When it comes to redshirting, call me a radical.
If I were running a college football program, I’d want to redshirt everybody in the freshman class.
And, there are programs who have operated like that, most notably Wake Forest in the ACC.
I thought it was a wise move for Virginia football coach Mike London to target 2011 back-up quarterback David Watford as a redshirt and wondered if he had similar plans for sophomore tailback Clifton Richardson.
Like Watford, Richardson saw action as a true freshman in 2011, playing in all 13 games and carrying the ball 72 times for 366 yards and two touchdowns.
I would not have guessed that Richardson got that much action on a team where the top two tailbacks, Perry Jones and Kevin Parks, had a combined 336 carries..
Given the fact that Jones and Parks were returning and that erstwhile return specialist Khalek Shepherd was expected to get more time from scrimmage, I became curious when Richardson missed the first two games.
Unlike the quarterback position, where everybody returns next season, Jones is in his final season of eligibility and there will be more opportunities for Parks, Shepherd, Richardson and freshman Kye Morgan.
However, if there is any temptation to redshirt Richardson, London gave no sign that he’s giving it much consideration.
“Clifton is a very good player and I think he’s getting back to where he needs to be – 100 percent,” London said earlier this week.
“His style is different than the styles of the other running backs. He’s a big, physical, downhill runner and we are glad that we’ll have him back and have an opportunity to put him in the game.”
The Cavaliers (2-0) will travel to Atlanta for their ACC opener at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Georgia Tech (1-1, 0-1).
Richardson, who played quarterback as a senior at Menchville High School in Newport News, is listed at 6-0, 210. That’s 4 inches taller than Jones, Parks and Shepherd – all listed at 5-8.
“We try to weigh all options and look at what are the best interests of the player and team,” London said, “and that [redshirting] approach or that mindset right now is not something we’re considering seriously.
“We’d like to get him 100-percent healthy and ready to go and I think this will be the week for it.”
SOMETIMES, I WONDER HOW Virginia could have redshirted such talents as Shawn Moore, Herman Moore, Ronde Barber and Heath Miller – not because they were talents but because of the numbers crunch.
What if you signed the Division I-A limit of 25 players and redshirted all of them?
That would be 125 scholarship players over five years – 40 over the I-A scholarship limit.
It means you would have to run off a whole lot of players – not the Moores and the Barbers – but maybe equally hard-working but less skilled players whose only mistake was to accept the scholarship you offered them.
But, in the case of a Richardson, you’ve hopefully gotten to the point where you’ve got a steady stream of quality recruits coming in and you can project somebody like a Taquan “Smoke” Mizell as a starter in what otherwise might have been Richardson’s fifth year.
FINALLY, IF YOU attended either or both of Virginia’s first two games, what did you think of the crowds?
Attendance was listed as 50,081 for the opener against Richmond and at 56,087 for the Week 2 matchup with visiting Penn State?
I have no agenda in using the verb “listed” because I think the standards for tabulating the crowds at UVa are the same as they’ve been for years.
But for anybody who was there, here’s my question: How many Penn State fans were there at the game. My guess would have been 8,000, maybe more.
Well, here were the number of tickets sold from the visitors’ allotment: 906 for Richmond and 3,808 for Penn State. Clearly, there were more than 3,8008 Penn State fans, so they had to be getting their tickets elsewhere – UVa fans, StubHub, scalpers, etc.
But, here’s the one observation I took away from it all. I think it’s possible there were more Virginia fans at the Richmond game than there were UVa fans at the Penn State game and I’m not sure how that could be, given the relative quality of the attractions.
The weather was better in Week 1, but how many fans could that have turned away last Saturday? And, if that was the reason, then it supports the age-old reputation UVa fans have had for being fair-weather.
Given the product on the field of late, the program deserves better.