Flood remains noncommittal on Nova, Dodd at QB
After reviewing film Friday of junior quarterback Gary Nova’s performance Thursday night at Central Florida, Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood had little new to report.
The coaching staff had yet to decide how it would divvy reps this week in practice between Nova and senior Chas Dodd, or if a competition would even take place.
Flood also would not commit to Nova for the Knights’ final two regular season games.
“I’m not going to close the door on anything,” Flood said Friday via teleconference. “We’re still evaluating it. We’re not going to practice [Saturday], and I’ll make a decision before we go out there [today].”
A quarterback competition opened the week following the Scarlet Knights’ 49-14 loss Oct. 26 to Houston, with Nova and Dodd both taking first-team reps.
Flood even suggested the two might alternate the team’s first few offensive series’ Nov. 2 against Temple, but Nova took every snap. He threw 27-for-38 for 371 yards and three touchdowns — arguably his best game of the season.
But Nova’s inconsistencies, particularly against more marquee opponents, persist.
“We have to continue to look at the film and examine where the breakdowns are and see if we feel like we can make enough improvements to stay the same course,” Flood said. “If we feel like Chas gives us the better chance to win, then that’s really where you make the decision.”
Nova completed only 32 percent of his pass attempts in Orlando and has completed less than half his throws in three of the last four games.
Despite Nova’s glaring inaccuracies and few signs of improvement, Flood points to the running game as the driving force of the offense that must improve.
Sophomore running back P.J. James gained only 26 yards on 12 carries at UCF as Rutgers managed just 69 yards on 3.6 yards per rush.
“If we’re not able to run the ball better, we are not designed right now to win a game where we have to throw the ball on every down,” Flood said.
The Knights need one win in their final two regular season games to secure bowl eligibility, which is about all Rutgers can cling to now.
An 8-5 record with a bowl win is the Knights’ ceiling, but Flood still sees no demoralization in the locker room.
“I think our team is frustrated, and that’s a good thing,” Flood said. “I don’t feel like the frustrations will lead to discouragement.”
For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow Greg Johnson on Twitter @GregJohnsonRU. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.