Virginia will pick starting quarterback after weekend
The mystery of Virginia's quarterback hierarchy will be settled Monday, coach Mike London said.
Incumbent Michael Rocco started all 13 games and led the Cavaliers to an 8-5 record last year and their first bowl game since 2007. Rocco went into camp as the presumed starter and has been praised by London for his understanding of the offense, but sophomore David Watford and Phillip Sims, who transferred from Alabama and is eligible, also have taken snaps with the first team.
"We're going to take the time to do this thing right," London said.
Rocco established himself as the clear starter last season, causing the coaching staff to abandon a plan to give Watford meaningful snaps in the first half of every game. The wild card, though, is Sims, once among the most highly recruited quarterbacks in the country. He played in eight games as a redshirt freshman last season, and transferred to be closer to home in May.
"He's got a strong arm. He can throw a ball deep," London said of Sims, who threw for nearly 11,000 yards and 119 touchdowns at Oscar Smith High School is Chesapeake. "He can maneuver, he's got escapability type of skills."
At Alabama, Sims played in an offense where he was required to make some reads after the snap, which the Cavaliers' quarterback also is called on to do. The tough part for Sims is trying to make the right decision with limited exposure to the offense.
London said he's pleased with how all three candidates have handled the challenge and competition.
"It's been a very productive summer camp for us because of the improvement in the two guys that know the offense," he said. "They've done a nice job being older and being around the system, and there's another guy that's come in from another scheme and system and it still learning the system, so with four practices left, we're going to try to throw everything we can at them, and try to find out what they can handle and have a conversation on Sunday or Monday" to decide where each stands on the depth chart.
It's very likely, London said, that freshmen QBs Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns will redshirt.
The process has taken all of preseason because Virginia wants to make a decision and stick with it, London said. He said he plans to speak with each quarterback after the decisions are final.
A decision still needs to be made at placekicker, too, where Drew Jarrett and Ian Frye are competing.
"Both of them have hit 50-yarders, but both of them have missed 25-yarders," London said.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.