Cavalier Camp: "Big E" Playing Goal-Line D

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Elton Brown

Virginia’s opponents already know that Elton Brown is a devastating blocker. This season they might find out how difficult it is to block him. The 6-6, 338-pound senior, an All-America candidate at right guard, was practicing as a defensive lineman during goal-line drills Sunday.

Brown lined up next to nose tackle Andrew Hoffman and took part in a handful of plays with the ball placed inside the 2-yard line. The offense scored on most of them, with guard Ron Darden driving Brown backward on one occasion. Brown helped plug the middle of the line on several plays, including one in which linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Kai Parham stuffed Wali Lundy behind the line.

“I was just joking around with Coach [Ron] Prince, but he said I should give it a shot,” Brown said. “The first play I could have made the play in the backfield, I thought. Second play I got a little high and Ron crushed me. It showed me what I need to work on. It was fun, though.”

Whether the move is simply an experiment remains to be seen, but Brown says he hopes to play defense in goal-line situations during the season. Why not? UVa coach Al Groh likes putting a bunch of big bodies on the line when the defense can’t afford to give up ground, and the Cavaliers don’t have any bodies bigger than Brown’s.

It’s not the first time Brown has played defense at UVa. As a true freshman, he played goal-line defense in five games, recording his only tackle against Maryland. He also moved into the starting lineup at right guard late in the season. Ever since then, he has focused on offense, dropping out of the defensive mix. Last year he won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy given to the top blocker in the ACC, as voted by the league’s defensive coordinators.

Now, perhaps, he is ready to play both positions again. A two-way player in high school, he was rated the No. 17 defensive lineman in the country by ESPN.com.

As Groh often says of Brown, “This is a

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