Virginia Football Opens Spring Practice

The Virginia Cavaliers opened Spring Practice Tuesday, as they emerge from a long winter reflecting on a 5-7 campaign in 2014, their third straight season without a bowl appearance. Head Coach Mike London is back for his sixth season in Charlottesville, a move that surprised some outside of the program. London continues to recruit top talent at a high clip, which likely led to his return for what is a make-or-break year for him.

Offensively, the ‘Hoos return both quarterbacks who split time a year ago in Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns, as they look to improve on the nation’s 58th ranked passing offense from 2014. Both QB’s will be vying for the top spot this Spring, as Mike London and his staff make a determination on whether or not to use both quarterbacks in the rotation this fall. At running back, Kevin Parks is gone to graduation and will be replaced by rising junior Taquan Mizzell who rushed for 280 yards and two touchdowns in 2014.

The receiving corps also had some turnover as two out of the three leading pass-catchers from last year’s squad will need to be replaced. Darius Jennings and Miles Gooch who combined for 892 yards and three touchdowns last season are gone to graduation. Leading receiver Canaan Severin returns for his senior year looking to replicate his successful junior season in which he recorded 42 catches for 578 yards and five touchdowns. This Spring, the Cavaliers welcome transfer T.J. Thorpe from ACC rival North Carolina. He will surely step in as the number two receiver in his final year of college eligibility. Thorpe brings a veteran presence to his new team, as he caught 16 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns last season despite being hampered by a fractured foot. Also expect former ESPN 300 prospect Dominique Terrell to see an expanded role at the position after redshirting last season.

Defensively, the Cavaliers have to plug some holes before the Fall. The team’s best pass rusher from 2014, Eli Harold departed for the NFL draft along with linebacker Max Valles who also left school early for the pros. At linebacker, the ‘Hoos lost Henry Coley and Daquan Romero to graduation which will leave three new starters at the position when the season opens in September. Returning starters Tim Harris and Maurice Canady are back at the two cornerback positions, which will at least provide some veteran presence to an otherwise young bunch. At safety, Anthony Harris departed due to graduation and the NFL draft, but the back end of the secondary is left in good hands, as reigning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Quin Blanding is back, looking to improve on his 123 total tackles and three interceptions as a freshman last season.

Virginia has announced that they will play their annual Blue-Orange Spring Game on April 2nd at Scott Field following the conclusion of the school’s lacrosse game against Maryland, which is scheduled for noon. The Cavaliers will open their season on Saturday, September 5th in Los Angeles against the UCLA Bruins.


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