College Football: Pretty quiet on the Lalich front
Story by Chris Graham
The silence on the breaking news from late last week regarding UVa. starting quarterback Peter Lalich is reaching the level of deafening.
Several news organizations reported beginning late Thursday night that Lalich had apparently violated the terms of the probation that he was under following an arrest in July for underage possession of alcohol, raising question about whether or not Lalich would get the start on Saturday against Richmond and his status for the rest of the 2008 season.
Turns out that Lalich did get the start, and after a sharp first quarter put up middling numbers (21-for-39, 204 yards, two interceptions) in the 16-0 win over the I-AA Spiders.
After the game, Virginia coach Al Groh was visibly upset at a question from a reporter who asked if there had been any hesitation to play Lalich given the circumstances.
“Why would there be any hesitation to play him? He’s our starting quarterback,” Groh answered the question. “It’s unfortunate – we’re here to talk about football, OK? It’s unfortunate that some people have chosen to misrepresent the player without having all the facts. And those people should examine themselves,” Groh said.
Outside of that statement, we have heard nothing from UVa. athletics about Lalich, who faces a Sept. 26 court date on the probation-violation charge, in the days since the news first broke. Lalich himself shrugged off attempts from reporters to get him to talk about the situation after the UR game. His longest and most detailed answer came to a question about how he thought he handled himself given the news. “I didn’t have to handle anything. I just practiced, and I played today. That’s all I had to deal with,” Lalich said.
The strong response from Groh – implying that there is more to the story than what has been reported, in the face of a date having been set on a courtroom calendar that would seem to be pretty authoritative in terms of background material – is significant in one of two respects. Either there is more to the story, and the facts to that end will come out in the next couple of weeks and serve to exonerate Lalich in part or in full, or there isn’t, and Groh will have to answer for why he risked his reputation in playing Lalich with the gathering of storm clouds overhead.