Virginia football is in the midst of change this spring in hopes of opening things up and turning around a 4-8 record a season ago, and the first play of the team's open scrimmage at Scott Stadium Saturday reflected that change.
David Watford took the first snap under center and sent a high, arching bomb down the right sideline that Tim Smith ran under and pulled in. Smith then attempted to outrun Maurice Canady before the defensive back pushed him out of bounds at the one.
That play set the tone for an afternoon of highs and lows for the Cavaliers.
The offense scored a multitude of touchdowns under the watch of new offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild, with Khalek Shepherd and Clifton Richardson chewing up yards on the ground and quarterbacks Greyson Lambert and Philip Sims tossing for scores.
"Overall, we've covered a lot over these first two weeks, and we're still just getting better everyday," Shepherd said. "You know, that's our mentality right now, is to make sure by the time we come towards the summer that we have this offense down pat."
Lambert, the redshirt freshman, found Dominique Terrell on the endline for one score and hit tight end Jake McGee for another near the end of the scrimmage in the team's two-minute drill.
"I think people felt pretty good, I mean there's still a long way to go, it's only the second week of spring practice. So there's still a long way to go, but I think people are starting to feel good about it," McGee added.
Sims, whom many believed to be at the top of the depth chart entering spring but seemingly stuck behind Watford and Lambert, connected with E.J. Scott on a fade for a score.
Jon Tenuta's defense also had its moments, with Brent Urban and the defensive line creating pressure and knocking down numerous pass attempts.
The secondary, meanwhile, had an up-and-down day, highlighted by a near pick-six interception for touchdown by Brandon Phelps.
"I think we made a lot of strides, a lot of progress from practice one," offensive tackle Morgan Moses said. "You know, we're just looking to build on that everyday in practice you know, and just translate it into the summer."
Virginia's spring game will take place next Saturday at Scott Stadium at 1 p.m.
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