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Virginia will design more rushing play for its quarterback in order to keep opposing defenses honest.
Virginia quarterback David Watford (5) throws the ball under pressure from Oregon linebacker Rodney Hardrick (48) at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
JEANNA DUERSCHERL | The Roanoke Times 10/02/10 University of Virginia player LaRoy Reynolds tries to get the ball away from Florida State's quarterback Christian Ponder during the first quarter of their game.
Monday, September 16, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE - David Watford's 18 rushing attempts in Virginia's first two games haven't exactly qualified him as a running "threat."
Few of those carries came on designed runs, a situation that could change Saturday, when the Cavaliers (1-1) entertain VMI (1-2) at 3:30 p.m. at Scott Stadium.
"One of things we've addressed is having David run the ball, so teams have to defend the field vertically [and] horizontally and know where he is at all times," said UVa coach Mike London at his weekly Monday news conference.
"There are some things we can do to allow him to do that. The other thing is to go vertically down the field. We spent a lot of time [in practice] getting those receivers downfield and throwing the ball to them.
"If we can do that [and] you have a quarterback that can run, then you have opportunities and I think those are the kind of things we're looking to create."
Virginia had an open date this past Saturday following back-to-back home games with Brigham Young and Oregon. After slipping past Brigham Young, 19-16, the Cavaliers were clobbered by No. 2 Oregon 59-10.
"I think David is a guy that can run the ball and, coming off these two games against two good teams, he's got to have that type of impact for defensive coordinators while they're gameplanning," London said.
Watford, intercepted three times by the Ducks, blamed himself for the Cavaliers' offensive woes.
"He's saying he's got to be accountable," said London, who implied last week that Watford may have been unusually harsh on himself.
"The message is being sent that, ‘I'm going to take the blame; I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus. I'm responsible. I'm the quarterback. I handle the ball.'
"That's the kind of leader he is. That's what the players see and they've got to step up their game as well."
Virginia has used three true freshman in the first two weeks - running back Taquan Mizzell, fullback Connor Wingo-Reeves and cornerback Tim Harris. According to London's original plan, defensive tackle Donte Wilkins and outside linebacker Zack Bradshaw also would have played by now.
Presumably, all five will play against the Keydets, but then it becomes "tricky," as London put it Monday. Two true freshmen offensive tackles, Sadiq Olanrewaju and Eric Smith, also are listed on the two-deep.
Whether the Cavaliers use Olanrewaju or Smith could hinge on the development of a trio of redshirt freshmen who are listed as guards - Michael Mooney, Sean Karl and Ryan Doull.
"If they don't play now, I don't know when they'll play," said London, speaking in general of anybody he hasn't used to date. "This will be critical. Come game time or coming out of that game, we'll have to make some big decisions on how we proceed."
London confirmed that he is taking a look at 6-2, 250-pound sophomore Kwontie Moore at defensive tackle. Moore, one of the highest-rated recruits in Virginia's 2012 class, originally was projected as a linebacker.
"We're trying to find ways to get guys in the game," said London, who still lists Moore as the back-up to junior Henry Coley at middle linebacker.
"Kwontie is a big, strong, powerful guy who's going through a transition here to see if he can put his hands on the ground and just go vertical.
"His ability to do that will help us defensively. He knows the defense. Obviously, we'd like go get him more reps and more responsibilities, particularly in this game."
By the numbers
Virginia is tied for 119th out of 123 FBS teams in turnover margin (minus-2.5 per game). The Cavaliers have intercepted one pass in five games going back to last season, when they were 114th nationally in turnover margin.
Place to be
Linebacker LaRoy Reynolds is the second former Virginia player in as many seasons to make the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster as an undrafted free agent. Ex-UVa offensive lineman Austin Pasztor, 22, is still with the Jags after starting three games in 2012.
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