CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WAVY) – The name of the game in Charlottesville these days is defense. A resurgent University of Virginia, fresh off a 2-10 season, is leading the Coastal division of the ACC in no small part because it fields one of the best defenses in the conference.
“We’re physical, we’re confident, and we’re hungry,” says David Dean, a junior defensive tackle for the Hoos. Dean, along with four other starters on that side of the ball, are from Hampton Roads. Eli Harold, a junior defensive end from Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, is tied for third in the conference with five quarterback sacks.
Quin Blanding, a true freshman safety from Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, leads the ACC in tackles, but the “rock” is the man wearing the no. 44 jersey. Henry Coley, also a former Bayside Marlin, leads the conference in tackles for loss and is second in the conference with six QB take-downs.
“Henry is definitely that guy that everybody looks up to,” said Dean, who played at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, “He’s kind of that gel that keeps everybody together.” As a defensive unit, the Cavs are second best in the ACC in stopping the run.
They’ll hope that stat holds up this Saturday, when they head to Durham, NC to play a potent Duke team that’s beaten UVA five of the last six times.