Hoo Preview 2012: 5 Questions – Billy Schautz

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Billy Schautz

Defensive end Billy Schautz made a big impact on Virginia’s defense in 2011 as he carved out a niche as a dynamic pass rusher. With experience at linebacker in the previous 3-4 scheme, he gave the staff the added luxury of zone blitzes where he could drop in pass coverage from the line.

Schautz was executing that latter skill at Florida State last fall when he broke two bones in his leg and required emergency surgery when he returned to Charlottesville. After eight grueling months of injury rehabilitation, the New Jersey native is back on the field for the Cavaliers in fall training camp. He’s excited to be in action again after the healing process took forever to conquer. Fortunately, Schautz could rely on the UVa training staff and fellow rehab partner Steve Greer to grind through the recovery period.

“Rehab went great. It was a long eight and half months of rehab, but I feel great. My knee is great. My leg feels good. I’m out here going as hard as I can every day” Schautz said. “It took forever. I couldn’t do anything for three months, but once I was able to [do things] it quickened up. The training staff did a great job. They helped me out a lot.”

The Cavalier defense certainly is glad to have Schautz back. In a reserve defensive end role last season, he posted 28 tackles with 6.5 Tackles For Loss and 2 sacks. He also knocked down 2 passes, forced 2 fumbles, and recovered 2 fumbles too. In the prime-time spotlight at Florida State, Schautz’s impact was on full display as he had a sack, a forced fumble, a TFL and a pass break-up in that game before the frightening injury.

The numbers don’t tell the full story, however, because Schautz provided pressure in the backfield on a regular basis all season long even when he didn’t get a statistical measure to show for it. UVa’s coaches hope the 6’4″, 265-pound end continues to make those plays in 2012 and that his energy level rubs off on