#49 Virginia Football 2012 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers

2012 Overall Rank: #49
#7 Atlantic Coast Conference
Virginia College Football 2012 Team Preview
Virginia Team Page


If we learned anything from the 2011 season, it’s that Mike London was the proper hire for the Cavaliers a few seasons back.  The former Richmond head man had a vision for the Virginia program, and he is executing it.  They went from being a non-competitive team to a strong team full of talent.  Their youth seemed to bite them at times last year.  The Cavs have not quite found the total recipe.  The program is still in transition and 2012 will tell a lot about where Virginia is heading in the landscape of the ACC.  Another year of improvement for their young stars should bode well through the course of the season.

2011 Record: (8-5)
2011 Bowl: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Auburn (L 24-43)
Coach: Mike London (12-13 at Virginia, 38-18 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bill Lazor
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Reid

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Perry Jones, RB, 915 yards
Passing: Michael Rocco, QB, 2,671 yards
Receiving: Tim Smith, WR, 565 yards
Tackles: Steve Greer, LB, 103
Sacks: Two tied at 2
Interceptions: Demetrious Nicholson, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Kevin Parks, LB Leroy Reynolds, DE Bill Schautz

Key Losses: CB Chase Minnifield, WR Kris Burd, SS Rodney McLeod, LB/DE Cam Johnson, DT Matt Conrath

London knows that building a good team starts from the inside out.  Virginia has been building a pretty stout offensive line that has held up to protect their signal callers.  Players like Morgan Moses at tackle are huge gets for this program.  Moses was a huge prospect at left tackle and he seems to be living up to his billing.  He and his compatriots only allowed about a sack a game last season.  Their pass defense was great for this team last season with some NFL prospects in Chase Minnifield and Rodney McLeod.  With those two leaving, they can only hope they are as effective this season.  Defensively, they were also great at attacking the line of scrimmage.  They stopped opponents in the backfield nearly seven times per game last year.

Though they had success attacking running teams, the Cavs had a hard time attacking the quarterback before he threw.  They will need to up their sack totals in 2012 in order to have a top flight defense in the ACC.  The offense will also need to find the end zone more often.  Quarterback Michael Rocco made great strides last season, but his team only scored about 23 points per game.  They ranked near the bottom of the league in that category.  Their special teams were amongst the weakest in the conference.  They ranked 92nd and 93rd nationally in punting and punt returns, respectively.  Improvement on special teams could go a long way in alleviating the scoring issue.  Cutting down on turnovers is another major area of improvement.  They turned the ball over more times than all but one team in the ACC last year.  

The Bottom Line:
Virginia looks like it has a bright future.  Their weaknesses last season come across as symptoms of a really young team.  London went into last season with the understanding that there would be some growing pains.  They remain young, but the experience they are getting is invaluable.  They can make strides to try and take over the Coastal Division in the coming years.  Perry Jones and Michael Rocco returning will seriously help the development of this offense.  Each will need to improve on last year’s numbers in order to reach the end zone more often.  Hopefully, they can hold onto the ball and create more opportunities for themselves.  Virginia has a chance to win eight or nine games, but they are probably about a year away from challenging for their division or the conference.

Projected Bowl:  Military Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 162.08 (52nd in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 237.69 (56, 7)
Total Offense: 399.77 (46, 4)
Scoring Offense: 23.23 (86, 9)
Rushing Defense: 139.46 (48, 5)
Pass Defense: 212.23 (45, 5)
Total Defense: 351.69 (40, 3)
Scoring Defense: 23.85 (46, 5)
Turnover Margin: -.54 (97, 11)
Sacks: 1.54 (90, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 1.23 (24, 3)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#45 Oday Aboushi

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#48 Eli Harold
#103 Kwontie Moore
#190 Michael Moore