Cavalier Corner

June 2017

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JUNE 2017 ◆ 21 in a variety of ways. And Hagans believes that, plus the versatility of the wide receiving corps, will be big for the Cavaliers. "Being able to move Olamide around and create mismatches, it just gives us a range of variety in terms of what we can do in the passing game," Hagans said. "I think his ability to do so much gives us an oppor- tunity to have different variables that will hopefully make us tough to defend and give us the best chance to be successful. "I think that a lot of it just depends on how much O can be successful with," he added. "You don't want to overload him with too much and put it on him like he has to be responsible for everything in the of- fense. When you think about [Taquan Miz- zell], a lot of what he did came from the backfield in addition to playing receiver. "With O, it's receiver with some options to do some things from the backfield. That means the approach will be a little different, but we would love to get him involved as much as possible." "I have to be able to hold my end," Zac- cheaus noted. "I have to be able to do my part. I have to be able to bring my team- mates along and make my team better. "That's really how I feel about all that. It's just up to me do my part." As the summer and fall approach, don't expect to hear Zaccheaus focusing too much on his statistical goals for the upcoming season. In fact, he doesn't plan to do that ever again. "I think one of the things I made a mis- take in doing last year was putting numbers on it," he said. "I think that's the way I looked at things last year and that was part of the problem. Statistics don't matter to me anymore. I'm not trying to achieve anything that way. "I want to take each game, play each play as hard as I can, and if I do that then I know the rest will work itself out." ◆ Every year, spring practice allows for a host of ques- tions to be answered and that was certainly the case for head coach Bronco Mendenhall and his team. UVA is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2-10 season, so Mendenhall made some changes during his second spring in Charlottesville. Not only did UVA do more hitting, but everything was geared specifically to true football, playing as much 11-on-11 as possible. Mendenhall hopes that, coupled with the physical maturity his team achieved during offseason work - outs, will allow for Virginia to put a tougher squad out on the field this fall. Here are four important developments for the Cava - liers this spring: 1. Kurt Benkert is healthier than ever and taking almost all of the reps. After passing for 2,552 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2016, the fourth-year quarterback figures to have a vastly improved season this fall. He's lost roughly 15 pounds, he's shed the knee brace that came with him from ECU, and his non-throwing shoulder is all healed. In short, after taking nearly every rep this spring, he's the clear-cut and improved starter for the Cava - liers going into fall camp. 2. The quest to replace Taquan Mizzell is well underway. It's hard to quantify just how impactful Mizzell was for UVA, because he sits as the only player in ACC his - tory with 1,500 career rushing yards and 1,500 career receiving yards. Replacing his 1,376 all-purpose yards in 2016 will be tough, but this spring both redshirt fourth-year Daniel Hamm and fourth-year Jordan Ellis each looked poised to contribute at in the Cavaliers' backfield. With third-year Oladmide Zaccheaus back at wide receiver, the Wahoos are well on their way to getting by committee what Mizzell did year in and year out. 3. The emergence of wide receiver Joe Reed. Though he caught a modest four passes for 77 yards as a rookie, the second- year wide receiver made huge contributions in the kick return game last year, amassing 678 yards on 27 attempts, which was good enough for 25th nationally and third best in the league. After this spring, though, it's clear that UVA's coaching staff has big plans for the Charlotte Court House native. At 6-3, 210 pounds, Reed is physical enough to catch in traffic, but he's got the speed to make plays on the edge. He and Zac - cheaus seem ready to make a formidable tandem. 4. The defense welcomed back both Tim Harris and Malcolm Cook. When Harris injured his shoulder in the preseason, it was the second devastating injury to hit UVA's defense after Cook was diagnosed with a heart condition. After missing the 2016 season, the Richmond natives were back and in action this spring. Harris was somewhat limited in terms of contact, but he was as quick and as physical as ever at cornerback. Cook, meanwhile, took some time to settle back in after not playing or really working out for so long. He's expected to be a major contributor for the Cavaliers this season at linebacker. — Brad Franklin BRONCO MENDENHALL WORKS ON TOUGHENING UP HIS TEAM DURING THE SPRING Second-year wide receiver Joe Reed, who caught a modest four passes for 77 yards as a rookie in 2016, had a strong spring. PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA

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