Virginia Cavaliers Offensive Scouting Report
UVA Offense: Scheme - Multiple Pro Style
QB Anthony Colandrea
WR Malik Washington
UVA runs a diverse and balanced attack out of a multiple scheme that can keep a defense guessing. They have a deep running back room with lead back, Kobe Pace, and a good change up power back with Mike Hollins. Despite having good running backs, their leading rusher the last 3 weeks has been freshman QB, Anthony Colandrea. They run a variety of run blocking schemes from stretch runs, to split zones (with run-pass option action), to toss sweeps similar to what Virginia Tech does with Drones and Tuten. The UVA passing game utilizes west coast schemes with lots of crossing routes and wide receiver screens. Wide receiver, Malik Washington, is the primary feature of this offense. He has over 100 receiving yards in 6 straight games and over 100 receiving yards in all but 2 games this season. Virginia Tech will need to bracket Washington on Saturday afternoon if they want to have a chance of stopping the Cavaliers.
Anthony Colandrea did not start the season as the starting QB for UVA. That job belonged to Tony Muskett, but he has had injury problems throughout the season. This has given Colandrea, a true freshman, an opportunity to start 6 games this season. There is a possibility that Muskett will be available for Saturday's game, but given Colandrea's play over the last few weeks, it is likely he will get the start regardless of Muskett's status. This poses a threat to Virginia Tech because Colandrea is far more mobile than Muskett and he is not afraid the throw it deep. This has worked out for Colandrea as he has averaged a higher yards per completion than Muskett on the season, but Colandrea has thrown 8 interceptions to Muskett's 5. So, Colandrea is slightly more turnover prone as a result of his aggressive mentality. The biggest thing Colandrea brings to the offense is his legs. He is fast and elusive in open space. UVA likes to run option, QB draws, and RPOs with him. He also scrambles well. In 4 of Colandrea's 6 starts this season, he has been UVA's leading rusher. Keeping contain on the QB is of vital importance this week.
The biggest weakness of this UVA offense is the line. The Cavalier offensive line is not good in pass protection. They have given up 37 sacks in 11 games this season, which is good for over 3 per game. They are slightly better at run blocking, but UVA's rushing numbers are a bit inflated from Colandrea's scrambling. So, the keys for the Hokie defense will be to maintain gap discipline against the run and when rushing the passer. Stopping the run is priority number 1. UVA likes to be well balanced between run and pass play calls. Making them one dimensional is important to throwing them off their game. Most of Colandrea's big plays come when he breaks the pocket and either scrambles for big yards or finds an open receiver deep in a scramble drill. When Colandrea is forced to stay in the pocket, that is when he gets sacked, fumbles the ball, or throws and interception. The defensive line and linebackers will need to have a huge day for the Hokies to have success on defense. The third key, as mentioned before, double cover Malik Washington with a corner and safety all game. Colandrea will be looking his way on nearly every passing play. The Hokies need to make this inexperienced freshman QB make more than 1 read on passing plays. If they can force Colandrea to hesitate and stay in the pocket, then it will be long game for the Cavaliers on offense.
All stats via ESPN.com