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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Chris Laviano will be the starting quarterback for Rutgers.
First-year coach Chris Ash announced the decision on Monday, less than two weeks before the season opener at Washington.
Laviano started 11 games last season in Kyle Flood's final year as coach. He edged TCU transfer Zach Allen, fellow redshirt junior Hayden Rettig and redshirt sophomore Giovanni Rescigno for the job.
The competition for the starting job seemingly came down to Laviano and Allen. They received most of the snaps with the first team during the portions of training camp open to the media.
"He has been the guy who has shown the most consistency throughout the first two weeks of practice and had a good understanding of our offense, and become a pretty good decision-maker with the ball, the best decision maker in the group," Ash said. "Right now he has earned the trust of the staff and the other players."
Ash said Laviano will get the snaps with the first team for the next two weeks, and would be his first game starter. He hinted that the quarterback needs to produce to keep the job because there is depth behind him.
Choosing the backup will come in a couple of days. Ash said he had no plans to use the more mobile Allen in a two-quarterback system at present.
Ash, the former co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, said he brought in Allen to "throw a bomb" into the quarterback room during Big Ten media days.
Allen was moved to wide receiver by TCU last year before graduating in the spring and committing to Rutgers in June. As a quarterback, he completed just two passes for 17 yards.
Laviano completed 61 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 11 starts.
Ash said that Laviano did not have a good spring practice but he picked up his game over the summer.
"I think he has matured," Ash said. "I think he has grown as a leader. I think he has done a lot to earn the trust of his teammates. I would assume he probably did not have that last year and he did not have a lot of that this spring, but through his work this summer, his determination and the way he has changed how he lives his life he has definitely earned the trust of his coaches with the way he has performed and behaved this summer. I am excited to see what he does on game day."
Rettig started the first game last year after Laviano was suspended for using fake identification. Between his lone start and mop-up duty, the LSU transfer and former highly touted recruit completed 56 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Laviano will now lead the revamped offense. After running the pro-style offense under Flood and his predecessor Greg Schiano, Ash hired offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer, who has implemented the power spread.
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