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Mike London agrees with Al Groh on Virginia's advantage ... sort of

In comments to reporters in Atlanta on Tuesday, first-year Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh -- Virginia's head coach for the previous nine seasons -- said the Cavaliers held an advantage because many of their players and members of their coaching staff were intimately familiar with the 3-4 alignment out of which Groh's units operate.

It was Groh, after all, who taught the 3-4 defense to first-year Virginia coach Mike London, linebackers coach Vincent Brown and safeties coach Anthony Poindexter, all of whom served on Groh's staff during his tenure in Charlottesville.

During his segment on the ACC coaches' teleconference on Wednesday, London was asked if he agreed with Groh's assessment that Virginia had a leg up on the Yellow Jackets in regards to preparing for their defense heading into Saturday's game.

"Only from the standpoint of just being familiar with the 3-4 defense," London said. Groh "is a great defensive mind, and I've sat in meetings where, you know, he's come up with game plans by studying the offense or by studying the particular weakness of a player or a scheme or something that they do and has come up with some really, really good game plans.

"Sure, he taught us the defense, so we do know some of the particulars about the defense, but in the end, when it's all said and done, it's the execution of our guys being able to take advantage of the opportunities in a 3-4 or a 4-3 or a zone pressure or this coverage or that coverage. So I would say that's accurate, but at the same time, you know, what we know is not necessarily what the players know, and the players have to react and execute that."

Also during the teleconference, London was asked whether the familiarity that he and Groh share with each other's coaching style might lead him to do something out of character Saturday in an attempt to throw off his counterpart.

"I hope not," London said. "I hope that what you do is you play sound fundamental football, and you stick to the things that are your core beliefs as far as what you believe in as far as being a football coach and the way you play the game and the way you see the game has to be played.

"I don't think you do anything outside of the box, outside of your character, but one of the things you always try to do is impress upon the players about taking care of the ball, about trying to get turnovers. ... Hopefully, you try to stick with the things that work for you."

By Steve Yanda  | October 6, 2010; 11:16 AM ET
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