Muskett set to face toughest defense of his career
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Making the jump from the FCS to the FBS level is a tall task in itself and when you have one of the toughest defenses in the nation staring at you on the opposing sideline, it could make for a challenging debut.
UVA starting quarterback Tony Muskett will certainly have his hands full when he takes the field for the team's season opener against No. 12 Tennessee on Saturday. The Volunteers ranked 35th in the country last season in scoring defense, allowing 22.8 points per game and 44th in the nation with 2.2 sacks per game. The challenge ahead lies in making sure Muskett stays on his feet and has time to make decisions on the field.
"They're going to line up, be in your face and come after you with six and if they can they're going to go seven, head coach Tony Elliott said this week. "They're going to play zero coverage and they're going to say 'hey let the best man win.'"
In order to be the "best man," Des Kitchings says his quarterback needs to keep doing what has gotten him here.
"I expect him to play with the same temperment that he's approached everything with," Kitchings said. "Very even keel and just be a point guard. Distribute the ball, make smart decisions like he's always done, get us in the right checks, throw it to the open guy and use his fundamentals. That's his strength."
Elliott also pointing out the number "2.8" -- the number of seconds Muskett will need to get the ball out of his hands on a given play.
"They're not going to let him hold the ball, " Elliott said. They're going to push the pocket interior wise. They are going to be able to create pressure and squeeze the pocket coming off the edge and force the ball out quickly. I think they're trying to bring some pressure. Can they overwhelm our backs in protection and get to the quarterback and see can they rattle them? Then I think you play man coverage on the outside and you say 'hey man are you good enough to beat us?'"
That task was made a little bit easier this week with the returns of McKale Boley and Brian Stevens to the practice field, who are both expected to play on Saturday.