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Virginia quarterback David Watford (5) fumbles as he is sacked by Pittsburgh defensive lineman Aaron Donald (97) in the fourth quarter Saturday in Pittsburgh. Watford recovered his own fumble. Pittsburgh won 14-3.
Monday, September 30, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE - Virginia quarterback David Watford was so disgusted with the outcome of the Cavaliers' game Saturday at Pittsburgh that he didn't shower before boarding the team bus.
Besides, he wasn't done throwing.
Watford could be seen on UVa's practice field, tossing passes to wide receivers Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell after the team plane touched down in Charlottesville.
"Then, Sunday morning, we got all the receivers up and we were out throwing and running routes," Watford said. "It was not full-speed. We were just throwing and catching, but that's the most important thing we have to work on."
Head coach Mike London said Virginia receivers dropped 10 passes Saturday in a 14-3 loss at Pittsburgh, where Watford was 15 of 37 for 123 yards.
"I didn't let [the drops] get to me during the game," Watford said. "After the game, it was frustrating because those are plays that normally my guys could make.
"I always say, if they're dropping it, I have to change something up, too. I've got to put it in a place where they can catch it easier. Some of the drops were hard catches.
"I have to take more accountability for that, just be more accurate. I can't blame it all on them. It's my fault as well."
London's unhappiness with the wide receivers was evident from the depth chart released by UVa on Monday.
At the three receiver spots, veterans Jennings, Terrell and Tim Smith were all listed as co-starters with two other receivers.
Keeon Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound true freshman who has not played in a game, was listed as a co-starter with Jennings, a junior who has 82 career receptions.
London compared Johnson to Max Valles, a true freshman outside linebacker who had 2 1⁄2
sacks Saturday after playing a total of seven snaps up to that point.
"You see that and you want to speed that along," London said. "Keeon has been one of those guys that you've seen make some remarkable catches in practice against our defense. Now, we've just accelerated his timetable as well."
Johnson, who would be the 11th true freshman to play for the Cavaliers this year, joins redshirt freshman Kyle Dockins as the only UVa wide receivers listed at 6-foot-3 and there are none taller.
Changes, as promised
London had said Sunday night that there would be changes on the offensive line and he lived up to his word, inserting 6-5, 280-pound true freshman Eric Smith as the starter at right tackle.
Smith, from Decatur, Ga., had been backing up senior Morgan Moses at left tackle and made his college debut Sept. 21 against VMI.
Smith, who did not play at Pittsburgh, subsequently was moved to right tackle. Sophomore Jay Whitmire, who started the first four games at right tackle, now takes over as the starter for Cody Wallace at right guard.
Wallace started at Pittsburgh in place of Conner Davis, who has a hamstring injury.
Davis and Sean Cascarano were UVa's starting guards last year, both with remaining eligibility, but a hip condition has ended Cascarano's career. London also talks frequently about Tim Cwalina, a promising 2011 line recruit who was forced to give up football.
Davis is expected to return, as is tight end Zach Swanson, who missed the Pittsburgh game after injuring a knee in a 49-0 victory over VMI.
"It's critical not having a guy of [Swanson's] caliber," said London, noting that Swanson frequently was a lead blocker in 2012 as the Cavaliers' fullback.
"He was an on-the-line tight end that could also catch the ball. Jake McGee's kind of an off-the-line tight end. You can flex him out.
"It's critical to have blocking tight ends or blocking, period. Hopefully, he [Swanson] will be back sooner rather than later, but he definitely won't be back this game."
The leading receiver for Ball State, which comes to Scott Stadium for a noon start Saturday, is junior Willie Snead IV from Belle Glade, Fla.
Snead is the son of one-time UVa wide receiver Willie Snead III, who arrived in Charlottesville with a more-heralded teammate, John Ford, who was the Cavaliers' all-time leading receiver when his career ended.
The elder Snead lettered at UVa in 1985 before transferring to Florida. He coached his son at Muskegon Heights, Mich., and is now at Palm Beach Lakes (Fla.) High School, where he is the athletic director and head coach.
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