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by Carlos Valle

A two-year returning starter at safety, Byron Glaspy is one of the veteran players the Cavalier defense will be built around in 2008. He had a career-high 71 tackles as a junior and intercepted the first pass in his career. A native of Basking Ridge, N.J., Glaspy talks about spring football to He and the rest of the Cavaliers will play the annual Spring Game Saturday at 2 p.m. at Scott Stadium. Gates open at noon for the Spring Football Festival. Admission and parking are free.

Question: Do you consider yourself a leader on this defense? If so, what are you doing differently this spring?
I definitely consider myself one of the leaders just because I’ve had more experience than a lot of these young guys stepping up. This spring that’s the type of role that all of us, Clint [Sintim] and all the veterans on the defense, have to take in order to get the young players ready who haven’t seen a lot of time on the field.

Question: What impresses you most about this team?
Looking at our team this year I think that we are at a better spot at this time this year than we were at this time last year. We still have a lot of things to work out but there are a lot of positive things to look at. We have a lot of work to do but everyone is ready to do it.

Question: What does it mean to have Kevin Ogletree back running pass patterns?
It’s definitely great to have him back. We have always considered him one of our best receivers and one of our primary targets so just having him out there helps us to spread our offensive game around.

Question: Who is a player on defense that will surprise people next year?
I think anyone of the defensive linemen will surprise people. They have really come in and stepped up. A lot of these freshmen have stepped up. We have Matt Conrath, Alex Field, Nick Jenkins and Nate Collins who have all stepped up so far in spring practice and have made a lot of plays and I think they will carry that into next season too.

Question: Originally a walk-on, when did you have your “moment” when you knew you could play at this level?
Just after I got a few games under my belt during my first year. I started a few games and knew I was able to hold my own out there. That encouraged me even more.

Question: What has been your favorite UVa football moment?
I would have to say when we beat Florida State at home. I wasn’t playing in that game but I was on the sidelines and just the energy and the passion that we played with combined with the amount of support we had from the fans was really exciting.

Question: What is your favorite Coach Bernstein phrase?
I would have to say when he called Kevin Ogletree “Ogle-bee”. He was yelling at his receiver “Ogle-bee”. He didn’t know his right name. That was when he first got here.

Question: Who is your favorite current professional player and why?
Troy Polamalu because I really respect his game and he is one of the most electric players in the league. In his personal life he seems to be a very humble guy who is very devoted to God and his family. I am very encouraged by that.

Question: Aside from football, what is the biggest impact attending UVa has had on your growth as a person?
Just the people this place has brought me in contact with. Jon Copper and Ben Parziale are very humble and focused guys and just being around them has really helped build my character.

Question: When you want to get away from football, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy reading and being in church and learning about God. I also love music and I’m very passionate about that.

Question: What is something you want to do in life that might surprise people?
Maybe I’ll be heavily involved with the church one day. Maybe I’ll be a pastor.

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