Things have changed in a hurry for the Virginia junior, who ranks seventh nationally in passing efficiency (164.3), fifth in completion percentage (68.8) and tied for second in touchdown passes (12).
"He is in a nice groove right now," UVa coach Al Groh said.
Schaub didn't start the season that way. He was erratic in the opener against Colorado State, throwing an ugly interception late in the game and watching redshirt freshman Marques Hagans lead the final drive.
Hagans started the next week at Florida State. Schaub, who expected to start all season, says he wasn't upset with the coaches.
"I was angry at myself," he said. "I knew I could have played much better."
Ever since then, he has. Schaub came off the bench to throw for three touchdowns against the Seminoles. He threw three more against South Carolina, then set a career high with five TD tosses last Saturday against Akron.
In his last five halves of play, Schaub has completed 71.5 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. The success hasn't come as a surprise, he says, because he never doubted his ability.
"It's how I envisioned I could play," he said.
With two straight victories, Schaub also has improved his record as a starter to 3-6.
"That's the most important statistic for a quarterback - whether he wins the games or not," he said. "I've concentrated on getting the wins, bearing down and doing whatever I have to do."
Asked if Schaub has turned the corner in his career, Groh smiled. "I've been doing this since 1968 and I don't feel like I've turned the corner yet," he said. "So I wouldn't say my quarterback after two and a half games has turned the corner."
Still, Groh said, "He's a more experienced, more mature player. He's been through game preparation, making decisions, all the issues that go with being the quarterback. I think he's in a nice rhythm."
Triple threat. Through Hagans has not started since the FSU game, he has made himself useful in several ways.
Hagans played three different positions against Akron: quarterback, tailback and punt returner. During one second-quarter drive, he lined up at quarterback and converted a third down with a 2-yard run. As a tailback, he also ran four yards to the Akron 1, setting up Schaub's touchdown pass to fullback Jason Snelling.
Though he did not throw a pass, Hagans ran three times for five yards and returned two punts for 16 yards. He also made an interception on Akron's fake punt in the first quarter,
"I think we'll continue to see him in a variety of roles, including quarterback," Groh said.
Nice boots. Freshman punter Tom Hagan had his best game against the Zips. He averaged 44 yards on three punts, including a pair of 47-yarders with good hang time. Akron's longest punt return was three yards.
"I hope that's what I have to look forward to on a consistent basis," Groh said. "He's demonstrated he has those [kicks] in his leg."
Hagan is averaging 37.8 yards per punt, fifth in the ACC.
In a drought. Because of the city's restrictions, UVa has not been allowed to water its practice fields since last Tuesday. Groh said the grass is dying but the team will not move to the artificial turf practice field.
"We'll just practice on dirt earlier than usual," he said.
Extra points. UVa's game at Duke on Oct. 5 will begin at noon and will be televised by the Jefferson Pilot/ACC network. … There might be plenty of points in Saturday's game. Virginia ranks 101st nationally in total defense, while Wake Forest is 92nd. Both are allowing more than 400 yards per game. … No UVa player earned ACC honors Monday. The winners were Georgia Tech tailback Tony Hollings (offensive back), Wake Forest guard Blake Henry (offensive lineman), N.C. State defensive end Shawn Price (defensive line), Georgia Tech safety Jeremy Muyres (defensive back), Florida State return man Leon Washington (specialist) and N.C. State tailback T.A. McLendon (rookie).