Chris Graham: Odd timing for QB switch almost costs Cavs
“At that point in time, right after the mucked snap, I just wanted him to get on the sideline and look at the game a little bit,” said London, explaining his decision to sit his starting quarterback for two series spanning the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth quarter Saturday at home against Penn State.
The move didn’t work out so well. Backup Phillip Sims, who looked good in leading a touchdown drive in the 43-19 season-opening win over Richmond, went three-and-out on his first drive and fumbled deep in Virginia territory setting up a Penn State field goal in his second.
Then it was back to Rocco, whose first series back in the game resulted in another three-and-out, before he led the Cavs on a game-winning 14-play, 86-yard drive that capped a 17-16 win.
London tried to put a positive spin on how things turned out.
“What a confidence booster for a guy like that to manage the team and manage a win,” London said.
Asked about the move later in his postgame press conference, London got a little defensive.
“Again, like I said, I brought Michael out to look at what’s going on, to watch the game,” he said. “I gave Phillip an opportunity to get in there. He was a little rusty with some throws. I also believe that Michael has done a nice job and runs his team well. We have another quarterback that’s a good quarterback that you have to give opportunities to. There was no, You’re coming out because you’re bad, or anything like that. It was another way to give a guy some reps and allow Mike to see what’s going on.”
Rocco, who was 21-of-33 passing for 258 yards and two touchdowns in the win, which improved his record as a starter to 10-5, played down any hurt feelings that he might have had postgame.
“My job is to lead the team in whatever way possible. When I was taken out, I figured I was a leader from the sideline and I had to stay poised and stay composed,” Rocco said.