Early during Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield’s interview session Sunday at the ACC Football Kickoff, the outspoken senior was asked a general question about whether conference parity was improving.
Minnifield’s response: “I think everybody is pretty evenly matched, honestly. A quarterback is what it takes to try to get over the hump. Everybody can compete, no matter if you’ve got a quarterback or not.”
This, of course, is noteworthy because that one component Minnifield said is crucial for a team to be able to do more than just compete in the ACC – having a solidified quarterback – happens to be one of the Cavaliers’ biggest question marks heading into training camp.
At the end of spring practice, redshirt sophomore Ross Metheny and true sophomore Michael Rocco were listed as interchangeable atop Virginia’s depth chart at the quarterback position. Redshirt freshman Michael Strauss and true freshman David Watford were listed as interchangeable below Metheny and Rocco.
According to Minnifield, none of the four has been overly impressive thus far in terms of displaying the leadership necessary to guide a team.
“I want to see somebody step up and tell somebody like (senior wide receiver) Kris Burd that he’s running the wrong route or he’s at the wrong side,” Minnifield said. “When somebody does that, that’s when I’ll know that somebody is ready to be the leader of this team.
“They’re all pretty quiet right now. They don’t want to take too much control right now. But before the first game they better start taking some control.”
Minnifield said he would prefer that one of the quarterbacks grab the reins of the team within the first 7-10 days of training camp, and no later than the team’s first scrimmage.
To do that, at least one of those four quarterbacks will need to be more assertive than they were during the team’s summer seven-on-seven workouts. Last year, Minnifield said, fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica led those drills and did a lot of instructing in the process.
This summer, senior wide receiver Matt Snyder led the seven-on-sevens, Minnifield said.
Virginia’s four quarterbacks are “all pretty much the same,” Minnifield said. “They all bring different qualities, but they’re all pretty much the same at the same time. I think anybody can win the job and we’ll be okay. But as far as leadership, that’s what I really want to see.
“The quarterbacks usually run (the seven-on-seven workouts). Verica ran it last year. He was teaching and things like that. You don’t really see the teaching aspect from these quarterbacks right now. But that comes in time.”