By Tom Luicci
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Aug. 16, 2014) – Two players looking for more expanded roles for Rutgers this season stated their respective cases in convincing fashion during the Scarlet Knights’ final preseason scrimmage tonight.
Redshirt freshman Chris Laviano, recently anointed the backup quarterback, and tall, rangy wide receiver Carlton Agudosi left no mixed messages about their game readiness if called upon.
Laviano, who has never taken a snap in a game, saw the most extensive of his brief career and put it to good use, unofficially finishing 15-of-21 for 210 yards with four touchdown passes. His only interception occurred on a final-play heave situation into the end zone.
The 6-6, 210-pound Agudosi had four catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns – one a diving, juggling end zone grab, the other as the recipient of a 41-yard heave from Gary Nova in the same end-half situation Laviano was intercepted in. He also caught a two-point conversion.
“I though Chris Laviano really took advantage of the time that he’s had now as the backup quarterback. I think you can see that,” head coach Kyle Flood said. “I thought he was pretty sharp this evening.”
Laviano emerged from the scrimmaged pleased – but only to a point – with his performance.
“I made plays. We had some good drives,” he said. “All I’m really thinking about are the things I could have done better because there were a lot of things I could have done better, especially in certain situations. I’m excited to watch the film because I think we did a lot of good things as an offense and we have a lot of things to work on too.
“I’m not where I want to be. I’m not satisfied. As a competitor you’re not satisfied ever, even when you when. I the back of my head (I’m thinking) keep grinding away, keep going to the film room. There’s always room to improve.”
Agudosi appeared in 11 games last season but had just five catches for 79 yards. The third-year sophomore has struggled with being a consistent, reliable receiver in his first two seasons.
“That (consistency) is the key word,” Flood said. “Tonight he was consistent. Now on Monday when we come back he’s got to be consistent. I think that’s the important thing. It’s not so much doing it in one night as it is doing it day after day after day. But I’m excited about what he did tonight.”
Agudosi hopes it’s a first major step toward that elusive consistency.
“That’s definitely the way I feel,” Agudosi said. “Some days I’m not doing too well, some days I have good days like this, but I’m just trying to stay focused and stay consistent.”
Linebacker Steve Longa and freshmen running backs Robert Martin and Josh Hicks all missed the scrimmage due to injuries, with Flood saying “We expect to have them back on Monday.
WR Andrew Turzilli, OG Kaleb Johnson, CB Dre Boggs, CB Nadir Barnwell and defensive tackle Hamilton were also held out due to injuries, with Flood saying he expected all to return by midweek. The news on the return of Boggs, a true freshman, is more encouraging than originally expected.
His lower body injury prompted the switch of running back Justin Goodwin to cornerback, where he played tonight.
“Although we weren’t at 100 percent, and may not be tomorrow, I feel pretty good that we’ll be close to it by the time we really start to game prep for Washington State,” Flood said.
The start of preparation for the opener against the Cougars will be Wednesday’s practice.