Randy Edsall predicted multiple personnel changes after Saturday’s 19-14 win against Wake Forest. Few expected them to come on defense.
Edsall said during his Sunday teleconference that Justus Pickett and Wes Brown likely would receive a heavier rushing load Saturday against Virginia, but the pair was listed as co-starters with Albert Reid and Brandon Ross on the two-deep chart released Monday afternoon.
The backfield that saw more significant changes was on the defensive side. After drawing rave reviews from Edsall for his performance against the Demon Deacons, true freshman Anthony Nixon is listed as the starting safety, an indication that Matt Robinson’s groin injury, suffered late last week, might keep him sidelined for another week.
“I think he did a great job,” linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield said Saturday. “He might be overlooked what he did, but he had a few big plays and he came through in the clutch. I was praising him for doing good.”
Robinson’s injury forced Eric Franklin to move to the other safety spot, where he’s now listed as the starter ahead of true freshman Sean Davis. A.J. Hendy will back up Nixon.
Beyond those moves, the updated depth chart revealed only minor shuffling:
>> Isaiah Ross will back up Darius Kilgo at nose tackle, moving Alex Walker off the two-deep. That leaves Keith Bowers as the lone backup to A.J. Francis at defensive end.
>> Kenneth Tate and Alex Twine are still listed as co-starters at outside linebacker, but unlike Saturday, Tate is listed first. Twine started against Wake Forest, but Tate wound up with 44 plays and again made a huge impact with a fourth-quarter sack of Tanner Price.
>> As expected, offensive linemen Mike Madaras and Andrew Zeller will remain with the first team after their starting debuts. Each picked up a false-start penalty, but Edsall reiterated his desire for them to continue getting high reps.
>> Marcus Leak will back up Stefon Diggs on punt returns, replacing Dexter McDougle. Not that it matters.