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Virginia Football Preview, Part One: Offense to Rely Heavily on Running Game

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Virginia Football Preview, Part One: Offense to Rely Heavily on Running Game

Well, we're back for another year of Cavalier Football, and I'm here to offer insight into the team's performance for the '08 season.

Offense

Despite most people's beliefs, Pete Lalich will start at QB.  It may not be in the first game, simply because Al Groh is not the smartest coach on the planet, but he'll be on the field against USC and start from then on.  He's got good potential and passes well when he gets protection.

Scott Deke has been on the team for four years now and hasn't played more than about five minutes.  He is not fit for the job.  Lalich will play, and he will eventually find success.

Now to the running game.  UVa returns two big-time running backs in Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson.  The running game should be either second or first in the ACC in the coming year, with Clemson its only competition for the top spot.

Peerman is a tough running back who pounds it up the middle, while Simpson uses his speed to gain big yardage.  Cedric led the ACC last year in total yards until his injury in the Middle Tennessee State game, averaging 5.2 yards per carry with 585 yards total.  Mikell managed to rack up 570 yards rushing and 402 yards receiving in the last six games of the season, proving that he knows what he's doing.

UVa fans should expect to see a plethora of good things out of the backfield this year.  Look for Keith Payne to be a big player as well.

Offensive line play at UVa was pretty good last year, leading to success in the backfield.  The OL does have a bit of a challenge though, having to replace all three interior linemen (Albert, Lipsey, and Cunningham).  Though they will field three new linemen in the middle, Peerman should find success in his ability to pound it up the middle and run people over.

UVa returns its two big tackles in Will Barker and Eugene Monroe (possible All-American), who will be complementary to Simpson's off-tackle running style and should lead to great success for Mikell.

Pass blocking last year was a minimal issue due to Jameel Sewell's ability to move outside of the pocket while still making good passes.  Training for the OL should focus on pass blocking with a pocket passer like Lalich lining up behind center.  Overall the OL should be good this year, providing for many running yards and decent QB play.

The Cavaliers' offense looks to consist of many handoffs, with enough pass plays thrown in to keep it slightly balanced.  Lalich will find success throwing to WR Kevin Ogletree, along with several other experienced wideouts.  The Hoos should rack up enough points on the ground to keep the score close in questionable matchups.

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