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Mike London looks for Cavaliers to create more pressure against Trojans

Take away Richmond’s 70-yard touchdown run* in the first quarter against Virginia on Saturday night, and the Cavaliers held the Spiders to 74 yards rushing. Granted, Richmond was forced to pass more in the second half because it was trailing, but still, that’s not too shabby a performance. Coach Mike London said he was encouraged by the effort of Virginia’s defensive line against both the pass and the run against the Spiders.

“I thought our front four guys did a nice job of the run gaps responsibility,” London said. “They did a nice job with their play-action passes. I think we had a couple sacks and, according to [defensive coordinator Jim Reid and defensive line coach Jeff Hanson], we had a couple hits on the quarterback and a couple pressures.

“Sometimes you don't see the pressures or the hurries, but that's something that you have to have. You have to have a pass rush that can affect a quarterback's decisions on where to throw the ball and how much time he has.”

* London's evaluation of that play: "I think it was just more of an assumption on everybody's part that the play was either going to be blown dead or, you know, the guy was up for so long and there were so many bodies around him that maybe someone stopped, and we shouldn't have. You keep playing until the whistle blows. 'I thought I heard a whistle.' Well, the bottom line was he came out of that huddle there and ran 70 yards. The whistle wasn't blown, so we've got to do a better job of wrapping up and taking down to the ground."

Against a Southern California offensive line that lost three starters from last year’s squad, such an objective will be even more important for the Cavaliers to achieve. USC sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley was a semifinalist for last season’s Davey O’Brien Award, given annually to the nation’s top signal caller.

Barkley completed 78.3 percent of his passes and threw for 257 yards and five touchdowns in USC’s season-opening win at Hawaii. He was sacked once.

Against Richmond, the Cavaliers recorded two sacks – one by defensive end Cam Johnson and one by linebacker Darnell Carter – and eight tackles for a loss. But London said his team will have to create more pressure against the Trojans if they are to disrupt USC’s potent offensive attack.

“We'll have to do a better job, because you can't give Matt Barkley all that time because he's got a great arm,” London said. “He knows where to go with the ball.”

By Steve Yanda  |  September 8, 2010; 1:33 PM ET
 
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