10-Day Hoo Preview: Nick’s Keys to the Season

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The 2006 edition of Virginia football has many question marks. Some have labeled it a rebuilding year, while some see the potential for a surprising season. No matter what your stance, there are some things that must happen this year for the Hoos to have a chance at a successful season. I have prepared my take on what should be the five most important keys to a solid 2006 campaign.

Quarterback Play

Christian Olsen’s play at quarterback will have a lot to do with UVa’s success.

The biggest question for most coming into the 2006 season is how starting QB Christian Olsen will perform. Besides offensive line cohesion, I am not concerned about any other aspect of the offense except for Olsen. The running back position is talented and deep, and the WRs are the best the Hoos have had for years. The TE corps is the best in the country and there are many home-run hitting options. The question is can Olsen play well enough to use the weapons he has on offense?

While he won’t blow anyone away with his athletic ability and he doesn’t make the flashy throws, Olsen does know the offense and has confidence that he can get the job done. He also has the size that Marques Hagans lacked to see over the offensive line and find the open man downfield. That will be the primary difference between Hagans and Olsen, aside from the fact that Olsen is not going to beat anyone with his feet. If the offensive line gives him time to find receivers and he can set and throw, the passing game overall should be just as effective, if not more so, this year.

The running game will make Olsen’s job a lot easier if it can get the ball rolling and establish a physical presence on the ground. Effectively running the football with Jason Snelling and crew will pull linebackers and safeties forward and will make play-action passes effective, especially with the group of TEs at Olsen’s disposal. Good play-calling that mixes