Steve Fairchild says he like what he has seen to this point in his second spring as offensive coordinator at Virginia. But he also acknowledges that the Cavaliers left plenty of room for improvement after the 2013 season.
“It’s been a productive spring. We’re improving," Fairchild said during a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday. "We need to improve a lot, obviously. But it’s been productive so far.”
The Cavaliers finished Fairchild's first season in Charlottesville ranked 109th out of 123 teams in FBS college football in scoring offense, putting up just 19.8 points per game, and 89th in the country in total offense (368.4 yards per game).
Fairchild says UVa players are "way ahead of last year" in their second spring in his system. He says players have been able to "absorb more, seem more, react to defensive looks better."
Fairchild also said he's more familiar with UVa's personnel this spring, and has moved some guys into different spots in an attempt to improve production. Fairchild mentioned using rising senior Jake McGee and rising sophomore Kyle Dockins in a hybrid tight end/slot receiver role, and getting rising sophomore running back Taquan Mizzell out of the backfield, and more involved in the passing game.
“I think we’ve got a better feel for who we are and what we are," he said. "Now it’s our job to get them in the right spots.”
Fairchild also talked about the quarterback position, where rising junior David Watford returns after starting all 12 games for UVa last season. Head coach Mike London opened the competition at the position at the start of spring practice, with sophomores Greyson Lambert -- Watford's backup last season -- and Matt Johns in the mix to potentially unseat Watford.
On Wednesday, Fairchild was asked if Lambert had surpassed Watford in the pecking order.
“I don’t know that he’s passed, but we certainly have a definite quarterback battle," he said.
The Cavaliers wrap up spring practices with Saturday's Orange & Blue Spring Game at Scott Stadium. On Wednesday, Fairchild didn't rule out naming a starting quarterback at that point, but also acknowledged the competition could spill into preseason summer camp in August.
“As soon as we can get it down to two, we’ll do that," Fairchild said. "And as soon as we can get it down to one, we’ll do that.”