Groh talks about 'Noles

Virginia coach Al Groh was impressed by the Seminoles' performance in their 38-31 victory over Iowa state. He also credited FSU's defense, which was had a difficult time containing ISU quarterback Seneca Wallace. "I think the vulnerability was more to Seneca Wallace than it was any particular problem with their scheme or with their players. I was impressed with what a dynamic player he (Wallace) is and I can understand why he amassed the yardage he did last year," Groh said Wednesday.

Virginia played 10 true freshmen and five redshirt freshmen in its opening 35-29 defeat against Colorado State last Thursday in the Jim Thorpe Classic. The youth movement will be a trend all season as coach Al Groh seeks to rebuild his program for the future.

That approach will certainly be tested Saturday, when the Cavs (0-1) travel to Florida State (1-0) in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.

"We are certainly looking forward to going down there," Groh said Wednesday during the ACC coaches teleconference call. "It will be a significant test for us. Good exposure to the many young players on our team to what you have to aspire to to be the best."

Of course, there are pitfalls surrounding the Cavs' youth. Virginia had five turnovers, including two in the final four minutes of the game, against the Rams. The most heart-wrenching came at the end, when quarterback Marques Hagans, a redshirt freshman, took a snap from the CSU 3, tried to score on a quarterback draw and fumbled at the 1 with 10 seconds left.

Groh cotinues to stay silent on which quarterback he will start against the Seminoles. The likely candidate is junior Matt Schaub, who played in last year's game. But Schaub passed for only 73 yards and threw a costly fourth-quarter interception against Colorado State.

Groh also said he was impressed by the Seminoles' performance in their hard-fought 38-31 victory over Iowa state. He also credited FSU's defense, which was had a difficult time containing ISU quarterback Seneca Wallace. Wallace rallied the Cyclones from deficits of 24-0 and 31-7 and had his team 1-yard away from either sending the game into overtime or winning it on a two-point conversion.

"I think the vulnerability was more to Seneca Wallace than it was any particular problem with their scheme or with their players," Groh said.

"I was impressed with what a dynamic player he is and I can understand why he amassed the yardage he did last year. According to those numbers and I guess a lot of people who played him last year had a real hard time stopping him, and I would suspect that would be the case much of this upcoming season. I thought it was more a case of that particular player than any problem with the Florida State scheme."

With defensive end Chris Canty unable to play, the Cavaliers have a complete new look on their defensive line, something FSU will try to exploit. The Cavaliers' secondary allowed an average of 227.8 yards last season and isn't off to a flying start so far. The group tackled poorly and had several busted assignments. They also yielded a first down to Colorado State on a 1st-and-32 situation.

Players who watch include receiver Billy McMullen and linebacker Angelo Crowell. McMullen was thwarted in last year's contest, limited to four catches for 25 yards, but he is the kind of big, physical receiver that could present matchup problems against the Seminoles' undersized secondary. Crowell is considered a big hitter and a renown player. Crowell will be staring down the eyes of tailbacks Greg Jones and Nick Maddox as the Seminoles' seek to exploit weaknesses in Virginia's defensive line. The Seminoles had a huge day running against Virginia last year (303 yards on 58 carries).

"They have an offensive line that, I know by the press, has been rated as the No. 1 offensive line in the country," Groh said of the Seminoles. "I know from personal experience against it last year that it's very imposing and very impressive. With an offensive line like that and the two running backs they have, it would appear their running game is going to be a stable of their offense all year long. I would expect they will be a very powerful and very effective running team throughout the season."

Groh also doesn't mind jumping into conference play in August – other members don't open conference play until Sept. 14.

"We are fine with it," Groh said. "Whether it's good or bad, that's the reality of it. Conference play, you don't make your own schedule. You take them when they are given to you, and I think that's the attitude that teams should have. That you are going to play them (Seminoles) sooner or later it doesn't make any difference to us. Since this is when we got them, this is a good time to play them."

Groh also doesn't mind throwing his young players into the fire.

"These are very, very talented young players," Groh said. "As the local writers are probably tired of hearing me say, I am going to live by it for a long time. We are always going to play the players who give us the best chance to win, regardless of what year they are in or what their previous experience has been or how they played the last game. There is a lot of high-end talent on this team. We knew it coming in. It has improved the overall talent base of the team and therefor given us a better chance to win.

"In fact, we are kind of stimulated by watching this young talent play to go out and get more. If anything, it really has continued to energize our staff as far as pursuing more players like these guys. Had there been perhaps a greater collection of talent in the classes in front of these young players, maybe the need to push them into action quite so fast wouldn't have been there. But that's not the case. Not only do they bring significant talent in their own right, but their talent is needed right now to give our team the best chance. I don't have any hesitation using talent. That's what the hunt is for. It doesn't make seem to make much sense to go after all those guys and then hide them out and not get a good benefit of their performance."


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