Flood has faith in Gary Nova

Gary Nova was the clear choice for the starting quarterback job for Rutgers ad despite his tendency toward rocky ups and downs in his previous three seasons, Kyle Flood is in full support of his returning QB (NJ.com, August 27).

“I think it’s a different year,” Flood said. “He’s a different player. He’s a year older and a year wiser. When you hand somebody the ball as your quarterback, you have to give them an opportunity to learn through mistakes. I don’t put him out there this year and expect him to be perfect, and I’ve told him that. If there’s a mistake, I want it to be for the right reasons. If there’s a decision-making issue, I want it to be for the right reasons. And then we can correct that and we can move forward. I feel very comfortable he’ll do that, so no, I don’t see it that way (as having a shorter leash).”

While Nova lost the starting job last season as a junior, the co-captain said he’s focused on the future.

“I don’t have time to worry about that,” Nova said. “We have some great teams to play, so all of our focus has to be on that. I just have to play well. I can’t (think about the negatives). Not at this position.”

Arkansas v Rutgers

QB Gary Nova among five Rutgers co-captains

Senior quarterback Gary Nova will be a Rutgers football captain for the second consecutive year, the school announced Tuesday (Rutgers, Aug. 12).

Nova, named the starter last week, was elected by a players’ vote along with strong safety Lorenzo Waters, defensive lineman David Milewski, defensive tackle Darius Hamilton and fullback Michael Burton.

Nova, who was benched for the final three games last year after starting the previous 23, is the eighth two-time Rutgers captain in the past 20 years. Rutgers opens the season Aug. 28 against Washington State in Seattle.

He joins Mike Teel (2007-08), Eric Foster (2006-07), Tres Moses (2004-05), L.J. Smith (2001-02), Gary Brackett (2001-02), Shawn Seabrooks (2001-02) and Brian Sheridan (1995 and 1997) as the eighth two-time Rutgers captain in the past two decades.

“Pretty much the best test possible,” Nova said of his 2013 season. “I pretty much went through the highest of the high and the lowest of the lows. I’m just excited for this year, not expecting anything and like coach (Ralph) Friedgen says `just shoot all of our bullets.’ ”

Teel, now an assistant coach, and Nova were both were unbeaten as starters their final two years at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J. “I copy everything he does,” Nova said, laughing.

 

LeGrand

LeGrand, Taliaferro named honorary captains for Rutgers-Penn State

Eric LeGrand and Adam Taliaferro, two of the most inspiring players in Rutgers’ and Penn State’s football histories, will be honorary captains when the schools meet for the first time as Big Ten opponents Sept. 13 in New Brunswick (Rutgers, Aug. 12).

LeGrand and Taliaferro sustained spinal cord injuries on the field and earned admiration for their courageous recovery efforts. Both will be on the field for the coin toss for the game, which starts at 8 p.m.

“It’s going to be pretty cool,” said LeGrand, whose No. 52 is the only retired jersey in Rutgers history. “Adam is a role model for me. From meeting him for the first time, seeing him on his feet again when doctors told him he’d never be on his feet, he has really pushed me during my recovery. He’s still a big inspiration to me.”

For Taliaferro, the feeling is mutual. “For me, it’s an absolute honor to share this with Eric,” he said. “Eric has inspired me ever since his injury and continues to do so each and every day.”

Taliaferro’s career-ending injury came Sept. 23, 2000, making a tackle against Ohio State. Paralyzed when he ruptured his 5th cervical vertebrae and bruised his spinal cord, the Voorhees, N.J. native was given a five percent chance by doctors of walking again. He has made a full recovery.

LeGrand was paralyzed making a tackle on a kickoff against Army at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 16, 2010, fracturing  his C-3 and C-4 cervical vertebrae. Though he remains confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down, LeGrand said he has gained some trunk movement and occasionally has sensation in his fingers.

“What makes this so special for me is that Adam was in touch with me from the very beginning,” said LeGrand. “I remember when I was first transferred to Kessler Institute; he came to see me the first month and a half. He has been supporting me and encouraging me from the start.”

LeGrand, an Avenel, N.J. native who starred at Colonia High School, will also be working as a radio analyst for the Rutgers Radio Network during the Penn State game, doing a pre-game, halftime and post-game report. LeGrand graduated from Rutgers in May with a degree in Labor Relations and was among the speakers during commencement ceremonies as well.

A member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, Taliaferro earned his law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Camden in 2008. He currently works for Bristol Myers Squibb.

Hayden Rettig happy about transfer to Rutgers

Quarterback Hayden Rettig is fitting in great at Rutgers training camp after transferring from LSU for this season (NJ.com, August 11).

An array of coaching changes after his start at LSU made Rettig’s experience different than what he expected when he committed.

“The system wasn’t a fit,” Rettig said. “The guy who recruited me there got fired from his position and it just wasn’t feeling like home. It just changed in such a dramatic way where it just wasn’t where I needed to be at the time. I needed to find myself and figure out what I wanted to do.”

Even though other schools such as TCU and UCLA showed interest, Rettig knew it would be Rutgers from the moment he started looking for a transfer.

“There was schools coming off left and right, but it was pretty much Rutgers all the way,” Rettig said. “I didn’t visit anywhere else. Coach (Kyle) Flood called and I was like, ‘All right, let’s talk.’ “

Rettig credits coach Kyle Flood for making the choice easy.

To read more of this story, click here

In case you missed it…

The Big Ten Network visited Rutgers’ camp on Friday and the analysts weigh in on the Scarlet Knights. >>> Read more in the Star-Ledger. 


Practice No. 9 is in the books in Piscataway. Keith Sargeant has the breakdown. (Sargeant, Aug. 8). 


DT Kevin Wilkins is cleared to practice and will join the team on Friday. The 6-3, 305-pound defensive tackle had his eligibility held up by the NCAA Clearninghouse. >>> Read more in the Star-Ledger. 

Rutgers players upset about end of NCAA Football video game

Rutgers football players are disappointed the NCAA Football video game by Electronic Arts won’t be released this season (NJ.com, August 7).

The popular football game was discontinued after a lawsuit cost EA $40 million for improperly using the likenesses of players in the video games.

Although many college players believe they should receive compensation for the use of their likeness, for most just being in the video game is payment enough.

“Oh, I’m sick. It hurts,” sophomore wide receiver Carlton Agudosi said. “I know they said they wanted to pay us for it, but honestly, it’s an honor just to be on the game because your whole life you grow up playing it. I don’t really care if I get paid as long as I’m on it.”

Many players spend time playing the game as a way to unwind after a long practice, but for some, it was a way to live out alternative position fantasies.

To read more of this story, click here

Arkansas v Rutgers

Rutgers names Gary Nova starting QB

Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood announced Wednesday that senior Gary Nova will be the Scarlet Knights starting quarterback (Rutgers, Aug. 6).

Nova, who has appeared in 33 career games with 28 starts, will start his the third straight season opener for the Scarlet Knights when they visit Washington State Aug. 28.

Nova started 23 straight games until he was benched in favor of Chas Dodd last November after Rutgers lost four of five after starting 4-1. Nova, from Elmwood Park, N.J., threw for 2,159 yards, 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2013. Rutgers, which went 6-7 last season in its only year in the American Athletic Conference, enters the Big Ten this season.

Nova enters 2014 ranked fifth in school history in career completions (502) and career passing yards (6,407) and is third in RU history with 51 career touchdown passes. Nova needs nine touchdown passes to become Rutgers’ all-time leader in career TD passes. Mike Teel, now a Scarlet Knights graduate assistant, holds the school record with 59 and also owns the career passing yardage record (9,383).

DiPaolo named to Women’s Soccer staff

Former Scarlet Knight Tricia DiPaolo has been added to the women’s soccer program staff as a volunteer assistant coach (Rutgers, August 5).

The program announced Tuesday the return of the four-year captain and seven-year player for the university.

“I’m really excited to continue to be a part of the Rutgers program,” DiPaolo said. “It’s a great group of girls, great staff and I’m learning so much from everybody. Especially with making the move into the Big Ten and all of my Rutgers pride I’m very happy with this opportunity.”

DiPaolo has been a student assistant coach since 2007 at the Rutgers University SOccer Youth Camps, and this past year she earned a spot on Sky Blue FC of the NWSL.

“I am so excited to have someone of her experience on staff,” said head coach Mike O’Neill “Trish is all about Rutgers and so is her family. She brings so much experience to the program as a collegiate player and as a professional. She will be a great role model to our players because she knows what it takes to be successful at this level.”

DiPaolo is tied for third in Rutgers history with 85 career games with time spent both as a forward and a back.