In his first month as a starting college quarterback, no one has been more critical of Virginia sophomore David Watford than Watford himself.
"I haven't performed up to par, that I have wanted to," Watford said this week. "Just turning the ball over. Of course, no quarterback wants to have more turnovers than touchdowns, obviously."
Through his first three college starts, Watford has twice as many interceptions (six) as touchdown passes (three). But the Cavaliers are 2-1 in those games, following last Saturday's 49-0 win over VMI at Scott Stadium.
Watford overcame a pair of first quarter interceptions in that game to throw for a career-high 206 yards and two touchdowns, and add his first career rushing touchdown.
One of those touchdown passes was to junior tight end Jake McGee, who was asked this week if Watford has been too hard on himself.
"I mean, if he wants to become a big time quarterback and take it to the next level, he's going to need to ask those things of himself," McGee said. "So I mean, it's something you like hearing, sitting in the room. As the leader of your offense, and the leader on this team, you want to see him strive to be as good as he can be, and never really be happy with just being average."
The Cavaliers entered that VMI game last weekend talking about establishing their identity as an offensive unit. After putting up 521 yards total in their first two games against BYU and Oregon, the Cavaliers piled up 580 total yards against the Keydets.
Running backs Kevin Parks (135 yards) and Daniel Hamm (136 yards in his first college game) both set career highs for rushing yards in a game. Virginia's 357 rushing yards were the program's highest single-game total in nine years.
"Every game will be a test for us, in terms of are we continuing to improve, are we stagnant, or are we going backwards," coach Mike London said of his offense's progress. "You are playing another quality, really good football team (this week). And wanting to continue to be those things that we talked about. Being able to run the ball. Being able to use the quarterback. Being able to throw the ball downfield."
This Saturday, the Cavaliers open ACC at Pittsburgh. The Panthers will enter that game at 2-1, following last weekend's 58-55 win at Duke.
Pitt has scored an average of 40 points through three games this season -- and has allowed an average of 41 points. And the Cavaliers are confident that they'd be able to keep pace if another shoot-out breaks out this weekend at Heinz Field.
"Really something we think of as an offense, it's our goal to score as many points as necessary," said McGee. "Whether it's seven points or 60 points or 35, it really doesn't matter. Whatever the defense is able to keep them to, we really just need to score one more than them."
"I'm 100 percent confident in my offense, that we can compete with any team, shoot-out wise," said Watford. "If we have to go down to the wire. If we have to score 100 points, 99 to 100, we can do it. So I think we can do it; I know we can."