July 27, 2010
6:48 p.m.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Young quarterbacks are lined up behind him on UVa’s depth chart, led by redshirt freshman Ross Metheny and true freshman Michael Strauss. To remain a starter, Marc Verica knows, he’ll have to play well in training camp and, more important, once the season starts.

Clearly, though, the job is Verica’s to lose. His completion percentage plummeted from 63.8 in 2008 to 44.4 in ’09, but he’s the only quarterback at UVa who has a taken a snap in a college game, and Verica is thrilled to be working with a new mentor — offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.

“I think Marc’s in a state of mind right now that’s very positive, and if he stays there, we keep him there, then it’ll be very positive for the team,” UVa’s new coach, Mike London, told reporters Monday afternoon at the ACC Football Kickoff.

In his college career, Verica has made 10 starts, nine of them in 2008. He’s thrown 17 interceptions and only eight touchdown passes. The Wahoos, 3-9 in 2009, were picked to finish last in the Coastal Division this fall in part because they’ve struggled in recent years to get consistent production at the game’s most important position.

“If I was told I was going to get good quarterback play, I’d sleep at night,” London said. “But the reality of it is, you gotta go out there, and he’s gotta play. Whether it’s Marc Verica or whoever it is, as everybody knows the quarterback gets the ball 100 percent of the time.”

Verica, who’ll compete as a graduate student this season, told reporters Sunday that he’s “learned that sometimes you have to be resilient. You just gotta keep continuing to represent yourself and your family and your friends and your school, whoever, in a positive way.

“It’s easy to kind of tuck your tail and walk away, or back down. It’s a lot more difficult to just stand your ground and stay strong and stay focused on what you have to do.”

Verica has also learned, London believes, that “good and bad are going to happen. Not every play is 100-percent successful. It’s how you respond to those plays. Marc has had his share of criticism. He’s been booed. His family has been booed. People have thrown things at his family, and no young man should go through those type of issues and things. But the quarterback position is a tough position, and if anything out of all that, he’s learned to be resilient, and we’re hoping that with the experience that he’s had in playing in games, being in there and making the tough throw, that’s going to benefit him [in Lazor’s system].”

Jeff White

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