QB change in the offing at UVa.?

QB change in the offing at UVa.?


There’s an old saying in football that if you’ve got two quarterbacks, that means you don’t really have one. Virginia coach Mike London has that, one better.

“We’ll look at it, look and see how they did, and try to find out who can move the team and who can get us in position to make those makeable third downs, those opportunities to score points – all the things that a quarterback has to do,” London said after benching starter and fifth-year senior Marc Verica in the third quarter of UVa.’s 44-10 loss to rival North Carolina following Verica’s third interception of the game.

Kevin Reddick returned the pick 22 yards for a picksix that gave UNC a 37-10 lead and effectively put the kibosh on whatever hopes the ‘Hoos had for a big second-half comeback.

Verica was booed as he trotted off the field, and then fans greeted backup Ross Metheny, a redshirt freshman, with wild applause when he took the field for the next Virginia offensive series. After the game, Verica seemed resigned to the fate of being relegated to the bench, and took a shot at Virginia fans on his way there.

“Throwing an interception for a touchdown, and then getting booed off the field, that’s a difficult thing to swallow,” said Verica, who was 15-of-25 for 139 yards with the three interceptions on Saturday. “I’ve learned to deal with that kind of stuff. I understand it. My teammates, my coaches and my family – and there are a lot of fans out there who do support us no matter what. Those are the people that I like in my corner, and I’ll always take my hat off to people like that. The people in life that want to get on you when you’re not doing well, and then want to be with you when you are doing well, I don’t have any tolerance for that.

“It’s a disappointing thing, but I’m going to keep my head up high. Regardless if I’m the starter or not, I’m going to try to represent this team and my school and my family in the best way that I know how, which is with class and with positivity,” Verica said.

Metheny and true freshman Michael Rocco, who also saw action Saturday, also addressed the elephant in the room.

“That’s a coaches decision. I have the most respect for Marc, and I have learned so much from him,” Metheny said.

“I’m always looking for the opportunity, whether it’s on the sideline watching and getting better or on the field playing. Whatever Coach London thinks is best, I’m ready to do,” Rocco said.

The hard part to the decisionmaking process for London and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is that it’s not as if Metheny or Rocco dazzled in their time on the field against Carolina. Metheny threw just one pass, and it was intercepted in the UNC end zone to stymie a Virginia drive. Metheny also fumbled twice pulling away from center, though the Cavs recovered both fumbles.

Rocco then came in and led a UVa. drive inside the Tar Heel 5, only to end that drive with an end-zone interception.

“The managing of the game is not just what you see with the throws,” London said. “It’s handling the football once you get the snap from center. It’s getting the players lined up correctly with formations. It’s making the correct reads on your throws. You could see things out there on the field by just watching, but then when you get in the film room and watch it back, and hey, we should have been in this formation, or you’re having problems with the center snap and quarterback exchange, or little things like that that you judge and evaluate the player on – until you have a chance to watch tape and evaluate them from all aspects, then you can make a determination.”

One thing was clear with London after the game – he’s not happy with the production that he’s getting from Verica.

“I’m disappointed in the fact that there’s three interceptions. And then, down in the red zone – two opportunities to score touchdowns, you never want to get down there and come away empty-handed like that. At least get three points, something. So, he’s got to do better. Your fifth-year quarterback has got to do better. We’ve got to do a lot of things better. I’m sure that he’s not satisfied with his performance also,” London said.

“Without seeing the tape again and just going over the things, particularly if it was a route issue or protection issue, then Marc’s the quarterback right now. But every player is and will be evaluated based on their performance, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We’ll see how at the end of the day (Sunday) where things are with that. But I would go into this thing saying he is until otherwise,” London said.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at [email protected].



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