April 21, 2003
Spring 2003 OverviewThe PooP
It's a tribute to Al Groh and his staff, who have been on the job in Charlottesville for only two-plus years, that Virginia will be mentioned among the top four ACC teams in 2003 rather than the bottom four. Not only have the Cavaliers dramatically elevated their recruiting under the new regime, but they kept the program's two-decades-long consistency going last season (9-5, 6-2 ACC) despite significant depth and experience concerns. The Wahoos even won some when they were out-gained and some when they had less talent. That's a tribute to good coaching and big-hearted, hard-working kids.
Probable 2003 Starters
* returning starter
+ injured/missed spring drills
Coming On Strong
The defense was pushed around up front quite a bit last season, but it won't be so easy this time. The front three are a year older, stronger and wiser, the four-across linebacker corps will go eight-deep with reliable players, and both units will welcome top-notch young talent. Rock-solid returning starters: LB Darryl Blackstock, RG Elton Brown, DE Chris Canty, CB Almondo Curry, LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, RB Wali Lundy, TE Heath Miller, QB Matt Schaub. Also looking good: LB Ahmad Brooks, FS Jay Dorsey, TE Patrick Estes, RB Michael Johnson, LB Kai Parham, FB Jason Snelling.
Cause For Concern?
Everyone who watched the Wahoos last fall realized that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who recently jumped to the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, did an unbelievable job of getting yards and points out of a unit that rarely dominated foes physically. Whether the offense maintains similar levels of preparation, creativity and execution under elevated line coach Ron Prince remains to be seen. Also: backup QB, new safeties, kicker, depth at receiver and on the line.
On The Sidelines
The following players missed all or most of spring drills: OC Kevin Bailey (knee/no contact), LG Brian Barthelmes (vascularitis), OL Mark Farrington (knee), DB Randy Jones (out indefinitely), RB Alvin Pearman (knee), OC Zac Yarbrough (sports hernia).
The following scholarship athletes left the program in the past 12-18 months with eligibility remaining: OL Ben Carber (chose to graduate), LB R.C. Cosby (academics), LB Beau Dickerson, OL Jay Green (before 2002 season), OL Joe Holt (left team), OL Micah Kimball (chose to graduate), LB Stan Norfleet (chose to graduate), DB Stefan Orange (personal/may return), DE Larry Simmons (before 2002 season), OL Damian Spradlin (left team), OL Brett Tobin (left team), DT Justin Walker (chose to graduate), FB Jonathan Ward (medical/concussions).