Cavs Still Searching for Right Combination on O-Line

The Virginia football team will hold another closed scrimmage on Saturday, two weeks before the Cavaliers kick off the season at home against nationally-ranked UCLA.

According to head coach Mike London, one of the goals coming out of that scrimmage will be for the Wahoos to settle on five starters along the offensive line.

"There are opportunities for guys to play in college football games, and we have a lot of players that are in the mix there," London told reporters Thursday afternoon at the McCue Center. "So finding the best fit for us -- the right guard, the left tackle, all those things are important. And we continue to evaluate those. And we'll have another scrimmage Saturday, then coming out of that Saturday we'll be set with the plan."

Two of last year's starters on the offensive line, Morgan Moses and Luke Bowanko, are now playing for NFL teams. Junior Jay Whitmire started all 12 games last season as well, but a back injury has his future in question.

Connor Davis started two games at right guard, and seven more at left guard last year. He began this summer with the first-team offensive line at left tackle, before moving to right tackle after two days of camp.

"Right now, it's all about finding out who the best five offensive linemen are," Davis said last week at UVa's media day. "I think one of the best things an offensive lineman can be is versatile. So I'm just trying to learn as many positions as I can. If one guy goes down, the next guy's got to step up. So when you're playing guard, you've got to know what the tackle's doing, what the center's doing. So I'm up for anything right now."

Sophomore Sadiq Olanrewaju -- who played in five games last year as a true freshman -- supplanted Davis with the first team at left tackle last week. But he has missed practice this week because of an injury, creating an opportunity for redshirt sophomore Michael Mooney to step in with the starters.

At right tackle, Davis is competing with sophomore Eric Smith, who started eight games at that spot last year, but was practicing with the second team at both left and right tackle during open practices last week.

On Friday, offensive line coach Scott Wachenheim said the first-team offensive line entering Saturday's scrimmage was Mooney at left tackle; sophomore Ryan Doull at left guard; senior Cody Wallace at center; junior Ross Burbank at right guard; and Smith at right tackle.

Wachenheim also echoed London's statement from Thursday about hoping to name the team's starters following Saturday's scrimmage.

"I think that's the way we like it," Davis said of the competition across the line. "We want that pressure, because that's going to make us compete against each other to find out who the best five are. Right now, we don't have any starters. I don't look at myself as a starter. I look at myself as started games, but I've got to go out there and earn those positions."


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