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Two Virginia offensive linemen out for year; London addresses need for explosive plays

Center Eric Tetlow and tackle Jay Fieler are out for the season, Mike London announced at his Monday press conference.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

At his regular Monday press conference, Virginia Football Head Coach Mike London announced that sophomore second-string center Eric Tetlow and redshirt freshman right tackle Jay Fieler, who had been the projected starter coming out of spring camp, are both out for the season with undisclosed injuries.

London said that the two have already undergone surgery. However, junior left guard Ryan Doull, a starter last year, will return at some point this season when he recovers from a similarly undisclosed injury.

"Obviously he's a guy that started games for us and has played. And as I said we expect him to be back and look forward to his return," London said.

While Doull's return will be welcomed, Fieler's and Tetlow's injuries are a big blow to an already-thin front five for the Cavaliers. Both redshirted in 2014 and had hoped to make a significant contribution this season.

Other noteworthy items from London's presser:

  • London said that redshirt freshman tight end Evan Butts' role in the offense could grow if he builds on his two-catch, 42-yard performance from Saturday against UCLA. "And I believe, again, he's another guy that has a chance to get better as a college football player.  He played against a very fast, athletic defense.  And when you have a guy like Evan who has shown capability and opportunity to do things when given the chance, he'll get better as a football player," London said.
  • London was asked about the team's recent success in big games at home in September (except for Oregon in 2013), saying in part, "It's tied into that Scott Stadium is a great place to play ... I've heard the game is sold out.  I'm sure the atmosphere will be electric.  And we expect to perform and play well.  And that's the expectations for this team and for this game and the approach of this game."
  • London was asked about the team's lack of long plays in Steve Fairchild's time as offensive coordinator. For the sake of context, the question and answer are below.

Q: During the Steve Fairchild era you've been in the bottom third of the country in explosive plays, plays of 20 yards or more.  Does the offense need to get more aggressive?  Do the players need to take advantage of what's there more?  Why aren't you guys able to create more plays that eat up chunks of yards?

A: It's important to get explosive plays.  More important to me is when you get down in the red zone area is to get those touchdowns, rather than the field goals.  

But I believe we had seven explosive plays (of 10 yards or more).  I believe they had obviously more than we did because you saw some of the long catches and some of the runs.  It is important to execute with the players, but it's important for us to evaluate how we scheme and how we go about getting players that we have on our team the opportunities to get those yards, those chunks of yardage that you just mentioned.

And it's something that's ongoing for us.  And it has to be something that's a focal point for us.  And we gotta play with who we have, but we have to come up with ways of extending those drive opportunities, extending those explosive plays to give you opportunities to get those points - not only in the red zone - but also in the middle of the field, coming out.  

And that is something that we will continue to discuss and something that we'll have to continue to improve, particularly if you want to be successful this season.

For the full transcript of the press conference, click here. If you'd rather watch it, the video is embedded below.