3 p.m. at Scott Stadium, Charlottesville.TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WSPZ (570 AM).
The Rocco bowl
Virginia junior Michael Rocco’s reward for winning the Cavaliers’ three-way quarterback competition during training camp is a season opener against his uncle, first-year Richmond Coach Danny Rocco. The two speak frequently, and Michael Rocco even leaned on Danny for advice when his job was up for grabs. Rocco, a former Virginia assistant under Al Groh, has six staff members who either played or coached for the Cavaliers. Virginia Coach Mike London is a Richmond alum and led the Spiders to a Football Championship Subdivision national title in 2009.
First test for cavs’ secondary
Virginia’s secondary will break in three new starters Saturday, and it could go a long way toward reassuring some nervous Cavaliers fans. Sophomores Drequan Hoskey, Anthony Harris and Brandon Phelps are all expected to receive their first career starts, and the only returning player they’ll be able to rely on in the secondary is sophomore Demetrious Nicholson, the lone returning starter from a year ago. Richmond isn’t known for its passing attack, but the Spiders could put a scare into the Cavaliers on opening day if quarterback John Laub is able to expose Virginia’s back four.
Perhaps the most intriguing story line Saturday will be whether Alabama transfer Phillip Sims makes his Virginia debut. When he named Rocco the team’s starting quarterback earlier this week, London said he would try to get Sims into games whenever possible. But he made it clear there was no set script like last year, when Rocco rotated with then-freshman David Watford on a series-by-series basis. If, as expected, Virginia pulls away from Richmond, expect Sims to see some snaps. But it would be more noteworthy if he receives playing time when the Spiders are still within striking distance.