Cavaliers Excited About Depth With Linebackers

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The Cavaliers won five games last season.
Virginia linebacker Noah Taylor returns as a key starter for the defense. ~ Photo courtesy Jim Daves/Virginia Athletics Media Relations

For the first time since arriving at Virginia, assistant coach Kelly Poppinga will handle his position group alone. The first time flying solo, however, doesn’t worry him because of the talent he sees among the UVA linebackers. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Giddy may be too strong of a description, but he’s certainly excited about the possibilities.

“I don’t want to make this sound like we’re not losing much, but I feel very good about where we’re at with the depth that we have,” Poppinga said. “I think we can honestly go 8 to 9 deep at that position with guys that have experience. No concerns with the depth. I think our depth team wide is better than it’s ever been.”

Poppinga made it clear he was not glossing over the departures of Charles Snowden and Zane Zandier, a pair of experienced players with NFL hopes. The two seniors finished their Cavalier careers last fall after helping anchor the linebacker corps for the past three years. Snowden started 35 times and tied for No. 15 all-time in UVA history with 15 sacks. He finished with 190 tackles. Zandier posted 253 tackles with 9.5 sacks in 32 starts too. Both leave as two-time All-ACC selections.

Replacing those players won’t be seamless, but Poppinga’s optimism comes from having a blend of experience and up-and-coming talent. Noah Taylor,