RB Wali Lundy

2002 Statistics

Coach: Al Groh
14-12, 2 years
2002 Record: 9-5
COLORADO STATE LOST 29-35
at Florida State LOST 19-40
SOUTH CAROLINA WON 34-21
AKRON WON 48-29
at Wake Forest WON 38-34
at Duke WON 27-22
CLEMSON WON 22-17
NORTH CAROLINA WON 37-27
at Georgia Tech LOST 15-23
at Penn State LOST 14-35
NC STATE WON 14-9
MARYLAND WON 48-13
at Virginia Tech LOST 9-21
CONTINENTAL TIRE BOWL
West Virginia WON 48-22


2002 Final Rankings
AP-22, Coaches-25, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Al Groh has done a remarkable job rebuilding the Virginia football program in a very short time. He has brought in two outstanding recruiting classes and is poised to add a third. Groh played 10 true freshmen last season, and he says the 12 he red-shirted are comparable in talent. In short, Virginia is now possibly the most talented team in the ACC.

The Cavaliers are not National Championship-caliber yet. Defense is their main issue. Finishing 100th in overall defense for all of I-A by allowing 425 yards per contest will not get any team into the BCS, let alone a competitive conference's crown. They will win or come close in the ACC, a title which would validate Groh's hard work. The recently upgraded facilities in Charlottesville combined with a developing track record of success make Virginia a national power many will overlook.

The slate starts off with easier games until their seventh tilt. Then FSU, NC St, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech make up the last half of their 2003 challenge. Virginia should have its secondary in place and confidently playing as a unit once these five are on tap. But there is too much talent for Virginia to sweep their tougher foes. They will escape by season's end with no more than three losses.

When coaching 18-22 year olds, it is easy to allow confidence to displace actual quality-play. Knowing how much better they will be by 2004, look for this group to look past beatable opponents and lose close ones as the secondary learns. They may under-achieve, yet will develop extensively and win enough for a New Year's Day bowl appearance. One to Groh on, so to speak.


Projected 2003 record: 9-3
OFFENSIVE MVP
QB Matt Schaub
DEFENSIVE MVP
CB Almondo Curry
TOP NEWCOMER
LB Kai Parham
VIRGINIA
*POWER RATINGS
Offense
Defense
QB - 5 DL - 4
RB - 4.5 LB - 4
WR - 3 DB - 3.5
OL - 4.5 ..
RETURNING LEADERS

Passing: Matt Schaub, 418-288-7, 2976 yds., 28 TD's

Rushing: Wali Lundy, 196 att., 826 yds., 6 TD's

Receiving: Wali Lundy, 58 rec., 435 yds., 4 TD's

Scoring: Wali Lundy, 10 TD's, 60 pts.

Punting: Tom Hagan, 62 punts, 36.7 avg.

Kicking: Kurt Smith, 7-12 FG, 22-24 PAT, 43 pts.

Tackles: Darryl Blackstock, 107 tot., 66 solo

Sacks: Darryl Blackstock, 10 sacks

Interceptions: Almondo Curry, 2 for 33 yds.

Kickoff returns: Wali Lundy, 17 ret., 24.1 avg.

Punt returns: Marques Hagans, 29 ret., 9.0 avg

 

LB Darryl Blackstock
VIRGINIA
OFFENSE - 9
----RETURNING STARTERS----
DEFENSE - 8
KEY LOSSES
OFFENSE: Billy McMullen-WR, Mike Mullins-OT
DEFENSE: Angelo Crowell-ILB, Merrill Robertson-ILB, Shernard Newby-S, Jerton Evans-S
2003 OFFENSE

written by James Johnson

Virginia will feature the returning ACC Offensive Player of the Year from 2002, senior quarterback Matt Schaub. He set school records with 3,010 passing yards and 28 TDs while completing nearly 70% of his passes. Schaub is not a scrambler, but his size (6'5", 235 lbs.) makes it difficult for a single defender to bring him down. He does not possess the strongest arm, but his uncanny accuracy is a perfect fit for the Cavaliers' offensive system. He has an inherent touch on short, precision passes to the running backs and tight ends. Offensive success is practically guaranteed if he again throws only 7 INTs in nearly 400 tries. Not enough can be said about the player who made this passing game 7th ranked in 2002 overall efficiency.

The Cavaliers' feature running back will be sophomore Wali Lundy, who gained nearly 1,700 all-purpose yards in 2002 between his rushing, receiving, and kickoff return duties. He will need to continue that type of production against the top teams for Virginia to have a big season, which should happen if he stays healthy. Speaking of health, junior Alvin Pearman (5'10", 194 lbs.) is a capable backup to Lundy if he can stay on the field. Junior Marquis Weeks (5'11", 206 lbs.) also played well in spot duty last season, giving Virginia a deep, talented group of running backs. FB Jason Snelling emerged in his freshmen year to surprise all with 31 receptions. He should be Groh's choice to open holes. He can occupy LBs regardless as he cannot be ignored in defensive schemes. Snelling need only put more onto his 225 pound frame to secure a starting spot. Otherwise, look for senior returning-starter Kase Luzar to lead the way. He rolls over defenders, but isn't looked to for much ball handling. Either way, this position is a 'strength' and will compliment the O-line well, regardless.

The Cavaliers' offensive line is one of the best in the ACC, featuring four returning starters. Three are outstanding. C Zac Yarbrough (junior, 6'4", 275 lbs.), who worked his way up from fourth string into the 2002 starting lineup, will be joined by returning pancake-maker Kevin Bailey (junior, 6'6", 294 lbs.). Bailey, who can play at any OL position, was considered one of the best offensive linemen in the nation until he tore up his knee. LT D'Brickshaw Ferguson (sophomore, 6'5", 265 lbs.) will need to bulk up this spring. His weight had dropped down to 250 by late in the season, much too small for a major-college OT. Let's not forget Elton Brown, who just may be the most dominant lineman on either side of the ball. This group is proven adept at both run blocking and pass blocking despite starting two sophomore and two freshmen most of 2002. With another year together and the return of Bailey, this will be an outstanding unit. Their stability will be key to getting the passing game going. The O-line's 22 sacks allowed will improve, meaning the receivers can establish their longer routes and become the deep threats needed.

Virginia will need to fill a gaping hole in their receiving corps following the graduation of Billy McMullen, the second leading receiver in ACC history. Senior Michael McGrew (6'2", 200 lbs.) will be the go-to-guy this season, but he won't be able to fill McMullen's shoes. The Cavaliers did not look to throw the ball downfield much last season, but they at least had the threat. This season, defenses will play tighter to the line of scrimmage unless McGrew or one of the younger receivers surprisingly emerges as a big-play threat. But with Schaub at the helm, it could easily happen.

Head Coach Al Groh still has to replace departed Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave, who took the same position with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Musgrave received much of the credit for the development of Matt Schaub and effective play calling. With much of last year's personnel returning this season, Groh will need to make a selection that will maintain the continuity of the offensive system or else risk taking a step back. We will keep you updated on any hires.

 

QB Matt Schaub

 

VIRGINIA 2003 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in bold
OFFENSE
QB Matt Schaub-Sr (6-5, 240) Anthony Martinez-Fr (6-3, 249)
FB Kase Luzar-Sr (6-2, 236) Jason Snelling-So (6-1, 228)
TB Wali Lundy-So (6-1, 212) Marquis Weeks-Jr (5-11, 210)
WR Ryan Sawyer-Sr (6-2, 209) Marques Hagans-So (5-10, 207)
WR Michael McGrew-Sr (6-2, 200) Art Thomas-Sr (6-2, 205)
TE Heath Miller-So (6-5, 254) Patrick Estes-Jr (6-7, 262)
OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson-So (6-5, 265) Tom Howell-Jr (6-4, 286)
OG Brian Barthelmes-So (6-7, 286) Ron Darden-Fr (6-4, 309)
C Kevin Bailey-Sr (6-6, 293) Zac Yarbrough-Jr (6-4, 275)
OG Elton Brown-Jr (6-6, 333) Mark Farrington-Jr (6-2, 280)
OT Brad Butler-So (6-8, 274) Davon Robb-Fr (6-8, 259)
K Connor Hughes-So (6-0, 178) Kurt Smith-So (6-1, 181)

 

2003 DEFENSE

written by James Johnson

Despite losing their two leading tacklers, Virginia's linebackers are talented and aggressive, even if a bit young. They are led by sophomore Darryl Blackstock (6'4", 226 lbs.), who successfully made the transition from high school DE to collegiate OLB. He led the nation's freshmen with ten sacks (an ACC freshman record) and totaled over 100 tackles. The pressure is on him to maintain production without Crowell or Robertson to draw helmets away from him. He will be up to the task.

Adding depth to the linebacking corps are two players originally signed in 2002, Ahmad Brooks and Kai Parham. Parham fought a back problem last season, and Brooks was ineligible, but these two highly touted recruits will see significant playing time this season.

The Cavaliers, who play a three-man defensive line, return all three starters. The key player here is junior DE Chris Canty (6'7, 290 lbs.). Canty led all ACC defensive linemen in tackles with 86 as he recovered three fumbles. He was slowed early in 2002 while recovering from a broken leg suffered in spring drills. His presence was critical in developing a very strong defense against the run, with opponents averaging only 3.5 yards per carry. Canty will team with sophomore DE Brennan Schmidt (6'3", 274 lbs.) and junior NT Andrew Hoffman (6'5", 282 lbs.) to form a strong, athletic defensive line which will again be very difficult to run on. Their ability to occupy blockers by requiring double-teams will give the linebackers a lot or room to roam, make plays, and disrupt opposing offenses. Many are skeptical after allowing opponents 4.6 yards per rush and having the 108th ranked run-stopping show in I-A. Maturity on the line with these LBs should go a long way toward reversing those numbers. If an offense can fend off the surge of Virginia's front-seven, they will find the Cavaliers' secondary highly attackable.

Virginia loses S Jeron Evans, and doesn't appear to have a playmaker to replace him. Two seniors will start at CB, Almondo Curry (5'8", 178 lbs.) and Jamaine Winborne (5'10", 206 lbs.). They are both solid cover men, but their height makes it difficult for them to match up man-to-man against bigger receivers.

Willie Davis (6'2, 185) started last year as a freshman and will hold down one safety spot, while junior Jay Dorsey (6'2, 191 lbs.) has the inside track for the other. Neither player figures to be a standout and, by default, each will be wearing a bulls-eye as the likely targets for offensive coordinators' game plan(s). Overall, the secondary will not give up excessive big plays, but they won't make them either. A team that can control the Cavaliers' pass rush will be able to utilize a ball-control passing game to move the ball. This group will be in trouble in man-to-man if eight go into the box.

Neither linemen, Schmidt nor Hoffman, recorded any 2002 sacks. They have the build to put up a few each, and they cannot rely on LBs to cover this base. If LBs are required to put pressure on opposing QBs, the susceptible secondary will never establish its presence as a unit.

 

DE Chris Canty

 

VIRGINIA 2003 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in bold
DEFENSE
DE Brennan Schmidt-So (6-3, 269) Braden Campbell-So (6-5, 278)
NT Andrew Hoffman-Jr (6-5, 285) Melvin Massey-So (6-2, 262)
DE Chris Canty-Jr (6-7, 280) Kwakou Robinson-So (6-4, 327)
OLB Raymond Mann-Sr (6-1, 233) Jon Thompson-Jr (6-1, 219)
ILB Bryan White-Jr (6-2, 227) Ahmad Brooks-Fr (6-4, 249)
ILB Rich Bedesem-Jr (6-2, 232) Kai Parham-Fr (6-3, 238)
OLB Darryl Blackstock-So (6-4, 230) Dennis Haley-Jr (6-1, 241)
CB Almondo Curry-Sr (5-8, 175) Marcus Hamilton-Fr (6-0, 187)
CB Jamaine Winborne-Sr (5-10, 202) Tony Franklin-Fr (5-11, 186)
S Willie Davis-So (6-2, 185) Lance Evans-Fr (6-4, 200)
S Jermaine Hardy-Jr (5-11, 208) Jay Dorsey-Jr (6-2, 191)
P Tom Hagan-So (6-2, 176) ..

 

 

2003 SPECIAL TEAMS

Both of Virginia's 2002 kicking positions were manned by freshmen, so they will have experienced specialists returning this season. Connor Hughes received his shot at the placekicking job and made 5 of 6 attempts, with a long of 47 yards. He will be a valuable weapon in close ACC games, winning a few for Al. Punter Tom Hagan kicked to a mediocre (at best) average of 36.7 last year, with a team net of 30.2, 107th in I-A. Groh will not accept it lightly if his special teams perform again at this level.

The kickoff returns will be ably handled by Marquis Weeks, who returned one 100 yards for a touchdown. Wali Lundy and Willie Davis also enjoyed some success returning kickoffs last season, giving the Cavaliers unusual depth at this position.

Establishing strong candidates to fill Marques Hagan's KO return slot will be a priority in spring practice. More on this as it develops.

 

Last year's backup QB Marques Hagans will see more time at WR this fall, putting his athletic abilities to good use. He is far too talented to be standing on the sideline, and his presence outside the tackles will boost the Cavalier offense. This move has promoted RSF Anthony Martinez to the #2 QB spot, where he will get some stiff competition from incoming frosh Kevin McCabe… RB Marquis Weeks carried the ball often and effectively this spring. Given the Cavs like to throw the ball to Wali Lundy, it is important that guys like Weeks, Michael Johnson and Alvin Pearman stay healthy and provide a salubrious stable of backs behind him… Incoming recruit, Jordan Lipsey, might see time at center this season, if injuries persist on the offensive line. That gives the Cavaliers three solid players who can suit up at the position… Al Groh has been cross-training players at two positions, creating the ultimate depth scenario. Maybe most notably is Kase Luzar, who focused more at TE, leaving Jason Snelling the lead at FB.


Redshirt frosh Kai Parham has wowed coaches and teammates alike with his stellar play at "Mike" linebacker this spring. Groh says the offense had a hard time throwing a block on him, allowing him to move freely and engulf ball carriers. The status of his classmate, Ahmad Brooks, is uncertain. Brooks found himself in legal trouble this May and his playing status is unknown. He would certainly be a great product for this defense, as he is being touted as "the next LaVar Arrington". I'm telling ya, this is a STRONG group at LB… Safety Jermaine Hardy has shifted over from CB to give Virginia a dose of "healthy aggressiveness" as well as defensive intelligence in the back four. Tony Franklin, who is normally a tailback, has been practicing at CB this spring and will likely see time as a backup this season. With so much depth at the TB spot, Franklin's athleticism will be much more appreciated in the secondary. Safety Art Thomas has been moved to WR this year, in an effort to bring out the talent and speed he possesses.

It shouldn't be hard to find Ryan Sawyer this season. In addition to offense, you'll see #37 on every special teams unit this fall… With Hagans' move to WR, the 'Hoos will now be able to keep him back deep returning punts - an area he proved to do very well in last season.