We always here arguments about what makes a player the “Most Valuable Player”. I think a good way to look at it is by how much that player is missed when they are out of a game or no longer on the team. Bryce Perkins was arguably the most valuable player in the ACC last year when you look at how hard things have been for Virginia on offense this year.
Brennan Armstrong has taken over at Quarterback for UVA and he has been solid as a runner while struggling as a passer. Armstrong is a pretty big guy at 215 pounds and he runs like a fullback. The obvious comparison is Tim Tebow as he’s a lefty and he is a much better runner than passer at this point. I think that Armstrong is a threat to put up big rushing numbers against Louisville but only if this game is close. Virginia will run him 20+ times in a game if they’re able to move the sticks.
Armstrong hasn’t finished a game completing more than 55% of his passes this year. He is also only averaging 6.6 yards per attempt. While Armstrong is fast enough to run away from a defense, he isn’t too likely to make someone miss in tight spaces. Louisville should be looking to force Armstrong to be a runner throughout this game.
Virginia uses a committee at Running Back with Wayne Taulapapa as the starter and leading rusher so far this year. Shane Simpson is the backup but I think he’ll see more touches after a very nice touchdown catch last week out of the backfield. Virginia will also use two backup Quarterbacks as Running Backs.
Keytaon Thompson transferred to UVA from Mississippi State and somehow became a hybrid Running Back/Quarterback/Wide Receiver. He motions into the backfield a good amount and at that point he can either run the ball or become the Quarterback. Iraken Armstead plays a similar role in the offense and UVA does a pretty good job of utilizing these guys on misdirection/trick plays.
The Virginia offense likes to get the ball to Billy Kemp as he is averaging 7.5 catches per game so far this year. He is only averaging 8.93 yards per catch this year so he’s essentially an extension of the run game. Virginia’s offense doesn’t create a lot of big plays but Kemp allows them to stay on schedule and sustain drives. Terrell Jana is the guy that has the most talent out the receiver group. He has solid speed to get behind the defense and he has strong hands. He had a really nice performance late in the game last year against Louisville.
Tony Poljan was a big get for UVA in the transfer market. He is a massive target at 6-7/265 and Virginia utilizes his size well in the short passing game as well as in the red zone. Lavell Davis is also a big target in the red zone but he has been out for a few weeks. If he returns this week, I expect Virginia to try to force the issue to these two guys if they get the ball in the red zone.
The Virginia Offensive Line is a veteran group that is comprised of a bunch of really big guys. They don’t do anything exceptionally well in my opinion but they do pretty well at giving Armstrong time to throw the ball. He doesn’t always make quick decisions and he likes to extend plays, so the line gives up a few more sacks than they are probably at fault for. Louisville will need to stop the run this week and UVA does pretty well to get those 3-5 yard gains behind this line. Getting negative plays will be key this week.