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Jackson Builds on Experience
Junior Rashawn Jackson had a big game in last season’s Gator Bowl vs. Texas Tech. He was slowed midway thought the season due to an injury and only had one reception upon his return leading into the bowl game. Against the Red Raiders however, he carried the ball 14 times for 52 yards (both career-high figures).

In his second training camp at fullback after spending his first year at linebacker, Jackson is using his experience in the backfield to have a productive preseason according to Groh.

“Rashawn’s having a good camp,” Groh said. “Now he’s had two springs and two camps at this position. He’s certainly a lot more settled in to it. His play, his role hasn’t change much. He’s just more comfortable in what that role is.”

Howell has Leg Up in Punting Competition
Freshman Jimmy Howell looks to follow in the footsteps of fellow South Carolinians Will Brice and Mike Abrams as he attempts to become the Cavaliers’ punter this season. Hailing from the Palmetto State isn’t the only trait Howell shares with the former standout puntersstanding 6-6 he could easily stand eyeball-to-eyeball with them, if not standing a little bit taller.

Unlike the placekicking competition, which is wide open, the battle for the punting job might be a little more settled. A quarterback in high school, who also averaged 43 yards per kick last year as a high school senior, Howell looks to be taking advantage of his early opportunity.

“We anticipated from the start that Jimmy would start on the top of that bracket and so far he’s remained there,” said head coach Al Groh. “He seems to be getting a little more comfortable and a little better actually with each practice.”

During the early part of training camp, Groh has cited Howell’s maturity and presence, despite his first-year status.

“I think that in any circumstance with any person that quality, or the lack of that quality, is much more easily observed than it is to put a specific definition on it,” Groh said.

Shields Takes over at the “Pivot” Position
Jordy Lipsey held down the center duties for two years before graduating last season. This season’s starter in the middle of the line is likely to be manned by an athletic player who came to UVa two years ago as a tight end and who played “under” center as quarterback in high school. Jack Shields was installed at center in the spring and after having an excellent summer program, has spend time during training camp learning some of the key duties for a centerset the tempo, set the huddle and make the line calls.

“A lot of players who are really good offensive linemen, can’t be centers,” said Groh. “There are a particular set of skills that are necessaryquickness of mind and athletic ability and agility.”

Shields has experienced players around him as he grows into his new role, players such as left tackle Eugene Monroe, left guard Zak Stair and right tackle Will Barker.

“He’s progressed significantly from where he was at this time last year,” Groh said. “His growth and development is very obvious, both physically and in terms of how he handles things out there. He certainly has the opportunity to get stronger yet.”

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