Colandrea helped build offensive chemistry with trip to Florida

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia’s offense did some team building during spring break compliments of sophomore quarterback Anthony Colandrea, who spearheaded a trip to Florida for extra football work, fun and team bonding.

Colandrea, who is from St. Petersburg, found a 15-bedroom house in his hometown so that each player could have their own room for the trip. The group got up each morning and drove to nearby Tampa to workout at an indoor facility, “Yo Murphy Performance,” from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Then, the Cavaliers would return to St. Pete for some fun and bonding.

Making the trip with Colandrea were transfer wide receivers Chris Tyree and Andre Green Jr., along with Malachi Fields, Suderian Harrison, Trell Harris, Jaden Gibson, Claiborne Richards, Dillon Tennyson, running backs Kobe Pace and Noah Vaughn along with tight end Sage Ennis.

“It was an awesome trip,” Colandrea said on Monday about what he and some teammates did during the week off given to the team by Tony Elliott during spring break. “You always seem to have guys like C.J. Stroud, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, who always bring their guys to their state and they go work out, build chemistry. The best football teams are always the closest teams, right?

“So I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to bring 13 guys down to Florida, we’re all going to stay in the same house, we’re all going to be working out every single day and just build a really good chemistry, a really good bond with everyone.’”

Colandrea said that after the trip, every skilled-position player who made it is really tight, communicating well and playing well together.

Virginia fans will get an opportunity to see the Cavaliers in the annual Spring Game this Saturday afternoon (2 p.m.) at Scott Stadium (see related story for details, entertainment, TV, etc.).

“When we were in Florida, we were always together, through everything,” Colandrea said.

Harrison was the chief cook, grilling burgers and steaks, and apparently did a quality job. Colandrea said that Greene tried to grill one night, “and it wasn’t that good.”

While each player had their own room, it wasn’t unusual for all of them to hang out together in the living room.

“Like, we fell asleep one night in the living room, all 13 guys,” Colandrea chuckled. “So that’s what I was saying about building a bond and always being together.”

Harrison, the cook, agreed.

“It was a mini-vacation, but we also put in the work,” Harrison said. “We bonded and that was the biggest thing, being able to bond together. It was a really good experience.”

Colandrea will be battling Tony Muskett once again for the starting quarterback job. Muskett wasn’t originally going to be available for spring drills, coming off an offseason shoulder surgery that sidelined him during last season. However, Muskett put in the work, and “a lot of prayers” allowed him to mend quicker than expected.

The two have been getting equal reps all spring long, with an emphasis on both developing their overall games.

Last season, Colandrea was forced to burn his redshirt when Muskett went down. The true freshman responded by obliterating UVA’s freshman single-season passing record, throwing for 244.8 yards per game to go along with 13 touchdowns. However, his 9 interceptions — some at critical points in games — were glaring errors that took away some of the glimmer of his otherwise surprising numbers.

Quarterbacks coach Taylor Lamb said Monday that Virginia won’t likely name a starter at the end of spring, but will allow the competition to play out in August training camp. Still, he has been impressed with Colandrea’s eagerness to learn.

“Yeah, he was the trip coordinator,” Lamb said. “They got a week off and they want to hang out together, not only hang out, they wanted to get some work in together. So that was positive, kind of taking that role. It’s really good when you have multiple leaders in the quarterback room.”