Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Offseason spotlight: Virginia
By Heather Dinich
Let the quarterback controversy begin ... again ...
Spotlight: QB David Watford, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, redshirt junior
David Watford started all 12 games last season, but his numbers didn't make him a secure No. 1 heading into 2014.
2013 summary: For the first time in three seasons, there wasn’t a quarterback controversy at Virginia. Watford was the undisputed starter, and coach Mike London stuck with him throughout the entire season. Watford’s first full season as a starter, though, was filled with inconsistent play and left the position a question mark as the season ended.
Watford ranked No. 104 last year in passing yards per completion with 9.02. He was No. 102 in the country in passing efficiency and had an ACC-high 15 interceptions. Two of those picks came in a span of five minutes in the fourth quarter of a 45-14 loss at North Carolina. He started all 12 games and completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 2,202 yards and eight touchdowns. Watford went back-to-back games without a touchdown pass against Clemson and North Carolina. He finally broke the streak with a touchdown against Miami, but that was negated by the three picks he threw against the Canes.
On the bright side, Watford set a UVa sophomore record and ranks No. 3 all-time at the school with 244 pass completions in a season. He set a school season record with 427 pass attempts and was third on the team with 208 rushing yards.
The skinny: Watford enters spring practice on Saturday with much to prove.
He had the most playing experience last season, but based on results, the position will be up for grabs this spring. Watford is going to be in a three-player race with Greyson Lambert, who played in seven games last year, and Matt Johns, who played in all 12 games last year as the holder. Lambert opened some eyes last year when he came in off the bench at North Carolina and on his second attempt threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Keeon Johnson. He finished that game having completed 8 of 13 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. Lambert finished the season 33-of-75 for 340 yards and one touchdown.
The quarterback position has been a storyline for what seems like London's entire tenure at Virginia. In order for the program to turn around last year's 2-10 finish, it's going to have to find a dependable answer sooner rather than later. How much progress Watford makes this offseason will be critical.