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Ross Metheny, Michael Rocco still battling for No. 2 quarterback spot

Since the start of training camp, the Virginia football coaches have evaluated the three quarterbacks behind starter Marc Verica in an attempt to determine who the team’s No. 2 signal caller should be. Less than a week before the season opener against Richmond, the search continues.

It became clear Monday when Virginia released an updated depth chart that the options had been trimmed to two – redshirt freshman Ross Metheny and true freshman Michael Rocco are listed as interchangeable at the No. 2 quarterback slot – but if, for whatever reason, Verica is removed from Saturday’s contest, it remains unclear who would get the next crack at leading the Cavaliers offense.

Coach Mike London said Monday that Metheny and Rocco – neither of which has taken a snap in a live collegiate game – have not created separation from each other.

“It just all depends on how the game is going, you know, which one will go in the game,” London said. “That will be determined as the game goes on. We're looking for a clear second, but we don't have it right now. We have two guys that are on the same line, and they're going to have to compete, even this week, to find out who will be the first to go in the game should anything happen to Marc.”

With Metheny and Rocco deadlocked at the No. 2 spot, true freshman Michael Strauss has been left somewhat adrift. London said last week that true freshman Miles Gooch would redshirt and quarterback the scout team this season, and the coach said Monday that “after a while, you can’t give three backup quarterbacks reps in practice.”

It is entirely possible that Gooch could operate in different capacities on the offensive scout team while splitting reps at quarterback on that unit with Strauss. London indicated last week the Cavaliers might try out Gooch at different offensive and special teams positions while using him at quarterback to prepare for opponents with more athletic, dual-threat quarterbacks.

London said Monday that the backup quarterback situation remains fluid and spoke encouragingly of Strauss. But, for now at least, it appears Strauss – who enrolled at Virginia for the 2010 spring semester in order to get a head start on the jump from high school to college football – has his work cut out for him in regards to climbing depth chart rungs.

“I think Michael will still be kind of in the learning process here,” London said. “The competition has made everyone have to step their game up a little bit. And Michael Strauss is not far away. He's not far away from that mix.”

By Steve Yanda  |  August 31, 2010; 7:50 AM ET
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