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Cavaliers shift offensive line; QB question unanswered

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Before the release of Virginia's depth chart coming out of spring practice, most of the anticipation surrounded the identity of the player who would be taking snaps.

There was some news Monday involving the center-quarterback exchange:

Walk-on Jackson Matteo was listed No. 1 at center. Luke Bowanko, the Cavaliers' starting center last season, was listed No. 1 at left offensive guard.

Bowanko, a redshirt senior, started at right guard in 2011.

"We went into (the spring) trying to determine who our top five or six linemen were," head coach Mike London said in a teleconference. "You try to find the right mix."

Virginia also had distributed a pre-spring depth chart that had sophomore David Watford, redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert and junior Phillip Sims listed in that order at quarterback.

They were listed in the same order Monday, but instead of 1-2-3, an "or" separated their names.

"Trust me, we are committed to having our quarterback named in the early part of August," London said. "There's three very talented quarterbacks. We're excited to see who's going to come out of this hunt.

"We all know they have the skills. They all have the ability. I want to see who emerges as leaders out of this group. What happens now is, there's no coaching intervention now, no coaching or teaching."

Sims, a transfer from Alabama who starred at Oscar Smith High School, played in all 12 games last year and made four starts. He seemed the likely heir apparent when eight-game starter Michael Rocco transferred.

"Don't forget, David played as a true freshman," said London, who chose to redshirt Watford last season. "Greyson Lambert is everything that's advertised, being 6-5 with a strong arm. I think we're blessed to have guys with an enormous amount of talent."

A comparison of the pre-spring and post-spring depth charts showed considerable shuffling along the offensive line.

The early chart had a first five of senior Morgan Moses at left tackle, junior Cody Wallace at left guard, Bowanko at center, sophomore Ross Burbank at right guard and senior Sean Cascarano at right tackle.

Only Moses' slot remains unchanged on the updated list. Bowanko is at left guard, Matteo at center, Cascarano at right guard and sophomore Jay Whitmire at right tackle.

The last time the players were measured, Matteo was listed at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, but he's told the school's sports information office that he is up to 290.

Matteo originally committed to Temple, but elected to take a preferred walk-on spot at Virginia. He

could be in line for a scholarship if he gets enough playing time in the fall.

"Although Luke Bowanko was a very, very good center, (the move) will make us a more rugged, physical team," London said.

"Luke will be right next to (Matteo). The center is the guy who makes (the calls), but I've been here before when Elton Brown was a guard and he did that, and Eugene Monroe was a tackle and we relied on him to identify some looks.

"In the recruiting world, you like to recruit tackles, left and right tackles. Having a young center could make that a position of strength for years to come."

Posted to: College Football Sports

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