Following the conclusion of Thursday’s practice, Coach Bronco Mendenhall named sophomore Brennan Armstrong as the starting quarterback for Virginia football. The Shelby, Ohio native competed with junior transfer Keytaon Thompson for the starting job throughout the duration of fall camp. Armstrong’s experience with the offense likely helped him edge the newcomer Thompson, who only had two months to become acquainted with the Virginia offense.
Armstrong appeared in 11 total games over the past two seasons for Virginia, racking up 258 yards passing and 93 yards rushing in relief of former quarterback Bryce Perkins. While Armstrong may not have the speed and elusiveness of Perkins, he brings a tough-nosed mentality to the position, unafraid to run through contact.
Earlier in the year, Mendenhall likened Armstrong to Taysom Hill — current New Orleans Saints quarterback and utility player whom Mendenhall coached at BYU. Hill is a Swiss army knife for the Saints, having posted over 350 rushing yards, 230 receiving yards and 110 passing yards in his three-year NFL career.
While Armstrong may not catch passes as often as Hill, he will certainly fit within a Virginia rushing scheme that heralds big running backs that can run through contact, such as starting running back junior Wayne Taulapapa. Given the similarities between Armstrong and Taulapapa in the running game, the Cavaliers could use this opportunity to implement the option more heavily to confuse opposing defenses.
On the passing side of the ball, Armstrong has proven to be an accurate passer, completing 75 percent of his passes. However, many of these passing attempts came against lesser opponents in blow-out Virginia victories, so it remains to be seen if he can maintain this efficiency during a brutal 10-game ACC schedule.
Armstrong and the Cavaliers take the field for their first game against in-state foe Virginia Tech Sept. 19 in Blacksburg, Va.