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Spring football preview: Newfound emphasis on running game aided by versatile group of running backs

Note: Cavaliers Journal introduces the top story lines entering Virginia's spring football game on Saturday at Scott Stadium. The team takes the field at 12:30 p.m. for a warm-up period, with the scrimmage beginning at 2 p.m.

Coach Mike London has emphasized a return to the running game, and running back might be Virginia’s deepest position. Perry Jones is a slippery 5-foot-8 speedster who has had moves that reminded London of Barry Sanders. Torrey Mack was expected to play a large role on last season’s team but could never quite pick up the offense. He might be the player to watch in the Cavaliers’ backfield.

Dominique Wallace, who lost his freshmen season to injury, has been limited in the spring, but he’s bruising back. And Keith Payne, the once-promising Oakton High standout, is back at Virginia and trying to work his way into shape -- and out of London’s doghouse. Add in top recruit Kevin Parks for next season, and the Cavaliers have a group without one defined name but with the depth that could smooth the transition to the new offense.

“With the different types of runs that are in, it complements the play-action pass,” London said of the running game. “It also has a complementary passing game off with the two backs and the different things you can do in the run situation, which I think lends credence to protecting the quarterback. I’ve been kind of pleased that all our backs are different kind of backs. … Each one kind of brings their own thing to the table.”

By Zach Berman  |  April 9, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
 | Tags: Dominique Wallace, Keith Payne, Mike London, Perry Jones, Torrey Mack, Virginia football  
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Next: Spring football preview: Virginia's defense undergoes transition from 3-4 to 4-3

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