Virginia's players 'just don't crack'

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

From the outside looking in, Virginia is in store for another long season: The top three linebackers from 2008 are gone. The top four receivers are gone. The leading rusher is gone.

But, receiver Jared Green said, they each left something behind.

"They left something in us, that same work ethic, that same drive and people will see that it's new players but it's the same attitude that coach [Al] Groh has instilled into all of us," said Green. "It just continues to be the same attitude, that we just don't crack and we go hard."

When spring practices concluded in Charlottesville, Groh said that he was still looking for that go-to receiver. Next month will be the time to find one, and Green is the leading returning receiver from a year ago with 12 catches for 144 yards, but said he is working like nothing has been promised to him. Kris Burd caught seven passes last year and will need to produce more this fall. Dontrelle Inman finished with 17 receptions as a true freshman two years ago, but saw his total fall to two catches in 2008, while Staton Jobe saw his catches drop from 17 to one.

"There's a burden over the shoulders of the receivers this year and there's a lot we need to do to accomplish and really establish ourselves," Green said. "We need to be the guys they can call on and they can count on. As long as we do our job, I think the coaches will be pleased."

Green said the players are "very hungry" after the disappointing finish to last season and called first-year offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon "a genius." This spring was spent learning the new offense and continuing that progress this summer will be critical.

"I don't think it's so much I had to learn, but I think it's that I had to challenge myself to change the way that we operate," Green said. "It's a different type of offense, but I don't think it's the learning of the offense, it's the attitude of the West Coast-type offense. It's a little different. It's more fast paced. You just need to be ready for that and that's why this summer is so important; the training and getting ready for a fast-paced season.

"I feel like, and I can speak for all the receivers, we all have a lot to do," he said. "There's a lot of numbers we need to make as well as the quarterbacks, the running backs, all the skill positions, there's a lot of work for us to do. I feel like the sky is the limit."

When Green first met Groh, one of the first things his coach taught him was to never give in or feed in to the outside speculation. That's why Green chose to look at what the Cavaliers have coming back instead of what they lost.

"He always says we just don't crack," Green said. "I think that really speaks to the whole program, no matter what's going on, no matter how the situation is looking, no matter what the people are saying, we just don't crack. I really use that and apply it in a lot of different areas."