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Welsh commends Cavalier play despite loss

After giving up 28 straight points to Clemson and 220 rushing yards to Woody Dantzler, the Virginia football team was surprisingly calm yesterday. The Cavs put a refreshing spin on the 31-10 loss: It's not whether you win or lose, but what you take away from the experience.

"Everybody was frustrated the way we lost, but I guess it was a positive frustration, because everyone expected us to get beat and not play with them, but we played with them the entire game," senior quarterback Dan Ellis said.

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    Ellis and his team struggled valiantly against a tough Clemson defense, which has allowed its opponents only three touchdowns this season. By comparison, the Cavaliers have allowed 10.

    Thought his team surrended 481 yards of total offense to the Tigers, Cav coach George Welsh was quick to defend Virginia's performance.

    "It's best not to judge your team when you play a team that is better than you are, and I think they're better [defensively] than us," he said.

    The Cavs will take the lessons they learned against Clemson into this week's game against Wake Forest. Although the Cavaliers have won their last 16 meetings with the Demon Deacons, Welsh is careful not to take this season's game too lightly.

    "This is a crossroads game, a crucial game for [our] team, no question about it," he said. "We have to have the same kind of intensity and preparation that we had against Clemson."

    Wake Forest will field a young squad Saturday. Freshman quarterback Anthony Young likely will. Opening day starter C.J. Leak suffered a knee injury against Clemson Sept. 16 and will undergo surgery today.

    "If you're playing a lot of first- and second-year guys, you're usually in trouble," Welsh said of Wake Forest.

    Woodson facing serious neck injury

    Virginia junior center Jared Woodson will not play Saturday because of an aggravated neck injury.

    Woodson first suffered pain while playing Richmond, but had to take himself out of practice last Tuesday because the pain was so unbearable.

    "It's horrible to lose a player like Jared," Ellis said. "As far as I know it's season-ending, he's out for the year, and it's questionable whether it's career-ending."

    Woodson, who started in Virginia's first game, will meet with doctors Thursday to discuss surgery and playing options.

    Spinner's quarterback role to increase

    Welsh said freshman Bryson Spinner may see more field time as an option quarterback. Spinner came in against Clemson in the first quarter and pitched the ball on the option to Antwoine Womack, who ran for the Cavs' only touchdown.

    "Because of the way [Clemson] lined up in goal line and short yardage, the option was a good play for us, and he's a better option quarterback than Ellis is," Welsh said of Spinner.

    "We may do this for the rest of the year, just put him in for goal-line and short yardage plays," he said.

    Spinner, an Alexandria, Va. native, red-shirted last year after missing the first two games with an injury. Saturday was Spinner's first appearance of the 2000 season.


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