U.Va.’s Lindell Stone preps for possible start at QB as Brennan Armstrong deals with a concussion
Coming up with silver linings after failing once again to get off to a fast start Saturday and losing 38-21 at home to North Carolina State might have seemed like a chore for Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall, but quarterback Lindell Stone’s play fit the bill.
Stone could be Virginia’s starter under center Saturday at Wake Forest if Brennan Armstrong isn’t ready after being put in concussion protocol. Mendenhall confirmed Monday that Armstrong is dealing with a concussion after a targeting penalty against N.C. State safety Tanner Ingle late in the second quarter, but Mendenhall feels good about what he saw from Stone in relief.
Going 30-of-54 passing for 240 yards, three touchdowns and an interception was a remarkable performance for Stone, considering his limited preparation as a scout-team member leading up to the game. Before Saturday, he’d played in three games for U.Va. (1-2, 1-2 ACC) in his previous three seasons.
“Lindell did not have many practice reps at all with our offense,” Mendenhall said. “He was really working with our defense and helping us in that regard, and just that he came in and was effective and moved the football team, I was encouraged by that.”
Standing on the sideline with a list of plays he was helping signal into the game when Armstrong was hurt, Stone didn’t have an opportunity to warm up before entering. Mendenhall lauded the mental preparation of Stone, a 6-foot, 240-pound junior from Dallas who is married, declaring Stone “knows the offense as good or better than any of us.”
“I mean, there really wasn’t a whole lot of time to think,” Stone said after the N.C. State game. “You just kind of grab your helmet. I think I gave my script to (quarterbacks) coach (Jason) Beck and just ran onto the field. Not a whole lot to think about. Just got to go out and do your job.”
Mendenhall said Armstrong’s status is day-to-day while he works through the concussion. If Armstrong can’t play at Wake Forest (1-2, 0-2), Mendenhall said Stone would be Virginia’s starting quarterback.
Falling behind 24-0 against N.C. State, Mendenhall has grown weary of his team’s penchant for starting slowly. He mentioned how U.Va. has been outscored 34-0 in the first quarter — a fact he discussed with his team Monday morning.
“That’s atypical for teams that I’ve coached, but we’re winning the second and fourth quarter,” Mendenhall said. “What’s happening, for whatever reason … is we’re playing with more urgency and more focus once we’re behind. It can’t take us to be behind to play with that urgency and focus.”
Norm Wood, 757-247-4644, email@example.com
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