Poll: Did you agree with the decision to play Michael Rocco?
In a game in which one team clearly was far superior than the other, one of the most interesting developments to come out of Virginia's 48-7 win Saturday over Virginia Military Institute was Coach Mike London's decision to play not one, but two of his backup quarterbacks.
One of those reserve signal callers was true freshman Michael Rocco*. London said that during practices in recent weeks neither Rocco nor redshirt freshman quarterback Ross Metheny had established themselves as the clear-cut No. 2 to starter Marc Verica, and that being the case, having a chance to evaluate each guy in a live game was the next step in determining who would be the best option should Verica get injured or otherwise need a replacement later in the season.
*Trivia question: Since 1997, Virginia has played three true freshmen quarterbacks. One is Rocco. Who were the other two?
Seems like a logical line of thinking. Besides, the only quarterback on Virginia's roster who entered the season having taken snaps in a collegiate game was Verica, so a little experience could only do Metheny and Rocco some good.
But as soon as he took his first snap, Rocco burned the redshirt he would have earned had he sat out this season. The redshirt would have ensured him a fifth year of eligibility, and that extra year holds additional significance to a program in the midst of a rebuilding project that will take far more than one season. London has stated on many occassions his desire to redshirt as many true freshmen as possible this season.
London said lauded the efforts of Rocco and Metheny in a teleconference with reporters Sunday night, and he noted the race for the No. 2 quarterback job remains too close to call. Metheny completed 4 of 5 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown, while Rocco threw for 64 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 4 of 6 passing.
"Obviously with Rocco, reading the coverages and thinking he sees something, so he throws the ball up before anybody does anything," London said of Rocco's interception. "And so the next step for him is to see the whole field and make a more intelligent determination as to whether to throw the ball or not ... It'll be this week again. Those two guys, we'll give both the amount of reps to see going into this game, you know, if they would go, who would be the next guy in the game."
*Answers to the trivia question: Dan Ellis in 1997 and Peter Lalich in 2007.
I'm curious what you all thought about the decision to play Rocco and burn his redshirt Saturday. Feel free to expand on your selection in the comments section below and/or email me your thoughts on this topic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| September 27, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
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