Cavaliers Get Back To Work

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Jameel Sewell took more snaps than many expected during UVa’s first spring practice.

With less than six months remaining until the opening kickoff of the 2007 season at Wyoming, the Virginia football team got its preparations under way on Wednesday afternoon as the Cavaliers held their first spring practice.

Virginia’s players looked ecstatic to be back on the field together for the first time since November. The Cavaliers are hoping that a strong 2007 season will help erase the memories of last year’s substandard 5-7 campaign that ended without a bowl trip.

“That was tough,” quarterback Jameel Sewell said of missing out on the bowl experience. “I got calls from my teammates saying that we have some stepping up to do. We’re planning on getting somewhere big time this year and making it happen.”

Heading into practice, it was unclear how extensive Sewell’s participation would be due to the wrist surgery he underwent in December.

“It was terrible,” Sewell said. “The first two weeks I didn’t move off my bed because the pain was real, real bad in my wrist. But after those first two weeks it kind of eased up.”

Despite the fact that his wrist was still wrapped up, the sophomore signal-caller led Virginia’s first-team offense throughout Wednesday’s practice.

“I’m extremely happy,” Sewell said. “I didn’t expect that I’d be able to do any of this at all this quickly. I just feel good.”

Both Sewell’s health and his development as a player will be key factors for Virginia in the upcoming season. The Cavaliers lack an experienced backup QB so there may not be any convincing options for UVa coach Al Groh to turn to if Sewell struggles or goes down with an injury.

Sewell started the last nine games of the 2006 season for Virginia, a stretch in which the Cavaliers went 4-5. The Richmond native showed signs of potential at times but also displayed difficulty in reading opposing defenses, an area in which he has been working hard to improve.