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Non-verbal cues help Bill Lazor install Virginia's offense effectively

From time to time during spring practice, Virginia players would offer non-verbal cues that they weren’t quite grasping certain concepts of the pro-style offense Virginia Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor was working to install.

Sometimes, Lazor would see a player unbuckle his chinstrap forcefully after a play and sense a review of said play might be necessary.

“Some guys might go back to the dorm room and cry,” Lazor said. “I don’t know. We don’t see those.”

But Lazor does understand that for players learning the schemes of a third different offensive coordinator in three years, the mental challenge of learning yet another system can be daunting on occasion.

“I believe it’s true that they can do a lot more than they think they can, and part of our job is to push them,” Lazor said. “We’ve just got to keep pushing and keep stuffing them with information. It’s a balloon and you just don’t know how big it can go. When you get to the point where it’s done, we’ve got to make them believe it’s not done. They can do more. They can learn more. They can learn more about exactly why you do that. There’s so much information they can learn.”

During one workout session this spring, a player threw his helmet in frustration after being taken out of practice because he repeatedly had lined up incorrectly. It wasn’t a quarterback, said Lazor, who also serves as the team’s quarterbacks coach. They usually know where to line up.

“I told his coach to take him out. If he doesn’t know where to line up, he can’t play. He threw his helmet. That was the worst we had. He appreciated how I addressed it toward the offense because he wasn’t berated and everyone learned from it … Part of our jobs as coaches is to know when to go faster or slower or review something. That’s not easy. I’ve made mistakes on that before. Hopefully we won’t as we move forward.”

But Lazor noted that doesn’t mean he has or will alter the pro-style offense he intends to employ in order to make it more digestible for his players. For him, it’s more a matter of time management and making sure he can teach the lessons that need to be taught in the number of hours allotted to coaches per day by NCAA rule.

“To change the offense so that college guys can understand it, the answer is no,” Lazor said. “The only thing you have to worry about is do I have enough time to teach what I want to do today? That’s what we have to be smart about.”

By Steve Yanda  |  August 5, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
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