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There were as many safeties (three) as there were touchdowns in a game that produced no clear-cut starting quarterback.
MATT RILEY | UVa Media Relations
Quarterback Greyson Lambert went 21-of-36 for 248 yards and two touchdowns in Virginia’s spring game Saturday.
[MATT RILEY | UVa Media Relations
Quarterback David Watford started the UVa spring game with the first-team offense.]
Sunday, April 7, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — To anybody who would say that all spring football games are alike, Virginia made a rather convincing argument to the contrary Saturday.
How many times have you seen a game where teams scored three times on safeties?
“Never,” UVa coach Mike London said. “This was a first.”
After the first- and second-team offenses each scored on their first possession, there was one touchdown the rest of the day as the Orange team held off the Blue 18-15.
UVa’s defense was credited with 14 sacks, a misleading figure considering that whistles blew and plays were called dead as soon as a defender touched the quarterbacks.
On two of the three sacks, it was quarterback David Watford who was sacked in the end zone.
Under normal rules, how many of the two-hand touches would have been sacks?
“Oh, man, playing against David Watford, I don’t know,” said sophomore defensive end Eli Harold, a rising sophomore. “He’s a pretty shifty guy, but we got after him.”
New defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, a former UVa defensive back who has coached for some of college football’s premier programs, is known for his attacking style.
“I love him,” Harold said. “He’ll get on you, but he fits my style perfectly.”
Senior Brent Urban, who began to emerge after moving from defensive end to tackle, was credited with 3 ½ sacks Saturday.
“Starting with the second half of the  season, I began to figure things out,” said Urban, a 6-foot-7, 280-pound Canadian who was a defensive end for his first three years. “With coach Tenuta’s defense, there’s always a guy open to make a play.”
Harold said, “He compliments my game a lot, which is better for me and better for him.”
A crowd in UVa’s customary 7,500 spring-game range might have hoped to see some separation between quarterbacks Watford, Greyson Lambert and Phillip Sims, but the no-contact rules made that difficult.
“You tell yourself, “No way I would have been sacked,’ ” said Sims, who played in all 12 games last season, four as a starter, “but, when the bullets start flying, who really knows?”
Watford, a 2011 back-up who was redshirted last season, has been listed atop the depth chart all spring and took the field with the first offense as it opened play against the first defense.
Five of the first six offensive plays went for 10 yards or more, capped by a 17-yard Watford scoring run.
The second offense needed only eight plays to score against the second defense on a 5-yard pass from Lambert to tight end Rob Burns, a converted defensive end.
Earlier in the drive, Lambert had completed a 36-yard pass to Adrian Gamble that held up as the longest play of the day.
Lambert, who played for both the Orange and Blue teams but was wearing white like all the other quarterbacks, finished 21-of-36 for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
Lambert had more attempts than the other two quarterbacks combined, but that was not by design. Thirteen of his attempts came on a 15-play scrimmage-ending drive that enabled UVa to work on its two-minute offense.
Sims was 8-of-18 for 89 yards, and Watford was 4-of-10 for 55 yards. None of the quarterbacks was intercepted, although a Watford pass slipped through the hands of cornerback Drequan Hoskey on the first offensive snap. There were no fumbles.
Virginia will have three more practices, none open to the public, before wrapping up spring workouts next Saturday. UVa has gone this route before, although the spring game almost always has represented the end of spring practice.
Numerous awards were announced at halftime, including the selection of sophomore defensive tackle David Dean and junior tight end Zachary Swanson as winners of the Rock Weir Award as the most improved players during the spring.
Dean’s progress has been particularly timely, given that likely starter Chris Brathwaite has been placed on one-year academic suspension. Swanson, the Cavaliers’ starting fullback in 2012, has the size (6 foot 6, 255 pounds) to become the blocking threat that UVa may have lacked without the move.
Harold and defensive back Maurice Canady received the Bill Dudley Award for all-around contributions as freshmen, and Urban and Watford were designated as Iron Cavaliers for their performance in the weight room.
London also announced that two-year long snapper Matt Fortin has been placed on scholarship and that he has selected 10 to 12 players to be part of a leadership council. Game captains would replace permanent captains.
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