Monday, September 11, 2017

Virginia's depth chart is up

UConn's depth chart won't be released until tomorrow. I'm not expecting too many changes to the one put out in preparation of the South Florida game which never got played.

In the meantime, Virginia has released its depth chart. Just four offensive starters (left tackle Jack English, quarterback Kurt Benkert, receivers Doni Dowling and Olanide Zaccheas) are listed as starters. Three starting offensive linemen have graduated including Eric Smith who made the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent while last year's starting right guard Jack McDonald (one of two New Englanders on Virginia's 2016 roster) is now listed as a backup.

It's a different story on the defensive side of the ball with seven players who started against the Huskies a season ago listed as starters including Andrew Brown who had 3 1/2 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery against the Huskies as it seemed as if he was in the backfield as much as the UConn running backs. Micah Kiser and Quin Blanding had 11 tackles each, Chris Peace, Eli Hanback and Juan Thornhill also return. They combined for 44 tackles and 6 tackles for loss in the 2016 game.

Barring any changes to the UConn depth chart, the Huskies would return eight offensive starters and seven on the defensive side of the ball from the 2016 contest. The week without a game figures to be beneficial for linebackers Vontae Diggs and Junior Joseph, both coming off injuries.

Also, yesterday the ACC announced some adjustments to the TV assignments meaning that instead of the game being aired on ESPNU on Saturday at noon, it will be televised on ESPN2 with Jason Benetti (play by play), former NFL quarterback Kelly Stouffer (color commentator) and Kris Budden (sideline reporter) calling the game.

Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall was on a teleconference earlier today and only one question about UConn was asked unless you count the mention of Andrew Brown tormenting the UConn offense in the '16 game.

Q. With UConn's game getting cancelled last week, have you had to rely more on last year's Maryland tapes and your personal knowledge of playing UConn than anything you've been able to see this year?

Bronco Mendenhall:
What I've done at least from my standpoint as more of a defensive-emphasis coach, it's relying some more on Auburn. That's where their offensive coordinator has come from. So, what I saw in game one against Holy Cross, and Holy Cross played really well in that game. Did a nice job defensively. But I've seen some similarities between what UConn did in week one to what Auburn has done. So I think that's the genesis of their offensive coordinator. That's where he learned under Gus Malzahn. So I think that would be probably a safer bet than where the head coach came from in this case. That's normal for any -- unless the head coach is a coordinator on one side, it's really more tracking where the coordinators are coming from, much like their defensive coordinator at Villanova. If I remember correctly. So, it would be for our offensive staff, it's probably more looking at that. Again, unless the head coach is a coordinator.

There's good news and bad news on the alumni front.

With injuries at the receiver position, the Los Angeles promoted former UConn WR Geremy Davis to the active roster for tonight's game.

Davis had nine catches in the preseason for the Chargers. He played in three regular-season games with the team a season ago but did not have a reception as his only two regular-season catches came when he was with the New York Giants.

Also, a reporter from Denmark has reported that Andreas Knappe will be brought in for a tryout by the Indianapolis Colts. Knappe was signed by the Falcons but did not make the squad.

However, the news is not as positive for Ryan Griffin as Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien told reporters today that Griffin was one of the players expected to miss next week's game. Griffin left the season opener due to a concussion. His next catch with be the 100th of his NFL career.


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