Changes Boost Offense In Loss

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Top Scores Since 2006

48 vs. Miami in 2007
44 vs. Pitt in 2007
37 vs. Duke in 2006
35 vs. ECU in 2008
34 vs. Southern Miss in 2009*
31 vs. Maryland in 2008
* A UVa loss

After struggling on offense for the first two weeks of the season, the Virginia football team dialed up some changes for its road trip to Southern Miss on Saturday. The moves helped jumpstart the offense to the tune of 34 points – the fifth highest total points for the Hoos since the start of the 2006 season. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers still fell 37-34 to the Golden Eagles.

In the end, Virginia finished with 34 points, 390 yards of offense, and 25 first downs. What did the Hoos do to breathe some life into the offense? Among the changes:

  • More narrow splits for the offensive line.
  • More in-line tight end sets, usually with Joe Torchia , with three wide receivers instead of four and five wideouts.
  • More two-back sets, usually with Rashawn Jackson and Dominique Wallace joining Jameel Sewell in the backfield. And more Jackson in general for that matter.
  • Some non-spread looks including sets with two tight ends or an H-Back.
  • Working to Sewell’s strengths with quicker throws and play-action passing.

The statistical benefits of these changes were outlined above. Let’s take a closer look at how the wrinkles helped Virginia’s offense.

Narrow splits. After the offensive line’s struggles and a lot of talk about wider splits between linemen up front, the Cavaliers pulled the big bodies closer together on Saturday. It helped. The O-Line did a much better job of getting a push on running plays, holding the pocket, and making the right reads. The tighter splits appeared to help the linemen individually deal with one-on-one blocks with less wide open space around them. Also, the tighter splits allowed the Hoos to more