With the Virginia Cavaliers edging closer towards Tony Elliott’s debut as the program’s new head coach, the largest unknown for the 2022 squad is regarding an inexperienced offensive line group that lost every starter from the 2021 season.
In fact, Elliott mentioned that “the only regret I have [about his time at Virginia so far] is that I didn’t do a better job recruiting those guys that left when I got to UVA.”
Yet, while he admitted that the offensive line is the biggest question mark for his Wahoos, he noted how “I’m excited for the opportunities that we have,” adding that “we have some guys with experience but just not a lot of it.” Specifically, Elliott listed seven guys as part of a solid group that will likely make up the rotation at the beginning of the fall.
For starters, Elliott listed junior offensive tackle Jonathan Leech as a guy who the staff has “been counting on,” as “he’s had a great offseason and shown some versatility,” while he also mentioned sophomore guard Logan Taylor — “a big body who is very very talented coming off of injury — and senior tackle Derek Devine — “an older guy, a veteran guy who hasn’t played as much,” — who are three guys with some experience within the program.
Additionally, Elliott pointed out how sophomore tackle Charlie Patterson “transformed his body,” and mentioned that sophomore guard Noah Josey is “a very talented young player.” To close out the “seven good bodies that are ready to go,” Elliott also named Dartmouth grad transfer John Paul Flores and center Jestus Johnson.
All in all, the former Clemson offensive coordinator said that “I’m excited to get back and see exactly where they are,” as he emphasized how the “challenge is can we develop the depth? We brought in some ready made guys and we have some developmental guys on the offensive line that we think over time will be really good players. The key is can we get two or three of those guys to be depth guys so the starters don’t have to play every snap,” with backup center Ty Furnish mentioned specifically.