Virginia was supposed to grow into a possible ACC superpower after
an unbelievable recruiting class a few years ago led by an NFL-ready
linebacking corps. While it's hard to get upset with 32 wins and
three bowl victories over the last four years, it wasn't exactly
what the die-hard fans were hoping for considering 12 Cavaliers were
drafted over the last two years with a 13th, linebacker Ahmad
Brooks, to go in a supplemental draft.
As good as Brooks, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Heath Miller, Kai Parham
and Darryl Blackstock were, the hope is for the coaching staff to be
able to reload in a hurry now that it has a track record of cranking
out pro prospects. If you fit what head coach Al Groh and his staff
want to do and you have next-level potential, the scouts will take
notice. However, the reload will likely have to wait until next
Head coach: Al Groh
6th year: 37-26
12th year overall: 63-66
Off. 16, Def. 13, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 17
Best Cavalier Players
1. CB Marcus Hamilton, Sr.
2. DE Chris Long, Jr.
3. WR Deyon Williams, Sr.
4. OG Branden Albert, Soph.
5. LB Clint Stintim, Soph.
6. TE Tom Santi, Jr.
7. TE Jonathan Stupar, Jr.
8. QB Christian Olsen, Sr.
9. LB Jermaine Dias, Jr.
10. OT Eugene Monroe, Soph.
at Georgia Tech
at East Carolina
at Florida State
at Virginia Tech
2005 Record: 7-5
Preview 2005 predicted wins
at Maryland L 45-33
at Boston Coll
Florida State W 26-21
at North Carolina
at Miami L 25-17
Music City Bowl
Minnesota W 34-31
While 13 starters and 32 lettermen
return, this might be a season where the program takes a step back to
take a giant leap forward. This is a young team with one senior on the
projected defensive two-deep and only one on the offensive line. The
skill players are veterans who should be able to generate more
production than last year, but the top talents are all young reserves
waiting for a chance to shine.
The offense will go back to being more of a pro-style attack with mobile
starting quarterback Marques Hagans being replaced by the pure passing
Christian Olsen. There will be short to midrange passes to the backs and
tight ends, and more work created for the running backs. The potential
is there for a more consistent offensive season if the offensive line
grows up in a hurry.
On defense, the early defections of Brooks and Parham along with
defensive end Vince Redd and safety Tony Franklin, who were booted off
the team, leaves a gaping hole when it comes to experience, but it might
turn out to be a plus character-wise. It's not like the Cavalier D
set the world on fire last year with those four finishing tenth in the
ACC in total defense, 11th in pass D, 10th in run D, and eight in
scoring D. This will definitely be a stepping-stone season for first
year defensive coordinator Mike London.
talking about expectations, and there aren't many this year. Once again,
Virginia has hardly been bad over the last few seasons, it has just been
slightly disappointing. Now we'll see what happens when the bar has been
The Cavs have a change for a tremendous start if they can beat Georgia
Tech in Atlanta and get by Pitt in the opener. With dates against
Wyoming, Western Michigan, at Duke and at East Carolina in the first six
games, 6-0 isn't out of the realm of possibility. In fact, they only
face one 2005-2006 bowl team (Georgia Tech) before the end of October.
Of course, the penance must be paid at some point. NC State is no
picnic, and the final three games have to be the toughest in America
playing at Florida State, Miami and at Virginia Tech.
Offensive Player: Senior WR Deyon Williams. Williams grew into a
dangerous target late last year and showed off the speed, skills, and
talent to become a decent NFL prospect. With more of an emphasis on the
passing game this year, the team's number one receiver should flourish.
Defensive Player: Senior CB Marcus Hamilton. While he's not the most
talented corner in the ACC, he's among the most productive. From tackles
to interceptions to broken up passes, Hamilton's 2005 stats can match
anyone's. However, this year, no one is going throw his way choosing to
test the other side.
to a successful season: Senior QB Christian Olsen. If/when Virginia
gets into the ACC title hunt under Groh, Olsen isn't going to be the
starting quarterback. However, he can help the team make a big step this
year by being a steady, consistent passer. While he's not going to have
to do all the things former starter Marques Hagans had to, the pressure
to produce will be on his shoulders.
will be a success if ... Virginia wins eight games. The 2005 Cavs won seven games
highlighted by a victory over Florida State and a Music City Bowl win
over Minnesota, but if this year's team can better last year's mark just
by beating the teams it'll be favored against, the excitement will be
through the roof for 2007.
Sept. 21 at Georgia Tech. Winning the ACC and Coastal Division
opener on the road would do wonders for the young team. With the road
trip to Duke to follow nine days later and the next three conference
games at home against Maryland, North Carolina and NC State, a 5-0 ACC
start is possible with an upset win in Atlanta.
Third down conversion: Opponents 78 of 178 (43.8%) -
Virginia 76 of 176 (43.2%)
- Sacks: Opponents 33 for 176 yards - Virginia 19 for 115 yards
- Penalties: Opponents 82 for 736 yards - Virginia 66 for 567 yards
The Last Time
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Music City Bowl vs. Minnesota)
…missed a bowl game…2001
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Maryland)
…was shutout…2001 (NC State)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Temple)
…won a conference title…1995 (share, ACC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (Alvin Pearman)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2001 (Billy McMullen)
…had a first-round draft choice…2006 (T D’Brickashaw Ferguson)