Tuesday Press Conference Notes ’08 – ECU

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Kevin Ogletree currently has 86 career receptions and 927 career receiving yards.

Virginia’s passing game got on track Saturday against Maryland with 226 yards and 2 touchdowns coming through the air in the 31-0 victory. The top target for quarterback Marc Verica ? Junior receiver Kevin Ogletree hauled in five catches for 100 yards and both scores. The good news for UVa fans is that Ogletree’s production is more than just a flash in the pan, it’s becoming a pattern and a part of the Cavalier record books.

He now has two games this season with at least 100 yards receiving; he had 8 receptions for 103 yards against Richmond on Sept. 6. Those two performances give Ogletree three 100-yard receiving games for his career, placing him with 16 other Hoos to have at least three century mark games in a career. Only 9 players in Virginia history have had more than two 100-yard receiving games in a single season, a feat Ogletree can match with another one over the course of the next seven games. The nine players already on the list are Germane Crowell with 6 in 1997, Herman Moore with 3 in 1989 and 4 in 1990, Billy McMullen with 4 in 2001, John Ford with 4 in 1987, Terrence Wilkins with 4 in 1998, Tyrone Davis with 3 in 1994, Demetrius Allen with 3 in 1995, Sonny Randle with 3 in 1958, and Harrison Davis with 3 in 1973.

So far this season, Ogletree has 27 receptions for 318 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. He leads the team in all three categories. Ogletree’s 63.6 yards per game receiving ranks him fifth in the ACC in yards per game; his 5.4 receptions per game average ranks second in the conference. Dating back to the start of 2006, Ogletree has had at least two receptions in 16 straight games. He now has 86 career receptions, which places him 19th all-time at UVa; 14 more receptions would elevate Ogletree to the 100-catch club with only 14 other Cavaliers. The New York native also has 927 career receiving yards, moving him within 73 yards of the 1,000-yard plateau. He’ll need to surpass 1,237 career receiving yards to pass Tom Fadden and Deyon Williams for 15th place all-time.

Virginia coach Al Groh, who said that the offense moves Ogletree to different receiving spots including the slot position to “put players in positions where they can do things that they do well,” knows that the 6’2″, 189-pound junior is capable of making things happen for the Hoos.

“He obviously, as he’s shown during his time here, has the capacity to be a playmaker for us. It’s one of the things our team needs and all teams need, those guys who are capable of being playmakers to be playmakers,” Groh said. “We know that Kevin is one of those players.”

(If you missed it, check out this Sabre preseason feature on Kevin Ogletree .)

Ras-I Dowling has 3 INTs in five games this season, more than any player had in all of 2007.

Ras-Interception

True sophomore Ras-I Dowling continues to impress Virginia fans with his play at cornerback where he has recorded 15 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 3 pass break-ups this season. The 3 INTs are more than any player had in 2007.

Dowling has 5 interceptions in 16 career games, but keep in mind he didn’t really start playing beyond special teams until the Pittsburgh game, the fifth contest of the season. Plus, he barely played against Richmond in the second game of 2008. So for all intents and purposes, you could say he has 5 interceptions in 11 games. Not bad. Dowling is already half-way to joining a small group of double-digit Cavaliers – only 20 Hoos have made at least 10 career interceptions.

Thoughts On ECU

Virginia coach Al Groh and quarterback Marc Verica answered some questions about East Carolina at Tuesday’s weekly media meeting. Here are some of their thoughts on the Pirates:

“I don’t know too much about them. I haven’t seen too much film on them,” Verica said. “I did watch them briefly the other day. They’re definitely very fast, very athletic, probably one of the more athletic defenses we’ve played along with USC. It’s going to be a challenge. I’m looking forward to it.”

“I think our players are definitely acquainted with the fact that what happens to the ball is of great significance in every game, but it’s of particular significance when a team has shown a real trait to be able to do that,” Groh said of ECU’s touchdowns on two interception returns, a blocked punt, and a blocked field goal. “There are certain individuals on some teams that just have a knack for it and you can’t just say this team blocks kicks and intercepts passes, the players have to be aware of those [opposing] players that have a real knack for doing it.”

“They’re built on speed. It’s a speed style offense, spread out all across the field, wide receivers who can run, a quarterback who can run, two or three running backs who have real good speed, a tight end who is a very good vertical player. It’s definitely an offense built on speed and built for speed,” Groh said. “Defensively, that’s their game. They’re not an overly large defense. Everything is built on speed, quickness, get to the ball – pass rush games rather than power moves, those types of things.”

A Big Win

After struggling at Duke with four interceptions, UVa quarterback Marc Verica couldn’t wait to get back on the field. The next opponent turned out to be Maryland and he picked apart the Terrapins to the tune of 286 yards, 2 touchdown passes, and 1 touchdown run. Oh, he completed 25 of 34 passes for good measure.

“Anytime you play that poorly, a tough week is going to follow. You can say you’ve got to put it behind you and you can’t worry about it, but I think until you get out there again the next Saturday, it’s hard to put that behind you,” Verica said. “So I was really looking forward to this game all week just to kind of redeem myself and show my teammates, coaches, and everyone that I can play at a high level and that this team can win with me. During the week, it was wearing on me a little bit but I was just really, really, really anxious to get out there and just show everyone.”

Depth Chart Notes

Worth Noting

  • Former Cavalier lineman Gordie Sammis is now coaching in New Jersey, according to Coach Groh.
  • Defensive line coach Levern Belin moved from the coaching box to the field for the Maryland game.
  • Virginia has never defeated East Carolina in football. ECU leads the series 2-0.
  • In what seems like an odd scheduling quirk, the Pirates are playing just two games in October – Saturday at Virginia and Oct. 18 at home against Memphis. East Carolina has open dates on the other two Saturdays of the month.

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