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Virginia football notes: Watford heads West to work on his game

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Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014 9:30 pm

David Watford spent his spring break on a beach, interacting with fellow college kids.

“There was like 12 of us,” he said.

Daytona? Nope.

Panama? Too crowded.

L.A.? Not his thing.

No, the Virginia quarterback “vacationed” to the shores of San Diego. His party leader was a 36-year-old not interested in frequenting the club scene.

Call it a business trip.

Last week, Watford trained five days with famed QB guru George Whitfield.

“It was really good,” Watford said Saturday after the Cavaliers practiced at Scott Stadium. “I was around some great people. I got to experience some different things, but it was a great experience.”

Whitfield, a former college and Arena League quarterback, has worked with notable signal callers such as Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and most, recently, Johnny Manziel.

He runs Whitfield Athletix, a specialized quarterback training academy based out of San Diego.

Watford, UVa’s embattled starter last season (see eight touchdowns to 15 interceptions), was eager for a quick lesson. He said all it took was a few email exchanges with Whitfield and the rising redshirt junior was boarding a plane March 9 to the West Coast, soaking up valuable knowledge shortly thereafter.

“We just did different drills,” said Watford, who was joined by the likes of North Carolina’s Marquise Williams and Baylor’s Bryce Petty in the camp. “Just little details. He would say stuff like ‘keep your tie on’ for good posture. Those different details and drills, they click and you’re able to rep on them and work on that kind of stuff.”

Watford returned for UVa’s spring practice Tuesday, still in a battle with Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns for 2014’s starting job.

The trio has rotated first team reps this spring, but Lambert still seems to be the favorite.

In Saturday’s final 11-on-11 play, the rising sophomore hit a well-covered Kyle Dockins in the short corner of the end zone for a touchdown.

In an earlier 7-on-7 situation, Lambert found a streaking Miles Gooch, behind Demetrious Nicholson, for a beauty of a 60-yard pitch and catch

“We’re learning,” Lambert said. “But it’s not the same type of learning that we had to do this time last year where we’re trying to figure out what we’re supposed to do on this play.

“Now we know what to do on this play. Now we’re just trying to learn how to go even deeper, put this move on this guy. Whenever we get this look, we go back shoulder. Just little tidbit stuff we’re trying to take care of now instead learning the actual offense.”

Lambert said he plans to follow Watford’s path and train with Whitfield in May.

“And I think Matt [Johns] might be trying to go with me,” Lambert said.

UVa head coach Mike London certainly doesn’t mind the initiative taken from his QBs.

“It’s great to see guys take it upon themselves on their own to fly out there and spend a week out there with a guy that’s done some great things with other players,” London said.

No Brown

Ballyhooed freshman defensive tackle Andrew Brown missed Saturday’s practice because of injury. When asked, London didn’t reveal much, saying the early enrollee had a “mishap.”

Brown, the high school National Gatorade Player of the Year, left Thursday’s practice on crutches.

Brown had been getting reps with the first-team defense. In his absence, UVa had Mike Moore playing on the inside next to David Dean.

Road-trippin’ Voz

Virginia punter Alec Vozenilek might have been sneaking in cups of coffee during Saturday’s practice.

The older brother to walk-on guard Rob Vozenilek was in Raleigh’s PNC Arena Friday night to witness the basketball Cavs escape Coastal Carolina.

The game didn’t end until close to midnight. Saturday’s practice kicked off around 10 hours later.

“He drove there and drove back against my wishes,” London said. “I was like, ‘Stay there.’ He said, ‘Coach, I got to go to practice.’”

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