Virginia Coach Groh Holding His Cards Close to the Vest
Thursday, August 20, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- When asked earlier this preseason for an update on some of Virginia's position battles, Coach Al Groh referenced a lecture by Bud Grant, who coached the Minnesota Vikings to four Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s. Grant once told a room full of coaches to never make a conclusive decision until required.
So for fans awaiting the identity of Virginia's starting quarterback -- or even its starting place kicker or top wide receivers -- in advance of the Sept. 5 opener against William & Mary, anticipation must continue.
"We're really not evaluating anything right now -- the guards, the quarterbacks, whatever -- it's too early in the process," Groh said. "We're pointedly trying not to be instant evaluators. Otherwise, every day you have a new order of quarterbacks. It'll be the body of work at all the positions to determine it."
Clarity could be on the way, however. Virginia will play its second scrimmage of preseason camp on Saturday. The coaches will then evaluate the film and have a better idea about the position battles.
Offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon said he would like resolution at starting quarterback soon, although the final decision rests with Groh. Last season, the quarterback competition remained a public mystery until Peter Lalich took the first snap in the season opener, but Groh maintained that the team knew leading up to the game.
Groh will not only rearrange the depth chart after this weekend's scrimmage, he will also become a step closer to determining the freshmen who will play this season.
"There are certain positions that we can clearly see that the addition of some of these rookie players will be very beneficial to the team at some point," Groh said. "So while they may not be high enough on the depth chart for someone from the outside to say they're going to be factors, we can see if we can bring this player along by October, that might be the first time he sees action, but all the sudden at that time he might make the position better."
Prince Seeking to Avoid Distraction
Special teams coordinator Ron Prince said he will not be distracted by his ongoing litigation with Kansas State, where he was head coach from 2006 to 2008. Prince is reportedly seeking $3 million in part of his counterclaim against the university, which has tried to avoid paying Prince a $3.2 million buyout after his dismissal.
"It's one of those things where I think you have to be where you are," Prince said, "I think you have to be in the moment in this game, and that's what we've done -- it always has. And so there's obviously been a lot of statements made by our folks and [Kansas State's]. We'll just let the process do its thing and see where it goes."
Kelly's Two-Sport Aims Are Dashed
Matt Kelly, a four-year defenseman on the Virginia lacrosse team, was trying to compete for a role on Virginia's special teams, but a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered early in preseason camp ended his football career before it started. . . . The Cavaliers' top recruit, tackle Morgan Moses, is spending the season at prep school to meet Virginia's academic requirements, but Groh said he expects Moses to join the team for next season.