Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Long brothers: collect 'em all

Dear Old U.Va reports, as do the premium boards at Rivals, that the wheels that were set in motion a few months ago are rolling toward their final destination, which is an overly wordy way of saying that Kyle Long will enroll at UVA this summer and be on the football roster in the fall as an offensive lineman. With Chris already graduated and Howie Jr. signed to play lacrosse, our Brothers Long collection is complete. Here's hoping Kyle is as good at protecting quarterbacks as Chris was at terrorizing them.

But that's not all. TheSabre also reports that Hunter Steward, who previously planned to enroll at Fork Union for a year, will do no such thing. Steward, too, now expects to join the team this fall. Here is the awesome part of the article:

"One of the problems for me at the beginning was picking up on small parts of being an offensive lineman. For example, when I was pass blocking I would push guys too far and end up drawing a penalty for illegal man downfield."
That's Steward talking. Steward, in case you didn't already know, weighs something north of 300 pounds, and in my very humble opinion someone who has a problem with pushing defensive linemen too far downfield does not have a problem.

So the depth chart is now updated with the assumption that both will enroll and be on the roster in the fall. There's no way of knowing, really, how many of those freshman tackles will be put elsewhere, not until spring (for the redshirt guys) and fall (for the incoming class) practices begin. I have Cascarano at guard but only because I took a SWAG that he'll end up there.

The real upshot for now is that basically all the world's potential now resides in that freshman class. Between Long, Stewart, Moses, Cascarano, and Aboushi, as well as the talent that resides in the sophomore class with guys like Bradley and Milstead and the junior class with incumbent starters Shields and Cabbell, there will be no excuse for not having a superb offensive line starting around 2010 and moving onwards.

There's one more change to the depth chart - had I been paying any attention when writing my weekend review yesterday, it would have been there, but no, I was in too big a hurry to finish the post and go play Super Smash Brothers. Sorry about that. Kinda. Anyway, what with the spread offense making its grand debut next year, and what with the tight end position being a big ol' afterthought in pretty much every variation of the spread (including ours), the coaches find themselves with an excess of tight ends, and whaddaya know, not enough veteran DEs. Andrew Devlin, therefore, is now a DE. Problem solved. The meaning of all this? Kevin Crawford likely backs up Matt Conrath, and Devlin and Zane Parr battle it out on the other side, the consolation prize being the #2 spot on the depth chart. However, that's one injury away from having to dip into the true freshman pool for the depth chart (Tory Allen is probably not a factor) and so I still anticipate at least one redshirt coming off this season.

The only question I have for now, and its a drum I've beat in the past, but, where are the scholarships coming from? Assuming Long and Steward each get one, I now count 91 scholarship commitments. That's not including Sean Gottschalk, who is no longer with the team and almost certainly will not ever be again, but does include Isaac Cain. That's six over the limit. Who is going to leave the team between now and fall practice?

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