CHICAGO — Rutgers head coach Chris Ash wants to continue to move the Scarlet Knights forward as he begins his third season, but first he must decide on a starting quarterback.
Rutgers improved from 2-10 to 4-8 last season and compiled a 3-6 record in Big Ten games after going winless the year before. But the Scarlet Knights again struggled on offense, finishing last in total yards (262.7 per game) and next-to-last in scoring (18.0 points per game).
Redshirt senior Gio Rescigno is the incumbent starter, but true freshman Artur Sitkowski is carrying the momentum from an impressive performance in Rutgers' spring game into preseason camp. Ash said he wants to decide on a starter "sooner rather than later."
"We don't have a timetable set on it." Ash said at Big Ten football media days. "We're not going to take all of training camp, but we're not going to do it after a few days, either. It's when we feel it's the right decision, we're comfortable with it, the other players believe in it, then we'll make that decision."
One day after firing his wide receivers coach after reports of domestic violence surfaced, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said he knew of another allegation against ex-wide receivers coach Zach Smith involving his Smith's wife in 2009.
Meyer then was head coach at Florida, and Smith a graduate assistant.
"As I do many times," Meyer said Tuesday, "most coaches and people in leadership positions, you receive a phone call, first thing you do is tell your boss, let the experts do their job. We're certainly not going to investigate. It came back to me that what was reported wasn't actually what happened."
Meyer said he and his wife got involved and urged counseling because of their relationship with Smith's family. Smith is the grandson of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, with whom Meyer has a strong relationship.
According to reports, Smith's ex-wife filed a domestic violence protection order last week against him, and he also was charged a few days before that with criminal trespass.
"You're talking about people's lives," said Meyer, who employed Smith on his staff at Florida and Ohio State for a total of 11 years. "So the decision was made. It's time to move forward.
"The Ohio State University is bigger than all of us. So you have to do what's right by them. And the timing, it wasn't just my decision. It was a group effort on several people I rely on."
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Malvern Prep product Alex Hornibrook left Wisconsin fans with good memories at the end of the 2017 season, passing for a career-high 258 yards and four touchdowns in an Orange Bowl victory over Miami that gave the Badgers a final record of 13-1.
Head coach Paul Chryst is expecting more good things this season out of Hornibrook, who enters the year with a 20-3 record as a starter.
"There's a lot of things that I admire about Alex and one of those is his desire to be the best he can be," Chryst said. "He's a great worker. He's a really good teammate. You appreciate the way that Alex works, and certainly now he's had a number of experiences and done a lot of good things in those.
"There's areas in every part of his game, just like any other player, that he can get better at, but he works at it. And he's fun to be around. I'm fortunate for the time we've had and I look forward to this year and being around him and hopefully helping him to continue to grow."