PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Two things remain the same as coach Chris Ash enters his second year at Rutgers. There will be an open quarterback competition conducted under a new offensive coordinator.
Last year's offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer left to join his mentor Tom Herman at Texas as the wide receivers coach. Rutgers upgraded with Jerry Kill, who returns to the sidelines after he was forced to leave his post as coach of Minnesota in 2015 due to epilepsy.
While the offense is moving from Mehringer's power spread to Kill's hybrid of a pro-style and spread offense, the signal callers look a lot different from last year. Mehringer's prot�g� Tylin Oden was dismissed. Hayden Rettig, a once highly touted recruit, transferred to Tennessee Tech. Last year's starter for the first seven games, Chris Laviano, transferred to San Diego State.
Laviano lost his job to Giovanni Rescigno, who will be embroiled in a four-man competition with Louisville graduate transfer Kyle Bolin, TCU transfer Zach Allen and highly touted freshman Johnathan Lewis out of St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City.
For now, Kill is splitting those reps evenly. The coaches haven't set a timeframe for the competition but they'd like to settle it sooner rather than later.
''We want to be fair to be everybody as much as we can with the reps and it separates itself out where you'll end up just repping three guys and it separates out,'' Kill said.
In the one hour portion of practice open to the media, Rescigno took first team reps, Bolin led the second team, Allen was with the third team and Lewis with the fourth.
''Gio's the first team quarterback. Gio earned that right through his play this spring,'' Ash said. ''Throughout the majority of the day Gio took most of the reps with the ones. Kyle got a few reps with the ones also.''
Which was a new experience for Rescigno, who was an afterthought in Rutgers' four-man quarterback competition last year.
''I've never been in the position where I get the first team reps out of training camp, so it's different,'' Rescigno said. ''But at the same time, I have to look at it as every rep that I take they're evaluating me, they're evaluating Kyle, and whoever else they are evaluating in terms of who's going to be the best quarterback for the job.''
While fans would like to see the local star Lewis start early, Rutgers faces No. 4 Washington. However, Ash and Kill don't seem to think he's too young to start.
''It's all about who we feel gives us the best opportunity to go out and perform to our best for the long term,'' Ash said.
What Ash is looking for in his quarterback for the opening week is fairly simple.
''Just to learn the offense to be honest with you,'' Ash said.
Kill and the quarterback will try and jumpstart what was porous offense.
Rescigno did his best to do that last season for Rutgers, starting the final five games. He ended the season completing 86-of-153 passes for 889 yards and rushed for 107 yards. However, he was hampered by a hamstring injury after his first start against Minnesota.
Now healthy, Rescigno looks to capitalize on his opportunity.
''When I get my reps I'm going to take advantage of my reps, whether I'm the first string quarterback or the fourth string quarterback,'' Rescigno said.
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