This week marks the final out-of-conference game for Virginia this season. The team released its depth chart for week four on Monday, and we see from this that the coaches are still tweaking the starting lineups in preparation for ACC play. While some story lines remain the same — such as Virginia’s thin offensive line — others are developing, as we see some position battles taking place other than as a result of injuries.
Here’s what we noticed from this week’s depth chart, which we’ve provided at the end of this post.
1. Offensive line depth remains perilously thin. The Cavaliers have only played seven offensive linemen this season, and that number doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. The latest depth chart only has seven linemen listed. The starters remain Jack English at left tackle, Michael Mooney at left guard, Jackson Matteo at center, Jack McDonald at right guard, and Eric Smith at right tackle. Jake Fieler is the primary substitute at left guard and center and RJ Proctor is the primary substitute at right guard. Mooney, in addition to his starting guard duties, serves as the primary back up at both tackle spots.
Neither Steven Moss, who was praised as a potential contributor during fall camp, nor Sean Karl, who has been out all season, appeared on the depth chart this week. Karl’s situation might be addressed when the first ACC injury report comes out before Virginia’s game against Duke.
2. There’s a battle brewing at cornerback. Redshirt freshman Kareem Gibson has appeared on the depth chart for the first time this season. Against UConn, Gibson actually saw more playing time at corner than starter Myles Robinson. The two are listed as “OR” starters at the corner slot opposite Juan Thornhill for this weekend’s game against Central Michigan.
3. Alex Furbank is listed as starter at placekicker. Furbank missed the game-tying field goal at the final horn on Saturday, but he’s listed as a starter for the first time this season. Saturday’s game against UConn was Furbank’s first college football game, and it appears that his appearance partly resulted from an injury to Dylan Sims. It’s possible that Sims could win the placekicker spot back once he gets fully healthy.
4. Jordan Ellis has overtaken Daniel Hamm as the second-string “small back.” Ellis has seven carries for 48 yards on the year. Hamm has yet to receive a carry, but has served as the team’s primary punt returner.
5. Eli Hanback is listed as a starter at defensive end over Steven Wright. Hanback and Wright have shuffled back and forth on the depth chart all season, and they appear to be part of different defensive packages. Hanback is developing more into the primary base defensive end opposite Andrew Brown. Wright, meanwhile, takes a more prominent role on passing downs. Wright has one sack on the season, and Hanback has ten tackles.
6. The outside linebacker corps continues to get younger. Sophomore Cory Jones got nicked up against Richmond and has yet to return. He’s not on the depth chart for the Central Michigan game. True freshman Matt Terrell has replaced Gladimir Paul on the second string at weakside linebacker, though Terrell has yet to play this season. Paul played against Richmond and Oregon, but not against UConn.
Here’s the full depth chart: