By Tom Luicci
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 7, 2014) – Now that Rutgers’ starting quarterback situation has been resolved, who is No. 2?
That’s a question Scarlet Knights coach Kyle Flood intends to answer shortly after Monday’s first full scrimmage, he said today.
With senior Gary Nova named the starter on Wednesday, Flood’s next decision is choosing between redshirt freshman Chris Laviano and junior Mike Bimonte for the backup role. And it’s an important decision, Flood reminded everyone following practice today.
“I think they reacted fine,” Flood said of Laviano and Bimonte. “I judge it much more by how they come out and practice than anything else. They both seemed very focused today, ready to go.
“They know what they’re battling for. Those positions are vital when you think about a helmet coming off, a shoe getting knocked off, a twisted ankle. A lot of things can get that (No. 2) guy in the game right away and now all of a sudden you’re counting on him to be the starter.”
Neither Laviano nor Bimonte has taken a snap in a college game.
The clock is ticking, too. Today marks exactly three weeks before the season opener against Washington State in Seattle.
“I think as coaches we always tend to think it’s not enough time but I’ve gone to the train of thought that as long as we’ve got the same amount of time as the other guys it’s enough time,” Flood said. “As long as they don’t get more time than us I’ll feel good about it. I’m pleased with the direction we’re moving.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do but that’s not unusual. The installs have been very heavy to this point. Now as we get closer to that (Monday) scrimmage we’ll be able to continue to rep things. And then after the first scrimmage we’ll really have everything in.”
Flood called the decision by the NCAA today to grant the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) the autonomy to create their own legislation and voting rights for student-athletes a “good” one.
“I think it's good because I think the leadership in those conferences is strong,” Flood said. “I think there are really smart people at the top. From being in the room with (Big Ten commissioner) Jim Delany, I think it will be nothing but a positive for the student-athlete experience.”
Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann lauded the NCAA’s decision as well.
“This is a significant first step toward our ability to adapt the collegiate model to the changing times,” she said. “Presidents, athletic directors and faculty athletic representatives now get to roll up our sleeves and do the deep dive required to develop 21st century best practices for the student-athletes we serve.”
Flood said the timing was ideal for Rutgers as it enters its first season as a Big Ten member.
“There is no doubt (it is good timing for Rutgers),” he said. “Having a seat in one of the big five conferences is where you want to be. If you want to recruit the best players and you want to play at the highest level then you need to be in one of those conferences.
“I never doubted that a school with the academic reputation we have, with the football success we’ve had, with the No. 1 media market in the world, I never doubted that we would be included. But it’s nice to be included.”
Left guard Kaleb Johnson, who has made 37 consecutive starts, “left practice,” with an undisclosed injury, according to Flood.
“We’ll evaluate that afterwards. I’m not sure what that will entail just yet. I’ll talk to the trainers when we get in,” he said.
Flood was hopeful that running back Desmon Peoples, who has been sidelined since the first practice with a lower leg injury, would return Friday at full strength.
Team captains could be chosen by this weekend – although the result of the players’ vote may not be made until early next week.
“I think as we get to the weekend we’ll probably do that (vote on captains),” Flood said. “I don’t think we’re that far away. I wanted to give these players an opportunity to really show the younger half of the team what they could do during training camp in terms of leadership and I think that’s emerging.”