Passing fancy: Virginia gaining ground through air
Virginia will find out this weekend where its passing offense
really stands – if it really is among the best in the Atlantic
The Cavaliers (2-1) open ACC play against Florida State (3-1) on
Saturday. The Seminoles lead the nation with 19 sacks (for minus
124 yards) and have allowed a total of 197 passing yards in
victories against Brigham Young and Wake Forest in their last two
The Cavaliers feel they have some recent things to build off,
Before losing 17-14 at Southern Cal, the Cavaliers’ offensive
linemen heard all about how the Trojans’ defense was stacked with
future NFL players and might be too difficult to slow down.
It proved not to be so. USC managed only two sacks against Marc
Verica, and Virginia was in the game until the end, a surprisingly
strong showing on USC’s home field.
”You’ve just got to go into the mindset that we’ve put several
linemen in the NFL from here on the offensive line,” Bradley said.
”We all weren’t recruited for no reason.”
Virginia threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns last weekend in
a 48-7 victory against VMI. It was the Cavaliers’ highest yardage
total through the air in five seasons, and pushed the team’s
passing average to 271 yards per game, fourth in the
But Bradley and the offense know that dominating a VMI defense
whose heaviest player weighed 265 pounds and handling the
sack-happy Seminoles are two very different animals.
The strategy, though, is the same.
”Everything’s got to be more on point with the offense as a
whole,” he said. ”You’ve just got to take in the first three
games and understand every little thing you did wrong.”
Despite the contrast in talent level, the Seminoles will find a
”I think we showed that if you want to put eight men in the box
and shut down the run game, trying to stop us from running the
ball, we can attack you with all our weapons on the edge,” he
said, speaking of VMI’s attention to stopping the run and forcing
”It just shows you can’t stop everything we’re trying to do
Verica, viewed by some as a wild card in the offense because of
his tendency to have streaks of bad throws and decisions, has been
very crisp with five TDs and one interception.
He’s also done exactly what the coaching staff has asked.
”I think it’s a product of the offense, of the system and the
scheme that’s put in, not asking a guy to do too much,” coach Mike
London said. ”When Marc makes a throw based on the coverage, based
on the receivers running the correct route, we can be fairly
And this week, those receivers are eager to test themselves
”We’ll get to see where we are right now,” said Kris Burd, who
has a touchdown catch in each game this season. ”We had some
success against Richmond and VMI, and we took it right down to the
wire against USC, so this is going to be a good game to see where