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Roundtable: What did we learn from Virginia football’s season opener?

Discussing what Saturday’s game tells us about this team.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Virginia vs Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Okay team, back for another roundtable this week. Today’s question is pretty simple: What did we learn about the Virginia Cavaliers in their season opening loss to the Tennessee Volunteers?


I learned that the defense should really be able to hang with any remaining opponent on the schedule — with the two biggest issues it faces being depth and the offense keeping enough possession to keep the defense from exhaustion. I liked what I saw from almost every starter on defense — Sanker, Ahern, and Butler most specifically.


A lot of things we saw acted more towards validating some of our concerns as opposed to learning something new. That being said, I did pick up on the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel in the passing game.

If Muskett is not out long term, the receivers are still good enough to get open and make plays. The offensive line remains a glaring issue but UVA won’t face defensive fronts of that caliber on a week to week basis


The offense showed some versatility and adaptability to put its personnel in the best situations. After what felt like almost exclusively shotgun in the first half, there were a lot more pistol looks in the second.

That coincided with UVA’s lone touchdown drive. There are still big picture concerns — if pistol was the best way to establish the run, why did it take so long to get into it, and what went wrong with scouting coming into the game that led to thinking the first half approach was right? But if the offense can get and stay healthy, there were some bright spots in execution to build on.


I learned that Kobe Pace is a really shifty runner between the tackles. He can make players miss, and he did repeatedly when the Vols penetrated the Wahoo offensive line. The way he shifted around and away from oncoming defenders impressed me and I think solidified the Clemson transfer among the Wahoos’ top three backs at the moment.

It also became more apparent how UVA has an abundance of capable safeties (Lex Long, Jonas Sanker, Antonio Clary, Coen King) but are lacking at corner. King played as well as you could expect in his first start on the outside, and he should continue to be a solid piece there. How John Rudzinski deploys the rest of the secondary as the season progresses is something I’ll be tracking moving forward.