Hall at QB? And more from Groh on the eve of spring practice
Vic Hall was a record-setting quarterback in high school, and his numbers – 13,770 total yards, 166 touchdowns – had Virginia fans salivating at the prospect of what he could do in the ACC. A surprise start at QB in the season finale at Virginia Tech last November that pushed the Cavs to the brink of an upset of the eventual Orange Bowl champions got the message boards going about why he had been used at corner primarily his first three years in Charlottesville, but it did something else for coach Al Groh.
“Vic will work at quarterback exclusively,” Groh told reporters today on the eve of the start of spring practice. Also working in the backfield will be senior Jameel Sewell, the starter in 2007 when Virginia went 9-4 and played in the Gator Bowl, but missed the 2008 season due to academics. Junior Marc Verica, who threw for 2,037 yards in 10 starts, will also take some snaps, so it’s not as if Hall, a redshirt senior, is being given the keys to new offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon’s spread for a solo test drive.
“He’s been a two-and-a-half-year starter at corner, so he’s got plenty of background there, and any time we want to utilize him over there, we think he’s got enough background. Kind of like, we liken it to last spring, when Eugene Monroe really didn’t participate because he’d just come off shoulder surgery. Clearly it did not set him back. He had enough time at the position. So as a fifth-year player coming back, we think the same thing would apply to Vic,” Groh said today.
“One thing we’re going to make sure of, we think we all know what kind of a player Vic’s been for us, and how much he’s contributed, and there is no better competitor, never has been, for our team. So we’re going to have Vic in for a maximum amount of plays that he can stand during the course of next season, wherever that might be,” Groh said.
It’s Gregg’s show
Whoever ends up starting at quarterback is going to be using new terms and calls in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. “We’re going to use the terminology that Gregg is familiar with and that’s been part of his system,” said Groh, who hired Brandon, the former head coach at Bowling Green whose offenses there annually ranked among the nation’s best, over the winter after his son, Mike Groh, a former Virginia quarterback, stepped down as offensive coordinator after a controversial three-year run.
“There’s just only so many different plays in football. It just doesn’t go on and on and on. So what the players will be able to see in some cases is that the lines on the diagrams are going to the same places, they’ve just got different names. They’ll have to make that translation, but it’s more mental than it will be in some cases as far as the different skills and movements that are involved,” Groh said.
A Prince of a special-teams coach
Don’t expect Groh to ask too much out of Ron Prince, who returns to the staff as special-teams coordinator after a three-year run as head coach at Kansas State. Prince had previously been on the UVa. staff for five years, including a stint as offensive coordinator from 2003-2005.
“The area where our team can make the greatest leap forward is with special teams,” Groh said. “And so we want the position to be such that Ron can devote however much energy and effort as necessary in those areas, obviously knowing that having been an offensive coordinator here before and a head coach in the Big 12 that the scope of things he can contribute is greater than that, and we want to take advantage of that. But we want to leave him free to do those things that are necessary to leave those special teams where they’re making a greater impact on the positive side on the games than they have in recent years.”
– Story by Chris Graham