Robbie Catterton, a sophomore safety expected to play an important reserve role this season, quit the Virginia football team Saturday night, unhappy with the amount of playing time he was told to expect this season.
Catterton transferred to James Madison, where he will be able to play this fall for the Division I-AA team, his father, Bob, said Monday night from the family's home in Virginia Beach.
Catterton, who played in 10 games as a freshman last season, had been making what Coach Al Groh called "substantial forward progress," but was playing behind senior starters Jermaine Hardy and Marquis Weeks.
The Virginia coaches "told him he's been playing better than he's ever been playing and that he'd have every opportunity to play," Bob Catterton said. "I guess on Wednesday they called him in and told him it's a long process and wanted him to be a special teams performer. . . . He didn't want to wait. . . . There's no hard feelings on his part at all."
Groh said he wasn't shocked when Robbie Catterton asked to be released from his scholarship.
"He's kind of moved in that direction a couple of other times before, and we've had conversations with him and he's come back," Groh said.
Catterton was at JMU football practice Monday night and could not be reached, but his father disputed Groh's contention that Robbie had considered leaving before: "I would say that's wrong. . . . It all happened so suddenly, even I was thrown by it."
Groh said two of Virginia's three freshman safeties -- likely Nate Lyles and Jamaal Jackson -- could join redshirt sophomore Lance Evans on the second-team defense.
"I told one of them at the end of last week, 'Get ready,' " said Groh, whose Cavaliers, ranked 16th in the preseason, open the season Sept. 4 at Temple.