Gavin Wimsatt is not a finished product but his performance against Michigan State is a step forward.
This year, all that fans could hope for is the young quarterback to progress over the course of the year. He is coming off the best statistical performance, completing 20-of-34 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns.
“He didn’t read everything correctly but he read everything out,” head coach Greg Schiano said during his weekly press conference on Monday. “There was a couple times in the Michigan game we just guessed. As a quarterback, can’t guess. But he’s learning. And he works credibly hard at it.”
Wimsatt came into the season battling with Noah Vedral and Evan Simon for the starting job. After appearing in the first three games of the season, Wimsatt suffered an injury that sidelined him. Now, he has been given a chance to start and get his feet wet in Big Ten play.
On the year, Wimsatt has totaled 587 passing yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions.
Wimsatt has shown inconsistencies and accuracy issues in game situations. On the other hand, he has a strong arm and great athletic ability. With what Samuel Brown V has shown during his freshman year, before a season-ending injury, the Scarlet Knights are hoping that they have their combination for the future.
“This is a guy who grinds the tape,” Schiano said. “He grinds in his preparation and he’s only going to get better. I think Nunz is doing a really good job leading him along the path and learning how to get better as a quarterback.”
Schiano has highlighted many aspects within a quarterback this season. There is decision making, reaction, and of course being able to combine both on the field.
On Saturday against Michigan State, Rutgers had a chance to let Wimsatt run a two-minute drill before the half but did not. Schiano spoke on the decisions that were made.
“We do two-minute drills out here all the time,” Schiano said. “I don’t look at it as an opportunity to get anybody experience. We are trying to win the game. So we start the drive on our 11-yard line. Have a couple-yard gain and then a minus-yard play. So we are sitting there at third down, we run one and get a pop out, and that’s good because we don’t have to punt.”
Early on, Wimsatt is continuing to learn and will only get better with game experience — and of course, a full offseason as the starter.
Schiano knows that his quarterback has a high IQ on the field and is a student of the game. As time goes on, Wimsatt will have to be more aware and use experiences against Big Ten defenses.
“He was very quick at picking things up, and understands he has a unique spatial awareness,” Schiano said. “That’s why I say, if he can read it out, he’ll right it right most of the time. Defenses, you’re talking about the Big Ten East now.”
“There are some really good defensive coordinators that are tricky and show you one look and then take it away. For a young quarterback it can be a little bit confusing but as long as he reads the right thing, and that’s the difference, on each play, there may be a little subtle difference on what you’re reading. So he has to know what that is and then he has to know what it’s going to look like.”