UVa QBs embracing competition

Virginia backup quarterback David Watford has not shied away from the increasing competition at his position. Instead of going home for the summer, he decided to get a job in Charlottesville, hit the weight room twice a day, and continue to practice throwing on his own time.

The arrival of Alabama transfer quarterback Phillip Sims has caused a trickle-down effect at UVa, forcing everyone to raise his game. The school has yet to announce whether Sims has been cleared to play this season, but the news that he will be joining the roster will make the position a little crowded. Michael Rocco has earned his place as the starter, Watford has significant game experience, and early enrollee Greyson Lambert and three-star 2012 recruit Matt Johns, who has yet to arrive on campus, will be on the roster this season as well.

“What you see is, instead of ‘woe is me,’ these guys have gone out and I think the competition, not only at the quarterback position, but some of these other positions, should make us a better team,” coach Mike London said.

In his first season as a starter, Rocco led UVa to an 8-5 record and a berth in the Chick-fil-A Bowl last year. He completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 2,671 yards and 13 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He threw only four interceptions in his final six games.

One of his biggest improvements, though, has come from within.

“The biggest thing with him, he’s always been a quiet type of leader,” London said. “I think what’s emerged with him coming out of the spring is he is more vocal. He has more leadership characteristics. He’s calling volunteer seven-on-sevens, things with the guys. It’s good to watch a guy mature and also his knowledge of what you’re trying to get done has improved. I’m very pleased with his progress.”