Post-Spring Analysis: The Offense

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Wali Lundy’s superb spring means the running game should be in good hands.

In some ways, this was an especially important spring for the Virginia offense. Given the problems with the passing game in the latter half of last season, the coaches needed to start coming up with some solutions. They also needed to begin resolving issues on the offensive line, create a tentative depth chart and figure out which young players will be ready to make an impact this fall. Were the Cavs successful? Well, yes and no.

The biggest problem this spring, of course, was the number of missing bodies. Granted, this was a larger issue on defense, but some key members of the offense also were out for a variety of reasons. It’s hard to plan for next season without knowing what to expect from these guys…

  • Michael Johnson – As he enters his fourth year in the program, MJ still hasn’t found his niche. Injuries have slowed him down, most recently the sports hernia that sidelined him this spring. He’s also been stuck behind other talented tailbacks on the depth chart. He can fly; we all know that. But it’s unclear whether Johnson has progressed enough in other areas – pass protection, receiving, holding onto the ball, breaking tackles – to warrant a lot of playing time. He’ll surely get a chance to return kicks and punts in the fall. But missing the spring delayed his development as an all-around back, and that’s a shame.
  • Ron Darden – If he’s healthy and fit this fall, the 327-pound junior will be a viable candidate to replace Elton Brown at right guard. But Darden has a medical condition that Coach Groh has described as “perplexing” to doctors. He didn’t participate in the spring and his status is a significant question mark.
  • Tom Santi – As a true freshman, Santi saw plenty of action at fullback, catching 13 passes. He’s back at his natural position, tight end, but he didn’t play this spring following shoulder surgery. It would have helped Santi
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