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April 12, 2002

Following sophomore Bryson Spinner’s transfer from UVa, junior Matt Schaub is Virginia’s clear-cut quarterback heading into spring practice. Schaub is ready to put last season behind him and focus on his new role as Virginia’s number one signal caller.

“Last season we had some tough times as a team,” Schaub said. “We were switching back and forth (quarterbacks), and we tried to get through it. At times we were able to make the best of the situation, but its still tough on the team to establish any kind of continuity. So that’s what we are going to try to do this spring – focus all of our energy on what needs to get done to help make our team better.”

Last season, Schaub definitely showed signs that he can be a successful quarterback in the ACC. The West Chester, Pennsylvania native threw for 1,524 yards, and completed over 58% of his passes. Since the end of last season, Schaub has spent a considerable amount of time in the winter conditioning program. He bulked up to 235 pounds and developed a plan to improve during spring practice.

“During spring practice I am going to try and make better decisions – quicker and faster,” Schaub said. “I am going to try to get the ball to the open man as soon as possible, and let him make the play. Hopefully, this will take the burden off my shoulders to hold the ball and try to make something happen later in the play. I am just going to try to get rid of it quickly and accurately. Then aside from the physical aspects, there is the mental side to the game. I need to get smarter, I’ve been through all situations and I know that I need to take over this team and just lead them.”

Schaub recognizes that he is the quarterback with the most experience on the team, but knows that he has to earn the number one job with hard work in spring practice and over the summer. Waiting in the wings are red-shirt freshman Marques Hagans, and incoming freshman Anthony Martinez, who will definitely challenge Schaub for playing time.

“I feel as though it’s a good opportunity and its up to me to take advantage of starting and make the best of it,” Schaub said. “I have two years left and I have good experience under my belt with last season. I’m just looking forward to improving and going into the summer better on my skills, so I can be ready for next fall.”

Speaking of next fall, Schaub feels that the Cavalier offense can be more productive than last season. Sophomore tailback Alvin Pearman and senior wide receiver Billy McMullen top the list of returning Cavalier playmakers.

“I think with a year under our belt with the team and with our staff we understand how we want to play the game,” Schaub said. “We have a lot of young guys especially some younger guys playing inexperienced that played last season a little bit on the offensive line. Some people say that’s a question mark, but to us we don’t really have any question marks – its just a matter of executing every play and scoring more points than the other team and therefore coming out on top. We don’t have any questions about our personnel- we just have to focus on winning.”

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