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Offseason/preseason Updates

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

August 25, 2003

  • Much has been made of an Aug. 12 injury to Michael McGrew, the Cavaliers' top returning wide receiver, who suffered a broken leg and was lost for the season. Although McGrew was Virginia's most dependable wideout at the start of drills, the fact remains that he had a total of three receptions in UVa's last four games in 2003.
  • The trio of running back Wali Lundy, tight end Heath Miller and fullback Jason Snelling combined for more than 120 receptions as freshmen last year. Snelling has been a forgotten man since missing the Continental Tire Bowl as the result of seizures, but he said he is 100 percent physically and has the potential to be a big factor in the offense.
  • With less than a week remaining before the opener Aug. 30 against Duke, coach Al Groh still had not elaborated on the system he will use for calling plays. When highly regarded coordinator Bill Musgrave joined the Jacksonville Jaguars, Groh elevated offensive line coach Ron Prince. Although Musgrave called plays from the press box, Prince's preference is to remain on the field. Former NFL offensive lineman Andy Heck, who previously coached the tight ends as a graduate assistant, now has full-time status. Former All-America safety Anthony Poindexter, a graduate assistant in the weight room last year, now works with the wide receivers.
  • Groh said he could foresee as many as six true freshmen playing. The definites are 6-6, 309-pound Ian-Yates Cunningham at offensive guard and 6-4, 249-pound Ahmad Brooks at inside linebacker. Brooks is not the typical true freshman in that he enrolled for the spring semester, a rarity at Virginia, and thus had the benefit of spring practice.
  • Journeyman Bryan White has been listed ahead of Brooks at inside linebacker and may start the opener, but Groh said he would be “crazy” if he didn't have Brooks on the field. Look for Brooks to play on most special teams and enter the game in nickel situations. UVa's other prize 2002 linebacker signee, Kai Parham, lacks Brooks' speed and may have a harder time dislodging incumbent Rich Bedesem.
  • Brooks will not miss any game time as the result of his spring arrest for marijuana possession. He pleaded no contest at a July 29 court hearing and was placed on probation. If he lives up to terms of his plea agreement, the arrest will be expunged from his record. Groh, who does not have a high threshold for drug-
    related matters, said he and Brooks have an “understandingÇ” but that the player will not be held out of action.
  • Two weeks into practice, sophomore Willie Davis moved ahead of junior Jay Dorsey at one of the safety spots. Davis started four games at safety as a true freshman, so that was not unexpected, but he fell out of favor with one particularly unwise play in the Continental Tire Bowl. Groh said Davis has a “package” of skills that assistant coach and eight-year NFL veteran Corwin Brown “could only fantasize about.”
  • With the opener drawing near, Virginia still had not received medical clearance to use Kevin Bailey, its best offensive lineman going into the 2002 season. Bailey suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Florida State, had surgery and then re-injured his knee in
    December when he slipped on a slick spot in the library. Bailey, when cleared, will be a top backup at center and tackle. Another key line reserve, Mark Farrington, also is awaiting medical clearance after tearing up a knee in a skiing mishap.
  • Groh said he wants to use true freshman QB Kevin McCabe, even at the risk of burning a redshirt year. Groh benefitted from predecessor George Welsh having redshirted Matt Schaub, but with Schaub departing after this season, Groh wants to make sure he picks the right quarterback for 2004: McCabe or current redshirt freshman Anthony Martinez. During preseason drills, Groh said Martinez was the most improved player on the team.