Offensive line a ‘Cornerstone’ for Virginia football success

Offensive line a ‘Cornerstone’ for Virginia football success
The UVA offensive line with QB Brennan Armstrong - UVA Athletics (Source: UVA Athletics)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia football will be back on its home field this weekend, as the Cavaliers are scheduled to host NC State on Saturday at Scott Stadium.

UVA played top-ranked Clemson tough in its road opener last week, and head coach Bronco Mendenhall says one position group has seen a lot of progress.

“Our offensive line, I would have to say, is the cornerstone of why we’re having success, as a program, and as a football team, and as an offense," says Mendenhall. "They’re blocking effectively in the run, and the pass. They’re healthy.  We’re deep.  It’s the biggest difference in our program from a year ago, to this year, is the offensive line play.”

NC State head coach Dave Doeren says, “They’re very sound.  They’re big.  They remind you of a Big Ten team, when you look at how big they are.  They’re strong.  I’m impressed, they don’t beat themselves.  They’re a low-penalized team. They don’t give up a lot of plays in their backfield.  They’ve only had six plays in their own backfield in two games, and obviously Clemson was one of those teams.”

Doeren says as good as the UVA offensive line has been at protecting its backfield, the Cavalier defense has been just as good getting to its' opponents.

“They’re in the backfield a lot,” says Doeren. "They have seven sacks, and sixteen TFL’s in just two games, so very disruptive.  When you look at them, compared to the team’s they play, they’re plus-14 in making plays in the backfield, compared to their opponents.  So that tells you what they do, and they’ve only committed six total penalties being aggressive like that.”

NC State has had an up-and-down start the the season. They began with a shootout victory against Wake Forest, before getting blown out by Virginia Tech, and then knocking off then 24th-ranked Pitt last week.

“I think they’re tough," says Mendenhall. "I think they’re competitive, and certainly, they’re well coached.”

Doeren says, “We have a real time example of winning a game, thinking that we’re all that, getting destroyed the following week, and now winning another tough game.  I think our guys know that they can’t step back.”

Virginia and NC State kickoff on Saturday at noon at Scott Stadium.

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