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Sunday is Meet the Team Day at Scott Stadium

While part of training camp will be spent evaluating the competition at quarterback, Virginia head coach Al Groh and the offensive staff has two established tailbacks able to tote the pigskin going into the opening gamedepth that was developed last year more by circumstance than anything.

Senior captain Cedric Peerman got off to a terrific start last season, but was injured in the sixth week and missed the remainder of the season. Junior Mikell Simpson was given an opportunity against Maryland in the eighth game and was the primary ballcarrier the rest of the way.

With the pounding running backs take over the course of a season, the days of one player getting all the carries may be waning as teams now regularly feature two or more backs.

We have never considered two to be a committee,” said Groh. “We used Wali Lundy and Alvin Pearman on a regular basis (with) both in the game.

“When we’ve had one that was clearly way out in front, then we have featured that particular player. Early in the year last year Cedric was clearly in front of everybody so he got almost all the carries. Once Mikell really sprouted in the game, he was clearly ahead of the others, so he got them all.

“But both of them now have proven that we now have equal capabilities of the Pearman/Lundy days. It’s probably in the best interest of both the players.”

If either player had been the primary rusher the entire season, he “might have been a little bit done at the end of the season,” Groh added.

The multiple-back system agrees with Peerman, who had a record-setting high school career and had to adjust to sharing the load.

“I’ve grown to understand that it’s really hard to take every carry in the game because the speed of the game is so much faster than high school,” he said. “It was a growing process for me and getting used to that, but I think it definitely works out good when you (or someone else needs) a breather.”


Friday’s practice is the team’s first in full pads. The team’s first practice Saturday at 8:35 a.m. is open to fans that have their first opportunity to see the 2008 Cavaliers in-person.

Head coach Al Groh indicated that former walk-ons WR Staton Jobe (soph., Austin, Texas), WR Cary Koch (sr., Baton Rouge, La.) and FB Hall Simmons (jr., Rossville, Tenn.) have been awarded scholarships for this season.

Impressions of the first-year players to this point:
“With a lot of them, (I have) just a very, very brief impression. Most of them have had quite a bit of conflict between the finishing up their classes Monday and Tuesday with practices. Wednesday was all special teams, so for some of them (Thursday) was the first uninterrupted down-and-distance practice. (We have) had not much (of a) look at them, but that that we have seen there are quite a few that are confirming what we felt at signing day (which was) at each position some of the players are as talented as any players who have preceded them.”

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