The Virginia Cavaliers 2013 College Football Preview
2012 Record: 4-8; ACC 2-6
Introduction: The Virginia Cavaliers finished the 2012 season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the ACC. The Cavaliers lost their identity in 2012. Virginia was a team that liked to establish the run and then turn to the passing game, however; the Cavaliers did not get the ball in the hands of their best players and failed to score more than 20 points in five ACC games last season. Head coach Mike London is 16-21 after three seasons with Virginia. London and his staff have accumulated a ton of talent over the past couple years, but it still seems like most of the players are one year away from reaching their true potential. Virginia has several sophomores and juniors that still may need a year to break through, so this may be another bowless season for the Cavaliers.
Offense: Sophomore QB David Watford will most likely start the season behind center for the Cavaliers after Phillip Sims and Michael Rocco left the team. However, Watford will be challenged by redshirt freshman QB Greyson Lambert who has shown great potential. The running game lost Perry Jones and Clifton Richardson, but junior Kevin Parks returns and will be counted to carry the load for Virginia. Parks should come close to reaching 1,000 yards this year as the Cavaliers get back to their run-first style offense. Virginia returns their entire receiving unit from a season ago. The group is still young, but senior WR Tim Smith should continue to hold down a starting role. Joining Smith in the starting lineup is junior WR Darius Jennings. The offensive line is a huge question mark heading into this season. Senior LT Morgan Moses will retain the same position this year, while redshirt freshman C Jackson Matteo will take over at center, moving senior G Luke Bowanko over to one of the guard spots. The offensive line is no extremely deep so if any of these guys get injured early on, the Cavaliers could be in trouble up front.
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Defense: When the season starts I wouldn’t be surprised if Virginia has only two seniors starting on defense. The rest of the defense is made up of sophomores and juniors, with a ton of talent and potential. The three seniors that will see playing time on defense, DE Jake Snyder, DT Brent Urban, and DT Justin Renfrow will need to produce at a high level while inexperienced new starters move into the rotation. Sophomore DE Eli Harold is a future star but is too inconsistent to count on at this point. Virginia’s linebacker unit is the weakest spot on the defense heading into the season. Junior LB Henry Coley and junior LB Daquan Romero will hold down two spots, while sophomore Demeitre Brim will join them in the starting group. The Cavaliers secondary will be led by a projected all-conference pick, junior CB Demetrious Nicholson. The other cornerback position will be taken by Drequan Hoskey, with Maurice Canady rotating in at times. Juniors Anthony Harris and Brandon Phelps return at strong and free safety.
Special Teams: Virginia has a terrible kicking game, though sophomore K Ian Frye should improve in a full-time role this season. The coverage units were horrible last season, so the Cavaliers hope they have solved the issue during the offseason. The return game was almost nonexistent in 2012, so Virginia would like to become more explosive this season.
Final Analysis: Virginia has plenty of talent at quarterback, running back, receiver, and all throughout the defense. Unfortunately, most of the talent has not been successfully developed yet and it may take another season to reach their potential. As for this year, the inexperience at quarterback and on the offensive line may result in another frustrating offensive unit. I think Virginia will start off slow and will gain some momentum as the season grows older, but they may not see the postseason again.