Monday’s RTD features an article on DE Sean Gottschalk, and his road back from shoulder surgery. He was the #4 DE behind Long, Fitzgerald, and Alex Field, seeing 101 snaps. He has not participated much this Spring, but expects to be 100% by August. RS freshman Matt Conrath has taken his place. Both field and Conrath are listed at 6-7 (Gottschalk is 6-4), and would dwarf whomever is in at NT – Nate Collins at 6-2 or Nick Jenkins at 6-3.
The Daily Progress and Daily Press start the week off with a profile of another player battling back from injury. Cedric Peerman admits some days are good while others have been bad on his road to full recover from a Lisfranc / toe injury. HC Al Groh, was typically Grohlike when describing his ‘see it to believe it’ approach on injury recoveries and estimated recovery timetables:
“That’s like some guy telling you, if you invest with me, it’s going to go up 20 percent. And you believe him, but you’re still waiting for the money in your pocket. Well that’s what it sort of is with some of these medical prognoses. We believe them, but until a player actually comes back and functions, you’re always anxious for that.”
With J’Courtney Williams kicked off the team last week, those vying for the backup ILB spots behind starters John Copper & Antonio Appleby include John Bivens, Darren Childs and Terrence Fells-Danzer, as well as former OLB John-Kevin Dolce.
On the kicking front, Jeff White notes in Thursday’s RTD that “leg strength isn’t an issue with [PK Chris] Hinkebein, but his problems with accuracy are similar to those Gould had as a junior.” In four field goal attempts against a live rush last Sunday, two were blocked and two were missed.
Groh was again in typical form when giving his initial impressions of new DC Bob Pruett, who he already knows very well. He told the Daily Progress “the only way I would have gotten any surprises by what he’s doing right now is to have had a loss of memory.”
LB Jon Copper called Pruett “lighter side of coach Groh, but with a similar intensity, which is nice.” Read: personable. In terms of recruiting, Groh offered that Pruett has “had excellent success recruiting a lot of players to schools where he coached from Virginia.” Groh pointed out. “He knows how to get to schools and if people have stayed in coaching as long as he has, he’ll know a lot of coaches.”
The DP also offers this on Saturday’s contest: “It is unclear what format will be used for the spring game, but it is not expected to mirror an actual contest due to depth issues.“
Friday’s Roanoke Times reports that the QB spot may be more of a competition than most think. The rotation during the open practices has “not necessarily favor the most experienced returnee, Peter Lalich.” Quoting the head coach:
“Put it this way,” UVa head coach Groh said early in camp. “The [coaches are] probably the only people who haven’t anointed the quarterback yet, that have decided what we’ll do it on performance. So, therefore we’re giving all three quarterbacks similar turns in terms of reps and similar turns with each particular unit.”
Groh also sounded like he had 20-20 vision in hindsight regarding the burning of Lalich’s redshirt, or perhaps even foresaw the Sewell suspension:
“Clearly, Pete was in there well before his time, but there were a lot of circumstances that created that. One was the uncertainty over Jameel’s [surgically repaired] wrist. Then, we had this other eligibility circumstance that has always been looming out there. The prudent thing to do was to have somebody prepared to play in a game whenever that became necessary. In fact, we ended up winning a couple of games that we would have had difficulty winning without him.”