Greg’s Stock Report ’09: Indiana

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On a day when Virginia honored its greatest defensive back, it was fitting the play of the secondary as well the Virginia passing game stood out. Much like we watched a young team grow up in 2007, we may be witnessing the sequel in 2009. There is significant improvement in the offensive product, improvement in special teams and a solid pass defense is now morphing into a solid defense. Special teams showed some positive trends but will need to do more as the temperatures drop and the level of competition rises.

Trend Report

What’s up?

Third down defense. This probably should go into the status quo area but I see some aspects that show positive trends so I put it in this section. Efficient third down defense is a function of several things. First, it’s keeping opponents off their down-and-distance schedule on first and second down. Teams clearly are more proficient on 3rd-and-1vs. 3rd-and-11 so defenses that are effective at slowing teams down on first and second down will be more successful on third down. Virginia was very effective limiting Indiana’s first down production as the Hoosiers averaged 7.5 yards to go on second down. An effective pass rush and coverage is also essential to being efficient in third down defense. Virginia coverage has been among the national leaders all season an we are now starting to see a very disruptive pass rush, especially from the defensive line. Indiana could not block Virginia’s front four in the sub defenses and the Hoos were able to put a great deal of pressure with the down linemen as well as the back seven against the Hoosiers. Not only were the receivers blanketed by the coverage, IU’s QB had little time to find them the few times they were able to get separation.

Red zone defense. Under Al Groh, Virginia typically has been a very strong red zone defensive club. A new trend has emerged, however, over the last two weeks that makes Virginia’s red zone prowess even more effective. The defense is simply no allowing teams to get into the red zone period. Cavalier opponents have reached the red zone just once in the last two games. Prior to the Hoosiers’ lone score of the day with 8:18 left in the game, UVa had held its opponents out of the red zone for the previous 119:43, dating to the Southern Miss

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