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Virginia wideouts Dontrelle Inman, Kris Burd impress in season opener

Prior to Saturday night’s 34-13 win over Richmond, Virginia had not had a player tally 100 or more receiving yards since Oct. 4, 2008. On that day, Kevin Ogletree recorded 100 receiving yards against Maryland in a 31-0 Cavaliers win.

Against the Spiders on Saturday, junior wideout Kris Burd finished with 122 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven catches. Senior wideout Dontrelle Inman tallied seven catches for 88 yards of his own.

Between Burd and Inman, Virginia coaches are hoping the team has found a pair of playmaking receivers, an element the Cavaliers lacked in recent seasons.

“What I've been pleasantly surprised with Dontrelle is just his athletic ability and the catching the ball in just awkward positions,” Virginia Coach Mike London said. “And I think with Kris being a guy also that can catch and run, that we should have two guys that can provide targets for (quarterback) Marc (Verica) to throw to and then perhaps get some additional yards after the catch.”

London referenced a play late in the first half Saturday night when Inman attempted to make a diving catch down the sideline. It was questionable whether Inman held onto the ball, but the referees signaled an incomplete pass and London did not challenge. What caught London’s eye, though, was the “fantastic body move” Inman made to put himself in position to attempt the grab.

While Burd – the team’s leading returning receiver – was expected to play a big role in Virginia’s offense this season, the anticipation for Inman’s production was not as elevated. Inman caught eight passes for 80 yards in nine games last season.

“At the beginning of the season there's always a couple of guys on your team that you hope will emerge and people will say, ‘Where'd that guy come from?’” London said. “It's only the first game. We've got a long ways to go, but it looks like (Inman) has got the makings to be a really good receiver.”

One wideout who got off to a slow start was sophomore Tim Smith. The team’s second leading returning receiver, Smith caught 15 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns in 2009 and was atop the depth chart at one of Virginia’s wide receiver spots entering training camp.

But an ankle injury sidelined Smith for about a week during training camp, and he appears still to be making up for lost time.

“I think Tim missing a little time with his ankle and stuff like that, you don't get a chance to actually go out there and line up where you're supposed to line up and run the depth of the route that you're supposed to,” London said. “That does cause a little bit of rustiness, but we're hoping that now that he's back that he can get back into the groove of knowing where to go and what to do, because he can definitely catch and run if he gets it.”

By Steve Yanda  |  September 7, 2010; 7:01 AM ET
 
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