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Virginia offensive line passes first test, displays sought-after physicality

One of the biggest question marks for the Virginia offense heading into the start of the season was how well its offensive line would hold up. The Cavaliers allowed an ACC-high 41 sacks last season and had to integrate three new starters into the fold during the spring and summer.

But against 1-AA Richmond, Virginia gave up one sack and no quarterback hurries. By and large, the Cavaliers coaches liked what they saw from the offensive line, even if the opposing defense left much to be desired.

Coach Mike London said he was particularly impressed with the opening drive, when Virginia marched 77 yards in five plays and scored on a two-yard touchdown run.

"I thought it was just a really nice effort on everyone's part -- the blocking, the catching, the play-action passing and different things and moving the chains," London said. "And then later on I just think that, you know, regardless of, people say BCS vs. FCS, I think it was a level of conditioning also that was a factor there. It's a grind to be pushing against somebody every play all the time, but I think toward the end we just kind of wore them down a little bit. And it was good to see that offensively, the offensive line had a had a chance to continue to make holes in conjunction with our running backs."

Virginia tallied 205 rushing yards on 35 attempts and averaged 5.9 yards per rush. In case you're curious, the Cavaliers averaged 2.9 yards per carry last season.

"No matter how many times you decide you're going to throw it or run it in the game, and sometimes you know ahead of time and sometimes you don't, but you've got to be physical," Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor said. "We've said that from the first day. I know I've probably used that word too many times when you guys have asked. The easiest way, and the way people think about it the most, is running the ball.

"And when you're in a situation where you're being successful running the ball, then there's no reason to stop calling them. I believe that it is an attitude that builds for your whole team. I'm hoping offensively we can help affect the way the whole team plays when we have games like that."

By Steve Yanda  |  September 7, 2010; 12:29 PM ET
 
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