CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia football team is still waiting to play its first game, which is currently scheduled for next Saturday at home against Duke.
That’s Week Three of the college football season.
But the extra time has given the coaching staff a chance to get an extended look at their players, including freshman quarterback Ira Armstead.
“Ira has been better, faster, than what we anticipated,” says head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Armstead is a true freshman from South Bend, Indiana.
He earned First Team All-Conference honors his junior and senior seasons in high school.
Armstead enrolled early at Virginia, and Mendenhall says his skills are easy to spot.
“Speed and athleticism," says Mendenhall. "He’s long, and he’s tall, and he’s fast, and he’s dynamic, and he’s productive, and he’s elusive. And he’s catching up, in terms of playing the position of quarterback. He’s catching up, in terms of the scheme. And he’s catching up, in terms of his assignments, but wow, the other parts are really impressive.”
UVA quarterbacks coach Jason Beck says, "He was a mid-year, but we obviously didn’t get any work with him in the spring. He’s a really athletic player, and has good arm strength. He still has a ton to learn, and a ton to adjust to, but he has the tools to be able to develop into a really good quarterback at this level.”
Starting quarterback Brennan Armstrong is in his third season with the program, and says the adjustment period isn’t easy.
“I relate to it a lot," says Armstrong. "Coming in, and trying to learn the offense is tough, especially when it’s your first year of college. He has some wheels on him. He can run. He’s going to continue to learn the offense. He’s making huge strides already. It’s exciting for him. I’m excited for him, and he’s going to help our offense, too.”
The way Armstead helps the team this year might not be at quarterback, as he’s one of the Cavalier players working at multiple positions.
Mendenhall says, “It just makes sense, for not only any year, but especially this year. Those are cross-training fits they we’ll certainly consider, because it’s not a normal year.”