Metheny Ready for South Alabama
By Matthew Osborne
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin. Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page
Former Virginia quarterback Ross Metheny, who is transferring to South Alabama, has two years of college eligibility remaining.
One of the great aspects of spring football is that each team, regardless of how they may have fared the preceding year, is afforded the opportunity to start over and make any alterations or changes they see fit.
While the focus during spring practice typically revolves around how the team is adjusting to new personnel or a tweak in the scheme, it also provides players with a golden chance to make changes.
For former Virginia quarterback Ross Metheny, that alteration will not come by means of his workout routine or throwing motion, but rather by a change of scenery.
Rated by Rivals.com as a three-star recruit coming out of high school, Metheny came to Charlottesville with an understanding that he would compete for the starting position following the departure of starter Mark Verica after his redshirt freshman season.
A notoriously hard worker, Metheny spent the better part of his first two years on campus working tirelessly towards his goal of becoming the starting signal caller for the start of his redshirt sophomore season. He entered last year’s spring practice as one of three Cavalier quarterbacks vying for the vacant quarterback position, along with Michael Rocco and David Watford.
Despite his remarkable work ethic and leadership qualities, and solid performances in team scrimmages, Metheny ultimately was beaten out for the starting job by fellow sophomore Michael Rocco.
News of his relegation to a backup role was very difficult for Metheny to digest.
“I think I took a pretty active leadership role with the team this past spring and over the summer. I really think I put myself in a position to be successful, and then the season came around and I didn’t end up winning the job,” Metheny said. “I felt like I had put enough work in and enough time in, and you do everything that you are asked to do for two and a half years for a program and you have been considered a leader and have been productive in the time that you have been in football games. To not even be in a meaningful backup role, it was a frustrating year personally for me.”
While Metheny was personally frustrated about watching the games from the sidelines, he never let his inner-frustrations affect his attitude or his relationships with his teammates.
“Even with last season being a frustrating year personally, I didn’t want to take away from the team accomplishments and I wanted to be a good teammate,” Metheny recalled. “The guys on the team were my best friends, so I tried to control what I could control and handle the season that way.”
It was in the latter stages of last season when Metheny began to realize that it may be in the best interest of his football career to pursue playing for a different program.
Although he ultimately came to the conclusion that he needed to leave Virginia to pursue a different path, Metheny never harbored any feelings of malice towards his former coaches and teammates. In fact, Metheny still considered himself a part of the Cavalier community despite his intentions to transfer. It was because of those strong feelings towards the University of Virginia that Metheny decided to stick around long enough to earn his undergraduate degree from the institution.
“I gave my heart and soul to the Virginia program and I love Virginia with all of my heart. I’m always going to be a Cavalier,” said Metheny, expressing his feelings for the school from which he will soon depart. “The coaches understood my decision and they want to see me succeed, so there were never any hard feelings. Virginia was the school that I decided to go to out of high school, and it was for more than just athletic reasons. It was important for me to finish what I started, and one of my goals was to graduate from the University of Virginia and I wanted to see that through.”
So although Metheny had announced his intentions to play out his last two years of eligibility at another school, he remained on campus at Virginia to put the finishing touches on one phase of his life before embarking on another chapter. Metheny’s outstanding relationship with his former coaches and teammates did end up paying dividends, however, as he was allowed to continue using the football facilities and working out with the Cavalier’s strength and conditioning coach for the remainder of the semester.
Once Metheny was steadfast in his decision to transfer, he set out to find a new school as quickly as possible. He sent out letters to numerous FCS programs in the Virginia area, as well as began communicating with coaching staffs around the country.
In the end, Metheny settled on South Alabama as the school at which he would continue his playing career.
“South Alabama stayed with me the whole time. I sent out a contact letter at the end of January, and they were the one team that stayed in contact with me. I think that was huge for me. Not only that, but there is so much excitement down there about South Alabama football,” Metheny remarked on the new South Alabama program. “With them being a program on the rise and entering their first year of FBS football, you can feel the excitement.”
With his decision to stay at Virginia until the end of the current school year, Metheny was obviously not able to take part in South Alabama’s spring practice. In order to combat that problem, however, the South Alabama coaches sent him a hard drive containing the installation tape of their offense. Metheny was then able to learn and install bits and pieces of South Alabama’s offense, using some of Virginia’s graduating receivers to help him practice those concepts on the practice field.
As Metheny continues to get more comfortable with his new offense, there is an increasing chance that he will be able to make an immediate impact for his new program.
South Alabama, which is making the move to the Sun Belt this season, struggled mightily throwing the football a year ago. 2011 starter, C.J. Bennett, threw 17 interceptions and just seven touchdowns last season.
As one of the worst passing teams in the FCS last year, the South Alabama coaching staff has made it clear to Metheny that he will be given every opportunity to come in and win the quarterback job.
“They harp on competing, and everybody knows that competition brings out the best in everybody. I just want to go down there and work hard and compete, and control what I can control. I just want to try to get better everyday and just compete as hard as I can.”