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Winter weather gave UVa an opportunity to show off the new $13-million George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility.
Jim Daves | UVa
The UVa football team works out Monday inside the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility. “It beats awesome,” said UVa coach Mike London.
Jim Daves | UVa
UVa practices indoors as temperatures hovered in the low-to-mid 30s outdoors on Monday.
Monday, March 18, 2013
If Virginia was looking for the perfect occasion to show off its new $13-million George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility, the weatherman provided one Monday.
While workers were clearing snow and ice from their outdoor practice field, the Cavaliers went indoors for their first practice of the spring.
In the past, UVa head coach Mike London said, the Cavaliers would have practiced outside in conditions that included temperatures in the low- to mid-30s.
“It was kind ironic that this was the first day of practice and that we were able to come inside and have a full day of practice, a very spirited practice, and enjoy this facility,” he said.
“Sometimes, you have to play in conditions like that. But, for the first day of practice, putting in all new systems, you want that focus and attention to what’s going on.”
Virginia goes into the spring with a new offensive coordinator (Steve Fairchild), a new defensive coordinator (Jon Tenuta) and a new special-teams coordinator (Larry Lewis).
“It was a big blessing that we had a chance to get in here and all the guys had a chance to coach and weather wasn’t an issue,” London continued.
UVa’s indoor facility was in the news this past fall when the roof caught fire Oct. 8, but that did not result in a major hold up . Completion of the project originally was slated for August.
“It was painful,” wise-cracking UVa center Luke Bowanko said of Monday’s practice. “Coach [Scott Wachenheim] let us go outside a little bit and move around in the snow.
“You know us big guys. It’s too warm in here; [we’re] sweating too much. If I’d stayed outside all day, I wouldn’t have had to shower.”
Reporters, presented with an organizational chart several weeks earlier, were quick to pounce on depth charts handed out Monday that included sophomore David Watford atop a list of four names at quarterback.
Watford played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2011 before sitting out the 2012 season as a redshirt. Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims, a transfer from Alabama, each started games last season.
Rocco subsequently transferred to the University of Richmond, leaving many to assume that Sims would inherit the starting role for 2013. However, Sims was listed third on the depth chart behind Watford and redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert.
London cautioned reporters not to put too much stock in the depth chart. At left guard, 2012 starter Conner Davis is listed third behind junior Cody Wallace and redshirt freshman Ryan Doull, but that’s because Davis had offseason surgery.
“Everybody was taking reps with the first offense,” London said. “Guys are starting in spots right now [where] that’s definitely not the way it’s going to end.
“The quarterback position is no different than the DBs or the running backs. We haven’t given anybody anything.”
Actually, donors have given the program a facility that’s 100 yards long, with a ceiling high enough to accommodate the most soaring punts, nets with the images of goalposts, elevated observation areas and climate controls.
“It beats awesome,” London said. “One of the builders said it’s as good as there is in the country right now.”
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