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Marc Verica trying to build confidence in critical spring

Mike London left Virginia before the 2008 season, when Marc Verica was a little-known third-string quarterback. Upon London's return, Verica has seen it all -- he's been a starter, he's been benched, he's gone back down to third string and he's started again.

During the past two years, Verica has endured his share of public criticism -- from reporters, fans and even former coach Al Groh. Verica's propensity to throw interceptions has been a source of criticism, and Groh used to say that Verica took much of the struggles to heart.

With London now the head coach, he encounters a quarterback situation with Verica as a fifth-year senior and the only quarterback on the roster to have attempted a pass. Before Verica needed to re-establish himself on the field, though, London made a priority to rebuild Verica's confidence.

"That's a large part of it," London said. "Any quarterback in his situation, quarterbacks are human like anyone else. Listening to the criticism and things like that, you ask him if it affected him, and on the outside he'd say no. But anyone of us, if you got ridiculed and things like that, people throw things at you, it'll affect you. But I think the thing with Marc...he's emerged as a leader. Because you emerge with the psyche that he can do this. And being an older guy, in a leadership position and understanding some of the aspects of playing the position, he sees this as a new lease on life. And we welcome that."

Verica downplayed the confidence issue, although he said on the first day of spring practice that building confidence in himself and his team is an essential part of the spring.

"It is a process," Verica said. "It's going to take a spring and offseason and camp to have reps in this offense, having an understanding where everyone is and be decisive with the ball. I think we're all trying to be confident at this point, because there is a transition. But it is a process."

By Zach Berman  |  March 31, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
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