Cavalier Camping: Which Rookies are Ready?

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The Cavaliers closed their practices 10 days ago, so camp news has been hard to come by. But Coach Groh offered some information today during a teleconference with reporters. He talked about the true freshmen who are likely to play in the season opener, Tony Franklin’s work at safety and the status of Ahmad Brooks .

Fab Five freshmen

Eugene Monroe

Of the 29 true freshmen on UVa’s roster, 23 of whom are on scholarship, Groh mentioned five who are likely to see action in the Sept. 3 opener against Western Michigan.

Three of them are on offense: guards Eugene Monroe and Brandon Albert, and tight end John Phillips . The other two are linebacker Aaron Clark and cornerback Mike Brown.

Groh has spoken highly of all five at different times during training camp. Monroe and Albert were considered outstanding tackle prospects, but both have been working at guard because the Cavaliers have two standout senior tackles in D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Brad Butler. More playing time is available at guard behind Brian Barthelmes and Marshal Ausberry .

Groh said Monroe and Albert may move to tackle in the spring – or not. “It might turn out they’re such good guards, they’ll stay there forever,” he said.

Phillips is behind sophomores Tom Santi and Jon Stupar on the depth chart, but he has impressed UVa’s coaches and has earned playing time. His emergence should allow Virginia to use more two-tight end sets and allow Santi to play more of an H-back role at times.

Clark has emerged from a group of six freshmen linebackers and will provide depth at outside linebacker behind Jermaine Dias