- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2008

CHARLOTTESVILLE | Dozens of media members assembled on the concourse of Scott Stadium, and the cluster of humanity armed with tape recorders and video cameras had one major topic in mind.

Almost inevitably, discussion turned to Virginia’s quarterbacks. Question after question after question. And then, more questions.

“Too many,” wide receiver Kevin Ogletree said. “You don’t got one, do you?”

Indeed, nearly everyone was talking quarterbacks. Well, except for the quarterbacks.

Fifth-year senior Scott Deke quickly read a statement that he and fellow quarterbacks Peter Lalich and Marc Verica would not answer questions and simply interact with fans in attendance, lending an unusual vibe to the Cavaliers’ media day.

Not that any answers were forthcoming anyway, not after a tumultuous offseason in which the Cavaliers seemed to lose a player every month or so. One of them was Jameel Sewell, the starting quarterback who left school earlier in the year because of academic concerns.

That left Lalich, who attempted 61 passes as a true freshman last fall, as the Cavaliers’ most known quantity under center. Deke has no career passing attempts, and Verica has never played at the college level.

In a conference full of quarterback conundrums, there might not be greater uncertainty anywhere else. And true to the theme of the day, not a hint was dropped at how the situation might be resolved.

“It’s definitely a big issue,” senior wideout Maurice Covington said. “The quarterback spot is the primary spot on any team. Right now, it’s three [players]. It’s up in the air, and I don’t know how it’s going to go. I’ll be comfortable with any three of them.”

Covington’s reply - while clearly a safe one - was arguably the most enlightening of the day. With the quarterbacks working under the football equivalent of radio silence, there were precious few tea leaves to read.

Coach Al Groh wasn’t about to add much to the discussion after one week of practice.

“Good progress and that’s about it,” said Groh, whose team went 9-4 last year. “We’re not keeping a daily scorecard on them. We’re looking at the body of work. We’re going to give everybody plenty opportunity.”

And if things remain quiet, so much the better for the Virginia staff.

“I think it shows a maturity level of all three of them,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “This could have been their opportunity to say, ‘Hey, finally I have a microphone, and it’s my chance to answer questions.’ Instead, they’re more focused on the team than they are themselves, and that says a lot about them.”

Perhaps the time to talk will arrive before the Aug. 30 opener against Southern California. But the Cavaliers don’t appear to be in any hurry to rush to a conclusion in a competition that might not be settled until well into the season.

“The most important thing is for the team to have the right quarterback in there, and that’s really only proven with quarterbacks when they play in a game, and we don’t have any games to play,” Al Groh said. “It might take some games to find out exactly who the one quarterback is or who the two are that we should plan on playing. It might take a few games to find out.”

Until then, those pesky questions are sure to continue.



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