Rutgers spent almost the entirety of spring and fall practice trying to determine who was right for the starting quarterback job in newly hired Jerry Kill’s offense. The battle was between the incumbent starter Gio Rescigno, highly touted freshman Johnathan Lewis and Louisville graduate transfer Kyle Bolin. It took until about a week before opening night against Washington for Bolin to be named starter.
Originally, it looked like a great decision. Bolin brought the most experience out of the group of quarterbacks while looking most capable for the job. Since then, it’s been an up and down season as the Louisville transfer has been the pilot of an inconsistent (almost nonexistent) offense.
I get it, it’s not entirely Bolin’s fault. The play calling and coaching has been just as questionable as his play. However, when you’re completing just 57 percent of your passes and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, something has to give. It’s not like the weapons aren’t there. The two-headed monster of Gus Edwards and Robert Martin have shown capable in the run game. Rutgers also has a slew of receivers, both young and experienced to make plays in the passing game. Bolin just can’t seem to get them the ball, and it showed against Nebraska. There were a few times, one specifically in the end zone where he missed a wide-open Damon Mitchell for a would-be touchdown.
So, with a season that basically has already been tarnished, it may be time for coach Chris Ash to make a change behind center. Who would be better suited than Johnathan Lewis? He has already shown he’s capable in what has been inconsistent action. Against Morgan State, the true freshman combined for a whopping five touchdowns, four coming on the ground while tossing another through the air.
Although we haven’t seen if he’s a capable passer on the college level yet, he certainly brings mobility that the quarterback position has lacked in recent years. With Lewis behind center teams must respect his ability to evacuate the pocket. That could mean taking a defender out of coverage or the pass rush to spy on the young quarterback, making his job a little bit easier. The true freshman also can extend plays, something that Bolin hasn’t been able to do these past couple weeks. The playbook will just simply open up for Kill, while injecting a spark into the offense as well as the fan base.
Barring any injury to Bolin, I don’t expect this to happen this week, as Rutgers will welcome Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Kill has already expressed that he doesn’t want to ruin the confidence of Lewis when he didn’t get him action against Nebraska’s defense. The Buckeye secondary has been suspect, but Sam Hubbard and Nick Bosa will certainly make sure whoever is at quarterback is running for their lives. While it may not happen as soon as everyone would like, expect to see Lewis take this job by the end of the season.