataway, fans are looking for ward to what this team could do in 2021. Rutgers will have a chance to pickup some non-conference victories that they did not have a year ago. Here in May, there is still some work to be done before Week 1.

“There’s been a lot of good things that I watched on the tape and say ‘wow that’s good. That’s better than at any point last year.’ There’s somethings where I’m like ‘oh my goodness. How can we still be making those kind of mistakes.’ Because some of these guys haven’t done it, that’s why. These are the first real reps.”

The quarterback is the most important player on the field. Having Vedral return for year two with this coaching staff is extremely important when developing as an offense. The coaches are using the spring to see what the others can do behind Vedral as well.