Rutgers quarterback battle heats up after Scarlet-White spring game
On April 23, Chris Ash oversaw his first spring football scrimmage in his tenure as the head coach at Rutgers.
In front of a modest crowd of 14,177 spectators, the Scarlet team defeated the White team 33–20 and fans got their first taste of what Rutgers football would be like in the Chris Ash era.
But some things never change.
Ash and his new coaching staff have many questions that need to be answered heading into the summer.
Just like former head coach Kyle Flood a season ago, Ash needs to determine who his quarterback will be this fall, Chris Laviano or Hayden Rettig.
Both players saw time under center in 2015 but Laviano was the primary starter.
Laviano, a redshirt junior from Glen Head, NY, started 11 games last year and saw action in all 12.
He threw for 2,247 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Laviano was a very accurate passer in 2015 completing 60.9% of his throws and was excellent in both the short and intermediate passing game.
Laviano does not have the strongest arm making the deep ball his Achilles’ heel.
This was evident in the spring game as Laviano miss fired on several deep throws.
He did however connect with senior wide receiver Janarion Grant on a 49-yard bomb in the third quarter.
Laviano went 16 of 29 for 240 yards and a touchdown in the Scarlet-White game. The score came on 37-yard bubble screen to Grant in the third quarter.
Just like in 2015, Laviano did well getting the ball out of his hands quickly and connecting with his play makers on short and intermediate throws.
Meanwhile, Rettig had a sound performance as well.
The redshirt junior stood tall in the pocket and showed off the huge arm that he has by hitting senior wide receiver Carlton Agudosi in stride with a 55-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter.
The Los Angeles, CA native completed 13 of 22 passes for 186 yards and a score.
In the 2015 season, Rettig had four appearances and started in one game. He went 14 for 25 with 233 yards and two touchdowns in total.
Rettig showed flashes of brilliance at times and seems to have a higher upside than Laviano.
However, his inconsistencies made Laviano the better option last season.
Throughout spring practice, Laviano received nearly all of the reps with the first team offense. But, Rettig continues to open eyes with his flashy arm and athleticism.
According to Ash, the quarterback battle is even at this point in time as neither Rettig or Laviano were able to create separation between themselves.
It appears that the competition will linger on into the dog days of summer training camp.
Evan Bruno is a student at Rutgers University majoring in Communication. He is currently an intern at RVision and has previously worked as a staff writer for the Daily Targum. You can follow him on Twitter: @EvanCBruno