Concerns Remain As Spring Concludes

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Perry Jones and the running offense didn’t get going in the Spring Game.

Virginia’s offense did not sparkle last Saturday in the Orange vs. Blue Spring Game at Scott Stadium. The two teams combined for just two touchdowns on that side of the ball after all. With young quarterbacks and missing receivers, a dazzling display in the passing game may have been too much to ask perhaps. The running offense? That’s a different story and the sputtering performance was a little surprising.

After all, the Cavaliers return veteran starters on the offensive line with some developing depth behind them. Perry Jones , one of the two featured backs in 2010, is back as well. Yet, the rushing offense produced little in the Spring Game. Jones, who led all pass catchers with 5 receptions for 35 yards, had just 7 yards on 11 carries. Khalek Shepherd led the Orange team with 15 yards on 10 attempts. There were no running plays of more than 8 yards.

Surprising? Yes. Concerning? Not yet.

“No, it doesn’t concern me at all. Our offensive line is going to be great at the end of this thing and our backs will hit it hard,” UVa quarterback candidate Michael Rocco said. “It’s a shout out to our defense because our defense did a good job. They’ve been going against us for three weeks, they know when somebody slants the ball is going to be coming here. It’s no excuse for our offensive line, but our offensive line is going to be great at the end of this so I don’t have any concerns.”

Virginia offensive coordinator Bill Lazor echoed that outlook. The playbook will grow as a starting quarterback emerges and that should help the running game for example. Basically, with so many practices to go before the opening game in the fall, there’s still plenty of time to improve.

“I’m concerned about the specific plays that didn’t work and why they didn’t work. Some of them I could see the error from the sideline and some I couldn’t,”