Colandrea 'pushing' Muskett for UVA starting QB job
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- A few weeks ago in Charlotte, Tony Elliott was not ready to name the starting quarterback for Virginia this fall and after the team's recent scrimmage he is no closer.
"The biggest take away was that [Anthony] Colandrea is pushing Tony [Muskett]," Elliott said on Monday after practice.
Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett entered the fall as the odds on favorite to win the starting quarterback job, especially after the decision by Jay Woolfolk to focus solely on baseball. But before fall camp Elliott said he would not just turn the keys over to Muskett because of the "young pup" in true freshman Anthony Colandrea.
"I was anxious to see what it was going to look like because over here on the practice field," Elliott said, "Obviously Tony is putting a little bit of separation and then we put the ball down live and you saw Colandrea be, you know, Colandrea, so that was good."
Virginia fans already got a taste for Colandrea in a live-game setting in the spring. As an early enrollee, Colandrea had the chance to lead the blue team and finished the day going 18-29 for 218 yards and a touchdown.
"His ceiling is very, very high with his talent," quarterbacks coach Taylor Lamb said, "You know good moxie. He's like the young puppy in the room. He's got young puppy energy."
Lamb said Colandrea and Muskett worked out together over the offseason with the two competing in each workout. During the first week of fall practice offensive coordinator Des Kitchings said Muskett took reps with the ones, but Colandrea got some time in week two. Lamb feels the competition provided by Colandrea has been good for Muskett with the 'young pup' nipping at his heels.
The same 'moxie' and arm talent Colandrea has shown in fall camp are the reasons Elliott and his coaching staff took a chance on the former Middle Tennessee State commit.
"He's right at 6-foot, but he's got an elite arm right," Elliott said, "You're looking for that prototypical guy, so he doesn't quite have that 6'3 frame, but he's got the mind, he's got the arm strength and he's got the moxie of any of the top quarterbacks in the country."
While the expectation by many is Muskett will hold onto the starting job come September 2 against Tennessee, Colandrea is showing enough to impact the game now and in the future.
"Every time he steps on the field that's his favorite part of the day," Lamb said, "He loves practice and you can tell from his body language."