Rutgers quarterbacks earn support from fellow Knights
With temperatures reaching the mid-90s and thunderstorm sirens signaling a storm was within five miles, head football coach Kyle Flood addressed the media following the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice.
Junior right guard Chris Muller, along with several other Rutgers football team players, drudged off the practice field with a noticeable sulk on their face after suffering through the humidity.
The sense of relief only came to the Scarlet Knights' faces when they finally reached the ice tubs and could cool off. Even then, it appeared they were physically drained.
Although practice ended at the height of the heat wave, Flood welcomed the high temperatures. He said they add another dimension of preparation for the game against Washington State this weekend.
“It’s a little hot out here and a little warm, but I always enjoy that,” Flood said Wednesday post-practice. “I think it forces the players to focus even a little bit harder and I think they did a good job with that.”
Even though temperatures reached heights that had not been seen since the summer training camp in August, the former quarterback competition of camp sizzled down when Flood confirmed Laviano as the starter this week.
Flood also added a vote of confidence on the progression Laviano has made since he was the primary backup last season.
With a whole season as a backup, a summer of competing for the starting job and an impressive performance against Norfolk State where he threw three touchdowns, Flood noted how impressed he was with Laviano.
“We’re very comfortable with Chris running the offense,” Flood said. “Different games dictate different needs from your offense, and we are confident that he can do all of the things that we need him to do in the offense.”
After Flood indicated the starting quarterback, support for both Laviano and sophomore Hayden Rettig outpoured from the locker room.
Senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo backed the decision by Flood to name Laviano the starter. Laviano offers both a physical and a mental capacity for the game of football that impresses Carroo.
“Just his ability to go out there and play,” Carroo said of what makes Laviano special. “He’s a true competitor. He loves the game, he loves football and he just — he’s kind of like me. He loves the game and he always wants to be around it and just play.”
While support surfaced for Laviano, equal backing was received for Rettig. Despite impressing against the Spartans this past weekend, Rettig was passed on to be the starter. Flood said with any competitor, such as Rettig, they would want to remain the starter and stay on the field.
Senior running back Paul James knows the importance of keeping Rettig confident. With a need for a strong backup, James said he spoke to the LSU transfer after hearing the news.
“I think it was a great decision to name Chris the starter — he’s a great player and leader,” James said. “As for Hayden, you have to get in his ear and let him know it’s still competition and people compete every day for spots. You have to be ready because at any moment you could be the next man up. You can’t get yourself down and let it affect you.”
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