Virginia football notebook: Cavaliers dealing with injuries up front

The Virginia football team practiced at Lambeth Field on Thursday evening, its sixth practice of the fall camp. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall likes the setting at Lambeth, as well as its grass field, which is the same surface as Scott Stadium.

Mendenhall said he “was not pleased” with how sharp Thursday’s practice was — the second one in full pads, but had been pleased with what he’d seen until then.

“We had some ups and downs,” said starting QB Bryce Perkins. “But every day, we fix mistakes, we’re getting out there in the film room, see what we did wrong. Then come out there and correct those mistakes. Right now, at this point, it’s just little mistakes.”

Injuries on offensive line

At the very end of the 30-minute portion of practice open to the media, offensive guard R.J. Proctor was helped off the field because of an injury. After practice, he was seen being helped off a cart and into the McCue Center. It’s unclear what Proctor’s injury is or how long he’ll be out.

Proctor was a starter at right guard for Virginia. He joins OG/center Jake Fieler, who was injured in practice on Wednesday. When asked if those injuries were serious, Mendenhall said, “Not that I’ve been told.”

The depth on the offensive line was already an area of concern entering fall camp. Center Tyler Fannin has been out all of fall camp.

“We were thin,” Mendenhall said, “and now we’re very thin, until they get back.”

Injuries and uncertainty on defensive line

For as banged up as the offensive line is, “the d-line is mirror images of the o-line,” Mendenhall said.

Mandy Alonso did not practice on Thursday, and nor did Cassius Peat — who said he’d be back on Friday. The defensive line has been the story of the summer, as Virginia has looked near and far for players to infuse into a thin unit.

One of the players in that “far” category would be Dylan Thompson, the Ohio State graduate transfer. There is also increasing uncertainty over his arrival, however. Mendenhall said he’s still finishing coursework at OSU and that he’s “behind schedule.”

As of right now, Mendenhall said, “he’s not on our team.”

Some shifting with DBs

Both CB Tim Harris and Myles Robinson made their practice debuts on Thursday. Harris is a sixth-year senior and Robinson is returning after not enrolling at Virginia in 2016.

While Harris missed the first five practices, sophomore Darrius Bratton filled in admirably, Mendenhall said.

“He had a really good summer,” Mendenhall said. “He got strong, he got fast, he’s becoming durable. He’s tackling well. He’s covering well.”

At safety, Brenton Nelson and Joey Blount are in a “heated battle” for a starting spot alongside Juan Thornhill, who’s also battling Chris Moore.

“Safety is probably the deepest position on our team,” Mendenhall said.

Pearson nearing return

Virginia’s potential starting kicker still hasn’t suited up because of an injury. Hunter Pearson was brought on with a scholarship, with the thought of competing for the starting job with incumbent A.J. Mejia.

Mendenhall said Pearson has been progressing, and is hopeful that Pearson will be fully healthy within 10 days.

Sam Blum is The Daily Progress’ University of Virginia sports reporter. Contact him at (434) 978-7250,, or on Twitter @SamBlum3.

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