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The Virginia offense is buoyed by the return of two top playmakers from the last two yearsWR Kevin Ogletree and TB Cedric Peerman. Ogletree led the team with 52 receptions two years ago but missed last season due to a knee injury. Peerman was having a terrific season a year ago until suffering a foot injury in the sixth game that forced him to the sideline for the remainder of the season. Nonetheless he still led the team in rushing with 585 yards and was leading the ACC at the time of his injury.

During their absence, other players had a chance to move into new roles in the team’s “Next Man Up” philosophy, players such as TB Mikell Simpson, WRs Maurice Covington, Staton Jobe and Cary Koch.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Groh enjoys the array of playmakers that are emerging during training camp.

“I feel really good about them,” he said. “They’re working hard and I think that they’re taking ownership in their jobs and I think that’s important.

“They’re taking ownership in running their routes, really knowing their assignments and understanding how to get open. I think that the more that they do that and the more that everybody continues to work with one another, the more comfortable we’ll get and hopefully we’ll get the results that we’re looking for.”

Ogletree returned to practice late last season and had a productive spring while showing no effects from his knee surgery of last year.

“I haven’t noticed anything on Kevin,” said Groh. “He’s faster than ever and stronger than ever. He’s looked outstanding here in camp and done a really nice job.”

Like Ogletree, Peerman returned in time for spring practice and appears to be the same player he was before his injury.

“Cedric is showing no ill effects,” Groh said. “He’s … tough as nails. He’s a tremendous finisher. He just finishes his runs as well as anybody that I’ve been around. That’s kind of what got him hurt. He’s going to scratch and claw for every inch, every yard. That’s when he ended up getting twisted around in that Middle Tennessee game, but that’s who he is; he’s not going to change.

He’s the guy who finishes 30 yards down the field in a regular team period. He just has that kind of work ethic and that kind of want to’ to be great and to finish everything.”

Koch began to emerge as a playmaker last season, but got caught behind Tom Santi at times, which limited his ability to contribute.

“We could see him blossoming last year, but it didn’t make a lot of sense for us as a team to take (Santi) out. There are some things that I probably would have done a little bit differently to try and get Cary more involved in the games last year than having him be strictly Tom’s backup.

“The biggest attribute Cary has is his football IQ. You tell him something it makes sense. He can make the correction immediately out there on the field when you coach him up on something. There’s evidence of it on the tape that he tried to do what you told him to do.

“He has a very good understanding and feel for zones. He’s quarterback friendly and he’s got excellent hands.”

Older players such as Santi and Jonathan Stupar overshadowed senior tight end John Phillips throughout much of his career, but this season he is likely be a significant threat in the mold of past Cavalier tight ends.

“In this offense we enjoy those big targets insidethose big tight ends,” said Groh. “We want to utilize his skills because (the quarterbacks) can just throw it up high to him and it’s hard for anybody to cover him. He’s really got a good understanding of how to get open and he’s got excellent speed.

“He can really go up and get it at a different level than Heath. John is just longer than Heath was. (John) has longer arms and taller body and you can just throw it up higher to him in places where defenders have a hard time covering.

“We intend to get him out a lot; he’s too big a threat. We think he’s a match-up problem for the defense and we want to get him out and utilize that advantage.”

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