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Rocco named starter
Virginia football notebook

Date published: 8/30/2011

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

--Mike London's announcement of his starting quarterback yesterday was hardly a shocker, but it came with a twist.

Sophomore Michael Rocco will start against William & Mary on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Scott Stadium, but true freshman David Watford will play, too.

"We have different guys that have different gifts, abilities and talents," London said. "Instead of anointing one as the sole guy, at this time in this program, that's where we are with the quarterback situation.

"Hopefully their play as the season goes on will separate one from the other."

Rocco received most of the repetitions with the first-team offense during training camp. Sophomore Ross Metheny was also in the mix.

London said Watford, who entered the program out of Hampton High School in January, was initially behind the other two, but made up ground this summer.

He said Watford gained approximately 12 pounds of muscle and impressed coaches with his work in the classroom. On the field, he's a passing and running threat that London said will operate "a limited menu" of plays.

"I'm sure he's going to shock some people when he decides to take off and run," Virginia senior wide receiver Kris Burd said. "It's going to be crazy."

London won't allow the Cavaliers' quarterbacks to speak publicly until after the game against the Tribe.

Rocco committed to Louisville originally, but reopened his recruitment after former Cardinals coach Steve Kragthorpe was fired.

Rocco played for his father, Frank Rocco, at Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg. London said the coaching background is evident.

He said Rocco is a smart, efficient quarterback who is capable of running offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's system. London said that in the past Rocco struggled when plays didn't go as planned. He'll likely be tested by William & Mary's defense on Saturday.

"There's a calmness about him," London said. "There's an understanding about the offense, about how to distribute the ball to the different play-makers. He's a pocket guy that can make some of the reads. Over the course of camp, he kept demonstrating his ability to do that."

YOUTH IS SERVED

Quarterback wasn't the only position that sparked interest when the Cavaliers revealed their depth chart yesterday.


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