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January 7, 2013
Coming off three straight losses in which the Rutgers offense only manufactured a total of three touchdowns, there doesn't look to be any quarterback controversy in Piscataway. Starting quarterback Gary Nova threw 13 interceptions in the final six games as Rutgers staggered to the finish line with a 2-4 record to close out the season.
"One of the things I'm most excited about this spring is to have somebody coming back, who for the first time for a long time at the position, is going to get the reps that a starter gets," Flood said of Nova earlier today via teleconference. "I think the thing that maybe got lost in the [Virginia Tech] post-game press conference, I don't open every question about personnel with this but this is always the case and the players know this; if there's ever a situation where there's a player who is clearly the best player at the position they will start. There are no endowed positions at Rutgers."
However, Flood stated after the game that there would not be an open quarterback competition this spring between Nova and Chas Dodd. When posed with that question, his response was as follows.
"I'm confident in Gary as our starting quarterback," Flood said that night in Orlando.
Nova helped the RU offense to only three points in the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl against Virginia Tech and finished 17-of-40 for 129 yards with one interception.
Now, having time to review the game film and reflect on the situation, Flood would not go back and alter his decison during a bitter 13-10 overtime loss to Virginia Tech.
"I wouldn't handle it differently," he said. "If I felt like the quarterback wasn't playing well and the rest of the offense was and I felt like a change could have a significant impact, I think you consider it. I think that game on offense, there was not a lot of things going right at any position. And I think to expose somebody who hasn't been in the game and put him in that, I didn't see the positive outcome that could have."
Coming off three straight losses, Flood remains excited about returning Nova as his starter.
"I think Gary has a unique opportunity coming in as the starter and getting the starting reps this spring, that's something nether he or Chas had the advantage of last spring. And I think the experience he's had this season, the opportunity to get some starter reps in the spring, I'm excited to see where Gary can go."
Nova can only go up considering his bowl performance was among the worst of any college quarterback this post-season.
And in the event that injury befalls Nova, Flood is confident he will retain the services of quarterback Chas Dodd for one more season.
Flood was asked today if he was concerned about Dodd, who is 8-8 as a starter, transferring out for his senior season.
"I spoke with Chas and am I concerned about it? No, I'm not concerned about it," Flood said. "Do I understand those things happen at times? I do, I certainly do. It's part of division 1 athletics. I think at a position like quarterback where only one guy gets to play generally, those things tend to happen. Am I worried about it? No, I'm not concerned about it."
If Dodd does leave, that would leave a competition for the No.2 spot between soon-to-be redshirt sophomore Mike Bimonte, redshirt freshman Blake Rankin and true freshman Chris Laviano, all of whom have never taken a college snap.
Last spring and through the summer, there was a quarterback competition between Dodd and Nova for the starting job, one that Nova eventually won.
Now, without that competition, it could be argued that Nova may become complacent since it seems he is firmly entrenched as the starter.
But Flood is not buying in to that argument.
"I think if you have players that have complacency problems, it's because you recruited the wrong players," Flood said. "I don't have that concern at all with Gary."