Healthy Burd Looking to Exit on High Note
By Jeff White
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- After what surely seemed at times like the longest five months of his life, UVa wide receiver Kris Burd cleared a major hurdle Monday. Burd's doctors gave the fifth-year senior from Chesterfield County permission to train with no restrictions.
"It feels fine, other than just regular soreness," Burd said Wednesday of his surgically repaired right ankle. "That's only natural. When you cut somebody open and then seal them up, it's going to be sore from time to time."
Burd hurt a ligament in the ankle during a bye-week practice last September. He played through considerable pain in the Cavaliers' final 10 games, yet still finished the season with 58 catches for 799 yards and five touchdowns.
He's eager to see what he can do this fall on two good wheels, and so are his coaches.
"To do what he did [was impressive]," wide receivers coach Shawn Moore said. "The kid had to have major surgery after the season, but he never really complained. There were times we couldn't practice him, but he still came out on Saturday and performed."
Burd and his doctors had hoped to avoid surgery, but his offseason rehabilitation did not produce the desired improvement in his ankle. "It got to the point where it was like, 'Do you think you can do another season on it like that?' " Burd recalled. "And I was just like, 'No.' "
And so in February a surgeon "kind of reconstructed all my ligaments. Tightened them up," Burd said in June. "It's definitely more stable and secure now than it was."
He didn't shed his crutches until late March, and so had to be a spectactor during spring practice. Burd tried to turn that into a positive.
"It was a learning experience," he said. "It's a different view than what a typical spring would usually be, because in the spring you get a lot of reps and a lot of coaching. So I was kind of sitting back from a coach's point of view, and listening and seeing the things that I wouldn't be able to see out there on the field, seeing it from the sidelines. I feel like it helped me get a better knowledge for the game, knowledge for the playbook."
His workload steadily increased as his ankle healed, and the 5-11, 195-pound Burd has been lifting weights and running for months. Under strength coach Evan Marcus, Burd has recorded personal bests in such lifts as the bench, squat and clean this summer.
"I've been conditioning, just doing the things that I could do and not pushing it too much," Burd said. "I feel faster and stronger than ever, really."
Until this week, however, he was not allowed to make sharp cuts on the field, which kept Burd from participating in the seven-on-seven drills the players organize in the summer.
"That was the thing they held me from," he said, "competing man on man. It's kind of like [missing] the spring: It's tough watching it and not being able to actually do it, but that day's coming."
In 2010, Burd teamed with senior Dontrelle Inman (51 catches for 815 yards and three TDs) to form the top receiving tandem in UVa history. With Inman gone, No. 18 figures to have an even higher profile in the Wahoos' offense this fall.
"I think it's pretty obvious that Kris Burd is going to be the guy this year," Moore said. "I expect him to kind of lead by example on the field, since he's going to be surrounded by a lot of young guys."
For his career, Burd has 96 receptions for 1,277 yards and six TDs. That he was he able to be so productive at less than full strength last year is "building up more excitement for this season," Burd said.
At Matoaca High School, Burd starred for one of the Richmond area's top football programs. That's made one aspect of his college experience frustrating. In 2007, when Burd redshirted, Virginia went 9-4 and played in the Gator Bowl. Since then, the 'Hoos have finished 5-7, 3-9 and, last year, 4-8.
"Losing never gets easier," Burd said. "I hate losing. It's just something I never accept. This being my last season and coming off of surgery, I'm just trying to get everybody on the same page and focused on winning."
Burd and UVa's other seniors have an overriding goal: to play in a bowl game this season.
"Because the guys that came in with me are the only guys [in the program] who have experienced a bowl game," Burd said. "I feel like we're cutting ourselves short if we don't make it to a bowl game, because it's an experience that everyone needs. It's kind of an extra initiative and drive, just to let guys know, 'This will be the best time of your life if we make it to this bowl game.' "
For Burd's first three years in the program, the Cavaliers' head coach was Al Groh. Mike London replaced Groh after the 2009 season and hired Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator.
Lazor is the third offensive coordinator for whom Burd has played at Virginia. The first was Groh's son Mike, a former UVa quarterback who left the coaching staff after the 2008 season. Gregg Brandon replaced Mike Groh but had no more success as coordinator.
In 2009, Virginia ranked 118th out of 120 teams nationally in total offense and 105th in scoring offense. In the Cavaliers' first season under Lazor, they ranked 37th in total offense and 75th in scoring offense.
From its 2010 offense, UVa lost several starters, including Inman, tailback Keith Payne and quarterback Marc Verica, but much proven talent returns. Veterans include wideouts Burd, Tim Smith and Matt Snyder, tight ends Colter Phillips and Paul Freedman, tailback Perry Jones, fullback Max Milien and linemen Oday Aboushi, Morgan Moses, Anthony Mihota and Austin Pasztor.
"From two years ago to last year, it was a big jump, as far as offensive production, and I feel like it's going to be the same way this year," Burd said.
"Since I've been here, we've had three different offenses and been kind of ping-ponging back and forth between what type of offense we're running. Last year we learned it in the spring and did it in training camp, and we were still adding stuff during the season. But now it's kind of like you know what the coaches are expecting, you know how it should be done. It's just about executing the finer details. And I feel like year 2 in this offense will be a lot better than year 1."
After his breakout year in 2010, Burd is no longer anonymous around the league. He'll be one of the two players, along with all-conference cornerback Chase Minnifield, representing UVa at ACC Football Kickoff, an annual media gathering that starts Sunday in Pinehurst, N.C.
Still, Burd said, "I like being the unknown guy. I'm not too big on the limelight or the glamour. I just want to go out there and produce. If they know about me, that's fine. If they don't, that's fine too. I just want to win some ball games this year."
Teel Time: Landstown's Kyle Dockins UVa's 7th commitment from
By David Teel
5:52 p.m. EDT, July 21, 2011
Virginia football’s laser-intense recruitment of Hampton Roads continued Thursday as tight end Kyle Dockins of Virginia Beach’s Landstown High announced his commitment to the Cavaliers.
Under head coach Mike London and assistant Chip West, graduates of Bethel and Kecoughtan High, respectively, Virginia has received seven class of 2012 pledges from their home region. This among 17 total commitments.
London’s first Cavaliers class included nine 757 players among 26 signees. So of the 43 prospects he’s landed in less than two years on the job, 16, more than one-third, hail from Hampton Roads.
That’s an astonishing ratio, and London and West, the program’s lead recruiter here, probably aren’t done. Defensive end Eli Harold of Virginia Beach’s Ocean Lakes High is scheduled to decide among Virginia, Penn State and Florida on Aug. 2.
Dockins, 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, was not a national recruit. Norfolk State offered him a scholarship, according to Rivals.com. Georgia and Pittsburgh also showed interest.
“It was all Coach London,” Dockins told CavsCorner. “He sealed the deal. It was just the connection to him and the coaching staff that I felt when I went up there.”
Virginia’s other 2012 pledges from Hampton Roads:
Linebacker Kwontie Moore, defensive end Courtnye Wynn and athlete Wilfred Wahee of Norfolk Christian, Hampton High receiver Jamall Brown, Bayside receiver Anthony Cooper and Green Run linebacker Mark Hall.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has taken five pledges from the 757, further establishing the region's hotbed status. Oscar Smith running back J.C. Coleman is the headliner.
By the way, realize I'm a poor substitute for Comrade Wood's recruiting 411. But he's otherwise preoccupied at the Top Gun camp in James City County. Look for his blogs and stories online.
Landstown's Kyle Dockins to play football at Virginia
Posted to: College Football High Schools Sports Virginia Beach
By Larry Rubama
© July 22, 2011
Virginia coach Mike London has done it again.
For the second consecutive day, the Cavaliers coach landed a top prospect when he got a commitment from Landstown's Kyle Dockins.
Dockins, 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, is being recruited as an athlete. He can play tight end, defensive end, linebacker or defensive back. He said he's willing to play wherever Virginia wants to use him.
His decision comes one day after Bayside standout Anthony Cooper committed to Virginia.
The Cavaliers have six players from South Hampton Roads, including Green Run linebacker Mark Hall and Norfolk Christian's Kwontie Moore, Courtnye Wynn and Will Wahee.
Dockins, a rising senior, made a phone call to London before making his decision public to teammates, family, friends and the media.
"He told me it was nice to have me and (Anthony Cooper) on the team," said Dockins, who chose Virginia over Georgia and Pittsburgh.
Dockins said he chose Virginia because it was close to home, but also because of London's influence.
"We really had a connection when I was up there," said Dockins, who had nine offers. "I just felt like it was the right decision."
Dockins' mother, Catrece, said she also was impressed with London.
"I just got a feeling that he really, truly cares about children academically as well as football-wise," she said. "He has a religious background and is a man of good faith. That was important to me. And the staff, I was really impressed with them."
Landstown coach Tommy Reamon said he expects big things from Dockins at Virginia.
"When you look at him, you look at his upside as an athlete and what he can do and how valuable he can be," he said. "I'm excited to watch him, but I want him to help us first."
Landstown TE chooses Virginia
By JAY JENKINS
Published: July 21, 2011
Georgia was appealing. Pittsburgh was impressive.
Mike London beat out both, landing tight end Kyle Dockins from Landstown High in Virginia Beach on Thursday. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, he also had early offers from East Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Dockins becomes the second player from the Tidewater to verbally commit in as many days and is the 17th verbal for the Class of 2012.
“Coach London and I really had a connection when I went up there," Dockins told reporters at a press conference Thursday. "I just felt like it was the right decision at the right time. I followed my heart. I feel very relieved. I decided to do it so that I could focus on my senior season.”
On Wednesday, Bayside wideout Anthony Cooper picked Virginia and Dockins said the two had discussed their plans and how they want to return the Cavaliers to national prominence.
Timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Dockins caught 40 passes last year as a junior for nearly 600 yards. He scored two touchdowns.
Landing Dockins was key for the class. Defensive end Eli Harold, from Ocean Lakes, is close friends with Dockins and the newest Cavalier stated weeks ago that the two intended to play college football together.
While Dockins' stock continues to climb, Harold ranks as the state's second-best player and Sporting News pegged him as the 49th-best prospect in the country.
Landstown receiver Kyle Dockins commits to Virginia
By Doug Doughty
Virginia’s football staff came up with another catch in the
Tidewater region today as receiver Kyle Dockins from Landstown High School in
Virginia Beach committed to the Cavaliers.
Dockins, projected as either a tight end or wide receiver at 6 feet 4 and 200 pounds, had 40 receptions for 611 yards and six touchdowns as a junior.
Dockins’ commitment comes a day after wide receiver Anthony Cooper from Bayside High School in Virginia Beach committed to the Cavaliers and is the seventh UVa commitment from the 757 area code.
UVa has 18 commitments, counting 2011 signee Adrian Gamble, a receiver who will play this fall at Fork Union Military Academy.
Landstown coach Tommy Reamon said Dockins’ choice came down to UVa, Pittsburgh and Georgia.
“I know a couple other guys that are going to join us in the class, but that’s under wraps for now,” Dockins told Wahoos247.com.
Teel Time: Forecasting VT's Hosley, UVa's Minnifield to make
All-ACC, Hokies to win Coastal
By David Teel
5:52 a.m. EDT, July 21, 2011
Aside from playing dreadful golf, committing felony gluttony and asking stale questions, the media’s primary function at the ACC Football Kickoff on Sunday and Monday in Pinehurst, N.C., will be forecasting the all-conference team and order of finish.
Sometimes we’re right: Virginia Tech was our choice to win the league last season.
Sometimes we’re wrong: Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor didn’t sniff the 2010 preseason team, much less player of the year. Florida State’s Christian Ponder received both nods, hardly an illogical choice.
The picks may gin up interest and spark an online debate or three, but they’re otherwise worthless. No one ever wanted or received a plaque for any preseason recognition.
Truth be told, I’m not exactly sure what criteria to use for the July all-conference squad. Should it be based strictly on past performance? Or should we project 2011 potential?
Consider quarterback. If past performance is the sole or chief measure, Maryland’s Danny O’Brien is the pick. If individual and team promise are factors, Florida State’s EJ Manuel merits a long look.
So with those caveats in mind, and barring unexpected revelations, here’s how my ballots will look.
Virginia Tech: Markedly improved run defense or quality play from new quarterback Logan Thomas figure to assure a fifth division title in seven years for the Hokies. If they get both, against a forgiving schedule, look out.
Miami: Few doubt the Hurricanes’ talent. Many doubt their collective attitude. New coach Al Golden needs to change the culture, and the quarterbacks (Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris) need to curtail the ghastly mistakes.
Georgia Tech: Coin flip here between the on-probation Yellow Jackets and soon-to-be-on-probation North Carolina. Here’s a vote for coach Paul Johnson’s option offense and Georgia Tech’s home game versus Tar Heels.
North Carolina: Bank on the Carolina-centric ACC media picking the Heels higher. But with no experienced quarterback, no winning league record since 2004 and an ominous NCAA cloud hovering, I’m not biting.
Virginia: The Cavaliers have lost three straight to Duke and can’t match the Blue Devils’ offensive experience. So why pick UVa ahead of Duke? Chalk it up to provincialism and a hunch that Jim Reid’s defense will be better.
Duke: Force of habit here. With quarterback Sean Renfree and receivers Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner, the Blue Devils boast the division’s most established offense. If they can’t win three or four league games, then when?
Florida State: The Seminoles are the consensus choice to win the ACC, and rightfully so. Manuel, a Virginia Beach product, oozes potential. One cautionary note: In four 2010 defeats, FSU allowed 156 points.
North Carolina State: Coach Tom O’Brien won over legions with last season’s 9-4 record. He could lose just as many if quarterback Michael Glennon flops as Russell Wilson’s replacement. Eight returning defensive starters ease Glennon’s burden.
Clemson: If the new quarterback (Phoebus grad Tajh Boyd) and offensive coordinator (Chad Morris) thrive, and if running back Andre Ellington is healthy and if the defense can withstand the loss of three first-team All-ACC guys, the Tigers could contend. Too many ifs.
Maryland: Randy Edsall inherits 14 starters from a 9-4 team, including O’Brien and all-conference defenders Joe Vellano and Kenny Tate. But the opener against Miami, roadies at FSU and N.C. State and lack of receivers a concern.
Boston College: Other than Montel Harris, on pace to become the ACC’s career rushing leader, and linebackers Luke Kuechly and Kevin Pierre-Louis, this could be a long season for the Eagles. Perhaps long enough to end a 12-year bowl run.
Wake Forest: Quarterback Tanner Price and running back Josh Harris had sublime moments last season as freshmen, but to avoid a second straight last-place finish, the Deacons must improve a defense that ranked 110th nationally in points allowed (35.8 points per game).
Overall champion: Florida State.
PRESEASON ALL-ACC TEAM
Quarterback: Danny O’Brien, Maryland. Beware of FSU’s EJ Manuel, Duke’s Sean Renfree and Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas.
Running backs: Montel Harris, Boston College; Anthony Thompson, Florida State. Beware of Clemson’s Andre Ellington, Miami’s Lamar Miller, Virginia Tech’s David Wilson and Maryland’s Davin Meggett.
Tight end: George Bryan, N.C. State.
Receivers: Conner Vernon, Duke; Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech. Beware of North Carolina’s Dwight Jones, Virginia’s Kris Burd, Duke’s Donovan Varner and Miami’s Travis Benjamin.
Center: Tyler Horn, Miami.
Guards: Brandon Washington, Miami; Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech. Beware of Virginia's Austin Pasztor.
Tackles: Andrew Datko, Florida State; Blake DeChristopher Virginia Tech. Beware of Virginia's Morgan Moses.
Return specialist: Tony Logan, Maryland.
Kicker: Will Snyderwine, Duke.
Offensive player of year: Harris.
Ends: Brandon Jenkins, Florida State; Quinton Coples, North Carolina.
Tackles: Joe Vellano, Maryland; J.R. Sweezy, N.C. State.
Linebackers: Sean Spence, Miami; Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech; Luke Kuechly, Boston College.
Cornerbacks: Chase Minnifield, Virginia; Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech.
Safeties: Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami; Vaughn Telemaque, Miami.
Punter: Dawson Zimmerman, Clemson.
Defensive player of year: Hosley.
Feel free to object early and often.
Minnifield is a Nominee for 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia senior cornerback Chase Minnifield was announced as a nominee for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. To honor the distinguished group of college football players who stand out for the positive influence they have in their communities, Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced the 132 student-athletes nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. It is the most ever in the 20-year history of the award.
The Lexington, Ky., native is active in the Charlottesville community, regularly working in a local elementary school. Minnifield frequently visits Charlottesville's Walker Elementary on a weekly basis where he is a teacher assistant. Minnifield is on the 2011 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list, an award based on Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Tenacity and Community. The cornerback is also involved with various community service efforts the football team is involved in, taking part in the annual bone marrow drive, The Shoot Out for Cancer and an Easter egg hunt at a local rehabilitation clinic for children.
This year marks the program's 20th year honoring college football players at all levels of competition who stand out for their "good works" in the community. Since 1992, selection to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team has become the gold standard for off-the-field character and leadership for college football players. The honor is widely considered the sport's pre-eminent community service award.
"This program has grown dramatically throughout the years due to the volunteerism and commitment of these great student-athletes to their communities," said Mark LaNeve, Allstate Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales Operations, who also serves on the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel. "To be associated with an award that reflects so positively on college football is an inspiration for Allstate, our employees and our agents, especially as the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team celebrates its 20th year."
While it is often college football players' on-field exploits that receive the most attention from fans and media, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team award shines a spotlight on student-athletes' efforts away from the playing field by sharing their stories of serving others.
From creating mentorship programs at local schools, to traveling on mission trips around the world, to donating bone marrow to a cancer patient, this year's Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominees boast some of the most impressive community service resumes in the program's history.
"The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team is one of the most important awards in college football because it highlights some of the best and brightest student-athletes in the country," said Grant Teaff, AFCA Executive Director. "With this being the 20th year of this outstanding award, it's great to see a record number of nominees sent in from some of the leading football programs in the nation. The AFCA is proud to share in this anniversary year with our partners at Allstate."
From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Good Works Team members and prominent college football media members will select two 11-player Good Works Teams - one comprising of players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and another representing players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and the NAIA. The 22 student-athletes named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be announced in late September.
After a successful first-year partnership with ESPN.com, Allstate and the AFCA will re-launch its customized Allstate AFCA Good Works Team website featuring profiles and images of the final team members, as well as an opportunity for fans to vote for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain.
The 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel includes: former Good Works Team members Alex Van Pelt (Pittsburgh, 1992 team), Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997, 1998 teams), Grant Irons (Notre Dame, 1999 team), Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team), Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team); media members Lou Holtz (ESPN), Rece Davis (ESPN), Tom O'Toole (USA Today), Gary Shelton (St. Petersburg Times), Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star); current AFCA President and Montana State University Head Coach Rob Ash; 1987 AFCA President LaVell Edwards, former head coach at Brigham Young University; and Allstate Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales Operations, Mark LaNeve.
Tony Bennett Named Court Coach For USA World University Games
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-Virginia men's head basketball coach Tony Bennett is one of three coaches selected by USA Basketball to be court coaches for the 2011 USA Basketball Men's World University Games National Team training camp. The camp will be held July 29-Aug. 7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"I love what USA Basketball stands for and how it does things," Bennett said. "It was a privilege to play for USA Basketball as a member of the Pan American Games team in 1991 and in the Olympic Basketball Festival in 1989. Players I've coached have also had the opportunity to play on various USA Basketball teams. Now to be a part of the organization as a court coach is a tremendous honor."
Matt Painter (head coach, Purdue) is the head coach of the World University Games Team and his assistants are Cuonzo Martin (head coach, Tennessee) and Brad Stevens (head coach, Butler).
The other coaches selected as court coaches for the training camp are Sean Miller (head coach, Arizona) and Shaka Smart (head coach, VCU).
Twenty-two top collegiate players are scheduled to participate in the training camp and compete for inclusion on the 12-man roster that will represent the USA at the 2011 World University Games men's basketball competition Aug. 13-22 in Shenzhen, China.
"USA Basketball is about working with the best of the best in terms of players and being around some of the finest coaches and greatest basketball minds in the game," Bennett said. "I know I'll enjoy the camaraderie and being a part of selecting a talented team with the ability to win a gold medal."
This is Bennett's first coaching opportunity with USA Basketball, but he participated twice with the organization as a player. He was a member of the USA Pan American Games team in 1991 and participated in the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1989.
Bennett played in seven games with the 1991 Pan American Games team and averaged 6.1 points a game, led the team in assists with 23 and was second in steals with 15. The team earned the bronze medal. He won a gold medal at the 1989 Olympic Festival.
The USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee made the court coach selections. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is the chair of the committee and is joined by Lorenzo Romar (head coach, Washington), Bruce Weber (head coach, Illinois), Roy Williams (head coach, North Carolina) and Jay Williams, a member of the 2002 USA World Championship team.
The 2011-12 season will be Bennett's third as head coach at Virginia. The Cavaliers finished with an overall record of 16-15 last season, UVa's first winning season since 2007-08.
In five years as a collegiate head coach, Bennett's teams have compiled an overall record of 100-64. Virginia is 31-31 under Bennett's direction the last two seasons. He was the head coach at Washington State for three years before coming to UVa and his WSU teams were 69-33, participated in two NCAA Tournaments and one NIT.