VIRGINIA FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW
As one of the largest public universities in the country, the University of Virginia Cavaliers football team has quite a following and has grown into a well-respected program in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia is coming off a strong 2011 campaign where they upset a handful of ranked opponents, such as Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. Although the Cavaliers had a strong showing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Auburn, they are looking to show in 2012 that their 8-5 finish last year was no fluke. Virginia did lose its fair share of starters on defense to the NFL Draft and graduation, so head coach Mike London is looking for young players to step up and take advantage of the vacancies.
The Cavaliers will benefit from the return of quarterback Michael Rococo, who boasted a strong completion percentage and yardage total during 2011, but will have to cut down on the turnovers. Running back Perry Jones, who rushed for 960 yards in 2011, decided to stay for his senior season and will be the feature back for the offense, while underclassmen Kevin Parks, Clifton Richardson and Khalek Shepherd vie for the backup role. The whole offense will benefit from the tight end duo of Colter Phillips and Paul Freedmen, who will provide larger targets to pair with smaller, speedy receivers like Darrius Jennings and Dominique Terrell. The Cavaliers' strongest group on the field is easily its offensive line, which features premier prospects like guard Luke Bowanko and tackle Oday Aboushi.
The Virginia defense is a bit more unsettled than the offense, but will benefit from a group of upperclassmen linebackers like Steve Greer and LaRoy Reynolds. In the secondary, Demetrious Nicholson will hold down one cornerback spot, but a slew of underclassmen will face an open competition for the strong safety and other depth positions. The Cavalier defensive line is another strong suit for the team, as Will Hill and Billy Schautz are sure to give offenses fits in 2012.
The 2012 season will showcase a vast improvement in the Cavaliers' strength of schedule, as they will face Penn State, TCU and Georgia Tech over the season's first four weeks. If they can get through that, they will still have formidable ACC opponents to contend with. But, Virginia has shown that they are a resilient bunch in years' past, and fans and opponents alike know that they are always a tough out.
VIRGINIA CAVALIERS INFORMATION:
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Stadium: Scott Stadium
Conference: ACC Conference
Rivals: North Carolina Tarheels (Oldest Rivalry In The South), Virginia Tech Hokies (Commonwealth Cup), Florida State Seminoles, Maryland Terrapins
National Championships: 2 - 1993, 1999
ACC Championships: 2 - 1989, 1995
Notable Alumni: Heath Miller, Bill Dudley
Notable Bowl Games:
The University of Virginia Cavaliers football program has developed into a program to be reckoned with. The Cavaliers play NCAA FBS Division football in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The era of Virginia Cavaliers football under head coach Al Groh has seen the program rebuild after losing their legendary coach George Welsh. Groh quickly produced results in his first seasons with bowl game wins and a famous win over conference rival Florida State in 1995. A game at Scott Stadium is an event rich in tradition. You’ll hear cries of “Wah-hoo-wah!” throughout the game - a long-standing Virginia Cavaliers tradition. The team is celebrated in “The Good Old Song” sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne” as the crowd locks arms and sways back and forth. Cheering on the Virginia Cavaliers team, or “Wahoos” is an experience you won’t forget.
Virginia first fielded a football team in 1888. The Virginia Cavaliers quickly established a rivalry with Vanderbilt and the yearly game was dubbed the “Football Classic of the South”. The athletics program had a hard time catching on at Virginia Cavaliers, finding opposition from school officials and little interest from the student population. The ‘40s saw a great improvement in the Virginia Cavaliers and in fan appreciation. The Virginia Cavaliers’s success ebbed in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but with the hiring of 19 year coach George Welsh in 1982, the Virginia Cavaliers would set school records for its first ever All-American player, first 10-win season, first #1 ranking and first ACC Championship. Who could forget the first time the Virginia Cavaliers beat Clemson Tigers in 1990, after 29 years of losing to the Clemson Tigers. That 20-7 win would propel Virginia Cavaliers into the top-10 and to the #1 spot for the first time ever.
The Virginia Cavaliers play their home games at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia. The stadium is well known for it’s classical architecture with its column-lined pergola and grass seating behind the endzone. Two traditions can be seen looking across the crowd - the old tradition of men wearing coats and ties and women wearing sundresses, and the new tradition of fans wearing bright orange. The two traditions have been at odds for the past few years, and give a unique look to the Virginia Cavaliers crowd. Buy Virginia Cavaliers football tickets and witness the Virginia Cavaliers history and tradition as the team competes for ACC and national glory!
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