Hope and concern: Virginia

The hope and concern series continues today with Virginia:

Biggest reason for hope: Defensive strides

With nine starters returning in the second season in the 4-3 scheme, Virginia should show measurable improvement this fall. Coach Mike London said this spring that the defense is well ahead of where it was this time a year ago because of the transition and coaching change. The Hoos also have legitimate playmakers in cornerback Chase Minnifield, who finished fifth in the country in interceptions last year, and defensive end Cam Johnson, who ranks fifth among all active ACC defenders in career TFLs. Defensive tackle Matt Conrath and linebacker Steve Greer are two additional standouts who should make Virginia’s front seven solid.

Biggest reason for concern: Uncertainty at quarterback

Ross Metheny, Michael Strauss, Michael Rocco and true freshman David Watford all have a chance to earn the starting job this summer, but all of them lack significant game experience. Metheny completed 13 of 17 passes last year for 171 yards and three touchdowns while Rocco was 13 of 25 with two interceptions, 143 yards and a touchdown. London has said that their game experience isn’t necessarily an edge over the competition. Injuries to receivers this spring made it difficult to evaluate the quarterbacks, but London will be judging them on their leadership skills as well this summer.

More in this series: