Virginia has new theory on QBs: Let's play 2

Virginia has new theory on QBs: Let's play 2

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Virginia coach Mike London finally settled the Cavaliers' dual quarterback situation, deciding to play both Phillips Sims and Michael Rocco - and the system has received strong initial reviews.

The Cavaliers (3-6, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) got touchdown passes from both quarterbacks last week in ending a six-game losing streak with a 33-6 victory on the road at North Carolina State.

London says both will play again Saturday when Virginia hosts Miami (5-4, 4-2).

``Both guys have things that they do, different skill sets that they bring to the table. Michael is a guy that's been in the offense, knows the offense,'' London said of Rocco, who started all last season.

``Phillip has a strong arm and is kind of learning on the job, so to speak. And he has some skills himself that we like, and can get the ball to some of the other playmakers,'' London said.

The arrangement works for Sims, a transfer from Alabama who arrived last May and took over as the starter four games ago. He struggled, but said lots of reps in an off week helped iron some things out.

``Especially in a timing-oriented offense like ours, you have to have reps,'' he said. ``And not only just reps within the offense, reps with certain receivers, because everybody runs routes differently.

``No matter how much you try to teach all your receivers to run routes at the same time and at the same yard distance, everything like that, everybody runs routes a little distinctly.''

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's game plan also helped, Sims said.

``The play-calling got me into a good rhythm early,'' he said of his 8-for-10 passing day for 115 yards with a 38-yard TD to Tim Smith. ``Just quick passes to get the ball out of my hands real quick and get guys the ball in space. It got me into a rhythm early, and it just carried on throughout the game.''

The Cavaliers need to beat the Hurricances, North Carolina and in-state rival Virginia Tech to have a chance of going to a bowl game, and the Hurricanes bring their own intrigue to the noon matchup.

They lead the conference's Coastal Division and would win it if they beat Virginia and then Duke next weekend. But the school still hasn't determined if it plans to accept any postseason invitation or self-impose a ban as it did last season because of an ongoing NCAA investigation into its compliance practices.

A victory would make Miami eligible for a bowl game, moving the Hurricanes closer to the ACC title game and potentially a spot in the Orange Bowl. So this year, the decision figures to be even more difficult, either for the school to make or for fans - if another self-imposed ban comes - to accept.

``I'll definitely have mixed emotions,'' Miami quarterback Stephen Morris said. ``I'm not in control of that. No one on this team is.''

Miami has more pressing concerns than anything that goes past Saturday: Virginia has beaten the Hurricanes in their last two meetings; and Miami's defense will likely be without linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle) after safety Deon Bush (shoulder) was already been ruled out of the contest.

Virginia will be without freshman defensive end Eli Harold for an issue described as ``medical.''

With the Cavaliers suddenly clinging to their own bowl hopes, they have the Hurricanes' attention.

``We know we'll get their best,'' Miami safety A.J. Highsmith said. ``But we've got motivation as well.''

And the Cavaliers' two-quarterback approach only adds further intrigue.

``They're both good,'' second-year Hurricanes coach Al Golden said. ``Obviously, they've won with both of them. They're hitting their outlets. They'll throw it to the two tailbacks out of the backfield.

``I'm sure (Virginia) sees them differently in terms of how they operate. But right now we're just preparing for the totality of the Virginia offense, not really just one quarterback or the other.''


AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.


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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short.