2014 Virginia Cavaliers Team Preview
Head Coach: Mike London
2013 Record: 2-10 overall, 0-8 ACC Coastal
2013 Bowl Result: None
2013 Returning Starters: 9 offense, 7 defense
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship Game: Field 30/1
Odds to win 2014 ACC Championship Game: 66/1
Odds to Win 2014 ACC Coastal Division: 25/1
Regular Season Wins: over 3.5 -115 / under 3.5 -115
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The Virginia Cavaliers began last season 2-1 including a home upset over BYU. However, the wheels quickly fell off and the Cavaliers lost 9 straight games to end the season. Aside from a one point loss to Maryland, every other loss was by double digits.
Sixteen starters return in 2014 for coach Mike London who could be in danger of losing his job with another poor season.
Not surprisingly for a 2 win team, Virginia struggled on offense. The Cavaliers averaged 212 yards per game passing and 157 rushing yards. Virginia scored 20 points a game which was #111 out of 125 teams. Coordinator Steve Fairchild gets 9 starters back but if they don’t improve drastically it won’t matter.
Quarterback David Watford completed 57.1% of his passes for 2,202 yards with 8 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, and he also rushed f0r 208 yards on 104 carries with 3 touchdowns. Watford is back, but the consensus is he will be unseated by Greyson Lambert. Lambert threw for 340 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions, but he isn’t as mobile as Watford.
It is amazing that the offense struggled so much despite having the ACC’s leading returning rusher in Kevin Parks. Parks does return in 2014 after he had 227 carries for 1,031 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 38 catches for 329 yards and a touchdown. Khalek Shepherd is also back and rushed for 304 yards and a touchdown and made 23 catches. Taquan Mizzell is a former five star recruit with big play potential. He rushed for 184 yards and a touchdown and made 29 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown.
Tight end Jake McGee transferred to Florida after making 43 catches for 395 yards and 2 touchdowns. Darius Jennings had 38 catches for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns and is back for Virginia. Sophomores Keeon Johnson and Kyle Dockins will also get a lot of targets.
The offensive line must replace multi-year starters Morgan Moses and Luke Bowanko. The line struggled like most of the offense.
The Virginia defense wasn’t terrible at the beginning of the season holding BYU to 16 points and pitching a shootout against VMI in a 49-0 rout. Even Pittsburgh scored only 14 points in a win. However, by the second half of the season the defense was racked by injury and struggled badly. The defense gave up 45 or more points five times in 2013. The defense allowed 404 yards and 33 points a game. Coordinator Jon Tenuta gets back 7 starters from that unit.
Defensive end Eli Harold could be in line for a break out year. The tackles are also experienced and talented if they can remain healthy.
Outside linebacker Max Valles and middle linebacker Henry Coley will thrive in Tenuta’s attacking style.
Senior Anthony Harris led the nation in interceptions at 8. He is back to headline the secondary. Like the line and linebackers the secondary shows promise if they can stay healthy.
Kicker Ian Frye missed most of last season with an injury but is back in 2014. He is an accurate kicker when healthy. Punter Alec Vozenilek led the ACC in punts inside the 20, and also filled in for the injured Frye making 12 of 15 fifteen field goals. Jennings and Mizzell will return kicks again in 2014. Dominique Terrell will return punts.
Schedule / Outlook
Virginia has home non-conference games against UCLA, Richmond and Kent State, and travels to BYU. The Cavaliers host Louisville, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Miami in ACC play. Virginia travels to Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Virginia Tech. Virginia could be better in 2014 especially if the defense stays healthy. However, the schedule is brutal. They drew every good team in the ACC except for Clemson. They don’t get any games against Boston College, Wake Forest or NC State who are expected to be the worst teams in the conference. The only winnable games on the schedule look to be Richmond and Kent State.
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