February 11, 2016

Talent on the Roster?

The question was posed on the Wahoos 247 message board, and with THIS POST from October a bit outdated, here was my reply...

QB - Average. Will immediately skyrocket to 'Good to Quite Good' with Taysom Hill on board.

RB - Above Average. Would be 'Good' if we had a true between-the-tackles grinder. If Jordan Ellis is that guy or if Albert Reid is that guy... remains to be seen. But I'm pretty bullish on the specific need for a power back.

WR - Below Average. I like the talent, but the experience is lacking. Also lacking is sideline-scorching deep speed. That said, Doni Dowling, Andre Levrone, and David Eldridge give me some hope. Keeon Johnson does too. We'll see. I bet some true freshmen play here. Let's hope Joe Reed's speed is a real thing.

TE - Average. Butts could be pretty good, but what else do we have? At least there are some bonafide candidates for playing time. Also, jury's out on how Anae will even use the tight ends in his offense.

OL - Below Average. I like Matteo, Jack English, and Eric Smith. I like the talent of some of the young guys (Polk, Fieler). I like Sadiq Olanrewaju. But there's an awful lot of spackle and duct tape required to cobble together a cohesive, effective line. This is one of two trouble spots where we reap the whirlwind of Mike London's tenure as UVA's head coach.

DE - Bad. Like... I don't even know where to begin. If Andrew Brown slides over in the 3-man front, that's a start, I guess. Chris Peace, Darrious Carter, and Steven Wright are three very important young players. Can any of them bulk up from the 235/240 range to 260+? That's key.

DT - Below Average. I like Donte Wilkins a lot as a potential nose tackle, and I like Andre Miles-Redmond as a rotational player. Neither are difference-makers, and the depth behind them is... lacking, and that's being nice. The d-line as a whole scares the crap out of me in 2016. (My lips to God's ears, James Trucilla is a friggin beast that just went under-recruited.) Trysten Hill is a candidate to play as a true frosh, I'm guessing.

OLB - Average. This is a spot where Bronco and Co. typically spin a lot of hay into gold, and we have a lot of hay to lay at their feet. Gallon, Paul, Cory Jones, Naji Abdullah, the reclamation projects of Mark Hall and Zach Bradshaw, the positionless enigma of Malcolm Cook (who might actually have a position in Bronco's D), a talented frosh in Juwan/Stephen Moye... there's a lot to work with here.

ILB - Quite Good. Probably the strength of the team (other than Hill at QB). I'm eager to see what Dominic Sheppard and Jahvoni Simmons can do.

S - Good. Blanding, Rainey, Wahee, Thornhill, Mack Truck. Stocked and stacked, locked and loaded.

CB - Below Average. Love, love, LOVE Darious Latimore. Feel pretty much the opposite about Tim Harris. Why haven't we seen anything out of Garner? What do we have in Walker, if anything? Who are Myles Robinson and Kareem Gibson? Might be a 50/50 bet that Deedrick Daniels forces his way onto the two-deep.

Specialists - Above Average. There are kicking candidates in Dylan Sims and Andrew King, but I'm expecting this to be Holland Corbett's job from jump street. At punter, Nick Conte is a stud, and the pipeline is really healthy with the Coleman bros, Halpern, and now Nash Griffin. Tyler Shirley is an experienced long-snapper. Returning kicks and punts? Oz, baby. I actually think we can steal some wins (wins, plural) with this phase of the game in 2016.

Add it up, and it's an average roster. Lean in the trenches, strong elsewhere, with intriguing potential dotting the roster. As always, player development and Xs and Os will provide the edge (for better or worse) in a lot of toss-up games (UConn, Duke, Pitt, L'Ville, Wake, Miami, GT, VT). I think it's a safe bet we take half of those, and with wins over Richmond and Central Michigan, it's a bowl game.


February 3, 2016

NSD '16: #HoosRising

This morning, #HoosRising was trending fourth on Twitter.

National Signing Day (NSD) is an exciting day.  Like David said, it's like Christmas morning for the college football fan.

But before we start digging into the recruits...  You'll never hear me say anything nice about Mike London after this moment, but he deserves some kudos for building a bulk of this class as a lame duck head coach in 2015.  He did a really good job putting together a way-better-than-it-ever-shoulda-been recruiting class on his way out the door.  If Bronco does what Bronco does, and spins hay into gold, I think we'll all be looking back at this 2016 class pretty fondly in a few years.  You have to give London and the old staff some credit - this recruiting class ain't bad!  Thanks guys!

Anyway, on to the recruits.  (And a special word of thanks to David for pitching in at the last second as johnny on the spot.  Thanks bro!)


Sonny Abramson -- 6-2, 208, Chester Rivals NJ

3☆ Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8494 rating)
A typical pro style cube with a strong arm and good instincts.  Might have been undercut by the late commitment of De'Vante Cross.  Abramson did yeoman's work in "recruiting the recruits" after the coaching change, displaying his leadership ability and team-first mentality.

De'Vante Cross -- 6-2, 180, Allentown PA
2☆ Rivals 3☆ 247 (.8048 rating)
Good vision and an elusive runner.  Very underrated recruit.  More of a runner than a thrower at this point; will need to be developed.  Perfect fit for the read option / zone read spread-to-run offense Mendenhall and Anae would like to install at Virginia.


Tre Harbison -- 5-10, 218, Shelby NC

3 Rivals 3☆ 247 (.8650 rating)
Good vision and instincts.  Bellcow type, do-everything back.  Many feel as if Harbison is the star of Virginia's 2016 recruiting class.

Wayne Taulapapa -- 5-11, 200, Honolulu HI
2 Rivals 3☆ 247 (.8115 rating)
Good speed and an explosive first step.  Runs hard.  Runs tough.  Considered a BYU-style 'grinder' ala Harvey Unga.  Underrated due to early commitment to BYU and a general lack of exposure.  Projects as an every-down type of workhorse at the college level.


Cole Blackman -- 6-1, 193, Glen Allen VA

3 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8529 rating)
Good hands and takes good angles.  Many rave about his natural receiving ability and catch radius.  Might be a darkhorse type of recruit, cut in the Danny Coale mold.  I expect to see him in the slot / inside receivers group come fall.

Hasise Dubois -- 6-3, 195, Irvington NJ
3 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8550 rating)
He has very good size and is elusive in the open field.  Explosive.  Not necessarily a speed guy, but has enough of a 'next gear' that he projects to outside receiver in UVA's new scheme.  I feel like Dubois is similar to Canaan Severin in terms of upside.

Aidan Howard -- 6-4, 180, Monroeville PA
3 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8357 rating)
He has great size and has a big catching radius.  Tall, rangy.  Will definitely need to bulk up.  Projects as an inside receiver / slot receiver in Virginia's new offensive system.

Joe Reed -- 6-1, 198, Charlotte Court House VA
3 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8575 rating)
Another enticing size/speed combo WR for the 2016 recruiting class.  Reed was UVA's first commit in the 2016 cycle, and might be one of the best players.  More of a multipurpose weapon than the other three receivers in this class; expect Reed to initially slot with the outside receivers at Virginia.


Christian Baumgardner -- 6-4, 230, Longport NJ

2☆  Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8073 rating)
He has good hands but is also very physical blocker.  Not sure to what extent the tight end position is marginalized in Anae's scheme, but Baumgardner's multi-faceted skillset should hold value however he is eventually deployed.


Ben Knutson -- 6-8, 280, Granger IN

3 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8401 rating)
Good size and a physical blocker.  Still needs to add about 20-30 pounds to his frame, but has the athleticism to play tackle.

Dillon Reinkensmeyer -- 6-5, 255, Highlands Ranch CO
2 Rivals 3☆ 247 (.8195 rating)
Naturally athletic and is a physical blocker.  The new staff loves this guy as a diamond in the rough who happens to be a perfect fit in a spread-to-run scheme.

Kendall's thoughts on the o-line,, in general...
I like these two guys, but this group is about three recruits shy of what we really needed to land in this class.  We're dangerously thin on the OL.  Expect o-line recruiting to be a major focus for Bronco in the 2017 cycle, and look for more than a few recruited walk-ons and maybe some senior transfers along the line.


Trysten Hill -- 6-2, 308, Live Oak FL
2☆ Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.7998 rating)
NSD drama!  As of this writing, he still hadn't decided... but it was down to between Virginia and [hometown] UCF.  I'm listing him here as wishful thinking, because the scary alternative is a big fat goose egg on interior d-line talent --- a major, MAJOR position of need in the 2016 class.  Meanwhile, Hill is a big kid with a bright future at nose tackle in a collegiate 3-man front, like Bronco will be using at UVA.  Let's hope we land him!  (4:15 PM update: We got him!  GO HOOS!)


Christian Brooks -- 6-5, 240, Centreville VA

2 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8114 rating)
Good size and takes good angles.  He's a pure, prototypical defensive end.  He'll need to add size and strength to play end in the 3-man front, but he's got really good natural pass rush talent.

Osiris Crutchfield -- 6-3, 227, Crozet VA
2 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.7989 rating)
Good instincts and good pass rush ability.  Local recruit Osiris Crutchfield is raw, but the raw tools are off the charts.  If he develops, he could be a good one... but he's still at least two years away.  He might also end up at outside linebacker.


Juwan Moye -- 6-3, 235, Lilburn GA

3 Rivals 3☆ 247 (.8392 rating)
Good pass rusher.  To me, he's a Max Valles type, pass rush specialist.

Matt Terrell -- 6-4, 227, Lynchburg VA
2 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8017 rating)
Has good speed and instincts.  He'll need to make a dent through sheer work ethic and want-to.  Kinda like the Rudy of this year's recruiting class.


Robert Snyder -- 6-3, 225, Lawrenceville GA

3 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8150 rating)
Good size and instincts.  Good tackler.  A blue collar type of worker at the linebacker position.

Landan Word -- 6-3, 245, Vienna VA
2 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8306 rating)
Good tackler and instincts.  UVA legacy recruit.  I think his upside is way higher than the recruiting services portrayed.  I really like the fit with Bronco's scheme.


Bryce Hall -- 6-2, 195, Harrisburg PA

2 Rivals / 2☆ 247 (.7908 rating)
Good size and takes good angles.  The most lightly-regarded recruit in the class.  His path to playing time might be exclusively on special teams... but defensive backs are often very difficult to project.

Jordan Mack -- 6-3, 205, Lithonia GA
3 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8537 rating)
Good speed and a big hitter.  MACK TRUCK!  Folks rave about his physical style of play.  Could be a candidate to fill a safety/linebacker hybrid role at UVA.


Deedrick Daniels -- 6-0, 168, Tampa FL

2 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8219 rating)
Good speed and hands.  A playmaker.  A ballhawk.  Gurus think he's the steal of this recruiting class, one of those Florida recruits who is overlooked -- it happens every year, due to the flood of talent in that state.  I watch his highlights and see a starting cornerback and a shutdown type of guy at the ACC level.  I'm bullish on this kid.

Nick Grant -- 6-1, 170, Spotsylvania VA
3 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8200 rating)
Good instincts and hands.  Could slot at safety.  A talented kid who should see the field after some time spent developing.  I like his upside.

Chris Moore -- 6-2, 181, Ashburn VA
2 Rivals / 3☆ 247 (.8044 rating)
Good speed and instincts.  To me, he looks like a nickel specialist or a slot coverage ace, which is always useful in today's era of spread offenses.


Holland Corbett -- 6-0, 173, Charlottesville VA (FUMA), 3
 Rivals  He has a strong leg and is accurate.  I love the potential of Ian Frye handing the baton off to a kid who could be a four-year starter.


            Today is like Christmas for all of Hoo Nation.  As the NLI come in, who is the one guy that stands out to you?  I like Joseph Reed and Devante Cross.  Who should the wahoos be after, and in your opinion why?

February 2, 2016


So life's been busy as hell, what's new?

I expected to have Examining Broncoball posted by the end of 2015, didn't happen.

By mid-January, didn't happen.

By National Signing Day at the absolute latest... isn't going to happen.  NSD is tomorrow (Wednesday, February 3).

What IS going to happen is a bit of NSD coverage here on Wahooze.  Stay tuned for that.  And in the meantime, rest assured -- I am working on Examining Broncoball, and it'll be posted as soon as humanly possible.

Thanks for your patience, Hoofans and Wahooze Nation!  I love you guys!

January 19, 2016

Brogdon? More like Slogdon!

Am I right?

Slogdon, as in how this basketball season suddenly feels... like a slog.

I'm going to keep this short and simple: The game tonight against 5-1 Clemson - CLEMSON - is a must-win for the Hoos, lest we slide to 2-4, and from the top five to the bubble in the span of 2.5 weeks.

Did you know that we're #10 in the ACC right now?  Number 10.  Behind such juggernauts as Clemson, Miami, and Virginia Fucking Tech.

Malcolm Brogdon needs to step up and start taking over games, BY ATTACKING THE BASKET.

The D needs to improve.

The sophomores need to huddle up and find one guy (just one guy, I'm not being greedy) who can pitch in as a #4 scoring threat to complement Brog, Perrantes, and Gill.

When Jack Salt comes into the game, he needs to know he has one job to do: Deliver a hard, violent foul.  Preferably to the opponent's pretty boy finesse big man.

Most importantly, we just need to start playing with an edge and some intensity, with a little bit of urgency.  We know this team has talent, and is capable of doing things like beating the Villanovas and West Virginias of the world, now they just need to get back to doing it, and string together a few wins.



@ Wake

I smell a three-game win streak.

Go Hoos.

January 12, 2016

In Defense of Vontaze

Steelers 18, Bengals 16.

Easily the most painful loss I've ever been associated with, which is really saying something when you consider that I'm both a life-long Bengals fan and a die-hard UVA sports fan.

In the end, I guess the NFL got what they wanted, and their "made" team advanced while a new villain and public enemy #1 has emerged.

This might surprise you, but Vontaze Burfict is my favorite football player.  He plays a violent game with aggression.  He makes great plays.  He impacts games.  He gives a previously spineless team some balls.

Did he ultimately cost the Bengals the game on Saturday night?  Yes.

Is he a thug, a low-life, a scumbag, a goon?  Maybe he's some of those things in spurts, but no more than any of the Steelers... who are routinely lauded for their toughness, swagger, and grit.  These are just words, tossed around clumsily by fans and media who struggle to reconcile the fact that they love a violent sport for being exactly what it is -- violent.

Anyway, the main points I'd like to make are:

1) Tez is public enemy #1 this week.  However, I challenge fans of 31 other NFL teams to tell me that they wouldn't want him on their squad.  There are three types of people in this world: People who would gladly welcome Vontaze Burfict onto their teams, liars, and losers.

2) Maybe Vontaze Burfict cost us the game on Saturday night, but without him the Bengals would have lost 29-0.  So with him, as usual, you get a double-edged sword.

3) He shouldn't have hit Antonio Brown like that, but every non-Steelers fan on planet earth should be happy to see someone finally standing up and railing against the constant flow of bullshit that team pumps out onto the field.

4) Vontaze's hit on Antonio Brown was dirty, but was a mere drop in the bucket compared to the headhunting that Ryan Shazier put on Gio Bernard earlier in the game.  An unflagged illegal hit, I should add, and one that removed one of the Bengals most explosive offensive weapons from the game.

5) The best analogy I can muster comes from A Christmas Story.  After years of being bullied, Ralphie snaps, gets Scut Farkas down... but then can't stop punching him and cussing at him.

Anyway, fuck it.  I'm done with sports for a while.  Need to calm down and decompress.


In the meantime, I hope Virginia Basketball can find a way to add a little Tez to their games tonight and moving forward.  We're playing soft and losing games; tonight against Miami is a must-win, lest the spiral begins in earnest.  Time to show some real grit and tenacity, time to start playing with some urgency, time for a little aggression, time for some junkyard dog to come out of the Cavaliers.

It worked for the Bengals... kinda.