Cavaliers defense aiming for 3.5 yards in 2019

Virginia is focused on improving its rush defense

By Eric Johnson - Sports Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - The Virginia Cavaliers are looking to take more responsibility on the defensive side of the ball this season. Their main priority is stopping the rush in order to contribute to more wins. 

Virginia ranked fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing defense a season ago, allowing 4.3 yards per carry. That's a little higher than they'd like for that to be. They feel like in order to take the next step, it will require getting to the ball carrier sooner, limiting him to 3.5 yards or less. Their main goal is to become a top-tier defense in the nation, so that work starts now in camp.

"It's a need. If we want to go to the next level, we have to stop the run. That's something that we did not as effective as we wanted to, so we focus on that every day. That's the first thing our coach talks about, is 3.5 and we have to stop the run. We get critiqued on that every day, every play," said defensive end Richard Burney.

"If you can control the run, you can control the game. That just helps you win games and that's the No. 1 goal of this defense is to stop the run to 3.5 yards or less because all great defenses are able to do that," said cornerback Nick Grant. 

As a team Virginia ranked third for total defense in 2018 with only national champion Clemson and Miami ahead of them.

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