Robert Nittolo looks to remain strong after football season opener
Edgar Ayala – Sports Writer
After his performance in the season opener against Gannon University, Robert Nittolo, redshirt freshman quarterback for Southern’s football team, has no doubts over whether he should be the one handling the football.
It was Nittolo’s first game of college football, and in his debut for the Owls he went 24-of-38 for 249 yards, while passing for three touchdowns.
“That was my first game, first live experience and first time taking hits,” Nittolo said. “I felt like I had a good game, but now that I have those first game jitters out the way, I’m going to be able to feel more confident as the season goes on.”
Coach Chris Bergeski, offensive coordinator for the football team, said Nittolo’s performance against the Golden Knights was “solid,” especially since he’s a freshman playing the most important position on the field.
“He did a good job of managing the clock, managing the plays, and communicating for the team when we were out on offense,” Bergeski said. “It’s not an easy task for any freshman to step right in and control the offense the way that he did.”
Prior to the game, Nittolo said he expected to start the first game of the season, adding that he knew since the spring of last semester that he was going to be the one calling out the plays due to his hard work, and continuous training at camp.
And it’s that hard work and training that has led his teammates to put their confidence in the hands of Nittolo.
Kameron Tedder, team captain and senior defensive lineman, said Nittolo’s performance against Gannon did not surprise him.
“He took control of our offense, led them correctly, and kept his composure during rough times,” Tedder said. “He has a high football IQ and knows how to lead the offense.”
Tedder added that he sees great potential in Nittolo going forward, and is excited to see the different possibilities he brings to the table.
Furthermore, Bergeski also commentated on the idea of Nittolo potentially becoming a “star” player for Southern in the future.
“There’s not a lot of quarterbacks who can say they started all four years in college,” Bergeski said. “The potential is there, and he definitely has the tools and people around him to be successful. We just look forward to seeing him work in our system and see how things go as a whole offensively.”
Sports aside, Nittolo originally from West Palm Beach, Fla. graduated from Hillsborough High School in N.J. where he where he was team captain and an All-State selection.
He also won NJ.com’s fan poll for the best quarterback in the state after going 151-for-309 for 2,336 yards and 23 touchdowns, while adding 258 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Once Nittolo transferred over from James Madison University to SCSU, he said earning a full scholarship to come play for a team that made him feel wanted, has been the biggest accomplishment of his athletic career.
“Growing up I was always around great athletes as many of my best friends are playing college football. Earning a full scholarship to come play here is my biggest accomplishment, as it tells me that hard work pays off.”
Yet, it’s that hard work that Nittolo will need throughout the rest of the season, as he prepares to improve last seasons’ 2-9 record for the Owls.
But with the addition of new players and coaching staff, and Nittolo calling the shots, perhaps this is the year the Owls put recent seasons behind them and turn the football program to where it once was.
Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor