Early Preview: Virginia

The start of the college football season is less than a month away so lets take an early look at Miami's 2012 opponents. Today, we look at Virginia.

2011 Season: 8-5 (beat Miami, 28-21)

The Quarterback: Michael Rocco. At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, the junior is coming off an average sophomore season as the starter in 2011. He finished the season -- his first as a starter -- with 2,621 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He's not a running threat, although he can move around and does a nice job of avoiding opposing pass rushes. One of his top performances in 2011 came against the Canes, when he threw for 226 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers. He will likely be an above average passer with limited running skills and it's not like he's surrounded with a bunch of stars. Expect similar numbers from Rocco in 2012.

Best Offensive Player: Perry Jones. At 5-foot-8 and 195 pounds, the talented senior is stout and is coming off a solid junior season. He finished the season with 915 yards but only scored five times. While he's decent running the football, what separates him from a lot of other running backs from around the league is that he's an elite pass-catcher. He finished last season with 48 catches for over 500 yards and three scores. That's where he really makes the biggest difference.

Top Defensive Player: Laroy Reynolds. At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Reynolds is now entering his senior season and is coming off a solid junior season. He finished the season with 88 tackles, including eight for a loss. He has a good nose for the football and makes a lot of plays around or behind the line of scrimmage. He's the leader of what should be a fairly average UVA defense, which lost its top few players to graduation.

2012 Outlook: The Cavs were able to knock off both Miami and Florida State on the road last season but were very average otherwise. They needed overtime to beat Idaho. Virginia Tech and Auburn both throttled the Cavs at the end of last season. The offense was decent last season and brings back some key linemen in addition to some of players mentioned above. The defense lost some very good players and may have a hard time replacing them. Either way, the Cavs appear to be a team that will likely finish in the middle of the pack in the ACC in 2012.

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