Morgan Moses switches to right guard and other O-line shuffling
True freshman offensive lineman Morgan Moses lined up at right guard Saturday night during a fourth and goal from the two yard-line with just more than 11 minutes remaining in the game. This was notable for several reasons: 1) Starting right guard B.J. Cabbell, a fifth-year senior, was not injured, and 2) Moses is listed on the team's depth chart as an offensive tackle.
Virginia was unable to convert on that fourth down attempt, and Moses -- who stands 6-foot-6 and 350 pounds -- continued to log time at right guard the rest of the game. Coach Mike London said in a teleconference Sunday night that Moses will move to offensive guard as he looks to gain more experience during his first collegiate season.
"I think Morgan is probably better suited to be inside," London said. "It’s kind of his niche. We do plays were we pull a guard and things like that. Protection-wise, it makes it easier for him.
"I don’t want the learning curve for him, after having been out of tackle, now we’ve moved him into guard, and he likes guard because you’re playing next to the center, the center makes the calls. You know, I don’t want to put him back out to the outside and confuse things. We’ll probably just keep him there and make sure he gets in the games and plays."
When asked about Moses's position switch after the game Saturday, London referenced former Virginia offensive guard Elton Brown, who was an offensive tackle coming out of Hampton High School before switching to guard during his freshman season. Brown eventually became a consensus first-team all-American offensive guard as a senior.
"When guys like Elton Brown played, you know, he started inside and then he could play outside," London said. "Morgan is a big-bodied guy, and you don’t have to do as much ... on the inside as you do on the outside. We’re trying to put him in a position – like all these guys – to be successful."
That position now appears to be as an interior offensive lineman. London said that in the "close to 30" reps Moses played against Georgia Tech, the true freshman "graded out at a winning percentage." London hopes that moving Moses from tackle to guard will help ease the transition to collegiate ball. The coach also said he plans to get Moses increasingly more game reps as the season progresses.
Moses potentially isn't the only Virginia offensive lineman in the midst of a position shuffle this week. Starting left tackle Landon Bradley left the Georgia Tech game midway through the third quarter with a hand injury, and his status for Saturday's home game against North Carolina remains uncertain.
Redshirt freshman Sean Cascarano took Bradley's place for the rest of the night, and London said Cascarano "did a decent job hanging in there and blocking and knew his assignments and things like that."
Should Bradley, a junior, not be able to play against the Tar Heels, London said starting right tackle Oday Aboushi would swing over to the left side. That would allow Cascarano to play at right tackle.
| October 10, 2010; 7:22 PM ET
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