Sophomore defensive end Eli Harold thinks fans are going to enjoy the new-look Virginia defense once the games count next fall.
"I hope you won't be shocked, but you're going to be shocked come first game, man. I'm excited," Harold said after his Orange team beat Blue 18-15 in Saturday afternoon's spring game.
After the two teams exchanged touchdowns on the game's first two possessions, the defenses on both sidelines took over. Each team had at least one safety -- Harold and linebacker Henry Coley had one apiece for Orange, while Trent Corney registered one for Blue -- and the two teams combined for 14 sacks.
"One of the things we wanted to get better at was to apply pressure," coach Mike London said afterward. "And I think that if you saw, there were some things that we did out of basically our base packages that applied pressure."
Saturday's spring game provided fans with a sneak peek of the Cavaliers' more aggressive game-plan under new defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta.
"You got a quick glimpse," said Coley. "I didn't even expect us to run that much stuff. But we threw some stuff out there; we held some stuff back."
"We're very comfortable. I think Coach Tenuta has really helped us along. So I think we're at a really good place right now as a defense," said senior defensive end Brent Urban, who finished with five tackles, including 3.5 sacks, for Orange. "Every play some guy's going to be open, and have a chance to make a big play. So it's really exciting, for sure."
"I love it. Jake loves it. Brent Urban loves it. Dean loves it. Henry Coley; Tra' Nicholson," said Harold. "It allows you to play to your game."
Offensively, quarterbacks David Watford, Greyson Lambert, and Phillip Sims rotated series between both teams. Lambert put up the best statistics, finishing a combined 21-of-36 for 248 yards. Lambert threw a pair of touchdowns for Orange, and led Blue on a scoring drive that was capped off by a Kevin Parks touchdown run.
Watford finished just 5-of-10 for 55 yards passing, but also ran for a 17-yard touchdown for Blue on the game's opening possession. Sims finished 8-of-18 for 89 yards.