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Groh on Heyward-Bey

I have a story running in tomorrow’s paper about whether Maryland is getting the ball to Darrius Heyward-Bey enough. There are some interesting statistics, but I’ll save them for the story and we can discuss them here tomorrow. But our U-Va. beat writer Zach Berman asked Virginia Coach Al Groh and some players about Heyward-Bey’s abilities. Groh rarely elaborates on topics, but he was fairly expansive about Heyward-Bey.

"He's a gamebreaker, in the fullest sense,” Groh said. “He's a size player who can really run. Certainly it hasn't been a one-man deal. But he really has been the catalyst in every game. He got the team in going in the first game, had one or two touchdowns in a 14-point game. In the second game, which Maryland didn't win, but he had about an 80-yard run off a little pass that put them right back in the game. In the the third game, he got the game going with a reverse and a great catch in the end zone against California. In the fourth game, he really had it going against Eastern Michigan, had some real big plays. And then last week, the reverse really turned the tide of the game. He got 79 yards on that, so this is a player who takes it to another step.

"When you ask about him, it's not just, well, he's got speed, he's got size, he's pretty good, he's dangerous. It's right there. He's already done it. And you can certainly see the development of the game. But, you know, it's not necessarily a brand-new thing. I can remember a couple years ago when Maryland beat Miami in Maryland. The score was something like 14-10, or 17-14, or what not. Maryland ran less than 14 plays in the game, but he went 80 yards or more within the first three or four plays of the game. He's that much more developed in his game, and he causes you to -- he has an impact not just on the game, but how they play in the game."

On qualities a receiver needs to be effective in the running game: "Clearly running ability, which is based on elusiveness. And the key component to elusiveness is always speed. This is a player who is not only one of the fastest players in the ACC, but in his position, he's reputedly one of the fastest players in the country. Those are the playmakers -- it's explosive plays like that that end up the points. Those players who produce those types of plays for their teams usually make high-scoring teams out of those teams that they play for. And he's doing that for their team."

Virginia linebacker Clint Stintim said: "Heyward-Bey is a great athlete, a really great athlete. I think as far as speed standpoint, he's untouchable. He's been around for some time, we've seen, we've watched him, we know a lot of what he likes to do."

On stopping WRs in the running game: "It just has to make you more disciplined on the defense. To have a receiver of the caliber be able to run the ball, catch the deep ball, catch the screen, it just adds another dimension to his game. And it makes you more aware of where he is on every play. He's a playmaker. We know that. I've known that for quite some time, ever since I've played here. He's one of those guys you really need to be conscious of at all times."

By Eric Prisbell  |  October 1, 2008; 5:26 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Write an article about not getting the ball to "DHB" enough instead of a feature on Danny Oquendo, Torrey Smith or Ronnie Tyler? FREDTERP

Posted by: FREDTERP | October 1, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I see your point. But I have plans to do Oquendo's story in the next couple weeks.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | October 1, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

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