Rutgers coach Kyle Flood anticipates that a preseason camp battle between junior Chas Dodd and sophomore Gary Nova for the starting quarterback spot could last until roughly “7-10 days” before the Scarlet Knights' opener against Tulane on Sept. 1.
Flood lauded both quarterbacks at Tuesday's Big East Media Kickoff for their maturity and leadership during the early stages of the competition. Neither Dodd, nor Nova emerged as the favorite at the end of spring practice.
“The competition has made both of them better,” Flood said. “Their quality of character has come out.”
Barring injury, the quarterback that wins the battle will likely remain as the starter for an extended stretch. Flood prefers a one-quarterback system to ensure continuity on offense. In 2011, the Scarlet Knights' quarterbacks nearly produced identical statistics.
Dodd threw for 1,574 yards and 10 TDs, while Nova finished with 1,553 yards and 11 TDs. Dodd completed 56.7 percent of his passes with a 118.46 passing efficiency. Nova's completion percentage and efficiency were slightly lower at 51.1 and 116.63 respectively.
Vallone leads experienced defense
Flood couldn't have been more effusive in his praise of defensive lineman Scott Vallone. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound senior plays with a “constant motor” and sets a “barometer for toughness” for the defense, Flood said. Vallone spearheads a defense that led the Big East in 2011 in points allowed per game (18.3). The Rutgers defense returns eight starters.
Flood had high regards for several other veteran playmakers on defense. Linebacker Khaseem Greene led the conference in tackles last year with 141 after making the transition from safety. Flood is encouraged about a linebacker corps that returns Greene and Steve Beauharnais, who finished second on the team with 77 tackles. The first-year coach also has high expectations for a secondary led by cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Duron Harmon.
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