Position battles are inevitable during training camp, and one is certainly heating up at right tackle. After losing his spot over the spring to red-shirt freshman Jake Fieler, Eric Smith's hard work has paid off, and he has earned his position back with the first team.
"Eric Smith has done a great job earning the position back," said UVa head coach Mike London on Thursday. "We talked about his work ethic after practice, some of the things he has worked on inhis game, he has put himself in positions to get that position back. So its going to make us into a better offensive line, because guys understand there is competition at every spot. Eric knows he can't rest on his laurels. He may have done that originally and lost that spot, but he found that desire to get it back. We're happy that he is doing what he needs to be going in order to help this team win."
This is not the only position battle London and company are evaluating. The head coach states the 'Hoos will continue to evalute a number of positions until the UCLA game including who will step up as the number two quarterback and who is the overall number one running back. In some cases, London is in no rush to name an overwhelming number one.
"It depends on the players. When they are going to decide whether or not they are 100 percent in their production or their assignments, their allignments, the mental errors things like that. We will go all the way up until it's time for us to say this guy clearly earned it."
During training camp, London has noticed a change in his team's attitude. Although a number one could be named after camp, those starters need to perform because someone else is waiting to take their spot.
"When it's time to say you're the guy, the number two is not too far behind him, because there has been a battle," he added. "Guys are willing to work for it."
Although Smith is now repping more with the first team, London says this is a fluid situation and nothing is set in stone.
Here is Mike London's complete interview from Thursday