March 19, 2010
8:12 a.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Spring football practice is under way at UVa, and players on both sides of the ball are adjusting to new schemes.

The change on defense is more dramatic. After nine seasons in Al Groh’s trademark 3-4 scheme, the Cavaliers are lining up in a 4-3. That’s meant position changes for such players as Cam Johnson and Jeremiah Mathis, who moved from outside linebacker to end, and Ausar Walcott and LaRoy Reynolds, who shifted from safety to outside linebacker.

Steve Greer’s responsibilities are a little different too, but the “fact that he’s played inside is a tremendous advantage for him,” Mike London said.

As a redshirt freshman in 2009, Greer started at inside linebacker and led the Wahoos in tackles in 92. He’s now the No. 1 middle linebacker in UVa’s 4-3.

“Hopefully it’s going to be even better for him,” London said, “because as an inside linebacker in the 3-4, with the guard uncovered, he had to take on [offensive] guards a lot.

“I think he’s happy, because now he’s got D-linemen that are going to keep linemen off him. He’s running around out there pretty good. He’s the quarterback of the defense. He knows the calls. So his experience and just his ability to know and react to where the ball’s going to be has helped him tremendously.”

Greer’s backups are notable for their lack of experience. Connor McCartin appeared in five games as a true freshman last season. Aaron Taliaferro, who’ll be a redshirt junior in the fall, played in two games last year.

“There will be maybe another name added to that mix [at middle linebacker],” London said. “We’re in the evaluative stage right now. if another guy emerges, we’ll give him a shot, too.”

Jeff White