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Football Notes

- Cornerback Ras-I Dowling was named ACC defensive back of the week. Dowling and senior Chris Cook combine for one of the best cornerback duos in the ACC and allow Coach Al Groh, who doubles as defensive coordinator, to call an aggressive game because of their dependability.

"Their size is very beneficial, but really the key thing there is their athletic skills," Groh said. "We would probably do a number of the same things with Ras-I and Chris if they didn't have the same size but if they had the same athletic ability. Certainly we try to take advantage of what they do have and whether we're playing zone or man, some of which we play both. Whether they're playing zone or man we want to accommodate what those guys do best."

- As reported here last night, Mikell Simpson attended Sunday's practice but did not partcipate. The evaluation will continue this week, but it is likely Simpson would need to return to the practice field in order to play in Saturday's game.

"You would want him to familiarize himself mostly in the area of pass protection," Groh said. " The runs are going to be pretty much the same. Particularly because Maryland does bring a variety of different-looking schemes which will be challenging, not only to the offensive line, but particularly to the backs."

- Punt returner Chase Minnifield has seldom called a fair catch this season, often subjecting himself to a big hit from the opponent. Minnifield said last week he makes the determination while the ball is in the air, but he does not mind taking the hit if he has secured the ball.

"There is no official halo violation anymore," Groh said. The "player has to be given a reasonable opportunity to catch the ball, which you can see that 'reasonable' means that the defender can get quite close to him. It's really the one call that doesn't occur, which is actual kick interference. He's got a lot of confidence in his ability to catch it. He's got a good level of courage to deal with whatever is impending so we just -- it's one of those things we kinda leave it up to him and we talk about what makes good decisions."

That is all for now from Charlottesville. Check back throughout the day tomorrow for more football -- and even some items from men's basketball that will be scattered throughout the week.

By Zach Berman  |  October 12, 2009; 5:06 PM ET
 
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