ACC All Access: Virginia RB Clifton Richardson, a Menchville grad, could be looking at medical redshirt

Virginia’s first three games of the season haven’t worked out the way banged up Menchville High graduate Clifton Richardson had envisioned. Now, he could possibly be looking at application for a medical redshirt as an option to deal with his injuries.

U.Va. coach Mike London said Richardson, a 6-foot-0, 210-pound sophomore running back, is still struggling to get healthy. Richardson, who has been dealing with hamstring injuries since at least the start of preseason practices in August, played for the first time this season in Saturday’s 56-20 loss at Georgia Tech. He only had one carry for one yard, and returned three kickoffs for an average of 19.3 yards per return.

“He’s still trying to get his body 100 percent healthy,” London said. “He’s one of those guys that the wheels have got to be right. We’re trying to find ways and things to do to get his wheels right…He didn’t finish the (Georgia Tech) game. We’ll look to see where he is and make some long-term decisions about him here pretty soon. I’d rather have him healthy, 100 percent going into these games, particularly after these next two games (rather) than something that’s recurring and recurring. We’ll decide here soon about what our course is going to be with him.

“He had the hamstring issue early in the summer and into (preseason). It’s just trying to get him right, just when you think he’s right and he’s back – it’s just one of those things for those guys that use those legs. We’ll look at that in detail with our team physician and see what the best course of action would be.”

When asked if applying for a medical redshirt for Richardson might be an option, London didn’t dismiss the idea. Players are eligible to apply for a medical redshirt in order to preserve a year of eligibility as long as they’ve played in 30 percent of fewer of their team’s games in a season.


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“We’ll think about those type of options and what’s available and what’s on the table as we see him on Tuesday, as we see him through the week,” London said. “It’s hard to say right now, but there are several options that are on the table. Obviously, he’s a talented guy that we miss his type of downhill running and physical running style…Hopefully, we’ll get an answer here within the next couple days. We want to do right by the young man, also.”

Richardson, who had 72 carries for 366 yards and two touchdowns last season, is U.Va.’s best power running option. Though he hasn’t played much this season, losing him for a further extended period could be a blow for a U.Va. ground game that’s already 107th in the nation in rushing offense (104.7 yards per game).

London also answered a question about a postgame accusation from Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, who had 93 yards rushing and three touchdowns to go along with 125 yards passing and a touchdown, that U.Va.’s players were trying to rip his helmet off in the middle of tackle piles to get him to have to come out for a play. London denied the accusation.

"I don't believe that," London said. "As a matter of fact, I'm not even going to comment about that. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on when you’re trying to gang-tackle. Helmets come off all the time, and there’s no one that’s trying to intentionally rip a guy’s helmet off to get them out of the game.

“During a game, during practice, we don’t advocate that, we don’t teach that, we don’t even think about doing anything close to that. The best way for us to defend their offense was to defend the dive, quarterback pitch and just tackle whoever it was when we get around the ball. Now, obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job defending the dive, quarterback pitch, but to talk about trying to target a player by ripping his helmet off, that’s not our guys. We don’t do that. We don’t play like that.”


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