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Virginia's Jake Snyder talks up his fellow defensive linemen at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday.
Virginia's Morgan Moses spins a take about a beach rescue of North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner during the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. - If Jake Snyder were big on pronouncements, he wouldn't have waited till Sunday to open a Twitter account.
Actually, it was Vince Briedis of the Virginia media relations staff who opened the account for Snyder, a fifth-year defensive end who "had to give in eventually," he said.
Judging by the regularity with which college athletes tweet, he had to be one of the last holdouts.
"It felt good for a while," Snyder said Sunday at the ACC Football Kickoff. "I had a good run. All the guys I live with have one. I think it was time.
"I just never knew why I would need one. I'm not a guy who spends a lot of time on the phone. I'm more of an in-the-moment, in-person kind of guy."
Not that he doesn't have anything to say. Snyder came alive Sunday at the Grandover Resort, where he was asked about the Cavaliers defensive line.
"I tell the D-line every day when we have drills, ‘This is going to be the strength of the defense, this is going to be the strength of the team,'" said Snyder, a 6-foot-4, 270-pounder from the Richmond suburbs. "That's how we've got to play."
One reason for optimism is Snyder's fellow fifth-year senior, Brent Urban (6-7, 295). Urban started all 12 games last season and had a fumble return for a touchdown against Virginia Tech, but his most impressive performance was a 3 ½-sack afternoon in the Cavaliers' spring game.
How does anybody know if Urban is for real?
"I would tell those people to watch Game 1 [against Brigham Young] and find out for themselves," Snyder said. "They're going to see big things because he's a heckuva player, a heckuva athlete. His improvement has been monumental, especially last season and going into the spring.
"He established himself as a dominant player. I'm not sure there's an offensive lineman in the ACC who can block him or block him consistently. He's shown glimpses of this his whole career. It was a matter of understanding the concepts and playing time also figured into it."
Urban was a defensive end for most of his career and ends aren't usually wild about moving inside to tackle.
"Definitely not," Sndyer said, "but I think it was in his best interests to be at that position."
Snyder, Urban and then-senior Will Hill started every game last year. Redshirt sophomore David Dean (6-1, 290) is the early favorite to start at Hill's spot next to Snyder.
"Dean showed a heckuva lot of improvement," Snyder said. "He's one of the hardest workers on the team - day in and day out, in the weight room and on the field, wherever it is. I've really enjoyed seeing the passion he brings every day. He's quick, he's athletic, he's strong."
Then there's Eli Harold, who started one game as true freshman after being named the top prospect in Virginia following the 2011 season.
"You want to talk about Eli?" Snyder said. "I'll talk about Eli all day. The growth he's made over the past year, in terms of maturity and on-the-field play, has been unbelievable.
"He was definitely undersized and that definitely worked against him because he didn't know the schemes that well. Now that he's more familiar with the scheme, that will make up for some of the size."
Harold received his indoctrination last year when he went up against 6-6, 335-pound offensive tackle Morgan Moses in practice.
"The guy is surprisingly strong for as [slender] as he is," said Moses, the Cavaliers' other representative Sunday. "He's been working his butt off. I can't wait to see what he's like this year."
Moses parts sea
Moses regaled the media with tales of an all-star game in Hawaii when he was in high school. While some of the other players tried to surf, Moses was hanging out closer to shore when North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner separated a shoulder.
Moses then picked up Renner and carried him to dry land, a version that was corroborated by both players Sunday. The only issue was whether Renner ever thanked Moses.
"Sure I did," Renner said. "I called him the next week. Tried to get him to come down to North Carolina for a visit but he ended up committing to Virginia one week later."
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