His office is much smaller than the one he had at the Naval Academy. The only sign that a football coach works there is a small projector on a table against one wall.

The desk is cluttered with papers; an old-fashioned lamp is on the floor behind the desk. The walls are decorated with four paintings of various scenes of the University of Virginia campus.

Virginia is written all over the man now--literally. He is wearing a Navy blue sweater with Virginia sewn on in orange letters. For the time being, he's even living in a place called the Cavalier Inn.

Welcome to Virginia, George Welsh.

Welsh is halfway through his first spring at Virginia after spending the last nine years as head coach at the Naval Academy. He was the most successful coach in Navy history with a record of 55-45-1 and bowl appearances in three of the last four years. Some people were surprised that Welsh moved from Annapolis to Charlottesville, and his explanation for the move now is the same as when he took the job last December.

"There's a time to stay and a time to leave," he said. "And I just felt it was time for me to leave."

He is taking things slowly in Charlottesville these days. His family still lives in Annapolis, but Welsh said he hopes to have a house and move everyone in by June.

"It's not so bad, though, because I spend most of my time with football anyway now," he said. "All we're trying to do this spring is evaluate talent and get people in the right positions. I think that is going to take the whole spring for them to absorb everything."

Welsh is used to having a few good players and getting them all in the right positions so as many as possible are on the field at the same time. He is using the same approach at Virginia, a team that finished 1-10 last season and has won only 16 games in six seasons.

When he evaluated the Virginia players, he didn't look at what position a player played last year. He measured, weighed and timed every man, then put him in the position he wanted him to play.

"Based on size and speed, we tried to correlate what we had at Navy and then project where they could help us. We did the same thing here," he said.

"Some of them ended up in the positions they played in the past, but others didn't," Welsh said. "About 25 percent of them got moved. The skill people didn't get moved as much, but we moved some guards to tackle; a cornerback to nose guard; ends to linebackers; a linebacker to fullback and a defensive back to end. The same kind of stuff we did at Navy. We're trying to fit people into our defensive scheme, not the other way around.

"We won with multiple defenses at Navy, but we've taught just a basic 50 so far here. The offense will have to wait. If we can catch and throw, we'll pass, if not we'll run more. I'm flexible in that area. I don't care what, though, we aren't going to throw 45 to 50 times a game.

"My idea of a balanced attack is 400 yards in offense, 200 passing and 200 rushing. If you have 75 plays a game, that means you're going to run the ball 50 times to get 200 yards and pass it 25 times for the other 200. That's my basic philosophy of offensive football."

Comparisons between Navy and Virginia are inevitable. Welsh tries his best to stay away from them, but sometimes he can't help making them.

"We have more time with the players here," he said. "At Navy we just had to live with the fact that we wouldn't have time to do some things. Parts of our game suffered as a consequence, like the kicking game. We just didn't have the time to work on it like we wanted to.

"In terms of height and weight, we're bigger than we were at Navy, and as far as sheer speed goes, there is more of it here. We don't know about quickness yet. The other things you can't measure as easily are intelligence and dedication.

"We had defensive backs at Navy who ran 4.8 40s, but they were so smart they played a step quicker. We just don't know yet if we have those kinds of kids here. I think it's going to be hard to be good early, but I'm impressed so far with the young people here. They're all ambitious academically. We have a lot of premed students, engineers, science majors and business majors. I don't even know if you can get a degree in physical education here."

Welsh said he hasn't gotten too close to the players yet. At Navy, it was much the same way.

"He is strictly business," said defensive back Pat Chester. "That's not negative. He knows his role and he's straightforward about it. He seems kind of hard to get close to. Winning is the bottom line with him. He's exactly what I thought he'd be like. He fits the impression I had of him coming from a military background.

"We'll loosen him up."