CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The music is on, the players have chosen their positions, and the exciting game of musical chairs has begun.
With summer practice officially underway and fall camp in the near future, the UVa football team has a few players hopeful to snag that highly sought-after seat- the chance to lead the team as the starting quarterback for the University of Virginia. Though it’s always been competitive, this is one game of musical chairs you won’t want to miss.
Of course, as the popular party game goes, the number of chairs should be one less than the number of people vying for their seats. Here’s my list of the final four quarterback hopefuls, from first-out to the last two ‘standing’.
4. Greyson Lambert
Virginia lists Greyson Lambert as a 6-foot-5, 215 pound powerhouse, a size unique to the quarterback world. However, his throwing ability might be just as noteworthy. Not only was he a star 2012 recruit, Lambert enrolled into the University in January in order to start learning the ins and outs of the athletic program.
But being a first-year quarterback (Along with 2012 recruit Matt Johns), despite his muscular size, means that he may ironically end up at the bottom of the totem pole. Sources say Lambert has been sitting out during some practices in order to gain more outside knowledge of the offense, according to the Daily Press.
Lambert’s best option may be to sit out his first year, building his mental and phsyical strength in hopes to play as a redshirt sophomore for the 2013 season.
3. David Watford
True sophomore David Watford, the backup quarterback to Michael Rocco last season, has been shuffling in and out of the starting lineup for quite some time. Watford played in position until Rocco won the prized spot midway through the season.
A strong competitor and athlete, Watford may also unfortunately fall behind the two frontrunners for the job. Though his confidence and abilities have been greatly improving, Watford insists if the redshirt discussion gets more intense, he’ll be on board with whatever decision is made.
“When you come to college to play football, you don’t want to sit the bench,” said Watford in an interview last April. “You want to play, but that’s not my decision at the end of the day.”
2. Phillip Sims
And then there were two. Two men for one chair, one starting quarterback position.
The NCAA announced late Wednesday night it will allow redshirt sophomore quarterback Phillip Sims to compete for the Cavaliers this season. Sims officially transferred to the University in June after two years with reigning NCAA champion Alabama. Sims appealed his eligibility due to direct family circumstances, wishing to be closer to home and his family in Chesapeake, Va.
The second best quarterback in the national recruiting class of 2010, Sims brings new energy to the football program- excitement, talent and spontaniety from a highly ranked program in Alabama. But, are those always good qualities?
Many folks remember him for the super star that he was coming out of Oscar Smith High School and not necessarily for his inability to snag the starting spot at Alabama last year, according to ESPN. Many also expect him to duplicate that initial success when he hits the field for the Cavaliers. However, compared to other options, Sims can be known for the less-than-stellar accuracy that comes with his endowed arm.
1. Michael Rocco
Up until yesterday, junior incumbent Michael Rocco led this football team- no questions asked.
Rocco won the starting job a season ago and showed himself to be quite capable, though getting there wasn’t a walk in the park. His quiet leadership and somewhat lack of confidence hindered his playing time early on, causing the constant offensive switch to Watford. Nonetheless, Rocco has progressed with a fighting mentality, but he has been shaped into a very well-respected leader on and off the field.
Not only is Rocco accountable, but he is known to keep his cool under stressful situations. Rocco, who appeared on Charlottesville’s WINA radio on Wednesday, spoke about Sims. Rocco mentioned that he welcomed the competition with “open arms.”
What’s Next for UVa in 2012
There you have it- one of the most anticipated quarterback decisions that UVa has seen in years, possibly even decades. With explosive new offensive potential sparking from the recent debate, the Cavaliers have the opportunity to take their established yet accustomed football program to the next level. Coach Mike London has acknowledged the possibility of attrition, position changes and unscheduled redshirts, according to the Daily Press.
You might want to grab a refreshment and a handful of party mix. This ‘traditional’ game of musical chairs just got a little more interesting, and the music isn’t stopping anytime soon.