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*The following are “notes” from the spring football teleconferences with Head Coach Al Groh that have taken place from late March through April 9. These are not direct quotes.

– Franklin and Hamilton are doing well and progressing during spring practice
– Lane is going through his first intense coaching, his game has made a move in practice

– Overall it is the fastest it’s been in three seasons, would be a good track relay team
– Productivity can’t be judged at this point

– Grade themselves each day
– Hagans is improving everyday, adjusting to being number one
– Practice reps are as evenly distributed as possible over time, not one practice
– Players will be judged after period of time, not at any given point
– Hagans receives a few more snaps than the other candidates
– It is desirable to name a #1 QB after the spring and have a final depth chart

Marques Hagans
– Extensive experience with two very positive games under his belt
– Has made big plays in the past as a punt returner
– Knows what to expect at QB position
– Confident playmaker
– Team has confidence in him
– Has different challenges due to his size, doesn’t have height advantage that Schaub possessed

Chris Olsen
– Has added a new candidate to the competition for QB
– Knew the situation on the team from the very beginning
– Knew the competition would be wide open in the spring
– He is a contender for any one of the four slots, even though he hasn’t taken any real game snaps since high school
– Good background, understands offense due to its similarity to his past exposure, good confidence

Anthony Martinez
– Has experience of playing in two games
– Strong arm

Kevin McCabe
– Going into his first spring practice
– The initial “daze” is gone and is ready to learn

George Welsh
– Should be considered the founder of football at the University of Virginia
– Recognition by College Football Hall of Fame is well deserved

Snapper, Holder, & Kicker
– Yarbrough, Phillips, and Hughes have been practicing at the positions the most
– Situation is ahead of schedule
– Hughes is the best returning field goal kicker in the country
– Gardner and Mackey practicing for punt snapper
– Yarbrough is better suited for field goal snapper

Heath Miller
– Having a good spring, has improved many facets of the game
– Similar to the spring that Schaub had last year
– Has been aided by Assistant Coach Garrett
– Has improved his blocking in practice against Blackstock, Schmidt, and Canty
– Has a desire to do his best with every facet of the game

Jason Snelling
– Had great off-season
– Increased his stamina and endurance
– Brings versatility, strength, and productivity

Matt Schaub
– Head Coach Al Groh has received many inquiries regarding Schaub
– Had positive Senior Bowl, NFL combine, and personal workout day

Daryl Blackstock
– Has developed into the prototype that Head Coach Al Groh would like all outside linebackers to model, 6’5″, 6’6″ and very athletic

Zach Yarbrough
– Named to Remington watch list
– Has lots of “staying power”
– Team won 17 out of 24 games with him playing center

Jermaine Dias
– Has similar style to Blackstock
– Must play aggressive while trying to learn

– Pearman and Johnson will only be playing the back position
– Isaiah is the number two fullback, doing better in spring practice
– Snelling will hopefully be running the ball more at fullback
– Johnson is more comfortable at the position and has an elevated level of confidence, improving his skills in passing, blocking, and other situations
– Johnson developed strength basis during red shirt year, becoming a “strong” back, has the ability to break for long runs, especially in combination with play schemes
– Lundy still showing superior skills this spring
– Johnson’s return doesn’t affect Pearman’s role
– Johnson’s red-shirt year has made him stronger and more confident

– Progressing well toward playing level
– Plenty of candidates, three of which don’t even arrive until the fall
– No major decisions until the fall

– Focus on versatility of position: left/right and strong/weak
– There are about six inside/outside linebackers

Pete Gillen
– Head Coach Al Groh happy for the outcome of the coaching situation and conveyed his feelings to Gillen

Graduate Assistants
– Chad Wilt will be assisting the defense, good coaching mentality
– Joel Macavika has lots of playing experience and will be working with the backs

Tyree Foreman
– Head Coach Al Groh is happy for Foreman and his new position at Army

High School Recruitment
– Evaluation process is becoming as early as freshman year, much different system than 15 years ago
– Team has seven commitments (as of 4/9) from very flexible players, not worried about getting too many players at one position
– No surprise in number of commitments, groundwork was laid well in advance

– Lipsey has been practicing at center, still needs to add more size
– Sammis looks encouraging at center
– Yarbrough, Lipsey, Sammis, and Cunningham all getting reps in practice

Chris Johnson
– Being groomed to take over after Canty, improving during each practice
– Requires changes to his body type, needs to dramatically reshape it

Brian Barthelmes
– All he wants to do is win and contribute, is tough and dedicated
– He’s growing his hair to donate to cancer victims, only has one more inch to go

Jon Thompson and Isaiah Ekejiuba
– Both returning for fifth years after starting their careers as walk-ons
– Contribute experience at outside linebacker and will help on special teams

Vince Redd
– Has unique size at outside linebacker
– Has similar style and attributes to those of Willie McGinest
– Participated in all winter workouts even though he played on the basketball team

Spring Game
– Team has shown enough depth to have scrimmage during festival

Spring Practice
– A goal is to see if red-shirted defensive linemen can make a move into the two-deep, includes Keenan, Johnson, and Billyk – all competing for playing time

– Goal is to have four safeties by the beginning of the season
– Catterton and Evans are ready to play the position
– Weeks is practicing well, is comfortable, good tackling ability
– Hardy is on schedule, will be ready in the fall

Elton Brown
– Has more muscle mass than in the past, shoulders and rest of body show more definition

Patrick Estes
– Speculation about him becoming tackle is not true
– He’s very imposing as a TE, but wouldn’t be as a tackle

Assistant Coaches
Ron Prince and Mike Groh have responded to challenge and shown more confidence as they have gained experience
– In recruiting assistant coaches, Head Coach Al Groh looks for style, personality, philosophy, and fresh ideas

Defensive Line
– Carter has dropped a lot of weight since beginning training program last June, shown new aspects in practice, playing better football, didn’t want his career cut short for training reasons rather than competitive ability
– Haley, Redd, and Dias competing to replace Mann
– Returning group is ready to add on experience and maturity
– Young guys like Carter, Johnson, and Billyck are all getting reps
– Billyck ahead on development scale with size, sound player, good savvy
– Defensive ends should be as skilled as possible, “book ends”

2004 Team
– Group of players will be the deepest, most talented team Head Coach Al Groh has coached at UVA once all of the incoming players arrive
– Weak positions have all been upgraded
– A goal is to be a more physically imposing team this season
– A key to this year’s team is a lot of versatile players, adds flexibility and creativity

Marquis Weeks
– Has moved to safety to sure up a vacancy this spring
– Change is easier to make later in his career due to his good football foundation
– Made the career decision to move to safety on his own and was given no deadline by the coaching staff

D’Brickashaw Ferguson
– Had productive winter
– He’s growing into his size and showing a natural maturity
– Made a good effort to increase his size and power

Wide Receivers
– McGrew’s off-season work has been good, has increased confidence with respect to endurance
– Williams and Mines making move toward starter status, had concentrated development during the winter, showed growing confidence
– Morton coming along in practice
– Williams and Morton are the fastest

– Byars, Hamilton, Johnson, and some new recruits all in the running to return punts
– Franklin, Weeks, Pearman, Lundy, and Johnson all can return kicks

Jonathan Stupar
– He is a playmaker with up field ball skills
– Weighs more and is as strong as Estes and Miller at the same stage
– He’s showing good development

Willy Davis
– Has a presence on a daily basis
– He’s rehabbing and staying connected with team
– Wants to return to program, he was on his way to being a special player

Strength Training
– Evan Marcus is very experienced, has worked with NFL players, gets good results with players
– Every inch of weight room has been redone

Indoor Facility
– Discussions underway for “reinvesting” in an indoor facility

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