Preseason predictions: Virginia

July, 23, 2009
7/23/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

VIRGINIA

1. Al Groh will not lose his job. Anyone can see that this is a transition year for the Cavaliers, and that includes athletic director Craig Littlepage. In addition to the numerous offseason staff changes that were made -- including a new offensive coordinator -- Groh has to replace three of his best linebackers, his top four receivers and his leading rusher, just to name a few. He has to find a quarterback he can depend on, and he has three he can choose from, which is a much better scenario that it was last year. It doesn't seem to be the time to make a change considering changes were made in the form of five new assistants.

2. Gregg Brandon's offense will struggle in the first year without the playmakers to execute it. A year ago, it probably would have flourished with receivers like Kevin Ogletree and Maurice Covington. Now the most visible face of the offense is Mikell Simpson, and he faded from the picture last year after making a name for himself in 2007. The offense will have to consist of more than just Simpson, though, to have the effect Brandon would probably like it to have.

3. Two quarterbacks will play. Jameel Sewell still has to compete for his old job, but he's a capable runner who led the team to a 9-4 season in 2007. Vic Hall, a former cornerback, is an exciting new option but a little undersized at 5-foot-9. And Marc Verica, though he struggled with the interceptions, gained some valuable experience last year. They all bring different attributes to the table and playing more than one would certainly make it tougher for defenses to prepare each week. Playing both Sewell and Hall could be the best option.

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