Virginia to make 'concerted' effort to get younger players more experience in final two games
Virginia Coach Mike London said Sunday night that he and the other members of his coaching staff will make "a more concerted effort" over the next two weeks to find more playing time for the team's younger players. At 4-6 and having played two 1-AA teams this season, the Cavaliers no longer can qualify for a bowl game.
London mentioned true freshman cornerback Rijo Walker, redshirt freshman offensive tackle Sean Cascarano, redshirt sophomore defensive end Billy Schautz and sophomore defensive tackle Will Hill as players that will receive more snaps in Virginia's final two games.
Regarding the team's quarterback situation, London said true freshman Michael Rocco had not created enough separation from redshirt freshman Ross Metheny to solidify himself as the No. 2 signal caller behind fifth-year senior Marc Verica. But London did acknowledge Rocco has performed better than Metheny during practice in recent weeks, which is why Rocco received first shot at replacing Verica on Saturday against Maryland.
Rocco entered Saturday's game late in the fourth quarter following Verica's second interception and played one offensive series that lasted four plays. He completed 1 of 3 passes for nine yards. Rocco also entered the game before Metheny the last time Verica was replaced -- on Oct. 23 against Eastern Michigan.
"I think (Rocco's) practice performance, whether it's slightly -- it's not, you know, by a huge gap by any stretch of the imagination," London said. "But it may just be, you can only put one in, and the one that had a better week of practice is the one that goes in. Ross is a very capable quarterback, very capable person himself. And so the goal is with these two games left is sometimes the only way you can really get an evaluation is you keep a constant, and that's the opponent, and then the variables are the two guys that are in that have to direct the offense. And then that way you give you a better indication going into spring practice about what the situation is.
"I would just say Michael probably had a better week of practice and not something that was so far ahead of what Ross's preparation was that he's the guy. I just think he was the next guy in, and then maybe next time it's Ross that's the next guy in. But this week's practice preparation will be for both of them to be ready to get in and manage a series or so so we can get a true evaluation once again."