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Virginia's latest goal: Draw less than five penalties in a game

By Steve Yanda

Out of the 120 Division 1-A college football teams in the nation, only two -- Southern Mississippi and Troy -- are averaging more penalty yards per game this season than Virginia. The Cavaliers tallied 16 penalties for 145 yards Saturday in a 42-23 loss to Maryland. In the past three games, Virginia has averaged 12.7 penalties and 117.7 penalty yards per game.

As you might imagine, Coach Mike London was asked several questions about the recent penalty surge following Saturday's game. The subject came up several times again during London's Sunday teleconference with reporters. In his various responses, London has shouldered responsibility for his team's lack of discipline and said he plans to hold his assistants and players more accountable for the high number of penalties the team has accrued.

"Our goal is to have a game with less than five penalties," London said Sunday. "No penalties, if possible."

Virginia has managed to draw fewer than five penalties in a single game once this season. During a 48-21 win Oct. 23 against Eastern Michigan, the Cavaliers were assessed three penalties for 20 yards. Virginia was flagged five times for 57 yards during its season-opening 34-13 win Sept. 4 over 1-AA Richmond and five times for 45 yards during its 48-7 win Sept. 25 against 1-AA Virginia Military Institute.

During training camp, London brought in officials on a few occassions to oversee practice and call penalties during certain portions of the workout as they would during games. London said Sunday those officials never gave any indication that his team would struggle this season to keep from drawing high amounts of flags.

Excluding the contests against Richmond, VMI and Eastern Michigan, Virginia is averaging 10.1 penalties and 93.4 penalty yards per game.

In case you were curious, London's two Richmond squads were not nearly as prone to drawing yellow flags. London was Richmond's head coach from 2008-09. In 2008, Richmond averaged 4.8 penalties and 41.9 penalty yards per game. In 2009, the Spiders averaged 4.3 penalties and 39.2 penalty yards per contest.

By Steve Yanda  | November 15, 2010; 9:33 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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