BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood is not concerned about his team’s future in the ever-changing conference landscape. Flood has had the same message to recruits and fans since taking over the position this year.
Flood has more information than most when it comes to conference realignment and how Rutgers plays in and his message has not changed.
“I’m really comfortable, but here are my reasons for being comfortable,” Flood said. “...In terms of my comfort level of what’s going on nationally, I’m very comfortable for this reason. For the next two years, we are in a BCS conference. We have an automatic bid to the BCS in our conference. If we win our conference, we get to go to the BCS. That I feel very good about.”
Athletic director Tim Pernetti and Flood are on the same page when it comes to what they feel Rutgers offers any conference as a program.
“There are so many unknowns that my only thought is this — I cannot imagine that the football team in the No. 1 media market in the world is not going to be in a good position,” Flood said. “I can’t see how that would make any sense to any conference. Going forward, I feel good about where we’re positioned.”
Gary Nova and Chas Dodd are set to continue their quarterback battle this training camp and Flood has had a month since the end of spring practice to think things over.
Unlike his predecessor, Flood does not see playing two quarterbacks as viable solution.
“I don’t foresee myself playing two quarterbacks,” Flood said. “I don’t see that as a possible ending to this scenario. That’s not an option in my mind right now.”
Quarterback will have a leash just like any other position when it comes to struggles and injuries, but Flood expects to name either Nova or Dodd as his guy and move forward.
“You want your quarterback to protect the ball first and foremost, complete the ball and lead the team,” Flood said. “Whoever ultimately becomes the starter will get every opportunity to do that as long as they are progressing in these three areas.”
Redshirt freshman Mike Bimonte and true freshman Blake Rankin will get fair looks to wow the staff this spring, but are not going to get the same opportunities as Dodd and Nova to win the job.
Flood said he does not foresee starting a quarterback other than Dodd or Nova.
“You get into training camp, certainly there’s opportunities for everybody, but everybody’s opportunity is not equal,” he said. “Having the situation we have right now with quarterback competition for the starting job, that’s going to take a lot of reps from practice.”
Rutgers Healing Nicely
Rutgers is expected to be fully healed and full-go for training camp with one exception. Redshirt freshman Myles Jackson (shoulder) is still in recovery mode, but the likes of lineman Kaleb Johnson (shoulder), defensive tackle Scott Vallone (Shoulder), linebacker Khaseem Greene (leg) and tight end D.C. Jefferson (ankle) will be fighting fit.
“[Jackson] is going to be a really good player for us but he would be the one guy going into the season for us that I think ... might be a little bit limited,” Flood said. “... I expect all of those guys to be full-go from the very beginning. It’s exciting.”
Center of Attention
Sophomore Betim Bujari is another player on the mend that is expected to be ready to go for camp. Transitioning to center where he has never played in a real game, Bujari has Flood’s vote of confidence.
Bujari worked hard behind the scenes and in practices to learn the center position and just needs a training camp’s worth of reps to get himself ready, Flood said.
“To me it’s not really a concern because I’ve watched Betim perform under pressure,” Flood said. “I’ve watched him in practice before he got his injury and I was really excited with what I saw this spring in his limited snaps playing center. I don’t really have any concerns about him going forward.”
Flood was Bujari’s lead recruiter out of high school where he always saw him as a center prospect out of Secaucus High (N.J.).
“I remember [saying] I think this guy is going to be a Division I center,” Flood said. “I just felt like his body type and his skill-set and his ability to bend, his explosion blend themselves to be a really, really productive guy at the position. We certainly weren’t going to force him into that spot, but when we had the opportunity to put him there, we needed somebody to take a hold of that position.”
Kyle Flood Radio Show Announced -- Featuring Eric LeGrand
Flood will host a weekly radio show at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ in New Brunswick starting the week before kickoff.
The WCTC program will feature hosts Chris Carlin and Eric LeGrand and airs weekly at 8 p.m. The show will also be made available on RVision and features call-in segments from fans.