David Watford arrived on grounds at Virginia last spring, and was thrown right into a four-man competition for the Cavaliers' starting quarterback job.
That job was eventually won by then-sophomore Michael Rocco last summer. But Watford spent the first half of the season splitting snaps with Rocco, and ended up appearing in 10 games as a true freshman.
Now, in his second round of spring practice at UVa, Watford says last year's in-game experience is invaluable.
""It helped me out a lot, because I'm able to see the speed of college football, other than in practice," Watford said Friday. "Because game speed and practice speed are different speeds. Both are fast, but obviously game speed is faster. So it helped me out a lot, getting that playing time earlier and just being able to see what I have to do in order to be where I want to be."
Watford completed 30 of 74 pass attempts for 346 yards last season, including three touchdown passes and four interceptions.
He entered spring practice listed as Rocco's back-up, with another early enrollee, Greyson Lambert, third on the depth chart. The other two quarterbacks in last year's competition, Ross Metheny and Michael Strauss, have left the program.
But head coach Mike London hasn't handed the starting job to Rocco, instead saying this spring is another competition between the rising junior and Watford.
"If No. 1 goes down, your No. 2 -- if he's as good as No. 1 or close to it, you still have a chance to keep running the offense," London said on Friday. "And that's a very important position for us. And the grooming, and the competition between what's going on now will make both of them better. So I'm very pleased with David's progress."
Watford admitted Friday that after spending last spring just trying to get a feel for being in college, he's much more comfortable this spring.
"Since I've been here for a year, this is my second time around, so I feel more confident out here," he said. "I know the plays better. Now it's just a matter of execution, and just remembering everything. Just going through the motions again."
"He's hungry. His learning curve has increased. He's done a great job of knowing the offense," said London. "And this is another opportunity that he has to get better."
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