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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 yandas@washpost.com.

By Steve Yanda  | October 18, 2010; 7:14 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Busy day for Morgan Moses in his first career collegiate start

Comments

I've been extremely critical of Verica but I'm really beginning to see that the problem is much bigger than him. The sad truth is that you win football games with good quarterbacks, wide recievers, running backs, and good defenses; UVA has one of the four with Payne. IOW: we simply have NO big playmakers, a result of the wreckage left behind by Al Groh.

Other than perhaps Torcia, Payne, Dowling, and Moses, not one VA starter would ever see ANY playing time for any top 25 team...that is, if they'd have been recruited at all. Until London has 2-3 recruiting classes under his belt, UVA is going to struggle. They'll end up winning 4-5 games this year; probably 5-6 next year as players become really comfortable with the system. As such, my view is that his eye should be on positioning the team for the future as much as possible, rather than wasting time on ghosts like Verica, who will never wear a football uniform again after November.

Bench Verica and let Metheny and Rocco battle it out on the field until one separates himself from the other. Get them the experience they'll need to lead the team in 2012, which is when I think we'll really begin to see some movement towards what London has envisioned for the team.

Posted by: rvastar | October 18, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I've been extremely critical of Verica but I'm really beginning to see that the problem is much bigger than him. The sad truth is that you win football games with good quarterbacks, wide recievers, running backs, and good defenses; UVA has one of the four with Payne. IOW: we simply have NO big playmakers, a result of the wreckage left behind by Al Groh.

Other than perhaps Torcia, Payne, Dowling, and Moses, not one VA starter would ever see ANY playing time for any top 25 team...that is, if they'd have been recruited at all. Until London has 2-3 recruiting classes under his belt, UVA is going to struggle. They'll end up winning 4-5 games this year; probably 5-6 next year as players become really comfortable with the system. As such, my view is that his eye should be on positioning the team for the future as much as possible, rather than wasting time on ghosts like Verica, who will never wear a football uniform again after November.

Bench Verica and let Metheny and Rocco battle it out on the field until one separates himself from the other. Get them the experience they'll need to lead the team in 2012, which is when I think we'll really begin to see some movement towards what London has envisioned for the team.

Posted by: rvastar | October 18, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I agree with what rvastar said. You hate to throw Verica under the bus; the guy has been a trooper and a real team player. But the chances of this team becoming bowl eligible at this point are slim and none. That means the coaching staff should consider what the most productive use of the remainder of this season is. I'd suggest it's getting younger guys reps and experience in the system they'll be playing next season once Verica and co have moved on.

And if you're trying to recruit players with these games, aren't you a lot more likely to do so by letting prospects see the guys they might be playing with should they come to UVa than players on their way out the door? These youngsters (Metheny, etc) may not have been recruited by Mike London, but they can still be "his guys." Let's turn the page on the wreckage Groh left us once and for all.

Posted by: jburksva | October 18, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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