Rocco suffered a rib injury late in the second quarter of Virginia’s 30-24 loss to Southern Mississippi this past weekend and was pulled from the game in the third quarter after throwing his third interception of the day.
After the game and again on Monday, London said that Rocco would start against Idaho (1-3) if he was healthy enough to play Saturday. But the coach changed course during his segment Wednesday on the ACC coaches’ teleconference.
“He’ll play, for sure,” London said. “We haven’t quite determined whether he’s going to start or not. But judging by every day that he has a chance to practice and get better, he’s going to play for sure. We’ll make that decision probably, whether he’s going to start or not, on either game day or the Friday before. But right now he looks like he can handle things.”
London later clarified that he had not reopened the starting quarterback job and that he merely wanted to see how Rocco performed the rest of the week in practice before making a final decision. The Cavaliers (2-2) will practice Thursday morning and then conduct a walk-through Friday.
Should London opt not to start Rocco, he will turn either to true freshman David Watford or redshirt sophomore Ross Metheny. Watford came on in relief of Rocco against Southern Miss and completed 10 of 20 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. He has played in every game this season. Metheny saw brief action during Virginia’s season-opening 40-3 win Sept. 3 over William & Mary.
“If [Rocco] is healthy, they’re still going to let me get my couple series in,” Watford said after the Southern Miss game. “But whatever happens, happens. I’ll go with it.”
Rocco, who was given a cortisone shot at halftime of the Southern Miss game, said afterward he felt “fine.”
The players had Monday off, and London said Rocco practiced with the team Tuesday and Wednesday.
“As we move forward to tomorrow’s practice and then Friday’s [walk-through], depending upon how he’s feeling, a further determination and evaluation will be made on how much of a role he’s going to continue to play,” London said. “If you ask me the question [Thursday], then I’ll probably give you a different answer, but it’d be based on post-practice and the evaluation of what we’ve seen on tape when we get back in the meeting rooms.”
London confirmed that Watford will play regardless of Rocco’s availability. In every game thus far this season, Rocco has started and Watford has come in at various points to run the offense.
In four games, Rocco has completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 792 yards, one touchdown and seven interceptions. He also has rushed for two touchdowns.
Watford has completed 15 of 30 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.
“We want to make sure the performance issue is what we can count on also before making any decision about who is going to start and all that,” London said.