Cavalier Corner

February 2014

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Page 37 of 48

SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS UVa Football Is Focused On Improving In 2014 I BY BRAD FRANKLIN N COLLEGE FOOTBALL, THE ONLY thing that might save a team from a struggling quarterback is creating turnovers. But UVa proved this past season that getting takeaways doesn't matter if your offense can't do anything with them or hold onto the ball itself. And in many ways, that's how the Wahoos ended up going 2-10 in 2013. While the schedule featured 11 teams that would end up playing in a bowl game, it also featured a number of winnable contests. That the Cavaliers forced 21 takeaways but scored a grand total of only 13 points off of them is a big reason why they didn't win any of those games except for the season opener against BYU, and also why they finished the year on a nine-game losing streak. "That's probably been the story of the season," redshirt third-year running back Kevin Parks said after his team's season-ending 16-6 loss to Virginia Tech Nov. 30. "The defense makes plays, they come up with big stops, and we can't do anything with it." "We have to address the things that cause us to lose games," head coach Mike London added. "Players need to understand their position isn't guaranteed next year. Coaches need to look at systems and schemes. We need to hold our head up and look straight ahead and forward. "We need to make those corrections. … There i24-26.Football Overview.indd 1 are so many things to understand, and they start with eliminating those mistakes that cause us to lose and converting those turnovers into points. We have to get it right. We have to get it fixed." Redshirt second-year quarterback David Watford struggled mightily in his first full season as the team's starter. After falling 14-3 at Pitt in late September, London and his coaching staff made wholesale changes on that side of the ball. They inserted true first-years Keeon Johnson and Eric Smith into starting roles at wide receiver and right tackle, respectively. Former tackle Jay Whitmire, a redshirt second-year, was moved inside to guard and redshirt fourth-year left guard Luke Bowanko was moved back to center. Those changes on the offensive line seemed to work as the season went on — UVa produced a 1,000-yard running back (Parks, 1,031) for the first time since Alvin Pearman did it in 2004 — but overall Virginia averaged just 19.8 points per game (109th out of the 123 Football Bowl Subdivision programs). The Cavaliers scored 10 points or less in one-third of their games and finished below 20 in half of them. In some games, like the ones against Maryland and Virginia Tech, the offense struggled to finish drives and was forced to settle for attempted field goals. Against the Terps, those struggles close to the goal line cost the Wahoos a win, with Virginia falling 27-26 even though it reached the red zone on six occasions. Wide receiver drops and a lack of consistent playmakers outside of Parks at running back were a big part of the story this past season, even as UVa's 1/16/14 2:27 PM

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