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Chas Dodd and Gary Nova vying to be Rutgers' starting quarterback

rutgersR092411_optBY MATT SUGAM
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

PISCATAWAY – There’s an old adage in football that if you have two quarterbacks you have none. It’s a saying former Rutgers head coach Greg Schinao didn’t abide by in his final three seasons, shuffling between quarterbacks and having it be a week-to-week competition the last two years.

That quarterback carousel will come to a halt this season.

First year head coach Kyle Flood insists on it. He’ll name Chas Dodd or Gary Nova the starter and stick with it.

“I think a football team is best served having one quarterback going forward and you want to commit to your starter,” Flood said following Tuesday’s practice.

When that decision comes is a bit unclear. Flood hasn’t put a stringent timetable on it. He doesn’t even want to evaluate it until after the first intra squad scrimmage this Saturday.

If all goes as planned, Flood won’t even have to make much of a decision. Dodd and Nova will make it for him.

“I think at some point they will separate themselves. I think they’ll ultimately make the decision of who the starting quarterback is,” Flood said. “I believe that by the time we get seven to 10 days away from the first game at Tulane one of those guys will separate themselves.”

Until then the two will split reps. Both said they’d like to take more snaps, but understand the situation.

So they take mental reps while the other is taking live snaps, much like they did last year when Dodd started eight games and Nova five. Dodd passed for 1,574 yards at a 56.7 percent clip for 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Nova threw for 1,553 yards, completing 51.1 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

It’s an interesting dynamic to say the least. As is the relationship between the two quarterbacks.

Off the field they’re not best friends, but that has nothing to do with the position battle. They’re just two very different people.

Dodd has a blond mop, using a headband to keep the hair out of his eyes, with a scruffy beard to match. Nova has a tightly shaved, shaped up haircut. Dodd’s a 5-foot-10 quarterback who only received one other D-I scholarship offer because of that fact. Nova’s a 6-foot-2, 230 pound prototypical pro style quarterback that had his mailbox filled with scholarship offers. Dodd is a South Carolina kid with a southern twang while Nova hails from North Jersey.

“Not too much in common, but one thing we do have in common is we’re great competitors, and we love football,” Nova said. “So when anything comes to that we’re willing to work and all we want to do is win so whatever we got to do to make that happen is what we’re going to do. ”

While the off the field relationship isn’t that of best friends, the competition hasn’t caused any schisms.

“Off the field we’re not really [close], but in here we’re pushing each other and we’re good friends. We talk. It’s not like we have any animosity towards each other, but when we’re here it’s all business and we help each other,” Nova said. “We have a good time in the quarterback room and when we’re out there we’re always pushing each other and getting each other up when we need it.”

They’re also both keen to the fact that Flood plans on having one guy win the job and that he’ll stick with that guy.

“In a sense it does give you a bit of urgency knowing that he said he’s going to make a choice and just knowing that you really have to show out,” Dodd said. “You have to go out there and produce and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Nova agrees.

“You want to be the guy. You don’t want to be worried about if you mess up someone might come in after you,” Nova said. “You want to be the guy and I think for him to say that of course we want to be named the starter as soon as possible. I’m sure Chas feels the same way and we’re just going to compete until it happens.”

For more Rutgers football coverage follow Matt Sugam on Twitter @MattSugam and on Facebook.

 

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