Inside The Game – Maryland

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Rodney McLeod is drawing attention as a defensive substitute.

In Saturday’s 31-0 win against Maryland on Saturday, Virginia held the Terrapins to 4 of 13 on third down conversions. The Cavaliers’ success on defense in that area can be attributed at least partially to the more frequent use of the dime substitution package. The dime features six defensive backs, including true freshman Rodney McLeod .

In UVa’s case, the DBs on the dime usually have been McLeod, Vic Hall, Ras-Dowling, Chase Minnifield /Mike Parker, Byron Glaspy, and Corey Mosley . McLeod and Hall play on the inside in the place of linebackers; Hall substitutes for Denzel Burrell while McLeod subs in for Jon Copper. Dowling and Parker play on the outside while Glaspy and Mosley remain as the safeties.

Virginia held Richmond to 1 of 12 and Duke to 8 of 17 on third down earlier this season.

“We are [pleased with the substitution defense]. It was real good against Richmond – I think we won 12 out of 13 or something like that and it was real good the other night and actually it was pretty decent the week before [at Duke],” Groh said Sunday. “It’s been pretty decent. It’s making progress. As I’ve mentioned here on a few occasions, we’ve got a lot of young players on it. Substitution defenses are not really something that are featured in high school football where you’re going from regular to nickel or dime or whatever. This is the first time through for some of these guys experiencing that. It’s one-play football. … It’s made nice progress and the interjection of those players has added some athletic ability to it. They’ve got a lot of technique work to do, but they do have some athletic ability and that’s kind of juiced things up a little bit on that side.”

McLeod made a great play against Maryland tight end Dan Gronkowski as JHoo referenced in his 10 Things article (see related