By Tom Luicci
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 12, 2014) – Thirteen practices into preseason camp, Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said he saw no reason to wait any longer to decide on a No. 2 quarterback behind Gary Nova.
Redshirt freshman Chris Laviano has earned the backup spot over junior Mike Bimonte, although Flood acknowledged tonight – following the second of two practices on the day – that there wasn’t a significant difference between the two. Neither has taken a snap in a college game.
“I think it was time to make the decision and we just felt like Chris was throwing it a little bit better,” Flood said. “From a decision-making standpoint I don’t know that there was a big difference but I do think in terms of throwing the ball I do think he threw it just a little bit better.”
For the foreseeable future the pecking order at the position won’t change, either.
“I think it would be hard (to switch up) because I think the backup quarterback is going to get a lot of reps and the guy who is third won’t get as many reps,” Flood said. “That’s the nature of football practice. I don’t see that changing right now for the first game. If something was to happen and we go into a bye week down the road, anything could happen. For right now Chris is our backup quarterback.”
Flood was quick to add that he hasn’t lost faith in Bimonte, saying he has “the utmost confidence in Mike that if we needed him to go in the game and win the game for us that he could do it.”
Despite having to move both practices to the indoor practice facility because of the weather, Rutgers still hosted its annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Day during the evening session.
“We had close to 500 law enforcement professionals and their families are here today,” Flood said. “I think you guys know how near and dear that is to my heart from my grandfather to my uncle to my brother, who has been on the NYPD for 23 years.
“To have this many law enforcement personnel and their families come out to watch us practice is really a very humbling experience for us and I’m glad we’re able to put on a good show for them. I hope they had a great experience.”
Flood said the captain vote among the players produced the results he expected, with quarterback Gary Nova, fullback Michael Burton, defensive tackle Darius Hamilton, defensive end David Milewski and strong safety Lorenzo Waters being elected.
Nova is the eighth two-time captain at Rutgers in the past 20 years and the first since current graduate assistant coach Mike Teel in 2007 and 2008.
“I was actually very pleased,” Flood said. “It kind of confirmed a lot of the things I thought about all five of those guys. I didn’t go into the process looking for five but, similar to last year, I thought that when I looked at the numbers there was a distinct line of demarcation in terms of who the players wanted to be their captains.”
Flood’s observations after watching tape of the scrimmage on Monday: “I think (wide receiver) Andre Patton is coming on. I think (wide receiver) John Tsimis is coming on. Those two guys, I think, are starting to make a push. And I think our defense, when allowed to use everything at their disposal, is very difficult to run the ball on. That remains a constant for us.”
Walk-on tight ends Charles Scarff, a true freshman, and redshirt freshman Matt Flanagan continue to make the most of their opportunities at the thin position. The 6-5, 225-pound Scarff is from Lancaster, Pa.; the 6-6, 230-pound Flanagan hails from Chester, N.J.
“They’re going to have a chance to help us win football games,” Flood said. “Both of those guys, right now if we played, would be in the game for us. I’m pleased with how they work. They’re both still young. They’re going to be much better players later on in their career but right now I’m pleased with where they are.”
True freshman cornerback Dre Boggs, arguably the most impressive newcomer in camp, suffered an undisclosed injury in the first practice session. Flood offered no further details on the injury or a timetable for his return.
"We've gotten him evaluated. We’re still waiting on the reading," Flood said.