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McLeod to undergo further examination Monday

Virginia junior strong safety Rodney McLeod will undergo further, more extensive examination by team doctors Monday after a collision involving McLeod's head/neck forced the player to leave Saturday's game against Florida State in the first quarter. McLeod did not return to the contest.

Coach Mike London said Sunday night that McLeod had been looked at by team trainers earlier in the day -- as is standard for all Virginia players the day after a game in which they competed -- and that he had not yet received an update on McLeod's status.

The Cavaliers were off Sunday and also will be off Monday, per usual. Practice will resume Tuesday.

"There’s a certain series of tests and things that are administered to the players to see whether or not they will be allowed to participate, and I believe Rodney is going to take his" Monday, London said. "And then we’ll get a better assessment of him and how he’ll be able to progress on Tuesday."

With just more than three minutes remaining in the first quarter Saturday, McLeod made the initial hit on Florida State tailback Chris Thompson. McLeod, who led with his head, snap his neck to the left against Thompson's body and lay on the field for a few minutes as he received medical attention. He eventually walked off the field under his own power.

"On that situation with Rodney, coming up and lowering his shoulder pads, also his head was down, we tell the guys, 'If your eyes are down on the ground, you’re looking on the ground, then that’s not a good thing,'" London said.

London also said senior cornerback Ras-I Dowling turned his ankle early in Saturday's game. Dowling -- who sat out the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury -- did not start Saturday and initially played only in Virginia's nickel defensive packages when the Seminoles had three or four wide receivers on the field. Sophomore cornerback Devin Wallace started in Dowling's place, as he has all season.

Virginia coaches are trying to get Dowling re-acclimated to playing full-time, London said as a means of explaining why Wallace was used in place of Dowling early in the game in situations where Dowling typically would be on the field.

Dowling saw more consistent playing time after Wallace missed a tackle on what became a 70-yard touchdown run by Florida State tailback Jermaine Thomas midway through the first quarter. Missed tackles were an issue for the Cavaliers all day, and Wallace certainly was not alone in his miscue.

When asked whether he usually counts up the number of tackles his team missed after a game, London responded: "I did after this one."

According to London, there were three missed tackles that stood out above the rest and largely contributed to the 256 rushing yards Florida State accumulated Saturday. One was Wallace's whiff on Thomas, which London called "glaring" and said would have been a two-yard loss.

In the other two key instances of missed tackles, London said defenders had Seminoles quarterback Christian Ponder in their grasp but could not complete the sacks. On one of those plays -- a third and 11 in the second quarter -- Ponder ended up gaining 12 yards and a first down. Florida State scored a touchdown three plays later.

"During the course of a football game, you’ll miss a tackle here or there, but it’s really heightened when you have a guy stopped and he breaks a corner and goes 70, and you have a quarterback in your grasp and breaks out of that grasp and he gets extra yards and continues a drive," London said. "We’ve been pretty good tackling and not having those missed tackles that resulted in long runs, but this was definitely a situation where you missed three … and it comes back to get you."

By Steve Yanda  | October 3, 2010; 7:26 PM ET
 
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