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College football: Virginia spring game
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BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
CHARLOTTESVILLE--When the Virginia coaching staff was trying to decide on a starting quarterback for yesterday's spring game, it went to unconventional methods.
Cavaliers offensive coordinator Mike Groh told Peter Lalich, Scott Deke and Marc Verica to choose a number from 1 to 50 and whoever came closest to the one Groh had in his head would get the nod.
Deke, a fifth-year senior, used his veteran savvy to guess the exact number: 27.
He then started yesterday's game, followed by Verica and Lalich.
Cavaliers head coach Al Groh said the trio will enter fall practice with equal opportunity to earn the starting job, despite Lalich's being the only one with any game experience.
"This is not Marc's position or Scott's position or Pete's position," Groh said. "It's the quarterback position at the University of Virginia. As long as the quarterback position plays well, that's enough."
Groh said all three quarterbacks played well yesterday, but the statistics say otherwise.
Deke was the most impressive, going 17-of-23 for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Verica was 17-of-25 for 110 yards and a touchdown, but Lalich completed just 6-of-18 passes for 72 yards and three interceptions.
Groh defended Lalich's showing. He said raw numbers don't show what offensive linemen or receivers were in the game.
"If you're trying to form any conclusions based on [statistics], you're fooling yourself," he said.
The Cavaliers need a quarterback to step up, because two-year starter Jameel Sewell was ruled academically ineligible in January and is no longer enrolled in school.
Lalich appeared in eight games last year as a true freshman. He threw two touchdowns and one interception in 61 attempts.
It was assumed by many he'd be the successor to Sewell.
Lalich was testy when asked if he was fine with the open competition.
"I don't have anything to say about that," he said.
Verica and Deke are certainly thankful for the opportunity to compete for the job.
Groh said the team hasn't had a spring practice where all three quarterbacks played as well as they did yesterday. He said they all "made good decisions and ran the team well."