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Check out the feature on senior WR Maurice Covington

Breaking Camp
As the Cavaliers get ready to break camp and move into their dorms and apartments for the coming academic year, the team’s practice routine will change significantly from going up against themselves to prepare for the season opener against Southern California next weekend. According to head coach Al Groh the team will begin working on a game plan rather than installation of the team’s schemes.

“We can center in on very particular things and be much more specific,” Groh said. “When we were going against ourselves offensively, (on defense) the priority was the installation of our systems. Maybe the other side had a pass pattern on offense or a pressure on defense that was going to give us a little bit of trouble, but we wouldn’t necessarily deviate from our installation plan in order to game plan that or to try to deal with that. We just kind of handle it as it came. Now we deal specifically with all the different issues that the opponent presents us.”

Challenge to Replacing Key Components from ’07 Squad
One of the challenges during the offseason for head coach Al Groh and his staff was having to replace a plethora of key players from last season’s 9-4 Gator Bowl squad.

Defensive end Chris Long is the most obvious loss, but not the only one. Among others who are not returning are: G Branden Albert, CB Chris Cook, DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald, TE Tom Santi and QB Jameel Sewell.

Making up for the production lost from those players will likely have to come from a multitude of players this season according to Groh, whereas Southern California just fills in with another high school All-American.

“We lost one of the all-time great players here in Chris Long,” he said. “Certainly that’s not the type of player that you even attempt to replace. For us, they come along few and far between, so we kind of have to do that in an aggregate way. But some of those players on last year’s team really kind of helped us solidify the culture of our team. And there were many of the current players who were part of that effort. From an attitude standpoint we see very a positive carryover.”

Not Deterred
The Cavaliers are looked upon as underdogs in next Saturday’s season opener against No. 3 (Associated Press) Southern California. The Trojans deserve their high ranking according to Groh and that’s the way it should be.

“(Being an underdog) doesn’t make any difference to us,” said Groh. “We certainly recognize we’re playing a team that has earned the right to be in a league of their own. Nobody has done in college football during the timeframe that Pete (Carroll’s) been there … what the Trojans have done. They clearly are on a year-to-year basis or over a cumulative period of time, the class of college football.

“They’ve got great talent, They have some very, we think, intricate and sophisticated schemes. They’re clearly a very well coached team fundamentally and in preparation.

“I’ve enjoyed watching them over the years because they really do play the game of college football at the highest level. We see all of that. We appreciate it. We understand that will be circumstance and we see the challenge in front of us and we’re trying to get ready for it.”

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