Christian Olsen and Kevin McCabe have been in close competition for the No. 2 quarterback job throughout the preseason. For now, McCabe seems to have moved ahead – barely.
Virginia coach Al Groh said Friday that McCabe will be the primary backup to starting QB Marques Hagans during the Sept. 4 opener at Temple.
“I don’t really know that we can make a determination on who the No. 2 quarterback is until they play in a game,” Groh said. “But if we have to put somebody in the game, the first one we’ll put in will be McCabe. Then we’ll see how it goes from there.”
Most observers thought that Olsen would be the backup. He seemed to be getting more reps than McCabe with the second-string offense during the team’s open practices. He also is a bit bigger and older, though neither quarterback has played in a college game. The 6-3 Olsen, a 21-year-old sophomore, transferred from Notre Dame prior to last season. McCabe, a 6-2 redshirt freshman who turns 20 in November, was in uniform for eight games last season.
Both were highly-regarded recruits, as was fourth-string quarterback Anthony Martinez. McCabe was ranked among the nation’s top 15 prep quarterbacks in the 2003 class by many recruiting services. As a senior at Pine-Richland High School in Wexford, Pa., he completed 123 of 196 passes for 2,179 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Groh said several days ago that Olsen and McCabe were virtually indistinguishable statistically during scrimmage situations in practice. He indicated that McCabe doesn’t have the No. 2 job locked up.
“While all the quarterbacks have improved, the situation behind Marques is still essentially the same,” Groh said. “By that, I mean they all play basically the same.”
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