O line key to high-octane UVA offense
One thing you don’t think about when your favorite team plays multiple quarterbacks: the offensive line, and cadence.
“I think it’s maybe not more as complex, but knowing who’s back there, they all have a little different cadence,” said Chris Glaser, who graded out at 70.5 in 76 snaps at right guard for Virginia per Pro Football Focus in Saturday’s 42-14 win over Illinois.
“We try to keep it all in house, but sometimes it can be different. But, you know, we have certain plays for certain players, and just going out there and try to keep it as consistent as possible as a front, not changing up for who’s ever back there, we give them the best opportunity to showcase their skills as well,” Glaser said.
The UVA O line has graded out consistently solid the first two weeks – with pass block grades of 78.9 and 78.0 and run block grades of 68.5 and 69.0 in the wins over William & Mary and the Illini.
The line, expected to be an important building block for the 2021 offense, with its experience and depth, was the only one nationally to hold a Week 2 FBS opponent to fewer than four QB pressures.
“We believe that we have to be, we have this standard of you know, not letting the QB get touched,” Glaser said. “A game that was hard for us was two years ago against Pitt when we had Bryce Perkins, and he had been pressured and hit a lot, and we had this photo of his jersey that’s all green because of how many hits he took. And that’s something that we don’t ever want to get back to.
“You know, we always heard, fix it, fix it, from various coaches, especially Mendenhall and TJ. And we know where we used to be. And we know where we’re at. Now, we don’t ever want to go back. And it’s very prideful, that I didn’t know that stat. But it’s a lot of pride that we take in that,” Glaser said.
The key to the productivity from the O line: “I mean, this group, we’re very cohesive. We have a lot of chemistry. We all know what we’re capable of doing. And, you know, we know what each other’s thinking,” Glaser said.
“So, planning is just that much faster because we have that type of cohesiveness. And yeah, we we’ve been through the trials and tribulations of being a bad offensive line and hearing it not only from our coaches, but media, everybody. So, getting out of that rut from a long time ago and finally being a staple on this offense is something to be proud of, and, but also not, you know, get too into it as well, because we don’t want to think we’re all that and then start doing things that we’re not supposed to and go back and fall back down to what we used to be.”
Glaser, a fifth-year senior, is looking forward to Saturday night, with the game at UNC carrying huge stakes in the ACC championship race.
“Yeah, I mean, having games as big as this one is very fun,” Glaser said. “One that a lot of us recall is the FSU game about two years ago, UNC at night, a couple years ago, they’re just fun games to play in and be in front of a big crowd. And yes, there’s a lot more weight on our shoulders to perform and, you know, win. But, you know, that’s kind of what you want when you play college football.”
Story by Chris Graham