As I walked the long path from King Street to Episcopal High School's Hummel Bowl in Alexandria, I could not help but feel like the pigskin obsessed dads in my favorite high school football movie, "Varsity Blues," watching the QB battle between Jonathon Moxon and Lance Harbor. Of course, Saturday's UVA Football practice wasn't a high school movie and there were twice as many quarterbacks to keep an eye on.
The air was cold, but the atmosphere was light and fun. Many Wahoo faithful game out to watch the football team go through drills for about 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of game situation scrimmages. Head coach Mike London greeted the crowd and was received with much enthusiasm. To be honest, it was kind of hard to know what to look for at the practice, having never attended this kind of thing, and with multiple drills going on simultaneously on different parts of the field for the first three-quarters of the event, it reminded me of a three ring circus.
As for the QB situation, Ross Metheny, Michael Rocco, Michael Strauss and David Watford all participated evenly in the drills. Metheny and Rocco looked similar to what we saw last year. Strauss appears to have a very strong arm, and Watford showed good form. From all indications, there is no leading candidate to head the 2011 offense at this point.
The only notable player to spend most of his time on the sideline was Morgan Moses, who biked and observed his teammates on the field.
The scrimmages were set up to run through varying down and distance scenarios. The offense seemed to move the ball fairly well and a few plays would have been broken for major yards. There was also at least one turnover.
It's really hard to know what to look for from the 2011 Cavaliers at this point. The highly touted recruiting class (outside of Watford) was obviously not involved, as those athletes are still in high school. Secondly, if you're an optimist, you could look at every play as being well executed by either the offense or the defense. Lastly, it is not even April and the team is less than 10 practices into the spring campaign so there is a lot of work do be done before the season opens in September.
As far as the event itself, I think it was a huge success for the Hoos. Someone in the stands near me estimated that 1,500 Cavalier fans came to check out the team. Based on raffle prize winners, the crowd came from as far as Richmond, with Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland also represented of course. In addition, there were many high school coaches on the sideline, checking out the program and getting to know UVA better, which will help with recruiting in the future.
The only sad part of the day was coming to the realization that we are still more than five months away from kickoff of the William & Mary - UVA game at Scott Stadium.