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Armstrong ‘day-to-day’: Stone next man up for UVA offense

Brennan Armstrong
Brennan Armstrong dropping back to pass in the season-opening win over Duke. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Sophomore quarterback Brennan Armstrong suffered a concussion on the helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked him out of Saturday’s loss to NC State in the second quarter, UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall confirmed on Monday.

His status for this week’s game at Wake Forest is thus officially up in the air.

“He’ll have to work through the protocols this week,” Mendenhall said. “From my understanding, it is his first (concussion), and so it’s possible that he could return, be ready for this week. So, it’s really day-by-day as he works through the protocol.”

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Mendenhall, offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck will be preparing for Saturday with Lindell Stone as the QB1.

Stone, a senior, saw the first extensive action of his college career in relief of Armstrong on Saturday.

Entering the game with the ‘Hoos already down 24-0, he twice got the margin down to 10, around a picksix on a batted ball that 330-pound nose tackle Alim McNeill rumbled, bumbled, stumbled to the house.

lindell stone uva
Lindell Stone throws a fourth quarter pass in the loss to NC State. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Stone’s counting stats weren’t bad – 30-of-54, 230 yards, three TDs, that one INT.

But it was clear why he has been a career backup. Stone lacks the arm strength to attack the sidelines or downfield, and he’s not the weapon in the ground game that Armstrong has shown himself to be.

Don’t necessarily take what you saw with Stone at the helm this past weekend – the 54 pass attempts, 62 dropbacks, on 72 snaps – as an indication of what to expect to see with Stone at the controls.

“We were playing from behind,” Mendenhall said. “We were within 10 points or two scores until the batted ball that was returned for a touchdown, and then that led to all throwing. So, it suits his style, but that doesn’t mean that’s all we’ll do. However, the nature of the game, kind of just led to that’s what we had to do.”

Mendenhall made clear that grad transfer Keytaon Thompson, a former four-star prep recruit who was once the heir apparent at Mississippi State, before ending up on the waiver wire after enduring a third head-coaching change in his three years in Starkville, isn’t in the mix at QB due to a previously undisclosed injury that we know now Thompson suffered in camp.

“When Keytaon first came in, he was really impressive at quarterback. And wow, on any given day between him and Brennan, it was close,” Mendenhall said. “But very, very early on he had a shoulder injury that was aggravated, and that really precluded him from being able to play that position effectively at that time.”

Anae had said a few times toward the end of camp that he was scheming ways to get Thompson on the field, and he has been used more and more at wideout – getting 20 snaps in Week 1 against Duke, nine in the loss at #1 Clemson, one ending with him scoring on a 3-yard TD pass from Armstrong, and then 17 snaps in the loss to State.

“He is a great athlete, and we wanted to have him have a great experience, and us to find a place for him. It really wasn’t his performance. It was more of an early shoulder injury that was the reason for the move. We really liked what he was doing a quarterback to start,” Mendenhall said.

Story by Chris Graham

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