BYU Football Opponent Preview: Who are the Virginia Cavaliers?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In another preview of BYU opponents, we look at the Virginia Cavaliers.

Who are the Virginia Cavaliers?

2013 Record: 2-10 (0-8 in ACC)

2014 Game, date, and location: Saturday September 20th at Lavell Edwards Stadium time TBA

Previous Game recap: UVA won 19-13

BYU turned in a lackluster performance against what ended up being a disappointing non-conference opponent. The game was delayed by roughly two hours because of weather at the end of the first quarter. BYU struck first when Hill completed a TD pass to JD Falslev, but then the Cavaliers answered with a TD, a FG, and Safety to make the score 12-7. Hill scored a TD with just over six minutes remaining in the game and Justin Sorensen added a FG a minute later. Only minutes later, Taysom Hill threw a costly interception which gave the Cavaliers great field position and Kevin Parks ran it from 13 yards out to re-take the lead and ultimately win the game.

Coaching Staff:

Mike London has been the head coach for the Cavaliers since 2010 winning four games in his inaugural season. They improved to eight wins the next season, four wins in 2012, and only two wins in 2013 (one of them being against BYU at home). Coach London must be feeling some heat from the Virginia fans, alumni, and administration by now. UVA, while not known as a football powerhouse, could reasonably expect to win more games especially considering how successful they have been on the recruiting trail. If Coach London is canned during the season he will most certainly leave behind some good tools for rebuilding.

Offense:

Quarterback is a position that has not been a strength at UVA. Over the last four years the Virginia QBs have combined to throw 69 TDs and 65 INTs. Head coach Mike London finally ended speculation about who will be taking snaps for the Cavs starting in Week 1 when he penciled in Sophomore Greyson Lambert as the starter. Kevin Parks is probably the brightest star on the offensive side of the ball; he rushed for 1,031 yards and 11 TDs and represents almost all of the Cavaliers offensive productivity. Parks could even improve statistically this year if the passing game can take some pressure off of him. Expectations for this season were certainly dampened when it was announced that TE Jake McGee would transfer from Virginia. He led the them in receiving yards and catches this past season.

Defense:

A pair of 5-star recruits headlines another very strong recruiting class for Virginia. Andrew Brown (6-4 295 lbs) and Quin Blanding (6-2 209 lbs) were respectively ranked as the best defensive tackle and safety in their class nationally. These up and coming stars will be needed as the Cavaliers were 99th overall in scoring defense last season. It is unknown how these two players will be used exactly in their defensive schemes considering that their game against BYU will be only the fourth college football game of their lives. However, expect them to be used somewhere and somehow to slow down the Cougar offense.

X Factor:

Kevin Parks is the obvious star on offense, but Greyson Lambert appears to be the great unknown heading into this game for the Cougars. The faithful in Charlottesville appear to be very excited for the leadership and stability he could bring to this program. He is big and strong and is particularly good at timing routes when throwing from the pocket (think of him as a poor man's Blake Bortles).

Bold Predictions:

I would be very surprised to see the Cougars lose this game. They should have won last year, little mistakes at crucial times cost the Cougars big time. Taysom Hill should be able to lead the offense more productively than last year, and the BYU defense will be playing against a watered down offense with an inexperienced quarterback and no clear down field threats. The Cavaliers start the season by playing a big game against UCLA at home, and then two more home games in a row against Richmond and Louisville. The Cavaliers will probably need to win two out of their first three games if Coach London wants to keep his job. If BYU plays a great game and runs Virginia off the field, it might be the last straw for him, similar to what happened to Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after BYU worked the Longhorns last year. A strong BYU victory could be a major statement game in this upcoming season, and possibly lead to more scheduling with ACC teams in future seasons.

Interesting facts:

(because to defeat one's opponent, one must know his opponent)

The University of Virginia has never awarded an honorary degree, a policy implemented by its founder, Thomas Jefferson.

The freshman, sophomore, junior, senior class ranking system does not exist at UVA. Students are instead referred to as first years, second years, third years, fourth years (just like at Hogwarts!). Also, students never "graduate" from the University; they instead "take their degrees." These traditions were started to show that the process of learning does not begin or end while attending school.

Professors at the University go by the title of Mr. and Mrs./Ms. instead of ‘Doctor' because Thomas Jefferson wanted an "equality of ideas, discriminated by merit and unburdened by title."

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