Dodd embraces opportunity
Senior quarterback Chas Dodd has been in this position before.
When former signal caller Tom Savage sat out Oct. 8, 2010 against Connecticut, Dodd was called into action.
He responded with an 18-for-29 effort against the Huskies and two touchdowns, including a strike to then-freshman wide receiver Jeremy Deering to set up a game-winning field goal. The Rutgers football team won that contest, 27-24.
Now with junior quarterback Gary Nova’s status in question after a concussion — he is listed probable for Saturday against Arkansas — Dodd believes he can handle it.
“I’m comfortable,” Dodd said. “I’m ready to get going and I’m going to be prepared if my number’s called and just ready to start game planning this week and get myself ready.”
His most recent appearance was less than stellar, as Dodd appeared understandably rusty in the Scarlet Knights’ 28-10 victory Saturday against Eastern Michigan.
Entering the game for the Knights’ second series, Dodd threw just 4-for-9 against the Eagles. Dodd overthrew receivers, had a miscommunication with senior center Dallas Hendrickson resulting in a false start and was sacked three times.
While not all the mistakes were his fault, he knows his effort has to be better if he starts against the Razorbacks.
Part of that starts with added reps this week in practice.
Though Nova is listed as probable, head coach Kyle Flood said he was still uncertain of Nova’s status and should have a clearer understanding of Nova’s availability after today’s practice.
“Certainly by [today] we’re going to have to know so we can set the course of the week in terms of reps for the quarterbacks between Gary and Chas, and [freshman] Mike Bimonte, as well,” Flood said. “So we have got to make sure that we are getting the right people ready. It’s a very short amount of time you have.”
If Nova is still dealing with the effects of his concussion, Dodd will receive more first-team reps.
That means building chemistry back with the first-team offense, a unit he has not worked with in game action before Saturday since Dec. 26, 2011 in the Pinstripe Bowl against Iowa State.
Dodd said that despite his lack of recent familiarity in a game setting, he still works with all of the Knights’ receivers.
“I get a lot of reps with all the guys during practice, so I feel very comfortable with them and throughout this whole past summer and during camp,” he said. “I’ve gotten plenty of reps to feel comfortable with everyone, so I feel good with the entire receiving core.”
One of those receivers is senior wideout Quron Pratt, who had his most productive offensive season when Dodd was Rutgers starter.
Pratt is confident Dodd can control the offense if he is called into action.
“It means a lot to him. I know Chas’ personality,” Pratt said. “He’s a competitive guy and he’s a winner. I know he’s going to get back in the swing of things once things get going. It’s going to be just like he was before. He’ll go out there and do what he has to do.”
If Nova is healthy, Flood will play the quarterback who produced the Knights’ win against Arkansas last year in the programs’ last meeting. Nova threw 25-for-35 for 397 yards and five touchdowns against the Razorbacks.
And though the reason Dodd could be called into action is because of injury, he is still grateful for another chance.
“Any time an opportunity presents itself, it’s an exciting one,” Dodd said. “Any guy at this position wants to be the guy and wants to play, so it’s definitely exciting to see what’s going to happen with it, but obviously you don’t want a guy to be hurt.”
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