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Virginia looks to find ways to make Verica 'efficient again'

Fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica said after Saturday's 20-point loss to Florida State that he needed to operate more consistently at a faster tempo and that he needed to be more decisive in making his reads and throws.

Verica was sacked four times by the Seminoles and was pressured several other times. A fair amount of those pressures resulted from Verica holding onto the ball too long in the backfield. He completed 14 of 30 passes Saturday for 211 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, which gave him an efficiency rating* of 103.4.

For comparison's sake, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder compiled an efficiency rating of 119.8 after throwing for 172 yards and one touchdown on 17 for 29 passing.

Through four games this season, Verica owns an efficiency rating of 129.9, which ranks No. 6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. While his efficiency ratings against the two 1-AA opponents Virginia has faced were impressive (145.9 vs. Richmond; 194.4 vs. Virginia Military Institute), Verica has struggled against tougher competition. He registered an efficiency rating of 95.2 during a Sept. 11 loss at Southern California.

* For those of you who don't know and are curious, here is the NCAA's formula for computing a quarterback's efficiency rating (deep breath): ((8.4 X yards) + (330 X touchdowns) + (100 X completions) - (200 X interceptions)) / attempts

Virginia Coach Mike London said Monday that many of the errant decisions Verica made Saturday against Florida State resulted in throws behind the intended receiver or too low for the receiver to reach.

If the receiver is running a curl route and the opposing cornerback is playing off him, London said, Verica has to throw the ball to the spot where the receiver's route is supposed to conclude. A quarterback's hesitancy cripples a timing-based offense such as the one the Cavaliers now employ.

"We'll try to come up with ways to get him to being efficient again," London said. "And make sure the receivers are running the right routes. Make sure that the linemen are given the proper amount of protection based on the rush that they get. They're all tied in together. All things are tied in together.

"But I think Marc is a veteran quarterback that understands that (Florida State) particularly wasn't his best game in terms of some of those throws. But some of them that he did make, the ones where he showed patience and the (76-yard touchdown) that he threw to Kris Burd in the third quarter was him having patience and seeing the rest of the field and making a good throw where Kris could run underneath the throw."

By Steve Yanda  | October 5, 2010; 11:14 AM ET
 
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