After yesterday’s last fall camp practice of 2023 for the Virginia Cavaliers football team, Head Coach Tony Elliott announced that Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett will be the program’s starting quarterback this season.
Muskett had been the presumed starter since Jay Woolfolk decided to step away from football, but freshman Anthony Colandrea had pushed the veteran in camp enough that the staff only announced the decision yesterday evening.
“Coming out of that second scrimmage and evaluating it, Tony Muskett is going to be our starting quarterback,” said Elliott of what went into the decision. “Colandrea, he battled all the way to the end. [We’re] really excited about the development and the progress that he made. But Tony had a great week last week and I challenged him to show me some of the true leadership things that I know that he has. He was a lot more vocal, took a lot more command of it, and then played well in the scrimmage.”
Offensive Coordinator Des Kitchings pointed to Muskett’s “innate leadership,” at the position. “Guys migrate to him,” added the Wahoos’ play caller. “That’s what you want to see out of your quarterback. In training camp, Muskett was continually consistent everyday. Taking care of the football, finding completions in the passing game, getting us into the right check if necessary. He checked the box with all those things.”
The staff was sure to give credit to Colandrea, the program’s presumed future starter, and how he has built his game since arriving in the spring. “Credit to Colandrea,” Kitchings said. “He made a lot of growth from spring through fall camp with his comfort as a player. So we feel really good about both of those guys but with Tony being the starter.”
It’s no surprise that Muskett will be UVA’s starter come the season opener on September 2nd against Tennessee. He’s got the pure arm talent and the persona to be a successful signal caller, and him leading the Wahoo offense gives the team its highest ceiling considering his experience, ability, and developing leadership qualities.
But if Virginia struggles and if Muskett can’t get his feet under him versus a higher level of competition, Colandrea seems like a viable option to get an opportunity under center, at least from the coaching staff’s perspective.