Virginia Football 2012: Put Your Money on Michael Rocco to Start the Season

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterAugust 24, 2012

Sep 3, 2011; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Michael Rocco (16) against the William & Mary Tribe at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

The Virginia Cavaliers have had one of the quietest, yet impactful quarterback battles of the fall camp season. While folks fawned over Texas, Auburn, Florida and Oregon; the Wahoos have quietly watched incumbent Michael Rocco battle transfer Phillip Sims for the starting job.

Come Monday, as the Virginian-Pilot tells us, we'll know who shall be the starter for the season opener.

For those of you rooting for Sims, get ready to be disappointed.

We've talked about Michael Rocco being a scrapper. Michael Rocco has talked about Michael Rocco being a scrapper:

"When you see a big name like Phil Sims come in, yeah, I can see why you guys are intrigued," Rocco said. "So are we. We're excited to get another good player as well. … (But) I haven't changed my approach at all."

The man has no intention of losing the job, even as he has helped out Sims transition to UVA.

"We talk a lot," he said of Sims. "He's two lockers down from me. … He's always asking questions. … I'm very open to help him. I don't want there to be any hard feelings or distant relationship. We're all teammates here. I know he's been at Alabama where they've won a national championship. But our offense is different than Alabama's, so it's going to be tough to learn."

This weekend all the chips will be down and Michael Rocco will likely come out ahead. Despite the hype and the hoopla around Phillip Sims and his return home; Rocco has remained a constant. His teammates love him and respect the kid's approach:

He's a guy you can count on," tailback Kevin Parks said. "He's a guy who's always doing the right thing."

"You look at last season," offensive tackle Morgan Moses said. "Rocco got better day in and day out."

And how did Rocco respond last month to the news that, thanks to an NCAA hardship waiver, Sims is eligible this season?

"He took it like a man," Moses said. "He got better."

Rocco, with the Coastal Division ripe for the picking, has got to be the odds-on favorite to win the gig. Sims is talented, but Rocco is the leader, a proven leader, that the team responds to. He knows the offense and he improved by leaps and bounds a season ago.

A portion of a summer and a fall camp are not enough for Sims to grab the reins. Perhaps, spring 2013 will see a true battle. For now, Michael Rocco is the guy who should lead the Cavs out on the field to try and challenge rival Virginia Tech for the Coastal title.