Dodd embraces last home start
When the windshield wipers are put up on all the cars in the Rutgers football team’s parking lot, junior wide receiver Brandon Coleman knows exactly who the culprit is.
It is one of the many hijinks Coleman grew accustomed to when he lived with senior quarterback Chas Dodd for two seasons.
“It was always jokes, it was always pranks and him acting like something seriously was happening and me falling for it because I’m gullible,” Coleman said. “He’d smirk at me and I’d just want to pull his hair out.”
Pulling hair from their scalps is something Scarlet Knights’ fans have wanted to do during the second half of this season, as Rutgers has dropped five of its last six contests.
The downward spiral forced head coach Kyle Flood to name Dodd the starter over junior signal caller Gary Nova, who was particularly ineffective in his last two starts. Nova had started 23 consecutive games.
So when the Lyman, S.C., native took the field last Saturday against Connecticut at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, he admitted he was rusty.
But being left in the whole game helped Dodd get acclimated to a job he used to hold full time.
“Obviously getting out there, getting some good playing time and moving the ball a little bit definitely helped,” Dodd said.
Including last Saturday’s opening series, Dodd has 16 career starts for Rutgers.
When former quarterback Tom Savage went down with an injury early in the 2010 campaign, former head coach Greg Schiano called upon Dodd to start Oct. 8 against the Huskies.
Dodd shined in his debut, tossing for 322 yards and two scores en route to a come-from-behind 27-24 victory. He finished that season 123-for-223 with 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, but the Knights dropped the last six games with him as the starter.
Dodd started the next eight games the following season, but his inconsistencies finally prompted Schiano to utilize a rotation of Dodd and Nova for the rest of the season.
When Flood took over in the spring of 2012, he held an open competition between the two. Nova eventually pulled away, relegating Dodd to mop-up duties for most of the past two seasons.
It was a defeat usually resulting in a transfer.
But Dodd decided to stick it out, a decision junior offensive tackle Taj Alexander, who said he and Dodd are close friends, admires.
“It just says a lot about his character,” Alexander said. “He’s a man and he knows what he has to do whether he likes it or not, but he knows it’s right and he does it.”
Flood believes the right decision for Saturday’s game against South Florida, which the Knights must win to become bowl eligible, is for Dodd to make his second start of the season.
“I think now that he has been in for the entire game, he’ll be able to go out there this week and probably be a little bit quicker as a decision maker,” Flood said, referring to last week’s 24-17 loss to Connecticut, where Dodd completed 16-of-35 passes for 286 yards and two interceptions.
Coleman, who hauled in just two receptions for 36 yards in that contest, said Dodd’s joking ways change like an on-off switch once he gets in the huddle.
Dodd will attempt to turn on an offense that last produced a passing touchdown from a quarterback Nov. 16 in the first quarter against Cincinnati.
It is a situation Dodd is no stranger to.
“He’s been in the position before,” Coleman said. “It’s not like it is new to him or he had to find a different way to prepare. He’s been through it before.”
The Daily Targum ranked the top 10 players in the Rutgers football team’s senior class. The Targum will reveal the rest of the countdown in tomorrow’s GameDay issue.