- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. | Virginia will find out this weekend where its passing offense really stands — if it really is among the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Cavaliers (2-1) open ACC play against Florida State (3-1) on Saturday. The Seminoles lead the nation with 19 sacks (for minus 124 yards) and have allowed a total of 197 passing yards in victories against Brigham Young and Wake Forest in their last two games.

The Cavaliers feel they have some good history to build off, too.

Before losing 17-14 at Southern Cal, the Cavaliers offensive linemen heard all about how the Trojans defense was stacked with future NFL players and might be too difficult to slow down.

It proved not to be so; USC managed only two sacks against Marc Verica, and Virginia was in the game until the end, a surprisingly strong showing on the Trojans’ home field.

“You’ve just got to go into the mindset that we’ve put several linemen in the NFL from here on the offensive line,” Bradley said. “We all weren’t recruited for no reason.”

Virginia threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns last weekend in a 48-7 victory against the Keydets. It was the Cavaliers’ highest yardage total through the air in five seasons, and pushed the Cavaliers passing average to 271 yards per game, fourth in the conference.

But Bradley and the offense know that dominating a VMI defense whose heaviest player weighed 265 pounds and handling the sack-happy Seminoles are two very different animals.

The strategy, though, is the same.

“Everything’s got to be more on point with the offense as a whole,” he said. “You’ve just got to take in the first three games and understand every little thing you did wrong.”

Despite the contrast is talent level, the Seminoles will find a confident offense.

“I think we showed that if you want to put eight men in the box and shut down the run game, trying to stop us from running the ball, we can attack you with all our weapons on the edge,” he said, speaking of VMI’s attention to stopping the run and forcing the pass.

“It just shows you can’t stop everything we’re trying to do here.”

Verica, viewed by some as a wild card in the offense because of his tendency to have streaks of bad throws and decisions, has been very crisp with five TDs and one interception.

He’s also done exactly what the coaching staff has asked.

“I think it’s a product of the offense, of the system and the scheme that’s put in, not asking a guy to do too much,” coach Mike London said. “When Marc makes a throw based on the coverage, based on the receivers running the correct route, we can be fairly productive.”

And this week, those receivers are eager to test themselves again.

“We’ll get to see where we are right now,” said Kris Burd, who has a touchdown catch in each game this season. “We had some success against Richmond and VMI, and we took it right down to the wire against USC, so this is going to be a good game to see where we stand.”

 

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