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Virginia Spring Game: Cavaliers Fail to Show Much Progression on Offense

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Geoff Burke- USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Virginia Cavaliers took to the field for their annual spring game. In a game in which the Orange Team would go on to defeat the Blue Team by a tight score of 18-15, a lot of the attention was focused on the offense of new coordinator Steve Fairchild. After a lackluster year in 2012 on offense, many people were hoping to see positive results. Unfortunately, there were very few indications of anything positive on the offensive side of the ball.

With a quarterback situation that’s considered sketchy, at best, there really wasn’t any kind of definitive answer given as to who is the clear front-runner to run the offense in 2013.

The battle between David Watford and Phillip Sims remained pretty much a stalemate after the game ended. Neither quarterback seemed to outshine the other. With Watford going 5-10 for 55 yards and Sims going 8-18 for 89 yards, neither one really reached out and grabbed that brass ring.

Watford hasn’t seen action since the 2011 season, so there’s still a little more time for him to improve before September. Sims brings the experience to the table, seeing action in 12 games last season, completing over 55% of his passes for nine touchdowns.

Still, it seems as if head coach Mike London will have to exit 2013 spring practice without naming a definitive starting quarterback.

As far as combination of offensive line and running backs are concerned, that showing was probably the most alarming aspect of the game today for the Cavaliers.

In what is quite the eyebrow-raising statistic, the Cavaliers’ running backs combined for just 109 yards on 39 carries today. That’s an average of just 2.8 yards per rush. For a scrimmage such as this, that shouldn’t exactly bring out much optimism from any UVA fan. With Fairchild stressing a more smash-mouth type running game in 2013, it certainly wasn’t seen on the field today.

Clearly, UVA has a lot of work to do before that first week of September rolls around. Even with the new assistant coaching hires, including former N.C. State head coach Tom O’ Brien as an offensive assistant, some of these woes better be figured out within the next few months. If they don’t, then the Mike London era in Charlottesville may be nearing its end. Speaking of which, who did I just say was hired as an offensive assistant this season? Let that thought sink in for a moment, Cavs fans.


Jack is a College Football Contributor for Rant Sports. Follow Jack on Twitter @FSUYankee14


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There's No Longer Any Reason To Believe In UVA

Two weeks ago, the Virginia Cavaliers stood at 4-2, 2-0 in the ACC. Given how bad the rest of the Coastal Division seemed to be, there was optimism that UVA would at least finish above .500 on the season, perhaps make a bowl game, and if everything broke right, stay in contention for the Coastal Division title and a berth in the ACC Championship Game.

However, a 20-13 loss at Duke last week slowed that momentum, and Saturday’s 28-27 home loss to North Carolina not only ended any optimism, but it squarely turns the heat back up on head coach Mike London and his coaching staff.

Virginia wasn’t drastically outplayed today, and actually led the game 24-21 at halftime; however, as was the case for much of the second half — and several times over the last few years — a simple mistake cost the Cavaliers big time. With 1:17 to play and exiting a timeout, North Carolina lined up for a field goal that would have made it 31-27, leaving UVA at least a chance to win.

Instead, Virginia came out of the break with 12 men on the field. Carolina got a first down on the penalty and subsequently ran out the clock.

Such mistakes are the type you see when teams are led by rookie coaches, and while London is young, he isn’t a rookie. As fans streamed out of Scott Stadium in the final minute, with Virginia resigned to the type of befuddling loss that the Cavaliers seem to suffer at least twice a season, it became clear that this isn’t going to change.

The 8-5 season in 2011 was a mirage. Other than that, London is now 14-30 in Charlottesville. Despite his well-earned reputation as a top recruiter, he and his coaching staff either don’t use their talent properly, or don’t manage the fine points of the game that can cause a team to win or lose.

The penalty for too many men on the game’s most crucial play proves that the more things change, the more things they stay the same in Charlottesville. And with games left against Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech, finding a reason to believe is going to be difficult for Virginia fans moving forward — if they pay attention at all.

Ed Morgans is an ACC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google.

Virginia football's failings can no longer be hidden after home loss to UNC.

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