Rut­gers may em­ploy two QB sys­tem

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Matt Sugar

PISCATAWAY, N.J. >> Rut­gers may have got­ten a glimpse of the quar­ter­back of the fu­ture in its one-sided win over Howard.

Based on the in­con­sis­tent per­for­mance of starter Chris La­viano, backup Tylin Oden may see more time in the present.

Oden made his de­but in the fourth quar­ter, fol­low­ing the first col­le­giate ex­pe­ri­ence of red­shirt sopho­more Gio­vanni Rescigno, who had one rush for a 42-yard touch­down. Oden had nine rushes for 59 yards, in­clud­ing a run of 30 yards.

While La­viano won the quar­ter­back com­pe­ti­tion in coach Chris Ash’s first train­ing camp, Rescigno and Oden are bet­ter run­ners. That’s a key com­po­nent of the quar­ter­back’s play for of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Drew Mehringer’s power spread.

Mehringer said La­viano played OK Satur­day in the 52-14 win. He went 11 of 22 for 137 yards, three touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion while car­ry­ing the ball seven times for 39 yards.

There was room for im­prove­ment. Mehringer was not happy with the in­ter­cep­tion on Rut­gers’ first of­fen­sive play and a 14-yard loss on a third down sack in the sec­ond quar­ter with the game tied at 14.

“If he cleans those parts up, he plays a de­cent game,” Mehringer said.

It was not a ring­ing en­dorse­ment for La­viano, who was the Scar­let Knights’ starter last year un­der head coach Kyle Flood.

How­ever, nei­ther Rescigno nor Oden has at­tempted a pass, and Mehringer said both need to make sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in the pass­ing game.

Oden is the more ath­letic and faster than Rescigno. The Columbia, Ten­nessee, na­tive showed flashes in get­ting his first ac­tion Satur­day.

“Ob­vi­ously this is not a lit­tle town just south of Nashville, Ten­nessee,” Mehringer said. “He went in there and did a nice job. Just wanted to see how he’d do in a big­ger en­vi­ron­ment and I thought he did pretty well.”

So does that mean he’ll play more go­ing for­ward?

“I don’t know hon­estly,” Mehringer said. “You want to pre­pare I think for the best chance for our of­fense and for our team to win, what­ever that may look like.”

That could be a twoquar­ter­back sys­tem with La­viano ro­tat­ing with Rescigno and/or Oden.

“I’m 100 per­cent com­fort­able with that,” La­viano said. “Those guys have tal­ent run­ning the ball. Any way we can get our play­mak­ers in space with the ball, I’m all for. If it’s best for the team, it’s best for the team.”

The threat of a mo­bile quar­ter­back ex­pands the play­book for the power spread, but Rescigno and Oden also have to show they can throw the ball.

“Ideally you’d love to have Cam New­ton back there who can do ev­ery­thing and be just like ‘hey, you just do you and we’ll fig­ure ev­ery­thing else out,”’ Mehringer said, adding, “if Tom Brady walked in the room, I think we’d all be pretty ex­cited, too, and he can’t run out of this room right now, so I think we’re look­ing for the best player that gives us the best chance to win. I know that feels a lit­tle like a lit­tle bit of a cop-out an­swer, but it’s not. When we started the games, I thought Chris gave us the best op­por­tu­nity to win for four quar­ters and those two are just a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent football play­ers.”

How­ever, the fact that Ash was will­ing to burn Oden’s red­shirt is telling. He is go­ing to play more.

“We had con­ver­sa­tions through­out train­ing camp, what are we go­ing to do with Tylin and as he’s con­tin­ued to im­prove and progress,” Ash said. “He’s a guy that fits our of­fense and when we get the op­por­tu­nity to get him in there, we’re go­ing to get him in there.”

MEL EVANS — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rut­gers quar­ter­back Chris La­viano throws a pass against Howard last Satur­day.

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