Chris Canty was an All-American candidate at defensive end for Virginia. Many fans have wondered how his lost will affect Virginia in Thursday night's game. Virginia runs a 3-4 scheme defense, so the defensive ends are not ask to do much. Al Groh has the same safe approach to defense as he does to offense.
The role of replacing Canty will fall to Kwakou (pronounced kway koo) Robinson. While Groh has tried to keep Robinson a secret, the potential Robinson has should not go unnoticed. First, Robinson has a massive 6-4 327 pound frame, that Marion Dukes will have to contend with. Coming out of high school, he was on every All-American list you could find. He was one of many high profiled recruits that Groh landed in his 2002 recruiting class.
This is not the first time Robinson has had to fill in for Canty. In 2002, Robinson started the first five games of the year while Canty recovered from an injury. He was the first true freshman to start on defense for Virginia since 1986. He had 34 tackles, two for a loss, and one sack. Robinson’s numbers dipped slightly in ‘03, while playing behind a healthy Chris Canty.
You cannot discount the loss of Canty, but Robinson should be able to fit in well. The one area where there could be a drop off is in the pass rush.
Charlie Whitehurst may have more time to throw than if Canty were available. It is not a knock on Robinson, he may be an effective pass rusher, but you can’t coach 6-7 290 pounds of athleticism. The loss of Canty may not cripple a defense that is giving up 12 points a game, but may add confidence to an offense that needs in the worst way imaginable.