Will a change at quarterback come this week for Cavaliers?
When the Virginia football team resumes practice Tuesday, fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica will continue to take the first-team snaps, as he has done all season. Whether he's the Cavaliers' No. 1 quarterback at the end of the week -- and more notably, on Saturday when Virginia hosts Eastern Michigan -- remains to be seen.
After throwing three interceptions Saturday during Virginia's 44-10 loss to North Carolina, Verica acknowledged that his job status has reached its most precarious point yet this season. Redshirt freshman Ross Metheny and true freshman Michael Rocco saw the field in the second half against the Tar Heels, and while neither of them set the world on fire -- they each threw an interception, in fact -- they certainly represent the program's future moreso than does Verica.
That's really the central question here: How fully does Coach Mike London -- at the midway point of his first season at the helm in Charlottesville -- want to dive into preparations for seasons to come?
Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor said Saturday night that Verica "gives us the best chance to win." At 2-4 (0-3 in ACC play), has Virginia reached the point where that no longer is a strong enough selling point to justify keeping Verica as the starter? The Cavaliers would need to win five of its final six games in order to become bowl eligible. Virginia's remaining schedule includes home dates with Eastern Michigan (1-6), Miami (4-2, 2-1) and Maryland (4-2, 1-1), and away games at Duke (1-5, 0-3), Boston College (2-4, 0-3) and Virginia Tech (5-2, 3-0).
London said Sunday that after reviewing film of the North Carolina game, he and the team's offensive coaches were pleased with the job Verica did "staying in the pocket and making the throws." The interceptions, obviously, were less encouraging.
"The thing that obviously got him into trouble was when he's got to move around and scramble and made a couple ill-advised throws," London said. "It's a tough deal. It's tough when things start going bad for you, and then people get on you and stuff like that. But he's got to be resilient, and he's learned how to be resilient over the last couple of years.
"It's just unfortunate that, man, that you throw interceptions like that that give them possessions. Because I thought we were running the ball pretty decent. Keith Payne and Perry Jones, he's had over four yards per carry. It's just kind of strange, weird to see that although we were running the ball and moving it, the scoreboard reflected that, you know, there were no points on the board. We weren't scoring like we needed to. But like I said, the throws were ill-advised, but Coach Lazor and the guys felt that as far as being in the pocket and doing some other things with it, that he made the right decisions. But obviously, when you have five interceptions, you're not going to win any games like that."
London said Sunday that the plan "right now" is for Verica to start against Eastern Michigan, though he acknowledged that could change over the course of the week, depending on how each of the team's three top quarterbacks perform in practice.
But what do you all think? Who should start at quarterback for Virginia on Saturday? Feel free to expand on your choice in the comments section below and/or email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| October 18, 2010; 7:14 AM ET
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