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Mike London addresses special teams concerns

For the first three quarters of Saturday night's game against Richmond, the Virginia offense on average started its drives from its own 25 yard-line. Conversely, the Richmond offense on average started its drives through the first three quarters from its own 34 yard-line.

The field position advantage Richmond held over Virginia for most of the game didn't end up causing too much damage, but it was problematic enough for Coach Mike London to list it as an area in need of improvement heading into this week's game at Southern California.

"Where you start is critically important, even on the other side about where you limit your opponents," London said. "And I just thought that we could have done a better job. We were always a block away from getting the right guy or making the block that we needed, so we’ve got to do a better job of that, allowing (Chase) Minnifield to catch a punt without having guys run down unattended on him. And we’ve got to make decisions on when to catch the ball. But the part about the field position part is critical for that game. It’s going to be critical for this game. We’ve got to do a better job of that."

Virginia averaged 16.8 yards per kickoff return and tallied two yards on its sole punt return against Richmond. The Spiders, meantime, averaged 26.2 yards per kickoff return and advanced 39 yards on their only punt return Saturday.

Aside from their field position issues, the Cavaliers also experienced struggles in the kicking game. Junior Chris Hinkebein was called on to attempt a 51-yard field goal late in the first half. The kick had plenty of distance, but missed wide left.

On Virginia's next field goal opportunity -- from 50 yards out -- junior Robert Randolph made the attempt. The kick was on target, but well short.

"When you looked at it, we’ve kicked those 50-55 yarders in practice, and both Hinkebein and Randolph have made it," London said. "We’ve got to get a little bit closer, I guess, in order for these guys to have an opportunity."

By Steve Yanda  |  September 7, 2010; 2:51 PM ET
 
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