Nova lacks awareness of competition
Gary Nova had no idea there is a quarterback competition for Saturday’s game against Temple.
“[Head coach Kyle Flood] never told me that,” the junior quarterback said yesterday during the Rutgers football team’s media availability. “I’m going in getting ready for the game like I’m the starter.”
Nova claimed to reporters he received all of the Scarlet Knights’ first-team reps during Sunday night’s practice.
But an hour before Nova spoke, head coach Kyle Flood said he would know more by Thursday whether Nova or senior Chas Dodd would start against the Owls.
“I think the timetable is the same,” Flood said. “I saw two guys that came out, ready to work and trying to get better. They took about an equal number of reps [Sunday].”
A Rutgers official later clarified Dodd played some first team during Sunday’s practice for a two-minute drill and in a first-team offense versus defense situation, according to The Star-Ledger.
“It felt good,” Dodd said about practicing with the first team. “I got a few reps in there, and it felt good to do that and I’m excited getting ready for the Temple game.”
Whatever the case may be in terms of game-week repetition distribution, the Knights’ next few practices could be instrumental in determining who plays behind center.
Flood pulled Nova from Saturday’s 49-14 Homecoming loss to Houston in the third quarter after he tossed his third interception of the game, his latest one occurring in the back of the Cougars’ endzone.
Flood inserted Dodd with 3:43 left in the third quarter after Nova went just 7-for-15 for 138 yards and no scores. After the game, Flood was noncommittal on the Nova’s status at starting quarterback.
Nova threw seven interceptions in his past two games and now has 11 interceptions to his 14 touchdowns this season.
The way Nova played in his past two outings resembles the way he finished last season. He tossed 10 interceptions in the Knights’ last six games, but Flood never inserted Dodd because of performance issues.
But this time around, he is left fighting to retain his starting job.
Flood said Nova has been intense since the loss.
“I think Gary’s demeanor has been excellent,” Flood said. “I want every player in our program to come to work every day fighting for their job. If you come with any other attitude in major college football, you’re making a big mistake. So I have not seen a change in the way Gary has gone about his business.”
Nova will continue to split first-team snaps with Dodd, at least according to Flood, until he can make a decision on who will start.
If Nova gets the nod, he believes the rest of the Knights’ offense has trust in him.
“I think as far as leading this offense, I feel like the guys have confidence in me to get the job done and I just have to go out there and do it,” Nova said.
For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @Bradly_D. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.