GREENSBORO, N.C. — Virginia Coach Mike London is ready to do away with the quarterback rotation that came to define the past two seasons for the Cavaliers.
On Monday during the ACC’s annual kickoff event with reporters, London announced that redshirt sophomore David Watford will enter training camp next month atop the team’s quarterback depth chart and assured reporters the “growing pains” that seemed to extend the selection process previously have been remedied.
“Early on in August camp, you’ll know definitively who the starting quarterback is and I would say as we ended spring practice, the guy who has the most experience would be David,” London said. “The rein is not handed to David because Greyson Lambert is gonna be special as well, but we want to be able to, with the new coaches we’ve had on staff . . . pick a guy early.”
Watford appeared in 10 games as a true freshman two years ago, splitting snaps with Michael Rocco before taking a redshirt season last season once Alabama transfer Phillip Sims was granted immediate eligibility.
Watford completed 40.6 percent of his passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions that year, although London was quick to point out Monday that he doesn’t believe the constant flux at quarterback in 2012 was the main culprit for Virginia’s offensive woes.
“I think the impact was the inability to put points on the board like we needed. Not being able to sustain long drives,” London said. “Obviously the quarterback situation you could say maybe contributed to that situation, but I think more than anything else was the execution and the lack thereof.”
But while the Cavaliers struggled on the field last fall, Watford was flourishing off it by taking full advantage of his redshirt year. London raved about the maturation process Watford has undergone since last appearing in an actual college game.
This spring, instead of having a vote for captains, London had his team write down which player would make the ideal captain. He noted Monday that Watford was the No. 1 vote-getter, with Lambert, a redshirt freshman, not far behind.
Then, when a group of Navy SEALs came to campus to conduct a few offseason workouts, they informed London – without any prior knowledge about the make-up of the team – that Watford “is one of your best leaders.”
“The fact that when he played as a freshman and then we redshirted him as a sophomore, not once did David complain about anything,” London said. “He wanted to do what was best for the team and what I learned about him was a lot of guys in a playing situation would gripe and moan about where they are and why they aren’t playing or where they are on the depth chart. David, he just closed his mouth, worked out, lifted, ran, studied. . . .
“Over the course of having to deal with playing, sitting, watching, studying, getting better, he became a great teammate, a great leader. And now the opportunity for him to show all those attributes will be presented when we open camp.”