When Virginia's football team arrives Friday night at Christopher Newport University for the latest installment of its now annual spring practice state road tour, there will be no shortage of intriguing position battles to observe and new faces to learn.
Pomoco Stadium will be buzzing with activity for the duration of the free two-hour practice session, which begins at 7 p.m., but here's a breakdown of a few particulars to keep an eye on if you venture out to CNU:
Who's that kid with the arm?
At some point, there's likely to be an opportunity to see the quarterbacks throw a few deep out patterns to wide receivers, or maybe a few passes from the far hash-mark to running backs in the flat. Keep an eye on 6-foot-5 incoming freshman Greyson Lambert's arm on the aforementioned passes. He just enrolled in January, and he has a long way to go in terms of understanding and recognizing defenses, but he's got an impressive arm. Incumbent starter Michael Rocco and Hampton High graduate David Watford will get the majority of the reps over Lambert in the practice session.
Kicking game a mystery
Last week, U.Va. coach Mike London said the competition for the jobs at kicker, punter and kickoff specialist are still wide open. That's not surprising given the fact he's auditioning a few new faces. Junior Drew Jarrett, a graduate of Cox High in Virginia Beach, is back after taking a year off from football. He's competing with sophomore Alec Vozenilek for the punting job, and redshirt freshman Ian Frye for place-kicker duties. Settings like the one at CNU on Friday night could provide a decent gauge of how kickers will react in front of crowds, so it could be a chance for a breakout from one of the candidates.
Keep roster handy for DBs, OL
It might be a good idea to keep a roster close by to identify what coaches will be doing in terms of experimenting with personnel groupings on the offensive line and in the secondary. Left tackle Oday Aboushi, left guard Sean Cascarano and right guard Luke Bowanko are out for the spring because of injuries. Right tackle Morgan Moses, who has slimmed down to under 330 pounds, will be out there Friday night. Sophomores Drequan Hoskey, Brendan Morgan and Brandon Phelps are getting good looks at cornerback across from returning starter Demetrious Nicholson. Bethel High graduate Rijo Walker is the favorite to earn the free-safety starting duties, while Anthony Harris could be the new man at strong safety, but there's a lot of unproven depth at safety that will be on display.
No shortage of speed on perimeter
While replacing the expertise of Kris Burd and leadership of Matt Snyder won't be easy, skill remains at wide receiver, especially at the top end of the depth chart. Speed is the most evident talent of the current crop of receivers, which includes sophomores Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell and junior Tim Smith. Sophomores Miles Gooch and E.J. Scott are vying to earn more playing time, so practices like Friday night's affair simply provide added opportunities to show what they can do.
Check out locals on defense
In addition to Walker, Lafayette High graduate Will Hill and Phoebus High product Daquan Romero also are in line for starting jobs. Hill, a 6-4, 280-pound senior defensive tackle, and Romero, a 6-1, 230-pound sophomore linebacker, will get first-team reps in the practice at CNU. Of course, Hill got a ton of reps last season as the third wheel in a three-man rotation at defensive tackle that featured starters Matt Conrath and Nick Jenkins. Romero is looking to establish himself after a freshman season in which he had to learn a relatively new position.
Cavaliers visit Hampton Roads
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Pomoco Stadium on Christopher Newport's campus
WHAT: Clinic for high school coaches, hosted by U.Va. coach Mike London and
CNU coach Matt Kelchner
WHEN: 7 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: CNU's campus
INFORMATION: Call or email Kerri Cain at 434-982-5923 or firstname.lastname@example.orgCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun