Virginia looking for a quarterback -- again

Spring practice has become like Groundhog’s Day for Virginia quarterback Marc Verica – another start to a season in which his role is in question.

There will be one glaring difference this March, though, as Verica will enter practices as the only signal caller on the roster with any game experience.

“From the quarterback standpoint, we’re all just ready to compete,” Verica said. “I’m the only guy returning with actual on-field experience. I wouldn’t say I’ve solidified anything. It’s only right everyone starts from square one and we all compete.”

There’s no shortage of options for first-year coach Mike London to turn to when the Cavs begin practices on March 15. True freshman Michael Strauss is the lone incoming quarterback on campus, so he’ll have a head start on the playbook. Of the four quarterbacks Virginia signed in this year’s class, Strauss is the only one listed as a true quarterback. The Cavs also have Ross Metheny, who redshirted last year, and Riko Smalls, who redshirted in ‘08 and was No. 2 on the depth chart when Verica was out with a concussion.

In addition to the 12 commitments retained from the previous staff, London signed five more of his own, including three who he already knew. Jake McGee, from Richmond, whose grandfather is associated with Virginia, Michael Rocco, whose uncle Danny was the head coach at Liberty, and Miles Gooch, an athlete in Atlanta, Ga., who was regarded by ESPN Recruiting as one of the top players in the 2010 class.

All of them will be evaluated, but London said he is hoping Verica’s experience will prove worthwhile.

“The main point of emphasis is to try to find a quarterback, and we’re hoping that Marc Verica with his experience at least can help us do the things we need to do, from recognizing defenses, and taking the snap and those things,” London said. “We’re excited about the quarterbacks that are here and the young quarterbacks who are coming in.

“The candidates we’re excited about. Now we have to make sure we find the right two to three guys who can make this thing go. The other guys who aren’t ready, either they’ll be at other positions if they’re athletic enough, or we’ll continue to develop them.”