A year ago, Virginia coach Mike London spent the spring and summer evaluating four quarterbacks who were locked in an even competition for the starting job in 2011.
As the Hoos begin spring practices this week, London does so with a much clearer picture of the position with Michael Rocco returning for his second season as a full-time starter. While Rocco has established himself as the clear leader of the offense, the competition is expected to remain compelling this spring.
Sophomore David Watford hasn’t given up.
“He’s doing well academically, he’s getting stronger, he’s probably gained about 15 pounds,” London said. “I expect him to really compete this spring. Obviously Michael Rocco has distinguished himself as far as a guy who can get it done. He’s proven that. But David, he said, ‘Coach, I came here to play.’ I think the competition between those two guys in particular is going to be fun to watch during the spring, although there are only 15 opportunities. Nonetheless, it will still be fun to watch.”
It should also make both quarterbacks better.
Rocco started all 13 games last year, but didn’t really seem to get comfortable until Watford’s role decreased. The two had been sharing playing time until late October, when Watford went from conducting full series to executing specific plays. Rocco started all 13 games, and Watford played in 10 of them. Rocco finished with 2,671 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The rest of their quarterback competition from a year ago Ross Metheny and Michael Strauss has since transferred.
With the recent recruiting classes, though, depth is not a problem. Nor should the position be this spring.