QBs, Kickers Showing Progress

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Marc Verica and his fellow quarterbacks are in a tight race to earn playing time.

The Virginia football team held its annual Meet the Team Day event on Sunday and reporters got a chance to catch up with players and coaches since the outing also serves as media day. As is a near daily occurrence when you don’t have a starting quarterback, Al Groh was asked about the QB situation through the first two days of practice in full pads.

“Good progress. That’s about it. They’re all working hard, they’re all progressing,” Groh said. “As I’ve said on a couple of occasions, we’re not keeping a daily scorecard on them. We’re looking at the body of work and we’re giving everybody plenty of opportunities to show us how the club will best operate.”

Groh said he does not have a timetable for making a decision.

“Unless something dramatic happens right away where some guy all of a sudden for five or six days is ‘Holy smoke, this is really different,’ … it’s probably the best thing for the team to gather as much input as we can as not to make an inappropriately quick decision,” Groh said.

One decision was made on Sunday, though. UVa’s quarterbacks decided not to talk to the media during media day, something Scott Deke informed everyone of at the stadium.

Placekickers Improve

One of the other “hot topic” positions is placekicker where the Hoos must replace the production of Chris Gould from 2007’s 9-4 team. When he was asked about the kickers, Groh’s answer was easily a contender for “line of the day” on Sunday.

“I’m not trying to be funny with this, I’m just saying it exactly the way I heard one of our coaches say it the other day and it describes it well,” Groh said Sunday. “From the spring, we’ve gone from horrible to hopeful.”

With only two practices with live field goal protection sessions, the long-term determination on kicking has yet to be made, Groh said, pointing out that some kickers get distracted by the rush while others don’t. The goal is to figure out which player can consistently make the kicks from various angles and distances; Groh also said that figuring out which distance your eventual kicker can consistently make field goals from helps dictate the strategy decisions in games.

Redshirt freshman Chris Hinkebein , walk-on senior Yannick Reyering, and walk-on freshman Robert Randolph are the players in the mix.

“We’re going to be doing quite a bit of live kicking throughout the course of camp to find out what those things are,” Groh said. “Under whatever circumstances we’ve been kicking, the accuracy is significantly up from all three. We’re making progress in that area.”

Worth Quoting

“Very similar to the previous 40, there’s certainly an air of anticipation of what opportunities there are to accomplish something. It’s more about challenges and opportunity for achievement than it is that kind of excitement. It’s a different kind of excitement for coaches and most likely for players than what excitement is for a spectator. But right now, it’s not too exciting. It’s just go to work every day and try to access where the team is each particular day and what we need to do each day to get better.” – Al Groh on opening another football season.

Worth Noting

  • Groh said defensive end Sean Gottschalk wasn’t feeling well and that’s why he was limited in Saturday’s open practice session.
  • Speaking of the defensive ends, Gottschalk and Matt Conrath are working on the right side while Alex Field , Zane Parr , and Jason Fuller are working on the left side, according to Coach Groh.
  • Corey Mosley has been working at safety in goal line situations and Groh said he is trying to carve out a role down there.
  • If the season started today, both Aaron Clark and Denzel Burrell would see playing time with the first unit at the outside linebacker slot vacated by Jermaine Dias .
  • Groh said the traditional orange crush jerseys given to defensive starters haven’t been pulled out yet because the team is still at a competitive stage for playing time.
  • Virginia recruiting target Morgan Moses, a 6’7″ offensive lineman out of Meadowbrook High in Richmond, was spotted at UVa’s Meet the Team Day event.
  • Not sure who – defensive lineman Kevin Crawford or NBC29 reporter Lindsay Murphy – would have won a sunglasses contest on Sunday because both were looking very Hollywood.

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