The Cavaliers are looking to make some changes on offense this year.
And they need to.
Last year they were ranked 118th in the country in total offense. They were running a spread offense and didn’t really have the correct personnel to run it successfully. This year they are going to be more conservative and try more of a power running game, which honestly, I don’t think they have the correct personnel to run successfully.
Let’s take a look at the Cav’s 2010 offense position by position.
Quarterback: The starter coming into this season is clearly Marc Verica, who is a grad student this year. I’m pretty sure his last name is Italian for “the only quarterback on the roster who’s thrown a pass in a college game.” Last year he was Jameel Sewell’s back-up and only played in garbage time. In 2008 he unexpectedly started six games and threw for over 200 yards in each of them. Only one other quarterback in Virginia history had a six game stretch in which he threw for at least 200 yards in each game. It was a guy you may have heard of too…current Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub.
His back-up, as of right now, is redshirt freshman Ross Metheney. (Self-indulgent side note vaguely interesting to me and probably not to anyone else: Metheney graduated from Sherando High School in Stephens City, Virginia, the same high school from which my wife graduated. Also the same high school that current Philadelphia Eagle and former Cincinnati Bengal, New England Patriot, Baltimore Raven, Tennessee Volunteer, and Florida Marlins minor-leaguer Kelley Washington went to.)
The battle for third QB has been really interesting. The Cavs brought in four true freshman, Michael Strauss, Michael Rocca, Miles Gooch, and Jake McGee. McGee has already changed positions and become a tight end. Gooch is expected by many to change positions as well. Strauss enrolled in classes this spring, participated in spring practice and came into the fall as the no. 3 QB on the depth chart. Rocco has been pushing him though. Rocco has shown great talent and has been making all the reads and throws that a college quarterback needs to make. He has been making some freshman mistakes though and that is was holding him back. I wouldn’t be surprised if, after getting some experience, Rocco moves up the depth chart.
Receiving: Returning starters Kris Burd and Tim Smith have been taking the first team reps in practice, along with veteran Dontrelle Inman. It will be interesting to see how these guys will produce now that they have a QB who can deliver the ball to them reliably. Last year the Cavs ran that spread offense but rarely threw the ball downfield. Sewell was always too quick to pull the ball down and run. He also couldn’t throw down the field accurately. Verica can. They’ll probably use the run to set up the pass, but I think the passing game will be more effective and the receivers will produce, especially Burd and Smith. Jared Green is the only other receiver on the roster with more than single digit career catches. He’ll be the no. 4.
At tight end last year’s starters Joe Torchia and Colter Phillips are back. Last year they combined for only 20 catches and 184 yards, but I expect them to be used a little more in this year’s system. One player to watch this year will be true freshman Zachary Swanson. He is highly rated by ESPN and Scout.com and could make some noise this year.
Running Back: Perry Jones and Keith Payne are currently listed at no. 1 and 2 on the depth chart. Jones is small and quick and has the most experience at tailback, while Payne is big and a hard hitter who has also spent time at fullback. Torrey Mack should also see some action this year along with freshman Kevin Parks. Parks is built like Jones and could be used to spell.
Offensive Line: The Cavaliers return three starters, LT Landon Bradley, LG Austin Pasztor, and RG B.J. Cabbell. New starting RT Oday Aboushi saw his playing time increase as the season went on last year and should be able to plug right in. The concerns will be the relative inexperience of new starting center Anthony Mihota and if this unit can gel. The big story coming out of practice this summer is true freshman Morgan Moses. He is a mountain of a man (6’6″, 350) and was considered one of the top 5 high school tackles in the country last year. He has been impressing the coaches in practice, is probably going to start the year on the second team. He will probably be rotated in with the starters before the end of the year. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Moses is a full-time starter by November.
This year the Cavaliers are playing with house money. They will be given a pass no matter happens. The new coaching staff will be implementing their new systems. The fans shouldn’t necessarily looking for wins, but improvements. They should be looking for signs that this team will be good next year. The offense is no different. This year they will take their lumps, go through the growing pains, and then maybe next year they can really put it together.
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.