Previewing Game 1: Virginia Cavaliers

BYU - VirginiaWith less than 48 hours remaining until kickoff, it’s time to find that perfect spot on the sofa, find your BYU car window flags, and get ready for some real football! We’ve covered the Cougars throughout the offseason, spring camp, and fall camp. With game week finally here we present our preview of the Virginia Cavaliers.

Last Season

2012 was a big letdown for Virginia after a posting eight wins the previous season. The Cavaliers finished 4-8 overall and in last place in the ACC at 2-6. After starting the season with two victories, including Penn State, the Cavaliers lost six straight. A poor offense, high turnovers, and inconsistent play at quarterback led to a disappointing season.

2013 Cavaliers Preview:

OFFENSE:

The Cavalier’s will be led by quarterback David Watford (6-0, 200, redshirt sophomore) who has seen his ups and downs at Virginia. After being a highly touted and very successful high school quarterback, Watford has seen his time rotate between the second team, scout team, and now first team. Watford is a dual-threat athletic quarterback. Whether he has the toughness to stand up the the Cougar front seven will be the question. His high school coach was asked if he ever saw Watford get mad and he replied, “I can honestly say I don’t think I ever have. There were times I wish he had. There were times when he should have got mad, but he’s too nice a guy.” We’ll see how nice he thinks Kyle Van Noy is on Saturday.

Watford will have a number of offensive weapons at his arsenal, including WR Tim Smith (6-0, 195, SR) who produced 20 receptions for 4 TDs last year, and Darius Jennings (5-11, 175, JR) who led the Cavaliers with 48 catches for 568 yards and five TDs.

In the back field the Cavaliers will turn to junior Kevin Parks. The 5-8, 205 lb. running back tallied 734 rushing yards and five TD’s last season.

An experienced offensive line anchored by All-ACC center Morgan Moses (6-6, 335 lbs) will look to give Watford and Parks plenty of time to do their magic in the backfield. With eight players weighing in at over 300 lbs., BYU may have it’s hands full up front.

DEFENSE:

The Cavaliers return seven starters from an inconsistent 2012 squad. The strength of the Cavalier defense is its secondary, where they return five experienced players. Led by All-ACC honorable mention cornerback Demetrious Nicholson (5-11, 185, JR) the secondary just may be able to give BYU QB Taysom Hill and receivers a rough day.

The question on defense will be the front seven. The Cavaliers return senior DE Jake Snyder, who recorded 44 total tackles. But overall they are inexperienced, undersized, and shouldn’t be a huge obstacle for the Cougars if they can “Go Fast, Go Hard!”

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Virginia will have a new kicker starting this year in Ian Frye. Frye handled kickoff duties last year for the Cavaliers, so there may be accuracy issues that BYU can take advantage of.

COACHING:

Coach Mike London enters his fourth season as the coach of the Cavaliers. He has compiled an overall record of 16-21 as Head Coach. Another poor performance this year may have London on the hot seat. Looking to strengthen his offensive prowess, London added former Colorado State HC Steve Fairchild as Offensive Coordinator in the offseason. Having coached against BYU for numerous years with the Rams, Fairchild may be able to put together an offensive game plan to take advantage of BYU’s weaknesses in the secondary.

PREDICTION:

BYU wins 38-20. Despite traveling cross country, learning a new offensive scheme, and losing several key defensive players, I look for BYU to come back to Provo 1-0, and it should take place in relative easy fashion.

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