May 30, 2011

LAX '12

Steele Stanwick will be back to quarterback the attack next year...


Just because I'm a "look ahead to next year" geek who loves to sit at the computer and engage in shameless rosterbation, here is my best stab at the UVA lacrosse team that will try to defend the national championship next year.  (Hint: I think the team is LOADED.)

Starters from the nat'l championship game listed in bold.

A) Steele Stanwick, Sr.
A) Chris Bocklet, Sr.
A) Nick O'Reilly, Jr.
M) Colin Briggs, Sr.
M) Matt White, Jr.
M) Rob Emery, So.
D) Matt Lovejoy, Sr.
D) Chris Clements, Sr.
D) Scott McWilliams, So.
G) Rob Fortunato, Sr.
FOGO) Ryan Benincasa, Sr.

Key Reserves:
A) Matt Cockerton, Jr.
A) Matt Kugler, Sr.
A) Connor English, Jr.
M) Chris LaPierre, Jr.
M) Blake Riley, Jr.
M) Pat Harbeson, So.
D) Wyatt Melzer, Sr.
D) Harry Prevas, Jr.
D) Frank Price, So.
G) Conor McGee, Jr.

We have to replace our star goalie and our primary face-off guy, but the offense that led the way through the NCAA tournament returns intact.  On the back of Steele Stanwick, I'm thinking we'll probably be preseason #1.  Maybe 2012 is the year we can get the Duke monkey off of our back.  I think we have an excellent chance to repeat... can't wait to watch the season unfold, in just under eight months!

Championship(s).




What a weekend to be a UVA fan.

Virginia Lacrosse beat the stuffing out of Denver on Saturday, winning 14-8 to advance to today's national championship game against Maryland.

We then played a tough, gritty, nip-and-tuck game against UMD today.  With Colin Briggs and Matt White stepping up with five and three goals respectively, we won the national championship, 9-7 over the Terps.

Awesome.

Just fantastic.

I couldn't imagine a better story.  I was ready to completely write off this year's lacrosse team, after they bent over and took it from this same Maryland team back in early April.  Since that time, the Brattons were booted from the team, and addition by subtraction ignited an attack led by Steele Stanwick's playmaking ability and numerous finishers doing their thing.  The D also came together -- especially during the NCAA tournament -- thanks to Coach Starsia's brilliant switch to the zone in the wake of the season-ending injury to star defenseman Matt Lovejoy.

I'm really happy for this team.  And somebody has to say it --- maybe this begins in earnest the "moving on" from the Yeardley Love murder last year.

Also, I wonder how the Brattons are feeling right now?


As good as it was, lacrosse wasn't the only reason for celebration this weekend.  Virginia Baseball slaughtered Wake Forest on Wednesday, then beat Miami in that hard-fought 11-hour masterpiece on Friday, played the grittiest game I've seen all season in beating North Carolina 3-2 on Saturday night (in what was basically a meaningless game for both teams -- we had already locked up the championship game bid), and then scored seven runs on three homers to beat Florida State in the ACC championship game.

We're ACC champs!

And we're also the #1 overall seed in the NCAA baseball tournament.  We host a regional with 2-seed ECU, 3-seed St. John's, and 4-seed Navy.  We play Navy at 1:00 PM on Friday in the double-elimination regional tournament.  Here's the schedule:

Game 1, 1pm Fri -- Navy vs. Virginia
Game 2, 6pm Fri -- St. John's vs. ECU
Game 3, 1pm Sat -- Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser, LOSER ELIMINATED
Game 4, 6pm Sat -- Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner
Game 5, 1pm Sun -- Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser, LOSER ELIMINATED
Game 6, 6pm Sun -- Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, elimination game for Game 5 Winner
Game 7, 6pm Mon (if necessary) -- Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, LOSER ELIMINATED, WINNER ADVANCES TO SUPER REGIONAL

Speaking of which, we're paired up with the regional in LA, featuring 1-seed UCLA, 2-seed Fresno St., 3-seed UC Irvine, and 4-seed San Francisco.

If we win the double-elimination regional, we'd advance to host the Charlottesville super regional, with is a best-two-out-of-three series.  Winner of the super regional advances to the eight-team College World Series, in Omaha.

Here's the bracket.


I think we have the pitching to get there, even with Danny Hultzen a little off his A+ game.  I also think we have the offense to get there, but it's been streaky.  A bad streak could doom us this postseason... but I love our chances to make it back to the CWS!


What a great weekend.

GO HOOS!


May 27, 2011

HOOS WIN!

How about an eleven-and-a-half hour game (including a 7.5 hour rain delay)?  Hoos started this game at 11:00 AM, and just ended it at 10:34 PM.

HOOS 6, Miami 4!

Now -- as I understand it -- if Miami beats Wake tomorrow, we're in the championship game on Sunday, regardless of how our game against UNC goes tomorrow.

This was a great, gutsy win today.  Sparkling clutch hitting with RISP, fantastic clutch pitching with RISP.  I love it!

GO HOOS!

"The Virginia Cavaliers and the Number One"

I often like to post links to articles I find to be particularly compelling.

Here's one of the better ones I've stumbled across lately, a Football Outsiders-esque look at Virginia Football, written for SB*NATION by Bill Connelly.  It's definitely worth your click and your ten minutes to read, especially if you're a stats geek.

Enjoy!




May 26, 2011

Justin Anderson!

JA is a more highly-rated recruit than Roger Mason,
Sean Singletary, or Sylven Landesberg were. 
This is a big deal (and a nice dunk).


The press release:

Rockville, MD-- Montrose Christian School is pleased to announce that rising senior Justin Anderson will attend the University of Virginia to play for head coach Tony Bennett after the conclusion of the upcoming academic year.

Justin stated, “The Cavaliers were always my second choice behind Maryland. Also, my family lives in Virginia. After the departure of Coach [Gary] Williams and Coach [Robert] Ehsan, it just feels like the right fit.”

During a junior campaign averaging 14 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game, Justin led his team to victory over six nationally ranked opponents, including a 63-37 rout of pre-season number one ranked Findlay Prep. The Mustangs closed the season by winning the ESPN National High School Invitational championship in a thrilling double-overtime victory against Oak Hill Academy. In the nationally televised game, Justin hit a 3-point shot with 1.5 seconds left to send the game into a second overtime period. He called it “the biggest shot of my life.”

According to head coach Stu Vetter, “Justin decided to revisit his options after Gary [Williams] retired. He has been heavily recruited since the 8th grade and it has been an exhausting and distracting process for a teenager. Although Mark Turgeon wanted to begin recruiting him, Justin and his family decided to conclude the process. We look forward to developing a relationship with the new coaching staff at the University of Maryland. We are very pleased that Justin will continue his education and basketball career at the University of Virginia. UVa is a tremendous institution and recent Montrose graduates Tunji Soroye and Doug Browman have had great experiences there as student-athletes.”

Coached by two-time national coach of the year Stu Vetter, the Montrose Christian boys’ basketball program is perennially considered among the nation’s premier high school programs by the major ranking services. The school counts three NBA first round picks -- Linas Klieza, Kevin Durant, and Greivis Vasquez -- among its alumni since 2003.

The Montrose Christian 2010-2011 season was chronicled in the TV series Hoops Academy, televised on Fox College Sports and produced by TradeWind Films.

A diverse private school located in Rockville, Maryland, Montrose Christian School has provided a fully-accredited, Christian-based and college preparatory education to its students for more than thirty years.

May 25, 2011

Getting Caught Up...

Steven Proscia homered against Wake today.


  • We're still on Justin Anderson watch.  The gurus are telling the CavsCorner community to expect good news within the next 24-48 hours.  Again, Anderson is a GAME-CHANGER for Virginia Basketball.  He'd be our first five-star recruit since Majestic Mapp, and our first of the 2000's.
  • The tennis team choked yesterday afternoon against USC, losing 4-3, including losing the singles matches of star players Michael Shabaz and Sanam Singh.  We really spit the bit.  34-1 to end the season, with an NCAA runner-up distinction.  Still, another great season for the tennis team.  (Whew, another 360-some days before I have to care about tennis again.)
  • The baseball team opened up their ACC Tournament run by crushing Wake Forest 13-1 in 7 innings (slaughter rule is in effect, 10+ run lead at the end of any inning after the 5th, I think.)  Tyler Wilson pitched a great game, going 6.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run, and 12 Ks.  He should be available to pitch on Sunday, if the Hoos make it to the championship game.  The Hoos take the field in Durham again on Friday at 11:00, against Miami.  That game will be crucial.

May 24, 2011

TENNIS!

Michael Shabaz.  Apparently, he's pretty good.


Look, I'm not a tennis guy.  I'm just not a fan of the sport.  I find it... I don't know... dull.  Too white collar.  I don't know, I just don't like it that much.  So I'm not a tennis guy.

But I AM a Virginia Athletics guy.  And I'm a guy who will celebrate any national championship UVA cares to win.

Today at 3:00, our undefeated (34-0) and #1-ranked tennis team will take on USC for the national championship.  It's on ESPNU if you're able to watch.

GO HOOS!

May 23, 2011

Quick_Story



My dear friend Kirk writes a blog called "Quick_Story," and it's pretty awesome.  Yesterday, he invited me to be a co-writer for the blog... so begins my newest side project.  Check it out, it's pretty fun, a little silly, hopefully comical, and maybe possibly at times slightly thought-provoking.  Or something.



May 22, 2011

ACC Baseball "Tournament"




It's not really a tournament at all, but more of a two-pod round robin with the winner of each pod playing in the championship game on Sunday.

We're in the "pod" with #4-seed UNC, #5-seed Miami, and #8-seed Wake Forest.  The other pod is #2-seed FSU, #3-seed Georgia Tech, #6-seed Clemson, and #7-seed NC State.  Despite being swept at Carolina this past weekend, I'm happy with the draw.  the other pod is a murderer's row of good baseball teams.  Even the Wolfpack is highly dangerous.

Anyway, here is Virginia's draw as the #1-seed for this event:

Wednesday, May 25th, 3pm -- vs. Wake Forest
Friday, May 27th, 11am -- vs. Miami
Saturday, May 28, 7pm -- vs. North Carolina
[Sunday, May 29th, 1pm -- ACC Championship Game]

Getting a Wednesday game is big, because it means the Wednesday starter would be available for pitching on Sunday.

As per our m/o, we've stumbled out of the exam break, going 2-4 against Miami and UNC after starting the season 43-5.  The pitching has been great, but the hitting has gone cold.  This weekend's event will be crucial for the Hoos to regain some of that lost momentum if we want to make a serious run at Omaha this year. 

Remember, in 2009 we won the ACC Tournament before cruising through the "region of death" and past Ole Miss at their place in the super regional to make it to the College World Series.  That team had a bit more pop on offense, but this year's team has better pitching, top to bottom.  Look for Brian O'Connor to really work that "small ball" approach this weekend and moving forward.

I'm optimistic, though admittedly worried about the late-season cold streak.  A national top-8 seed (and hosting a regional and super regional if we advance that far) should be a lock, but I'd feel better if we won at least a game or two this weekend.  I never underestimate the NCAA's propensity to screw Virginia over whenever possible.

GO HOOS!

May 21, 2011

Virginia 13, Cornell 9

Beast.


FINAL FOUR, BABY!

Just finished watching the game on the ol' DVR.  Some thoughts:
  • Steele Stanwick is amazing.  3 goals, 5 assists, and by far the best player on the field.
  • Dom Starsia's 327th win gave him the most wins in D-1 lacrosse history.  Congratulations, coach!
  • The D was good today.  Really good.
  • Our 9-0 run over the course of 22 minutes in the first half was the best stretch of lacrosse I've seen us play against an elite opponent since the perfect season in 2006.
  • Cornell's Rob Pannell might win the Tewaarton (college lax's Heisman Trophy), but I thought Bray Malphus ate his lunch today, and Stanwick really outshined him.
  • We were much better getting to ground balls today.  Chris LaPierre was outstanding.
  • Matt White, Chris Bocklet, and Nick O'Reilly gave Stanwick a lot of scoring options in the attack.  Good job by the entire group.  Chris Bocklet in particular is just a monster finisher.  I love that guy.
  • I thought the middies were good today, too.  Rob Emery and Colin Briggs played well; they were active and made some really good cuts.
  • I now definitely think it was addition by subtraction with the Brattons.  This offense is now varied, balanced, and unpredictable.  Without Shamel Bratton dominating the ball, Steele Stanwick has been freed to really sparkle as a playmaker.
  • 6-seed Denver upset John's Hopkins in the other quarterfinal game today.  That means we get the Nugs/Broncos/Rockies/Avalanche/whatever their nickname is (just looked it up -- Pioneers) in the semis next Saturday.  Bring 'em on!
  • (1-seed Syracuse vs. Maryland and 4-seed Notre Dame vs. 5-seed Duke are the other quarterfinal games, played tomorrow afternoon.  Pull against Duke --- they own us in lacrosse right now.)
  • I love how our lacrosse team has come together amid a ton of adversity.  It's a very easy team to pull for right now.  Next Saturday on ESN2, check 'em out.
GO HOOS!

May 20, 2011

Vince Carter 2.0 will be a Cavalier...

5-star uberstud Justin Anderson decommitted from Murland,
and will now commit to... the Hoos?


Wednesday, news broke that Justin Anderson decommitted from Maryland, amid the coaching change from Gary Williams to Mark Turgeon.

Rumors quickly surfaced that Anderson came down for a visit at Virginia that same day, the day before the recruiting dead period, and absolutely loved what he saw.  Clicked with Tony Bennett, was floored by the JPJA, and really enjoyed his whirlwind visit.

The UVA recruiting gurus and the nerds (like me) who hang on ther every word had us believing his commitment was coming last night.  Now they're saying the Anderson family wants to tap the brakes a little bit and come out with the announcement after the weekend.  But they are saying the commitment is IMMINENT.

Justin Anderson, from Montrose Christian in the DC/Metro area, is a high five-star recruit for the 2012 class.  He is Rival's 23rd-rated player in the nation.  He's a program-changing talent (think Sean Singletary), and would be Virginia's highest-rated basketball recruit since Majestic Mapp, and the first 5-star of the 2000's.

I've been watching a lot of highlight videos, and the best comparison I can make is to a young Vince Carter.  Both around 6-5/6-6 and 215 pounds.  Both with explosive leaping ability and off-the-charts athleticism.  Both capable of playing plus defense, breaking their man down off the bounce, and creating their own shots.  Anderson probably has the better defense if you compared the two at this point in their careers, while Vince Carter was slightly bigger/stronger.  But as far as parallels go, that's the best one I can draw.

See for yourself:
Justin Anderson -- The Official Mixtape

One of my favorite fellow posters on CavsCorner -- HiltonHeadHoo -- said this: "Wow.  We don't get guys with athleticism like this.  We just don't."

And it's true.  We don't have anything on the roster that comes even close to what Anderson can bring.  And we haven't since...?  Adam Hall?

Monday could be a very big day for the Virginia Basketball program.

May 16, 2011

Vote for the Chris Long Sub!



The CHRIS LONG SUB: 12-inch sub roll with shaved rib-eye steak, horseradish mayo, lettuce, tomato, sweet peppers, bacon, sautéed onions, and melted provolone cheese.  Get it at Littlejohn's.  I can personally attest to the fact that it is DELICIOUS.

Vote for it HERE.

And review all of the other ESPN Fanwiches HERE.


Some of the others that caught my eye...


The William "The Refrigerator" Perry:



Housemade Onion & Sage Waffles, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Applewood Smoked Bacon…topped with Spicy Maple Mayo. Served with Waffle Fries & an extra side of Spicy Maple Mayo.

 
The Durantula:


Pulled Pork, Bacon, Drunken Crab Legs, Smoked Cheddar


The Boise State Hook N' Ladder:


Toasted "Italian herbs and cheese" bread. Avocado, tomato, bacon, ham, melted cheddar and grilled swiss cheese. Sauteed mushrooms, more soft grilled bread with a special mixed blend of sauces.


 
The Duane Purvis Burger:
 
 
 
1/4 lb. of 100% ground sirloin served on a toasted sesame bun with melted cheese on top with lettuce, tomato, pickle, spanish onion and thick creamy peanut butter


 
The Ike Davis Smear:
 

Bagel, cream cheese, red onion and nova scotia.



 
The DeAngelo Hall Toast:
 
 
Ha ha.  It's just toast.
 
 
It's lunchtime, bitches!  Nom nom nom.

Four QBs... One QB1

I hate writing intro paragraphs, so this one is skin and bones.  As you already know, we have four quarterbacks battling for the starting quarterback job this fall.  Knowing what I think I know about Coach London, he will eventually pick one guy, and then stick with that one guy.  No waffling.  No flip-flopping.  No second-guessing.  Since two of these QBs have three years of eligibility remaining, and the other two have all four years remaining, this has the potential to be a long-term decision... and a decision that could dictate the ultimate success or failure of London's run at the helm of Virginia Football.

Even though Ross Metheny and Mike Rocco emerged from spring practices listed above Michael Strauss and David Watford on the depth chart, I think it's still a too-close-to-call race, with all four guys having a chance to take the reins when summer practices open up in August.  The crazy thing is, all four have unique qualities that set them apart from the pack.

I've spent the last few days reading up on each of their recruiting profiles, and reviewing all of the practice reports I've seen since they joined the team.  In other words, doing research.  Here is my breakdown of the four main reasons each one of these guys could open the season under center against William & Mary; these are my four lists of four for our epic program-defining QB battle of the summer of 2011...



Ross Metheny, RS Sophomore (3rd year in program), Sherando HS (Northern Virginia / Winchester)
Reason #1 -- On short and intermediate throws, he's the most accurate passer of the four.  Completions move the chains, first downs lead to touchdowns, touchdowns lead to wins.
Reason #2 -- Of the three "prototypical" QBs, he has the best scrambling ability.  And you get the feeling that Coach London really values mobility in his starting QB.
Reason #3 -- Experience.  He's been in the program, and in college football, the longest.  Along with Mike Rocco, he saw some limited action last season, to the tune of 13-of-17 for 171 yards, three TDs, and one INT.  That's a pretty good line.
Reason #4 -- He's a lefty.  That can often throw opposing pass rush designs out of whack, as the blind side is flipped to the other side of the line of scrimmage.  Plus, our current o-line set-up is uniquely conducive to a southpaw QB.





Mike Rocco, True Sophomore (2nd year in program), Liberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg)
Reason #1 -- He has the best pure arm and throwing mechanics of the four.  Thus, he has the most potential as a push-it-down-the-field passer.
Reason #2 -- He comes from a coaching family, and is the proverbial "gym rat."  In other words, he might have the best football IQ and work ethic of the four.  Might.  It stands to reason that he'll be the easiest for Bill Lazor to polish into the starting role.
Reason #3 -- Like Metheny, he tasted action last season.  13-of-25, 143 yards, one TD, two INTs.  When I saw him play, I thought he passed the eyeball test better than Ross Metheny, though his season stats are not good.
Reason #4 -- This is just a gut feeling based on circumstantial evidence, but I think Mike London believes in Rocco the most and wants him to take the job and run with it.  He played over Strauss last year, when both were true freshmen but Strauss had the benefit of spring practice after enrolling in January.  Rocco is at the top of the depth chart along with Metheny.  Et cetera.  Admittedly, it's not a lot, but it's something; some shred of a clue.  And if he really has the head coach's confidence... then that's a big thing.





Michael Strauss, RS Freshman (2nd year in program), Gulliver Prep (Key Biscayne, Florida)
Reason #1 -- He was the highest-rated recruit of the four, and held that offer from Alabama.  It stands to reason that his talent could bubble to the top.
Reason #2 -- He redshirted last year, after enrolling in January.  He's still got all four years of eligibility, and could be a four-year starter.
Reason #3 -- He's the so-called "gunslinger" of the quartet.  The gambler.  The risk-taker.  And presumably, the one who can generate the most big plays.
Reason #4 -- Watford is the dual threat, Metheny is the scrambler, but Strauss is probably the best at rolling the pocket with an eye downfield, and moving around in the pocket to evade the pass rush and keep plays alive.





David Watford, True Freshman (1st year in program), Hampton HS
Reason #1 -- He's a true dual threat.  While Metheny and Strauss have decent mobility, Watford is an actual weapon as a runner.  That's an important distinction.  Those other guys can run when they have to, but Watford would run by design.
Reason #2 -- He's a 757 recruit.  What better way to gain traction in our most important recruiting area than to start a QB that played at Hampton High.  The same concept worked for Virginia Tech a decade ago.
Reason #3 -- Like Strauss, he could be a four-year starter.  You can typically see significant dividends in the QB's junior and senior season if you allow him to take his lumps as a freshman and sophomore.
Reason #4 -- Of the four, he has the most potential... but he'll never realize that potential by sitting on the bench, and he might never see daylight if a guy starts ahead of him and seizes the starting job with competent play.  Watford could really be special, but we have to play him to wean that out of him.


So which one will Mike London choose?  Who starts the season opener?  It's really a HUGE question.

(This situation is Al Groh's great last FU to the football program.  How can a team get to a point where there is zero experienced quarterback depth?  Peter Lalich could be a redshirt senior right now.  Riko Smalls.  Groh's lack of quarterback recruiting was downright criminal.)

Who do YOU think should be Virginia's starting QB this season?  Vote in the poll! --->

May 15, 2011

Virginia 13, Bucknell 12, OT

Chris Bocklet: STUD.


The Hoos overcame a 10-6 deficit in the 3rd quarter to beat Bucknell today in overtime.  Great game.  Chris Bocklet led the way with five goals and Steele Stanwick pitched in five assists.

We were still plagued by shaky defense, poor faceoffs, and a frustrating inability to snag ground balls, but Adam Ghitelman (11 saves) was solid between the pipes and the offense did just enough -- especially in the clutch -- to win the game against a very good Bison team.

Up next is 2-seed Cornell on Saturday at 12:00 noon.  Trust me, the Big Red is not enthused about seeing this Virginia team sitting there waiting for them in the quarterfinals, especially if the Bocklet/Stanwick combo can keep things revved up.

Click here to see the tournament bracket.

GO HOOS!

May 11, 2011

BOOM!




Over the course of just the last week or so, I have said:

We're off to a surprisingly sluggish start on the recruiting trail. The in-state haul seems to have more of a Virginia Tech lean than last year, probably thanks to the coaching staff mix-up Herr Beamer triggered. It's just not looking pretty right now. I think many recruits are in wait-and-see mode, as in, wait and see how the team performs on the field before deciding whether or not they can compete for championships at UVA. Would you believe that Mike London's second season is his make-or-break season? I believe it. You can't recruit to a hopeless situation, and you better believe that enemy recruiters paint the picture of UVA being a hopeless situation. London has to dispel that notion with wins, and he has to do it right now.


and...

We could really use some instant-impact recruits in the 2012 class at defensive end, outside linebacker, and safety. Yikes.

Meet Kwontie Moore, an uber-recruit from the 757, a high four star recruit, and a future star at the middle linebacker position.  I don't like to lift info from premium sites like CavsCorner or Wahoos247, but this news is too good to keep bottled up.

Tonight, Kwontie Moore committed to Coach Mike London and will play his college football at Virginia.

This is HUGE news, for numerous reasons:
  • We really, really, really needed to get that first snowball rolling down the hill.  This is a pretty big snowball.
  • He's a 757 recruit.  'Nuff said.
  • He's the #3 player in the state, and a national-level recruit.  Say hello to offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Oregon, Stanford, Tennessee, and of course, Virginia Tech.
  • He happens to play at Norfolk Christian School, a very "tight-knit" football family.  His current teammates include [fellow Virginia commit] Wilfred Wahee, stud defensive lineman Courtnye Wynn (#13 in VA), and stud receiver Mario Nixon (#24 in VA).  Wahee and Moore are now Virginia commits, and Wynn and Nixon list UVA as their clear leader.  This is a helluva landslide to have started, and the NCS pipeline is a fantastic one to open up.
  • Many recruiting gurus are now saying that Virginia suddenly has a ton of in-state momentum.  Rumor has it the staff is awaiting commitments from defensive end Eli Harold (#2 in VA) and wideout Anthony Cooper (#7 in VA).
  • Kwontie Moore is just a really, really good player.  A true difference-maker at a difference-making position, at the center of the 4-3.  I'd probably equate his status to that of Kai Parham, who was the #3 player in the state back in 2002.  Here's what Recruit757.com had to say about him:
Team: Norfolk Christian

Location: Norfolk
Position: ILB
Class: 2012
Height: 6-1
Weight: 240 lbs.

Kwontie Moore finished his junior season and is already showing flashes of brilliance. Moore is a load at running back and linebacker and has no problem enforcing his will on smaller Independent School players. Moore will be a big time college prospect in his senior year. Norfolk Christian won the State Championship for Division III in the VISAA and has enough talent returning in 2011 to compete for it again. Moore was the TCIS Player of the Year as well as a First Team Running Back and Linebacker in 2010. He already has a scholarship offer from the University of Virginia and many more will come.


This is why I follow recruiting --- bursts of football at a time of year when there is no football, and little gifts that arrive on your doorstep when you least expect it.

I'm ecstatic about this commitment.  Maybe more than any commit since I started following recruiting in the late '90s.  Mike London is a defensive coach, and he now has his defensive centerpiece.  I don't want to overstate it, but imagine the day the Baltimore Ravens drafted Ray Lewis.

WAHOOWA!

Interview with Jim Reid

Coach Reid hopes to oversee a major improvement on defense in 2011.



This is a great interview conducted by Jeff White (who I think was one of the greatest hires this athletic department has made -- White's coverage of UVA sports has been fantastic.)


Some of my thoughts from the Q&A:
  • The D really missed Ras-I Dowling last year, especially given the situation where almost every week the they were faced with him being "questionable" for the game, and maybe able to play.  More than his ability in coverage, the team missed his tackling along the boundary.  I get the sense that Reid feels strongly that Ras-I would have helped to limit a lot of those big perimeter running plays we gave up last year.
  • The coaching staff loves Will Hill.  Here's what Reid had to say:  "Will Hill is a highly intelligent guy, and he is going to play both nose and tackle for us. He understands everything that goes on. He had a great Boston College game towards the end of the year, and he's a guy that just keeps his mouth shut and works. He plays with great violence, great effort and great understanding. He's really terrific."
  • I guess that explains why Hill is above Chris Brathwaite in the pecking order at d-tackle.  But Reid still had some glowing comments about Brath:  "The player that made tremendous improvement from Practice 1 to 15 is [redshirt freshman tackle] Chris Brathwaite. At first it was, 'Who is this? Oh, jeez, Brathwaite.' And then, 'Wait a minute, look at Chris.' And then at the end, 'Wow.' He went from 294 [pounds] to about 275 and then became a really fast player. We all like him, and Chris has done a nice job."
  • With so many seniors on the roster and in the starting lineup, it's going to be key to see how the snaps shake out with the backups.  With Nick Jenkins and Matt Conrath both exhausting their eligibility after this season, it reads like Hill and Brathwaite could easily be our starting DT tandem heading into the 2012 season.
  • We're set at RDE with Cam Johnson, but it sounds like Reid is slightly worried about a lack of pure pass rushers on the roster.  And remember, Johnson is another one of those seniors.  We need to find/develop/recruit elite pass rushers if we want this 4-3 defense to be worth a damn.
  • It sounds like Reid has high hopes for Aaron Taliaferro at sam this season.
  • The staff's love affair with Daquan Romero continues...  "Da-Da Romero was really good. Having a spring here is going to help him, because he was swimming [at first]. It's not going to be new to him at preseason camp, and I'm telling you he's a hard, hard, hard worker. He's going to get it, and he did some very good things athletically this spring, made some very good moves. Played tough and physical."
  • We're thin in the secondary, and I thought Reid very obviously dodged the question that tried to dig deeper into that situation.  Hope (pray) that Tra Nicholson and Brandon Phelps are ready to play this fall.
  • "Honestly, I think this group coming in is going to make us better. I really do."  Expect to see some true freshmen suiting up on defense this season.  Romero, Nicholson, and Phelps, obviously.  But who else might see some time?  I'm guessing we'll see Kevin Green in the mix at safety, and maybe a guy like Thompson Brown groomed as a situational pass rusher.  And of course, there are the redshirt freshmen.  Henry Coley will play, as will Chris Brathwaite.  Pablo Alvarez will be on the two-deep at safety.  Drequan Hoskey might make it onto the two-deep at corner.  Stephen Lawe might factor in on the d-line, though I get the feeling he is kind of lost in the shuffle right now.  No doubt, we'll be seeing some new faces on defense this season.
  • Taking it one step further...  Here's my updated guess for the starting lineup on defense in 2012:  RDE) Bill Schautz, DT) Will Hill, DT) Chris Brathwaite, RDE) Jake Snyder/Brent Urban, OLB) LaRoy Reynolds, MLB) Steve Greer, OLB) Daquan Romero, S) Pablo Alvarez, S) Kevin Green, CB) Tra Nicholson, CB) Rijo Walker/Brandon Phelps
  • We could really use some instant-impact recruits in the 2012 class at defensive end, outside linebacker, and safety.  Yikes.

Wow, sorry for riffing there.

May 10, 2011

Maryland Hires Mark Turgeon

Welcome to the ACC.  You are now the enemy.





Maybe not as good as Sean Miller, but a MUCH better hire than I expected.  This is a guy who (in my opinion) will elevate Maryland Basketball back to its early 2000's level.  I'm actually glad about this --- not for Maryland, I fucking hate Maryland --- but for the ACC as a whole.  I was honestly and legitimately worried about the conference's position among the Elite Six.  Now with Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Tony Bennett, Mark Turgeon, Brad Brownell, Leonard Hamilton, and a good up-and-comer in Steve Donahue, the ACC can boast a decent fraternity of basketball coaches.

Updating my Ranking of the Basketball Coaches of the ACC:
#1 -- Mike Krzyzewski
#2 -- Roy Williams
#3 -- Tony Bennett
#4 -- Mark Turgeon
#5 -- Brad Brownell
#6 -- Leonard Hamilton
#7 -- Seth Greenberg
#8 -- Jim Larranaga
#9 -- Steve Donahue
#10 -- Mark Gottfried
#11 -- Brian Gregory
#12 -- Jeff Bzdelik

With eight of the twelve (67%) coaches joining their schools within the last two years, it will be interesting to see how the conference's top-to-bottom style of play could change.  And it will be interesting to see how Tony Bennett's conservative, grind-it-out systems can compete with these new styles.  All I know is that nothing matters without good players, and I feel good about the players Bennett is bringing in.

May 9, 2011

UVA Sports Over/Under!

Can Danny Hultzen gun the Hoos back to Omaha?



I did this Over/Under thing way back in August '09.  Lots of fun.  I think I hit some other Over/Unders in the 100 Things list back in September '10.  Good news, fans-o-mine --- we're back for Part III!

For those of you who are new to the blog and/or unfortunately Vegas-dumb, here's how an Over/Under works...

An over-under or over/under bet is a wager in which a sportsbook will predict a number for a statistic in a given game (usually the combined score of the two teams), and bettors wager that the actual number in the game will be either higher or lower than that number. For example, in Super Bowl XXXIX, most Las Vegas casinos set the over-under for the score of the game at 46.0. A bettor could wager that the combined score of the two teams would be either more than or less than that number (as it happened, the combined score was 45, so anyone who had bet the under won).


No more foreplay.  Let's get down to business.

Over/Under -- In the 2011 postseason, Virginia Baseball advances to the: COLLEGE WORLD SERIES.
Sadly, I'm betting the under.  I think we're destined to lose in a home super regional yet again.  A few reasons: 1) We peaked too early in the season, which we also did last year.  The exam break killed us, and we never got fully back into the groove.  I've got a gut feeling we'll see more of the same this year.  2) We know Danny Hultzen is lights out, but I worry about the other three starting pitchers.  Tyler Wilson, Will Roberts, and Cody Winiarski have all had some great moments this season, but they have also had their share of shaky starts.  And all are righties.  3) We generate timely offense, but we don't hit for a great average, and we don't hit with much power.  Those two issues could bite us in the ass in the postseason.  We're 43-5 right now (20-4 ACC), and #1 in most major polls, but I see some flaws that could be potentially damning against the right (read: WRONG) competition... like Oklahoma last year.

Over/Under -- Virginia Football wins in the 2011 regular season: SIX.
Sweat drop down my balls, I'm going bold with the mother-loving OVER.  Pencil 'em in: William+Mary, Indiana, Southern Miss, Idaho, NC State, Duke.  That's your six.  And we'll win one of these others: UNC, Georgia Tech, Miami.

Over/Under -- In the 2012 postseason, Virginia Basketball advances to the: NCAA TOURNAMENT, FIRST ROUND (ROUND OF 64).
Over.  I'm bullish on this one.  I think we have second weekend potential, considering:
  • Mike Scott is back, and will be the headliner.
  • Joe Harris will continue to improve.
  • KT Harrell will bounce back.
  • Malcolm Brogdon will add a missing element.
  • Sammy Zeglinski will solidify the point.
  • Assane Sene will be great in a complimentary frontcourt role.
  • Akil Mitchell will be much better.
  • Tony Bennett will be coaching to win, after devoting his first two seasons to installing his systems and mindset, and getting "his" guys.
Over/Under -- The 2012 football recruiting class will be ranked: INSIDE THE TOP 25.
I don't like this one, but... under.  We're off to a surprisingly sluggish start on the recruiting trail.  The in-state haul seems to have more of a Virginia Tech lean than last year, probably thanks to the coaching staff mix-up Herr Beamer triggered.  It's just not looking pretty right now.  I think many recruits are in wait-and-see mode, as in, wait and see how the team performs on the field before deciding whether or not they can compete for championships at UVA.  Would you believe that Mike London's second season is his make-or-break season?  I believe it.  You can't recruit to a hopeless situation, and you better believe that enemy recruiters paint the picture of UVA being a hopeless situation.  London has to dispel that notion with wins, and he has to do it right now.

Over/Under -- The number of Hokie fans who will try to convince you that Logan Thomas is the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: INFINITE.
Over.  I've already had no fewer than five try to sell me on this, and it's barely MAY.  (The Hokies lose two games against a pathetically toothless schedule, by the way.)

Over/Under -- The losing margin to Virginia Tech on November 26th: 14 POINTS.
Under.  I think we keep it close, and lose by a touchdown or so.  Got a feeling about this one this year.

Over/Under -- Number of Wahooze blog posts in 2011: 100.
I knocked out 152 in 2010.  I think I'll get to 100 this year.  This is #31.  I need to rally.

NCAA Lacrosse Tournament

The Hoos could draw a tough Cornell squad in the 2nd round.


The NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Bracket was released yesterday.

The Hoos are the #7 seed and open up hosting Bucknell on Sunday at 3:00. With a win over the Bison, we'd play the winner of 2-seed Cornell vs. Hartford on May 21st.

All of the other ACC teams (#5-seed Duke, #8-seed North Carolina and Maryland) and #1-seed Syracuse are on the opposite side of the bracket.

We beat Cornell 11-9 on a neutral site on March 12th.  And although the bottom kind of fell out since that time, I kinda like where we are positioned right now --- the distractions (Shamel Bratton) are gone, and the team knows what hand it's been dealt.  It's easy to embrace the underdog role.  Cornell is a beatable team, and we still have enough talent to beat anybody we play.  It could be interesting.

But first... the Bucknell Bison.

May 5, 2011

Gary Williams Retires

Some [stupid] Maryland fans wanted him out, but I highly doubt they'll find anyone better.





I personally find the timing to be very odd.  The coaching carousel stopped spinning about a month ago.  But yesterday, Jordan Williams hired an agent, making his [insanely premature] jump to the NBA official, and not just an exploratory measure.  I thought Williams was a bit tougher than to simply bail out on that type of situation, but Maryland literally has next to nothing returning next year, with Jordan Williams gone.  I can understand being on the verge of retirement and not wanting to return to that sort of bleak rebuilding effort.

Now the Terps enter a coaching search, positioned way behind the 8-ball.  Almost all of the viable ships have sailed for this season.  Who do they pursue?  Who can they hire?

We already know they don't have a lot of cash to throw around, after they cried poor and kept Ralph Friedgen around after the 2009 season.  Then they bought him out after this past season, so there goes whatever money they were able to generate.  Prying Randy Edsall away from UConn took a decent-sized salary.  I'm sure their coffers are pretty empty now.

So what does Maryland do?  No good candidates remain in a picked-over field, and they probably lack the money to pry away an established coach.  It's a pickle.

This is a terrible development for Maryland, but also a bad development for the overall quality of ACC basketball... especially considering the underwhelming hires at NC State and Georgia Tech, and the desperate reach for Jim Larranaga's 2006 glory at Miami.