Deep Backfield Adds To Cavs’ Weapons

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Mikell Simpson will look to rebound in 2009.

Despite the loss of Cedric Peerman , the Cavaliers enter 2009 with a surprisingly full back field, complete with proven talent and experience. Mikell Simpson , the break-out story of 2007, returns to try and resurrect his stride after a tough campaign last season. Rashawn Jackson , the do-it all back, looks to continue his versatility in a variety of two-back sets. The depth continues with Raynard Horne and Keith Payne , both of whom have game experience. Finally, Torrey Mack looks to get in the mix at some point this season after redshirting in 2008.

Virginia coach Al Groh was quick to acknowledge the potential depth in the backfield.

“We do have quite a few candidates there that all have versatile skills and they are all going to get a chance to compete for the spot,” Groh said during a Wednesday teleconference. “As it has really over the last eight years, the offense calls for good versatility with these players. So we’ll be making use of all of those guys.”

The Cavaliers have to be counting on Simpson for big chunks of offense. After exploding for 605 yards on 113 carries (avg. 5.0) his sophomore season, Simpson never got going on the same level last season, averaging only 3.1 yards a carry. Platooning with Cedric Peerman , Simpson seemed to struggle in his role.

“Certainly there were situations early in the year where he seemed to be trying to do to much with the ball. We addressed that at that particular time but its certainly worthwhile to keep our eye on and we are keeping our eye on it here in the early going,” Groh said. “Hopefully it doesn’t revert back to that. As you might have noticed last year, not only the overall