CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- As a true freshman quarterback at Virginia last fall, Brennan Armstrong was pressed into action in relief of an injured Bryce Perkins twice. He delivered in both opportunities.
When an pinkie injury caused Perkins to miss a series against Louisville, Armstrong's 34-yard run was the highlight of a UVA drive that resulted in a field goal. When Perkins went down with an ankle injury at Georgia Tech, Armstrong found Joe Reed on a 56-yard catch-and-run for his first career touchdown pass in his lone series.
Those performances made an impression the Cavaliers' head coach.
“There aren’t situations that are too big for Brennan," Bronco Mendenhall said following UVA's first spring practice of 2019. "He’s comfortable, regardless of the amount of stress, regardless of the circumstance. He just loves to play football, and thinks he can make every play, which is a great quality to have at quarterback.”
"Bryce does a heck of a job, but I’ve got to be ready just in case anything happens," said Armstrong. "That’s what I did all of last year, and I think I rose to the occasion, and hopefully I can continue to do that for us.”
Armstrong appeared in four games last fall, finishing with 62 passing yards and 74 rushing yards, with that one touchdown pass to Reed. Thanks to the NCAA's new redshirt rule, Armstrong retained the possibility of a potential fifth season at UVA. With Perkins entering his senior season, Armstrong could be in line to take as the Cavaliers' starter at quarterback with three years of eligibility remaining.
On Monday, Armstrong was again taking snaps behind Perkins, who had just been cleared last week to begin throwing again after off-season surgery on that pinkie he injured in the Louisville game. Mendenhall told reporters that he was surprised by the Perkins' accuracy so soon after returning from the surgery.
After enrolling early at UVA, Armstrong also spent last spring behind Perkins, who eventually joined Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray as the only players to throw for more than 2,600 yards and run for more than 900 yards last season. Armstrong said he spent all of last season preparing as if he was the Cavaliers' starting quarterback, an approach that paid off when injuries briefly forced Perkins to the sideline.
“Coming into this, I feel a lot more confident," Armstrong said. "Obviously I know the offense more, and I’m trying to develop more of a leadership role on the team, and give a spark to the offense this year."