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Aug. 9, 2012

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Note: Friday’s open practice has been rescheduled for 11:30 a.m. at The Park due to the threat of severe weather in the afternoon. It will be the first full pads practice of fall camp. Saturday’s Open Practice at Scott Stadium is still scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Mother Nature delayed practice number four for the Virginia football team for 45 minutes because of lightning within a 10-mile radius, but the final session before full pads was eventually completed at The Park on the North Grounds of the University. As part of a five-day acclimatization process the Cavaliers will wear full pads for the first time during camp at tomorrow’s practice.

One group that not only has been solid through the first four practices also happens to be one of the most seasoned units for Mike London. That group is the tight ends.

“The tight ends are one of our strengths because of the guys coming back,” said London prior to Thursday’s practice. “You see Colter Phillips and Paul Freedman out there, while Jake McGee and Jeremiah Mathis also played. Those four guys are different types of tight ends. You have on the line tight ends – off the line tight ends. Tight ends that can move into the back field and serve as a fullback sometimes. The versatility of that unit is due to the skills those guys’ posses. It’s a position that we want to get back into using because of their skills and talents.”

Another veteran unit is the linebacking corps led by Steve Greer and LaRoy Reynolds. That duo has combined for 414 tackles over the last three seasons. During this camp London is looking at sophomore Henry Coley to join the two senior captains as the third linebacker in UVa’s 4-3 scheme.

“Henry has done a great job on defense for us,” commented London. “He had baptism by fire having to play in the Auburn game for Steve Greer. Now he knows the position, is stronger and has more confidence. Its great to see Henry step up in practice and make some plays and we will rely on him to make many more plays as the year progresses.”

As camp progresses more teaching is taking place. Some drills start working on execution. After practicing a field goal setup the past three days without kicking a ball, the placekickers started kicking for the first time Thursday afternoon in their drills.

Kickoff drills were similar where the first few practices the drill was completed without the ball being kicked, while Thursday saw the kickers trying out the new kickoff rules instilled by the NCAA in the offseason. Kickoff now will be from the 35-yard line and players on the kicking team can’t line up for the play behind the 30-yard line. Thursday’s practice was the first chance the Cavaliers ran through a kickoff live under the new rules.

The Cavaliers return to The Park on Friday afternoon for practice No. 5 at 3:45 p.m. Friday’s practice and Saturday’s practice are the final two open to the public. Saturday’s practice is set for Scott Stadium at 4 p.m. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. If weather hampers the open practice schedule, updates will be available on UVa’s main Twitter account @VirginiaSports.

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