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Cavaliers reap benefits of pared down defense

Following Virginia's 48-21 win Saturday over Eastern Michigan, Defensive Coordinator Jim Reid explained that the Cavaliers' ability to limit the Eagles to 81 rushing yards in the second half -- after allowing 209 in the first -- in part stemmed from the fact that Reid "skinnied down" the number of different defensive calls he made after halftime.

As Virginia continues to adjust to the new 4-3 defensive scheme implemented by Reid and Coach Mike London, the coaching staff has found that simpler might, in some cases, be better, at least until the players have a more sound grasp of the system.

"There's a coverage that can address every formation," London said. "Well, if (the opponent is) only doing maybe two formations a game, then I'd rather have a coverage for that and then the check to that, should they do something out of that coverage. The list starts to grow, as to well, 'If they do that, do this. If they do this, then do that.' And so you pick a few coverages, core coverages, that you play and you're used to adapting to whatever they do formation-wise or shifts or whatever it might be. You may not be always in the most advantageous position, but at least everyone will know what their job is as it fits to the defense.

"I think that was part of it, particularly because (Eastern Michigan was) part-wildcat, part-option, that you had to settle down and just play the coverages and fronts that we know how to play best. And that's what we did in the second half, which proved beneficial. Sometimes when you scheme and you're looking at teams, you like to do things, 'Well, this will work. This will work when they go in this formation.' But they have erasers and pencils too, and they're allowed to move and adjust to what you're doing. So we just went back to our base, core, fundamental defenses and coverages and let the guys play."

By Steve Yanda  | October 26, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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