April 13, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE — On virtually every snap last season, UVa’s quarterback was in the shotgun. That formation is still part of the Cavaliers’ playbook, but look for the QB to start most plays under center this season.
And that, senior quarterback Marc Verica said, “allows you to look at the defense in a different way. Being in shotgun, you might have a better view of everything, but the thing is, when you’re getting the snap, you have to take your eyes off the defense to catch the ball, so there’s kind of that little split second where you’re taking your eyes off the defense.
“Where when you’re under center, you can kind of scope around, and then even at the snap, your eyes are still up and you can still just focus on your keys. So there’s different advantages and disadvantages … and depending on how we want to attack a defense, we’ll decide on what we want to use.”
Mike London hired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to install a pro-style system. The Wahoos’ new offense differs from the schemes they ran last season.
“There’s definitely a lot of responsibility placed on the quarterback,” Verica said. “There’s a lot of checks that are made before the snap, so recognition of the defense before the snap and making calls [is critical].
“We’re actually getting involved with some of the protection calls, too, based off of what the defense is doing before the snap. And then after the snap, there’s just so much structure for what’s expected of the quarterback. And that’s the thing that Coach Lazor has made clear to us from the beginning. He says, ‘Because I’m letting you know what’s expected of you, and I’m being so clear as to what’s expected of you, from that point I can be really demanding, because you know exactly what’s expected of you.’
“For every single play in our system, there’s a certain criteria and a certain protocol that you have to follow in order to execute the play. There’s a certain drop for every play and there’s a certain progression and there’s a specific execution to go about your assignments. Because everything is so clear of what’s expected of you, all it takes it just reps and reps and reps, and it just kind of becomes second habit.”