Lalich won't play against UConn

September, 10, 2008
9/10/08
7:14
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Virginia quarterback Peter Lalich will not play against Connecticut on Saturday, coach Al Groh announced today in a statement released by the school.

Sophomore Marc Verica will make the first start of his career.

"We stand by Peter and in talking with him have made a decision which is best in the short term for him, the team, and our University," Groh stated. "We have a strong set of standards and values on our team that reflect those of the University and we do not compromise those values to win football games."

Lalich started the first two games for the Cavaliers and appeared to be their best option after losing Jameel Sewell to academic issues -- Lalich was the only quarterback with experience left on the roster. But Lalich encountered some off-field issues of his own in July when he was arrested for underage purchase of alcohol. Earlier this week, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported Lalich admitted that he violated terms of his probation, a confession Lalich recanted on Tuesday.

This was all reported last week, but Lalich was still allowed to play last Saturday against Richmond.

"I love my team and my teammates and the way they have let me know that they trust me and have my back," Lalich said in the release. "Because I care so much about our team, it is best for me to step back temporarily from my starting position so that my teammates can focus 100 percent on getting ready for the game."

"Coach Groh and I have frequent conversations and we agree on this. I appreciate that coach sees me first as a person, then as a quarterback. I make mistakes like everyone, but I have followed the terms of my probation and I am committed to our team and the University of Virginia."

Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage supported the decision.

"Peter and coach Groh came to a decision and I fully support it," Littlepage said in the release. "Over the past 24 hours I've had conversations with both Peter and coach Groh. The focus of our discussions shifted from due process and fairness and moved toward what would be best for Peter and the team, at least until such time that matters were cleared up about his probation status."

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