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Game Week Arrives for Cavaliers

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In each of the past two years, Mike London spent the bulk of his first in-season news conferences fielding questions about his decision at the quarterback position.

On Monday, Virginia's coach was asked one.

London announced two weeks ago that redshirt sophomore David Watford would make his first career start on Saturday, when the Cavaliers open the 2013 schedule against BYU. The past two seasons, London waited until the Monday before the season opener to announce Michael Rocco as his starting quarterback.

On Monday, London was asked about his expectations for London entering the season.

"We're not going to ask him to do more than he's capable of doing," he said. "Obviously he's a gifted and talented young man. But if he does what's being asked of him to do, in distributing the ball and then using his legs and his arm and his brain, then I think that's going to be critical to our success."

The spot on the depth chart that got the most attention on Monday was tight end, where junior Jake McGee -- who finished last year tied for the team lead with five touchdown catches -- was listed third, behind junior Zachary Swanson and sophomore Rob Burns.

McGee was slowed earlier this summer by a shoulder injury that on Monday London said has been "progressively getting better and better."

"I wouldn't put too much into that. I think what we're doing is with the three tight ends that we have, obviously its about personnel," London said about McGee's spot on the depth chart.

"Trust me, Jake will play and play a lot. He's one of our best players."

The depth chart also included seven true freshmen: running back Taquan Mizzell, fullback Connor Wingo-Reeves, offensive linemen Eric Smith and Sadiq Olanrewaju, defensive lineman Donte Wilkins, linebacker Zack Bradshaw, and corner back Tim Harris.

London has a history of playing first-year players in his time at UVa. After using only three in 2010, the Cavaliers played 12 in 2011 and nine last season.

"I think you always go into it that the best players have an opportunity to play," London said. "And what we're saying is as those backups are listed, we've identified them as being the next best to go in."

Including his two seasons at Richmond, London enters Saturday's game against BYU 5-0 all-time in season openers as a head coach. But Saturday will mark the first time in his UVa tenure that the Cavaliers will open against an FBS program.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall's teams have won at least six games and made postseason bowl appearances in each of his eight seasons. And after the Cougars visit, the Cavaliers will host Oregon -- which enters Saturday's opener against Nicholls State ranked third in the country.

On Monday, London's players talked about embracing those early challenges.

Much more people will be watching; it'll be a broader audience. They'll be watching to see what BYU is going to do. And hopefully by the end of the game, they'll be like, "Wow. Those kids from Virginia can play ball,"" said senior offensive lineman Luke Bowanko. "It's great having the spotlight on you. It helps you motivate yourself."

"Guys want to create a dream season. And in order to do that, you have to create a dream schedule," said junior safety Anthony Harris. "So guys are very excited. We obviously believe in our talents. We believe we can play with the best. So this will give us the opportunity right here to see where we measure up."


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