Aug. 27, 2010
6:28 p.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Marc Verica has prepared diligently for his final season of college football, earning the respect of his teammates and coaches in the process.

How will his UVa career be remembered? That will depend, of course, on how Verica plays when the games begin this fall, but his new coach, Mike London, has faith in No. 6.

“I think that Marc has handled the criticism and the things that have gone on with being a quarterback at a very visible position,” London said on a teleconference this week.

“That’s what happens. You throw interceptions, you don’t have a good game, and then you hear it from people. But I think his maturity level, being a fifth-year senior, has provided him an opportunity to be a leader now.”

Verica, the only quarterback in the UVa program who has played in a college game, started nine times in 2008 and once last season. He’s led the Cavaliers to several big wins but also knows “the disappointment of feeling like you caused the loss of some games,” London noted. “So there’s a maturity there that he has that none of these other guys have.

“He was voted by the team as one of the leaders of the team, so there’s a level of respect that the players have for him, because of what they’ve seen him go through during the summer and during the spring and all that. And the quarterback’s got to be that. The quarterback’s got to be a guy that people can look to, and he’s got to be counted on. And then when you’re a captain also, there’s a lot of things that are put on your shoulders.

“So I’m going into this season feeling fairly confident that Marc can handle those pressures, being a fifth-year senior and being in here for a while … It’s time for him to step up and be that guy.”

Verica didn’t play as a redshirt freshman in 2007. His career statistics at Virginia: 254 for 417 passing for 2,193 yards. He’s thrown 17 interceptions and 8 touchdown passes.

The Wahoos’ third and final preseason scrimmage is Saturday at Scott Stadium. Verica was much sharper in the second scrimmage than in the first, when he threw an interception that linebacker LaRoy Reynolds returned for a touchdown.

Verica’s decision-making has improved this preseason, London said, but “until he throws every ball, in every seven-on-seven [drill], every team situation, where there’s not an interception, then that’s not good enough. He’s working on trying to be good enough to help us win games.”

UVa opens the season Sept. 4 at Scott Stadium. Virginia and Richmond will meet at 6 p.m.

Jeff White


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