New-look Virginia pass rush looks to improve on sack numbers

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Billy Schautz and Eli Harold shared a room at the Cavalier Inn during this year’s training camp.

Harold, a true freshman, is being groomed as the Wahoos’ next great pass-rushing defensive end. Schautz has been on the other side of the tutoring relationship, so he knows how it works.

“When I was a first year, it was Clint Sintim, and the other guys, that used to try to help me with plays,” he said. “At the time I was an outside linebacker in the 3-4, and he helped me a lot, so I’m trying to do the same.”

Schautz will need help from the new guys to reach the ambitious goals he’s set.

“I would like to lead the team in sacks, and as a unit we want over 30 sacks,” he said. “But my main goal is to win. Win every game.”

Deep Run grad Jake Snyder will start across from Schautz. Harold and fellow true freshman Mike Moore are both expected to jump in at times, though.

The goal exceeds the 20 sacks U.Va. recorded last year — ninth in the ACC. Defensive coordinator Jim Reid is quick to point out that sacks don’t tell the whole story, but with a young secondary, those game-changing plays could be difference makers in 2012.

“Jake has really picked it up. I thought he gave us some great snaps last year, and he’s really doing well,” Reid said. “And Billy has picked up where he left off last year after the injury.”

The injury — breaking two bones in his leg — happened right as Schautz was beginning to assert himself.

As a junior in 2011, he jumped into the national spotlight by forcing a fumble against Florida State on the Seminoles’ first drive. Reid said without that play, the ‘Hoos don’t win the game.

He also had a sack, tackle for loss and pass break-up before the best night of his career turned sour. The injury happened with 40 seconds left in the game.

Even in rehab, though, he remained a team player. Injured linebacker Steve Greer, another senior leader, was recovering from ACL surgery. The two made sure to schedule their workouts at the same time.

“Neither of us wanted it to happen, but the fact that we rehabbed together and got better together, it made us closer,” Schautz said. “It also allowed us to get better faster, because we pushed each other and competed.”

Both players have been at full speed in training camp, and will anchor their units this year.

On the line, Schautz has found motivation in senior offensive lineman Oday Aboushi, a likely pick in the 2013 NFL draft who lines up across from him during scrimmages.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story
Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player