With many more offensive performances like this past Saturday’s, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses return to his original spot at guard.
It won’t happen this week.
“What Morgan provides on the outside [at tackle] is opportunities to protect the quarterback,” UVa head coach Mike London said on a teleconference this morning, two days prior to a Saturday date with Texas Christian.
“There’s a measure of confidence that those guys on the outside have to have for sure. For this particular game, [the Horned Frogs] have a dynamic rusher, No. 90 [who] is a really, really good player.”
London’s reference was to 6-foot-2, 265-pound defensive end Stansly Maponga, a native of Zimbabwe who is on the watch list for four national awards.
“I think they’re [the UVa offensive tackles] are going to be going against one of the better down rushers in the country,” London said. “Where [Moses] is now is where we’ll keep him.”
Moses has started at right tackle since the start of the 2011 season, although he did switch to left tackle for a spell against Penn State.
When Moses gave Oday Aboushi a breather at left tackle, redshirt freshman Jay Whitmire took over at right tackle.
In its most recent outing, a 56-20 loss at Georgia Tech, Virginia failed to pick up a first down with running backs Kevin Parks and Perry Jones on consecutive third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 calls in the second quarter.
UVa’s starting guards were Sean Cascarano, a junior making his third career start, and sophomore Conner Davis, who was starting for the second game after an injury to Game 1 starter Cody Wallace.
A shift of Moses to guard “is probably more of a function of the guys behind him,” London said.
In other words, would Whitmore be able to protect the quarterback well enough for Moses to move closer to the center?
The Cavaliers last week were down three scholarship offensive linemen from their original training camp roster – Tim Cwalina, who was advised to give up football due to a heart condition; Wallace, who suffered a “lower-extremity” injury against Richmond; and Kelby Johnson, who was suspended for a violation of team rules.
London said that Johnson will make the trip to Fort Worth, Texas, and offensive-line coach Scott Wachenheim implied on a Wednesday conference call that Wallace at least has a chance to get “back healthy.”
In the meantime, 6-6, 290-pound true freshman Sean Karl is now listed as the No. 2 right offensive guard behind Cascarano, although the Cavaliers would like to redshirt Karl.
IT WAS INTERESTING to hear Wachenheim’s response when asked for several areas in which he’d like to see improvement.
“It depends,” he said. “Obviously, you want to make 100 percent of the fourth-and-1s you go after, so we’ve got to work to do that. And, obviously, you want to keep your quarterback clean. You’d like the quarterback never to get hit.”
Anybody who has read this column over the years should know what’s coming next.
Regarding the fourth-and-1s, I’ve got two words: quarterback sneak.
That usually involves getting your quarterback hit, but if anybody can afford to have its quarterback hit, it’s Virginia with its five scholarship QBs.
AT THE END OF Wachenheim’s teleconference Wednesday, Moses came on the line and was asked about the possibility of returning to guard.
“Nobody has came to me and asked if I want to play guard this year,” he said. “If they asked me, yeah, I would move inside. I’ve got experience from my first year and pretty much know [the position].”