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No-fly zone: Virginia looking to end struggles in passing game

The Virginia Cavaliers have been playing football for more than 100 years, and the forward pass has been around for nearly as long. However, Virginia — the alma mater of several NFL quarterbacks: Don Majkowski, Aaron Brooks and Matt Schaub — has never produced a 3,000-yard passer. Back in June, ESPN’s Andrea Adelson mentioned that Virginia is the lone ACC program to never accomplish this metric.

A season ago, Matt Johns got close to the benchmark, passing for 2,810 yards. He attempted 403 passes in 2015, which is a lot, but he was mostly a checkdown machine — a trend of the Mike London era in Charlottesville. Virginia lost a lot of games during his time at the school, which means they spent a lot of time trailing, and therefore needing to throw the ball. That tactic usually didn’t work, though. Johns averaged only 6.1 yards per attempts while mostly looking for Taquan Mizzell out of the backfield. That wasn’t nearly as low as what David Watford posted back in 2013: a pitiful 5.2 yards per attempt. By this metric, Michael Rocco was the prolific passer of London’s tenure: 7.3 yards per attempt in 2011, 7.2 yards per attempt in 2012.

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