Virginia faces tough challenge in upcoming ACC football game against Miami

Miami's Jacory Harris presents a tough challenge for Coach Mike London and the Virginia Cavaliers in Saturday's game in Charlottesville.
Miami's Jacory Harris presents a tough challenge for Coach Mike London and the Virginia Cavaliers in Saturday's game in Charlottesville. (Patrick Collard/associated Press)
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By Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 25, 2010; 11:57 PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE - First-year Virginia Coach Mike London paused briefly after the question was asked Monday: What concerns you about Miami?

"Let's see," he said, "where can I start on that one?"

The Cavaliers (3-4, 0-3 ACC) will ride a nine-game conference losing streak into Saturday's home game against No. 22 Miami (5-2, 3-1) and understand the tall task they face in attempting to earn their first league win under London's watch. The Hurricanes are second in the ACC Coastal Division thanks in large part to a defense that has made opposing quarterbacks more inefficient than any other team in the country.

"When they're on, they play pretty well," London said. "We've definitely got to play our best game. We can't start slow. We can't get into those second and long situations. We've got to stay out of those situations, because this is the type of team that thrives on that."

Miami's offense is led by quarterback Jacory Harris, who despite his inconsistent play may be as talented as any other quarterback the Cavaliers have faced this season, according to junior cornerback Chase Minnifield.

"He's very relaxed," Minnifield said. "Very poised."

Not all the time, though. Harris has thrown five of his 10 interceptions during Miami's two losses this season. If Virginia can get past Miami's offensive line - which London referred to as "road graders" - the Cavaliers will have a chance at disrupting the Hurricanes' offensive flow. That, however, has been an issue for Virginia, which has tallied fewer sacks (nine) than all but two ACC teams.

Harris, who has completed 53.9 percent of his passes and thrown for 1,561 yards and 14 touchdowns, is "a tall, long, lean, athletic quarterback that actually would rather stay in the pocket and throw the ball downfield to his skill players, rather than take off and run," London said. "When he is on, he's on. Hopefully he'll be off on this Saturday."

Bradley back from injury

Junior offensive tackle Landon Bradley returned to Virginia's depth chart Monday after missing two weeks with a broken right hand. Bradley, who started the first five games of the season at left tackle, was listed as interchangeable at the position with sophomore Oday Aboushi. London said it would be determined in practice this week whether Bradley plays at left or right tackle Saturday against Miami.

Formerly the starting right tackle, Aboushi has started the past two games at left tackle in Bradley's absence. Freshman Morgan Moses has filled in as the starter at right tackle, though London has stated his preference for Moses to develop at right guard.

Coming off what London called "one of his best games" in Saturday's 48-21 victory over Eastern Michigan, Moses was listed as interchangeable at the starting right guard and right tackle positions. London has said repeatedly that he plans to afford Moses considerable playing time as the season progresses, and it is likely the 6-foot-6, 350-pound true freshman will start somewhere along Virginia's offensive line Saturday.

"Morgan is ready to go, whether it's right tackle or right guard," London said Monday. "We've got kind of like by committee right now with guys getting back to where they need to be. We'll see [Tuesday] about what side is better for Landon in terms of his hand. And then we'll insert Morgan where need be."

Virginia has allowed 17 sacks this season, though the Cavaliers did not allow a sack Saturday against Eastern Michigan.

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