UVA Defense forces Tony Muskett to fire faster
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS)-- With week two of fall camp in the books and the season opener against Tennessee looming, the UVA football staff is evaluating the team's progress and getting closer to naming a starting quarterback.
On Monday, Tony Elliott raved about how freshman quarterback Anthony Colandrea has pushed Tony Muskett, but he isn't the only one bettering the veteran quarterback. The UVA defense has been challenging Muskett, forcing him to make faster decisions.
"He was completing the ball at a good clip in the spring, but now the ball is getting out faster," said UVA offensive coordinator Des Kitchings, "We see a lot of looks in practice, coach Rud does a great job with what they do schematically, coverage wise, front wise, so we may have this one play that we've read 40 times at camp, I bet you to say, he's probably seen the same coverage maybe twice, you know, so him getting that mental reps and the speed of that and knowing where to get the ball whether it's man or zone coverage I think that's been a big growth for him compared to the spring."
While Kitchings pointed to Muskett's delivery as his biggest improvement during fall camp, he had ample to say about Colandrea's progress as well, stating that the pair has been performing at a high level.
"Between the two of them, they both have been really good," said Kitchings, "Tony has been very consistent and efficient throwing the football, commanding. Colandrea has gotten better each week, each practice rather with that. You can see his growth from the spring through the summer, and it's been fun to see because it gives you some comfort knowing that you have two quality guys, you know."
Though Muskett entered as the favorite to take up under center, Tony Elliott has opted to not name a starter, allowing 'young pup' Colandrea to battle for the starting spot. Now with fall camp almost over, coaches are getting realistic about naming a starter. In a press conference on Thursday evening Kitchings did not share their exact time line but admitted they will most likely name a starter soon. He said they wanted some more looks from both quarterbacks during Friday's scrimmage and go from there.
"Just continued growth," said Kitchings, "That's been a big focus of ours. Just having a growth mindset, every day 1-0, stacking out days, all the cliches, right? But in all seriousness, we just want to continue seeing improvement and that's all position groups."
Regardless of who comes out on top of the depth chart, the defense will have them ready for the challenge. The Virginia offense hits the ground as their first four opponents (Tennessee, JMU, Maryland and NC State) were all rated among the nation's top 45 in scoring defense last season.
"We got to outscore our opponent and our kids have done a good job taking care of the football in practice, eliminate the turnovers in practice, so that should carry over to the game," said Kitchings.