By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – Every successful quarterback needs to carry themselves with confidence. It’s the nature of being the leader of the offense. And while Gary Nova always had that needed bravado, prior to the Arkansas game he didn’t have that signature performance to back it up.
Now that he does after leading Rutgers to victory with 397 yards and five touchdowns, there is an added self-assurance. A reason to have some swagger. But that hasn’t changed his mentality.
“Definitely,” Nova said when asked if the Arkansas game made him more confident. “But you can’t get too confident and stop doing the things that got you there, so I’m just still trying to keep a humble mind and go out there and work hard everyday and rally these guys around me.”
Even though Nova may feel more confident, his head coach hasn’t seen a change in the sophomore’s demeanor in the past two weeks of practice.
“I don’t think it’s any more than the past. Gary’s always been a confident player,” Flood said. “I think what you may perceive as that is his becoming more and more comfortable each week. Becoming more and more proficient at the offense every week and that just comes through reps.”
While that may be case, Nova’s role doesn’t change. Sure, he showed he can throw Rutgers to victory when needed, but his job priority to manage the game, and let the defense and Jawan Jamison carry Rutgers to victory. And that will be the case when they face the top defense in the Big East in UConn this weekend.
So after throwing the ball all over the place in a shootout with All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson two Saturday’s ago, Nova has to make sure he’s not too trigger happy. The formula is what it’s always been. And it’s simple.
Don’t turn the ball over and take what the defense gives him. In other words, be a game manager.
“I just have to do the same things that got me there,” Nova said. “All the hard work training and all the fundamentals that got me to have a performance like that.”