Virginia Football: Is the Quarterback Race Getting Clearer or Murkier?
You may not get a confession, but Virginia has chosen their starting quarterback for the 2011 season.
Sophomore Michael Rocco is the clear frontrunner. He has received the lion's share of the snaps in practice, he has looked the best in the competition and the coaches have clearly given him the most praise over all his competitors.
Yet coach Mike London and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor have been particularly mum on the subject when it comes to depth chart or anything of the kind. They clearly want to make the right decision and are waiting until all the evidence is in.
The coaching staff has done their due diligence, using blitzing drills and every other scenario to see which player can make the grade. Lazor commented on the "deductive reasoning" Rocco possesses, the ability to adjust without being told what to do.
Nevertheless, there is a reason why this pick is not a simple one.
Rocco, whose uncle is a former assistant at Virginia and the current head coach of Liberty, has very little experience under his belt. As a true freshman he completed a mediocre 13 of 25 passes for 143 yards and only one touchdown.
What helps him is that everyone else in the race has little to no experience as well.
Second on the hypothetical depth chart, if you look at the snap distribution, is greyshirt David Watford. The talented signal caller has nice athleticism but struggled in the blitz challenge earlier this month in reading coverages.
Ironically, Watford never threw an interception in his senior year of high school. His ability to move the ball with both his arm and his feet intrigues everyone.
If Rocco struggles out of the gate, is coach London willing to burn Watford's redshirt and see if this young talent can learn from a baptism of fire?
The answer may be yes.
Under pressure to name a starter, Lazor insinuated that Virginia could play two quarterbacks "if we have more than one that is able to help us," as he told the Daily Progress.
Virginia knows a thing about quarterback instability. From 2002 to 2005, three men started at quarterback for the Cavaliers. In 2006 and 2009, Virginia had three quarterbacks start in one season.
Coach London has built his program around one thing: stability. He stuck with Marc Verica last year despite the fact that he was a senior because he wanted to keep continuity.
Hopefully he will learn from his lesson.
Whoever the quarterback is, Virginia needs to live and die behind him so that they can build a future.
Rocco may be that guy, he might not be. He deserves the chance to find out.
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