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NCAA Football

Will Phillip Sims Ever Play Again for the Virginia Cavaliers?

Geoff Burke – USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers are in the midst of a quarterback competition heading into the 2013 season. Head coach Mike London is taking a long hard look at three potential starters for next fall and taking his time to evaluate each one. There’s only one quarterback in the race with any game experience from 2012, however, in redshirt junior Phillip Sims, but Sims’ relationship with UVa has been rocky to say the least and he finds himself buried at No. 3 on the depth chart. Will he ever play again for the Cavaliers?

There will have to be a drastic change at Virginia for it to happen. Sims has had an attitude problem that has clashed with London and his coaching staff, leading the former Alabama Crimson Tide transfer to be very outspoken about his unhappiness with the team. That attitude is what has buried Sims this spring even after throwing for 1,263 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions while splitting reps with Michael Rocco.

And his play this spring hasn’t forced the issue much. While London insisted that the first team reps were “constantly in flux” during spring practice between the three quarterback candidates, the spring game showed that David Watford and Greyson Lambert were firmly entrenched as the No. 1 and No. 2 options at quarterback. Sims, stuck at No. 3, turned in a poor performance, completing just 8-of-18 passes for 87 yards.

Meanwhile, Watford and Lambert both completed more than 50 percent of their passes and led scoring drives. Lambert was the most impressive with his arm, completing 21-of-36 passes for 248 yards and a pair of touchdown passes while Watford showed off his athleticism with a 17-yard scoring run. Afterwards, Sims described the day, which saw the offense as a whole struggle, as a “slap in the face that we’re not where we want to be.”

Unless something drastic happens with Sims’ attitude or level of play between now and fall camp, the disgruntled quarterback will likely stay buried on Virginia’s depth chart. Can the Cavaliers win without contributions from their most experienced signal caller?

You can follow me on Twitter @Teeblerone and Rant Sports @RantSports

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There's No Longer Any Reason To Believe In UVA

Two weeks ago, the Virginia Cavaliers stood at 4-2, 2-0 in the ACC. Given how bad the rest of the Coastal Division seemed to be, there was optimism that UVA would at least finish above .500 on the season, perhaps make a bowl game, and if everything broke right, stay in contention for the Coastal Division title and a berth in the ACC Championship Game.

However, a 20-13 loss at Duke last week slowed that momentum, and Saturday’s 28-27 home loss to North Carolina not only ended any optimism, but it squarely turns the heat back up on head coach Mike London and his coaching staff.

Virginia wasn’t drastically outplayed today, and actually led the game 24-21 at halftime; however, as was the case for much of the second half — and several times over the last few years — a simple mistake cost the Cavaliers big time. With 1:17 to play and exiting a timeout, North Carolina lined up for a field goal that would have made it 31-27, leaving UVA at least a chance to win.

Instead, Virginia came out of the break with 12 men on the field. Carolina got a first down on the penalty and subsequently ran out the clock.

Such mistakes are the type you see when teams are led by rookie coaches, and while London is young, he isn’t a rookie. As fans streamed out of Scott Stadium in the final minute, with Virginia resigned to the type of befuddling loss that the Cavaliers seem to suffer at least twice a season, it became clear that this isn’t going to change.

The 8-5 season in 2011 was a mirage. Other than that, London is now 14-30 in Charlottesville. Despite his well-earned reputation as a top recruiter, he and his coaching staff either don’t use their talent properly, or don’t manage the fine points of the game that can cause a team to win or lose.

The penalty for too many men on the game’s most crucial play proves that the more things change, the more things they stay the same in Charlottesville. And with games left against Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech, finding a reason to believe is going to be difficult for Virginia fans moving forward — if they pay attention at all.

Ed Morgans is an ACC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google.

Virginia football's failings can no longer be hidden after home loss to UNC.

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