Flood addresses report, suspensions as Rutgers names starting quarterback
PISCATAWAY — After closing practice to the media on Monday, more than just news on the starting quarterback came pouring out from Piscataway on Tuesday.
Right before the Rutgers football team’s 14th day of training camp could begin, an NJ.com article surfaced claiming that head coach Kyle Flood could be fired or suspended due to impermissible contact with a faculty member of the University pertaining to the eligibility of junior cornerback Nadir Barnwell.
Flood addressed the media before practice began, citing his displeasure with the tone of the report that said he was undergoing an investigation by the University.
After practice, Flood said he hasn’t been made aware of a pending investigation of any kind, despite the fact that the University's Office of Ethics and Compliance launched one over a week ago.
“Nobody told me that there is an investigation at this point, but I will cooperate with whatever process the University has,” he said. “Other than that, I’ll just refer to my statement with all due to respect to whatever process the University has.”
Flood went on to say post-practice that he has always interacted with University faculty since arriving to Rutgers.
“Let me just say this … I have a lot of communication with teachers. I teach classes on campus. I was a member of a faculty for four years,” he said. “So, to me, I don’t know why you would want to have a separation of church and state. We’re all a part of the same University, we all want the same things for our student-athletes.”
Elsewhere, midway through practice, reports from ESPN’s Joe Schad surfaced claiming that the Scarlet Knights had suspended senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo, senior punter Tim Gleeson, junior linebacker Kevin Marquez, junior cornerback Ruhan Peele and sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano for the first half of the Sept. 5 opener against Norfolk State.
Rutgers confirmed in a news release that the five players are suspended as originally reported. Schad cited an anonymous source in reporting that Hayden Rettig would be named the starter to open the 2015 season, which Rutgers also confirmed in a release.
Flood didn’t reveal whether or not he had made a decision prior to suspending Laviano, who attempted to enter an establishment with a fake ID. The other four suspended players broke the team’s curfew.
“I don’t think we want to live in that world (of hypotheticals),” Flood said. “Right now, the situation is what it is. Hayden’s gonna start the game, Chris (Laviano) is gonna be suspended for the first half.”
Laviano didn’t have much to say to reporters after practice, keeping his sentiments brief and expressing disappointment in his actions.
Whether or not he sees action in the opener or the quarterback competition opens itself back up at any point in the season remains to be seen, but Laviano claims that nothing has altered his preparation.
“That’s up to Coach Flood to decide,” he said. “I’m going about football the same way.”
For Rettig, he takes the reins of the offense by default. It brings a five-month, neck-and-neck quarterback competition to an anti-climactic ending.
But the third-year sophomore, who hasn’t played a down of football since high school after red-shirting his freshman year at Louisiana State and sitting out for all of 2014 after transferring to Rutgers, is eager to be back.
“Being named the starter is awesome. It’s awesome,” Rettig said. “It feels like Christmas, you know. But I just gotta keep doing what I’m doing to make sure I’m ready for Norfolk State.”
As far as the suspensions go, Rettig insisted he knew nothing about them. He also refused to comment on when the coaching staff named him the starter.
“Right now, I’m just worried about our team and me starting against Norfolk State,” Rettig said. “Obviously, everybody wants to be the starting quarterback at the University. I’m happy I am for week one, so just gotta keep doing what I’m doing.”
For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @GarrettStepien and @TargumSports on Twitter.