Virginia Cavaliers Resiliency Be Thy Name

By Ryan McCart

Two weeks ago the Virginia Cavaliers were dead in the water. The Wahoos were in the midst of a six game losing streak and it seemed that they may end the season with a grand total of two wins. The six losses put them on the brink of losing any shot they had at bowl eligibility, but then it appeared that a flip switched. UVA has won their last two contests making them very much alive when it comes to postseason play and they aren’t even out of the race for the ACC Coastal Division.

The Cavaliers weren’t even competitive in most of the games during the losing streak and it made head coach Mike London have to make some difficult decisions. The most publicized of those decisions was the benching of quarterback Michael Rocco for that of Alabama transfer Phillip Simms. The move didn’t pan out, and a couple of weeks ago London decided to go back to his original game plan which involved a two quarterback system.

I have chronicled the fact that I do not like two quarterback systems. The only one that I can actually remember panning out was the 2007 & 2008 Virginia Tech Hokies with Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor. The Cavs started out the season with Rocco and Simms sharing snaps and it didn’t work out well, but now it appears to be working in Charlottesville.

In the Cavaliers most recent upset victory (over Miami) Simms completed 11-of-14 passes for 88 yards and ran for a touchdown. The transfer proved to be an excellent complement to Rocco, who ended up being the star of the game. Rocco absolutely dismantled the Hurricanes defense, completing 29-of-37 pass attempts for 300 yards and four touchdowns, including the game winner with six seconds left in the game. So the two quarterback system accounted for almost 400 passing yards and a total of five touchdowns without a single interception.

I wrote off Virginia a long time ago, but it now appears that I came to that conclusion too soon. Something is working in Charlottesville and it is entirely because of London, Simms and Rocco. The Cavaliers must win their final two games if they want to return to a bowl game for a second straight year. Their final two games are against North Carolina and Virginia Tech, so it is no small task, but it is doable.

One thing is for certain; resiliency is the name of the game in Charlottesville.


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