The Virginia coaching staff’s decision to move redshirt freshman Zach Swanson from tight end to fullback not only provides Swanson with a greater opportunity to carve out some playing time this fall, it also better prepares the Cavaliers for the 2012 season when the top two fullbacks on their current roster will have exhausted their eligibility.
As it stands now, Swanson is behind fifth-year seniors Max Milien and Terence Fells-Danzer on the depth chart at fullback, and that pecking order may remain in place the rest of this season.
But, as Coach Mike London pointed out Tuesday, sometimes decisions are made with one eye on the present and the other eye on the long-term future.
“In everything that we’re trying to get done here, maybe some of the players that are going to end up playing, some of them are going to play because of the depth situation and not wanting to go into another season without having any experience at a particular position,” London said. “Some of these guys that are playing will be letterman instead of returning starters, because this team this year is a senior-laden team, but with a heavy influx of younger players that are playing their way into the opportunities to play.
“One way to do that is get them in the game and play them. This year’s class, next year’s class, play the talent that’s coming in. That’s what the plan is right now.”
As for Swanson specifically, London said he likes the potential that the player’s size – 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds – creates in terms of creating mismatches out of the backfield against weak-side linebackers and safeties.
“A lot of times in a two-back offense, when you run an isolation, you want a fullback that will put his face up in there,” London said. “And Zach is not afraid of contact.”