Why or Why Not? 2008 Predictions

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As the final few days of July falling off the calendar, football fever is heating up for many. With Virginia’s season opener roughly one month away, The Sabre decided to take a look at some preseason football thoughts in “Why or Why Not?” The Sabre’s Greg Waters tackles seven predictions – Kevin Ogletree will have 70+ receptions for example – and tells you whether they will happen or not.

Jon Copper has led the team in tackles and total plays the last two seasons.

Jon Copper will lead the team in tackles for a third consecutive season.

Yes and here’s why … There’s no reason to suspect this won’t happen again in 2008. Copper has a nose for the football and seems to always be around the action from his middle linebacker spot. I also suspect more teams will look to run the football early in the year as the Hoos replace virtually the entire defensive front from 2007. That should mean even more stop opportunities for Copper. One other key factor, Copper is one of the most durable players on the team. He participated in 974 plays last fall and 785 in 2006, the most on the defense in either season and if he remains healthy look for the senior to lead the team in tackles and plays again in 2008.

Virginia will stay within two touchdowns of USC.

Yes, and here’s why … Despite the fact that the Trojans have won their last 10 season openers by a 36-11 margin, Virginia will keep things close. Why? Like Virginia the Trojans have some questions on offense as they break in a new QB, replace four new members of the offensive line, and replace some key players at the wide receiver position – I don’t look for the USC attack to be firing on all cylinders in game one. A date with Ohio State looms just two weeks following the Virginia game and it’s hard not to suspect the Men of Troy might be looking ahead a little.

The strength for the Trojans this season offensively is the running game so expect USC to eat some clock on the ground, try to keep everyone healthy for OSU, and