2005 Spring Outlook: The Defense

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What follows is a position-by-position analysis of the Virginia defense as the Cavaliers wrap up their first week of the spring practice period. I’ll look at how each position graded out last season, mention who’s missing, take a stab at the depth chart, discuss what’s solid and shaky, and highlight a player to watch at each spot.

Eligibility noted will be as of Fall 2005.

Defensive line

2004 Sabre Edge Grade: B+

The defensive line for the most part produced what was expected in 2004, before and after Chris Canty’s departure. Clearly the Cavaliers did a much better job of stopping the run. They shaved 53.1 yards per game off their 2003 rush defense totals, allowing an average of 108.6 yards on the ground.

Key Personnel Losses: Andrew Hoffman (nose tackle), Chris Canty (end), Coach Mike London

Depth Chart

Chris Johnson

Defensive End

  • Brennan Schmidt, Sr. 6-3/269
  • Kwakou Robinson, Sr. 6-4/327
  • Allen Billyk , So. 6-4/255

    Nose Tackle

  • Melvin Massey, Sr. 6-1/267
  • Keenan Carter , So. 6-1/324

    Defensive End

  • Chris Long , So. 6-4/265
  • Chris Johnson, So. 6-6/265

    What’s solid? Brennan Schmidt has been one of most consistent performers on the defensive front over the last three seasons. He has 224 career tackles, including six sacks, and 30 quarterback hurries. He is a stabilizing force on the defensive line but his biggest asset may be his leadership. A team captain in 2004, Schmidt commands the respect of his teammates both for his communication skills and his play on the field. He’s out with a shoulder injury this spring but will be back for preseason camp.

    What’s shaky? Although uncertain may be a more accurate description than shaky, virtually every position on the defensive line besides Schmidt’s

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