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Three questions for Virginia

8/4/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Let's stay in the Commonwealth, shall we?

1. Who will be Virginia's starting quarterback be against USC?

Al Groh would like to know as much as you would. He's been insistent that Peter Lalich's experience is not an advantage over Scott Deke or Marc Verica, neither of whom have played a down in a college game. And Lalich's run-in with the law this summer (he was charged with underage possession of alcohol) has to make Groh question just how bad he wants it.

2. Who will replace Chris Long?

Nobody with any starting experience, but it's not the like Cavaliers don't have other playmakers on defense. Inside linebacker Jon Copper led the team in tackles the past two season, and junior Vic Hall was in on 58 tackles, the most among Virginia's cornerbacks. Senior captain Clint Sintim has started all 37 games in his career and was the team's third-leading tackler a year ago. As for defensive end, the two starters penciled in on the preseason depth chart are Alex Field and Sean Gottschalk

3. Will Groh be on the hot seat if the Cavaliers have a losing season?

His contract runs to the 2010 season, so he should be safe. That doesn't mean the masses won't be calling for change - it's as trendy as the ties in Charlottesville. In 2006, after a 5-7 finish, athletic director Craig Littlepage declined to add another year to that deal, saying, "The expectations for our program are higher than a 5-7 season." They should be higher off the field, too, and Groh's players certainly showed a lack of discipline this offseason.