Cavalier Corner

June 2012

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Page 21 of 31

TAKING THE SHOW ON THE ROAD a program that had lost ground in its own home state. In the early 1990s, it seemed like everyone from Danville to Fairfax and Virginia Beach to Bristol was When Mike London took over the Virginia football team two years ago, he knew he was stepping into a Wahoo fan and the Cavaliers could generally land the in-state recruits they wanted. That changed as Virginia fell on some harder times and rival Virginia Tech's program surged forward and eventually joined the ACC. For London, regaining ground in the battle for the commonwealth's hearts and minds was a priority, so he took his team on the road. The past two years, Virginia has held spring practices off campus, trav- eling to the Hampton Roads area and Northern Virginia. It was a way to reach out to fans and recruits that don't live in the Charlottesville area. This spring, London added Richmond to the mix, taking his team to Sports Backers Stadium near the city's downtown where they worked out in front of 1,500 fans. Richmond fans got a bit of a treat as a hometown kid, Collegiate School alum Jake McGee, shined in the practice with several impressive catches. Later that month, the rising second-year tight end would be one of the stars of the Blue-Orange Spring Game at Scott Stadium. It was also a good time for Virginia's recruiting efforts., a network of websites that cover recruiting, hosted a scouting combine across town for many of the mid-Atlantic area's top high school prospects. Dozens of those players made their way to Sports Backers Stadium after the Rivals camp to take in the Cavaliers' practice. London told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that if recruits get a look at practice, it helps sell the program. "You can see games, but you don't see the ways these guys are being taught, Vozenilek competed for the kicking duties all spring long. After the practice, the players and coaches were popular targets for autograph seekers. Now that London has taken the Cavaliers to the talent-rich areas of Richmond, Hampton Roads and The fans in Richmond got to see quite a bit of special teams work as Drew Jarrett, Ian Frye and Alec " he said. the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., he's hinted that other sites might be in the Cavaliers' future, meaning practices in locations such as Roanoke and Lynchburg might be next on the list while UVa continues to try to reclaim dominance in its home state. "It's been successful for us, we've gone into, and we'll continue to do that." 22 ◆ CAVALIER CORNER " London said. "We've gotten a lot of good, positive feedback from the areas — Shane Mettlen The past two years, Virginia has held some spring practices off campus in an effort to reach out to fans and recruits that don't live in the Charlottesville area. PHOTO BY JIM DAVES/COURTESY UVA LaRoy Reynolds was named a team cap- tain and looked every bit the part during the spring. During the spring game, he led all players with eight tackles and also broke up a pass. He and fellow fourth-year and captain Will Hill, a defensive tackle who was the defense's most improved player in the spring, add veteran leadership to a group that will rely on young players in some key roles. That includes rising second-year corner- back Demetrious Nicholson, who had an up-and-down first year starting opposite Minnifield. This year, with fellow second- year Drequan Hoskey listed as the other starter at corner, Nicholson, who had seven tackles in the spring game, will be called upon to serve as the shutdown cover man against offenses that will almost surely air the ball out to test the inexperienced defen- sive backfield. "We have a very young secondary," Cavs defensive coordinator Jim Reid told reporters after the spring game. "There's talent there. We will continue to show them film, and you can show all you want of 2011. But until they do it themselves, that's what's important." And now they will work through the sum- mer and fall to be ready to help the Cava- liers continue their resurgence. ◆

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