Aug. 21, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE — As his players headed to the buses that would take them back to the McCue Center, Mike London lingered behind at Scott Stadium, happier than he had been a week earlier on the same field.
His offense, which had struggled in the first of UVa’s three preseason scrimmage, performed much better in the second one Saturday afternoon.
That was partly because nagging injuries kept Ras-I Dowling and Devin Wallace, two of the Cavaliers’ top three cornerbacks, out of the scrimmage, creating opportunities for senior wide receiver Dontrelle Inman in particular. But the offense executed more efficiently and generally avoided mental and physical errors, improvement that pleased Virginia’s head coach and his offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor.
“It looks like offensively that there were more long throws and more long runs for touchdowns, which is encouraging,” London said.
“They’ve been working hard at it. You didn’t see any dropped snaps, which was an Achilles’ heel, and very little dropped passes, which was also an issue in the past. So it seemed like they were clicking a lot better on all cylinders here. There are still some things we got to take care of, but I tell you what, it was a lot better showing than last week and what we’ve been doing in practices.
“This was probably the best one we’ve had offensively, from start to finish.”
In a scrimmage that included about 80 plays, the coaching staff “tried to cover every situation,” London said. “And I thought [the players] responded from a standpoint of being in shape. They looked pretty good toward the end here, and that’s what it’s going to take.”
UVa opens the season Sept. 4 against Richmond at Scott Stadium.
* About 60 people representing UVa, including many of Colter Phillips’ teammates, traveled to Potomac, Md., on Friday morning for the funeral of the sophomore tight end’s father.
Bill Phillips was killed Aug. 9 when a plane carrying him and eight others crashed in Alaska. Survivors included Willy Phillips, 13, the youngest of Colter’s three brothers.
Colter didn’t play in the scrimmage, but he was in uniform and back with the team Saturday at Scott Stadium.
“Great seeing #89 run out of the tunnel at today’s scrimmage,” London tweeted Saturday evening.
* London recently began posting on Twitter. Check him out at www.twitter.com/coachmikelondon.
“It’s another means of using an electronic network to reach out to people about what’s going on, how the team is doing, anything of particular notice,” London said.
“I write the tweets, they go through me. I like to spend time doing them and try to make them funny but informative, and again, use another information tool to get things out to people.”
* Former UVa football players were invited to attend Saturday’s scrimmage and then eat together at John Paul Jones Arena. Among those in attendance were Frank Quayle, Marques Hagans, Kase Luzar, Jason Augustino, Brandon Isaiah, Jermaine Hardy, Chris McMahon, Melvin Massey, Nelson Yarbrough, D.J. Bell and Aaron Brooks.
“We’re in a position where the program is not where we would like it to be, in terms of everybody that’s been involved in the football program here at the University,” said Brooks, whose play at quarterback helped UVa beat Virginia Tech in 1997 and ’98.
“So we’re looking to support it in any way we can. Staying out of the way, but letting everyone know that we are here to support them and spread the word that we want to bring UVa football back to where it was.”
* Connor McCartin, a 6-3, 220-pound sophomore, worked at middle linebacker during spring practice and early in training camp. He’s now training at defensive end, too.
“He’s going back and forth a little bit,” London said. “We’re just trying to find a place for him where he could help us depth-wise and help us by playing, instead of just making him a one-position guy. We’re just trying to move him around and see what he can do.”