July 31, 2011

Pre-Snap Read

Can Kris Burd eclipse 1,000 yards receiving this season?

Here's a terrific pre-season look at the 2011 Virginia Football team, courtesy of our friends at Pre-Snap Read.  Give them your click, and enjoy the next 12 minutes worth of reading.  It's the best synopsis I've seen to date.

July 23, 2011

An Intriguing Piece

The second prospect Coach London has brought on board this offseason is Demeitre Brim, a 6-3 215 pound safety from Victory Christian Academy in Lakeland Florida. Brim committed April 22nd as a relatively unheralded 3-star prospect, with UVA being his only FBS scholarship offer. However more programs have started to take notice of late, most notably offers from Ole Miss and Wisconsin and a potential offer looming from Al Golden and Miami. Brim however has recently reaffirmed his commitment to UVA after a recent trip to the Grounds which included meeting Norfolk Christian commits Kwontie Moore and Will Wahee, who have both become major players in the UVA recruiting effort. Holding on to Brim will be turning into more of a fight than the coaching staff expected, but a fight definitely worth putting up. Brim is one of the most intriguing prospects in this class and is going to very quickly skyrocket up the recruiting charts as his high school season progresses.
Brim plays a hard hitting safety in high school but due to his height and frame he has the potential to move up to linebacker. I personally love big safeties but believe that the rest of the recruits for UVA will dictate the position he plays in college. Brim can pack on the pounds and play a  good weakside linebacker, but I truly think he would be best staying at safety. Players like Trey Edmunds and Ken Ekanem at linebacker and  defensive backs Kelvin Rainey and A.J. Justice are going to make that decision for Mike London. If UVA can add one more stud to this linebacking class then I think coach London can feel comfortable leaving Brim as a big, hard hitting, strong safety, which I think is the perfect position for him and could make this defense quite fearsome in the future. With a few more pounds he could grow into a LaRon Landry type safety, but with actual ball skills, who won’t get burned on double moves, every time, alright rant over.

Brim staying at strong safety fills a roster spot for the 2012 class. Once these profiles are complete, and UVA stops getting recruits every 5 seconds, Kendall and I will release a projection of the depth chart for just that class.

Next Up: Will Wahee

July 21, 2011

Breakout Eight

Simply enough, this is a list of eight players I expect to see surge from relative obscurity to enjoy a breakout campaign in 2011.

Max Milien, senior fullback
It seems like Milien has the starting fullback job on lock heading into the 2011 season.  With only squirtbacks at the halfback position, we're going to need a between-the-tackles grinder and a power back who can punch the ball into the end zone in goal line situations.  Can Milien do the job?  Maybe, maybe not... but I do know he's an adept receiver in the flats, and with a young QB behind center, those dumpoff opportunities will be plentiful.  Milien had 45 yards rushing and 75 yards receiving in 2010.  I'm looking for him to bump those numbers up to around 400-500 total yards of offense this season.

Matt Snyder, senior wide receiver
Once upon a time, Virginia was a school known for its good walk-on wide receivers.  Names like Patrick Jeffers, Keith Mattioli, Tim Finkelston, Staton Jobe, and Ryan Sawyer should bubble up in the minds of Virginia football fans.  Matt Snyder is the next in line.  He had a healthy 30 catches for 393 yards in 2010, but as the primary possession-type receiver heading into this season, it wouldn't be a stretch to see him get up close to around 500-600 receiving yards and a handful of touchdowns in 2011.  He's a tall (6-4), strong receiver who battles for the ball in traffic and who also has that second gear that allows him to get deep on occasion.  With Kris Burd and burners like Tim Smith, Darius Jennings, and Dominique Terrell opening up the field, there will be weak spots in the coverage for Snyder to attack.  As a senior eager to leave his mark on the program, I'm expecting him to have a steady, productive season.

 Miles Gooch, redshirt freshman wide receiver
This converted quarterback is all elbows and knees, but he's got the size (6-3, 215) and athleticism to be an intriguing weapon in the possession passing game.  He'll have to beat out guys like Bobby Smith and Kevin Royal to earn even a smidge of playing time, but I think Gooch will rise to that challenge.  Look for his number 17 on the field on passing downs when the Hoos really need to move the chains.

Jeremiah Mathis, sophomore tight end
After moving over to tight end from the d-line after Joe Torchia went down last season, I thought Mathis flashed some nice athleticism and ability in space at his new position.  At 6-3, he's sort of low-slung for a tight end, but his 255 pounds make him like a wrecking ball.  Thus, he has a good build as an off-line blockler, and I think we'll see him playing a bit of H-back this season.  I get the sense that he's a natural receiver, so he should be able to offer a nice complimentary impact to the other tight ends and receivers.  I think he'll be a weapon for us in the red zone, and a guy you'll see on the field a lot more than maybe you'd typically expect for a third-string tight end.

Will Hill, junior defensive tackle
Exiting the spring, Hill was listed as an "or" starter at both defensive tackle positions.  It's clear the coaching staff is enamored with this kid.  He's got some quickness and good footwork, and looks like a guy who might be able to bring some pass rush pressure from the DT position.  This is important in the London/Reid 43, especially considering the fact that John-Kevin Dolce has graduated.  I look for Hill to really put some pressure on opposing QBs, and in the process put some pressure on Nick Jenkins and Matt Conrath as the starting duo at d-tackle.

Chris Brathwaite (#98), Will Hill (#93)
Chris Brathwaite, redshirt freshman defensive tackle
Just from seeing him with my own two eyes this spring and during the Spring Game, I can tell you that Chris Brathwaite is a freaking MONSTER.  Big, strong, aggressive... the kind of impact tackle you like to have at the heart of your 4-3 defense.  I think he'll get on the field this fall, and I think he'll open some eyes and turn some heads in the process.  And I'll go ahead and call it now: he's a three-year starter at DT, beginning with the 2012 season.

LoVante Battle, junior safety/linebacker
I've mentioned Battle before, as my eyes always seem to be drawn to him whenever he's on the field.  He's fast and fearless, and should emerge as a special teams maven this season.  I'm actually excited about his potential in a "swing" role, bouncing back and forth between weakside linebacker and strong safety.  He'll probably be at his best playing up in the box, but with the razor-thin depth chart at the safety position, I think he'll see some burn this season.  He reminds me of LaRoy Reynolds, and I think he can make a similar impact in terms of tone-setting and aggression.

Rijo Walker, sophomore cornerback
I've gone on record several times, saying that Walker faces a stiff challenge and will probably cede his starting CB job to Tra Nicholson.  I'm not really backing down from that stance, but noticing Nicholson's slight 165-pound frame has given me some pause.  Meanwhile, Rijo Walker is physically ready to assume that starting role.  If he can fend off Nicholson, I expect he'll see a ton of passes thrown his way, as offenses go away from Chase Minnifield's side of the field.  Walker will have his chance to start, and he'll have his chance to produce some serious numbers if he can flash decent ball skills.  Interception machine?  Let's hope.

July 20, 2011

Student Challenges Master (Pop Quiz!, Part II)

Well, now the tables are turned, and my man Mike is the one tossing around the 'get to know you' questions.  You know how I do.  I'll rise to this challenge like I rise to every challenge.

Prepare to have your minds blown.

I'ma stab my punsul right through the O.

Question #1 -- James Robinson this year or your pick of PG's next year?

Back on the bench, Jontel.
So you're basically asking me if I'd rather have Robinson or Nate Britt.  Look, both are equally fantastic options, so I'm going to zig after you ask me to zag.  My answer to this question is: EITHER ONE!  ANY OF THE ABOVE!  I JUST WANT US TO SIGN AN EFFING POINT GUARD.  I have a gnawing fear that the Sam Zeglinski / Jontel Evans duo at the point is going to short-circuit a team that should be an NCAA Tournament lock this season.  Robinson has the goods, and could open up that DeMatha pipeline (which probably won't yield Jerami Grant, but would very likely give us Beejay Anya in 2013.)  So gun to my head, I'd probably pick Robinson, because of DeMatha, because he'd come a year earlier, and because I just feel like his game is a perfect fit with our roster and with Tony Bennett's system.

Question #2 -- Baseball expanding the stadium and being a perennial powerhouse underachiever one magical run to win the CWS followed by settling into above-average mediocrity and the same ol' Davenport?

Home Sweet Home
Damn, Mike.  This is kind of a crappy question.  Underachiever or mediocrity?  I guess I'll take the one that includes the national championship.  But really, are either of these realistic?  I can pretty much guarantee that the stadium won't be expanded with expensive permanent seating, at least until we start selling out those regular-season games.  I can also guarantee that a program led by Brian O'Connor will neither underachieve nor settle into mediocrity.

I do think it will be very interesting to see how the crowds respond to this year's CWS run once the turnstiles start spinning in 2012.  Can Virginia Baseball draw 3,000+ fans for weekend home games against ECU or Coastal Carolina in mid-February?  That's always the tough draw, baseball in the cold... but if we're down to brass tacks, that's the draw we need to have in order to justify a major stadium expansion.  Personally, I think Davenport is great, and could be fantastic with a few tweaks.  But the state of Virginia ain't the state of Florida or Texas -- it's cold in February and March here.  Damn cold.  And windy.

Question #3 -- Does the Peter Lalich catastrophe give you any trepidation into recruiting these high caliber kids?

Golden Boy, my ass.
No, not at all.  I think you have to be choosy with the kids you recruit, be it 2-star guys or 5-star guys.  Can they hack it at UVA, academically?  Are they scumbags or potheads off the field?  Are they the kind of high-character kids who can shoulder the responsibility of pulling this program out of the dumps?  I think you see my point.

What the Lalich catastrophe (nice choice of words, by the way) did show me is that you cannot ever put all of your eggs into one basket at the quarterback position.  I've said it somewhere before, but at this position it's nearly impossible to gauge future success so you have to throw numbers at the wall and see what sticks.  Recruit quantity along with the quality.  You have to have 4-5-6 QBs in the program at all times, developing guys and preparing for any sort of attrition that might swerve along to sideswipe the program.  (Especially at Virginia, where we seem to get T-boned by attrition at every intersection.)

But yeah, screw Peter Lalich, and screw Al Groh for gambling the entire program on a kid with shit for brains.

Question #4 -- Do we think we can keep competing with Tech like this in recruiting if we don't win this year?  How much do we need to improve?

This man will never be a bad recruiter.
Well, obviously, you have to start winning at some point in order to maintain recruiting momentum.  I'm actually cooking up a longer post about how 2012 might actually be the make-or-break season for Mike London, in that we'll be losing something absurd like twelve starters after this season.  For me (and kind of tapping into the previous question), the real salient objective for this season is to develop a legit #1 starting quarterback from the trio of Mike Rocco, Ross Metheny, and Michael Strauss.  If we find a QB who can get the job done -- and I think that's possible, given the raw tools of these guys, and the QB-friendly offense Bill Lazor can build -- we'll be well on our way toward some level of sustained success.  And that level of sustained success is exactly what you need in order to maintain recruiting momentum.

How much do we need to improve?  Well, to be a smartass, we need to improve by two or three wins from last season.  Can we beat the Dukes, Indianas, and Idahos of the world?  Can we spring the upset over teams like NC State and Maryland?  I don't think it's that big of a leap of faith, especially with a defense that should be much better this season.  Look, we were in a bowl game last season if we had hung on against USC, if we had not allowed that insane 4th down conversion against Duke, and if we could have just punched it in across the goal line against BC.  Three plays away, and I think we'll get those three plays to go our way this season.

Question #5 -- Is Tech not taking us seriously enough, or is London just that good?

Secret Weapon
London is just that good.  Specifically, London, plus Chip West, plus Anthony Poindexter, plus Shawn Moore, plus Vincent Brown, plus the rest of the coaching staff is just that good.  This coaching staff was built to be able to mine in-state talent, especially in the 757, Richmond, and DC/Metro areas.  Our coaches are passionate, filled with energy, and honestly believe that they can get UVA football back on the map... and the recruits are buying it.  So much so that it's now "cool" to sign with Virginia and play for Coach London.

As far as Tech not taking us seriously, look no further than their recent staff shake-up, which I (and many others) took as a direct response to the pressure London is putting on the Hokies when it comes to recruiting the Commonwealth.  It can't be overstated that Virginia's loss has been Virginia Tech's gain over the last decade-plus.  As Al Groh burned bridges with high school coaches in the state, and Virginia's in-state recruiting fell apart, Virginia Tech was there to pick up the pieces and their in-state recruiting and on-field success hit a new apex.  This is no coincidence.  As we take recruits away from Tech and add them to our roster, it makes our program stronger while simultaneously weakening theirs.  Soon enough, I think we'll see the two programs even out, both in the in-state recruiting wars and in the on-field battles.  Tech's success is now on borrowed time, and though they'll never openly admit it, most reasonable Hokie fans are scared shitless of Mike London.

London (and his coaching staff) is that good at recruiting, and it's not just because Tech took us lightly in 2011.  We didn't sneak up on them.  And if anything, our rousing early success with the 2012 recruiting class is proof positive.

Question #6 -- How much better would we be on the radio in the morning than Mark Moses?

Mark Moses is awful.  Can't we find a local to do the local morning show?  Did we really need to import this ass-clown from Chicago or wherever the hell he's from?  I'm just glad Mike & Mike is on AM 1450.

To answer the question... I'm not sure how good I'd be on the radio, but I can damn sure tell you that I'd spend more time talking about UVA sports (and sports in general) than Mark Moses does.  He's just awful.  Like, totally egregious.  I'd rather drive to work in stoic silence than listen to him.

Question #7 -- Would you trade all the obscure sports being as good as they are for a football or basketball powerhouse?

Sorry Steele, but I'd trade you for a stud QB.
It would hurt me to lose our borderline elite baseball program, but... yes, I'd make that trade.  I'm a college football and basketball fan.  Everything else is just gravy.  Football and basketball are the sports that really matter in the grand scheme of things, so as much fun as it's been to win championships in lacrosse and go to the College World Series, I'd trade it all for a powerhouse in either revenue sport.

That being said, it's baseball and lacrosse that have gotten us through the dark ages of the 2000's.  With football and basketball bottoming out under Al Groh and Dave Leitao, we as a fanbase really needed the success of the non-revs to buoy our fanship.  Kris Wright wrote a great piece about this very topic for The Sabre.  At the end of the day, while I wish we had that football or basketball powerhouse, it's still pretty awesome to have such fantastic, well-rounded athletic success.

Question #8 -- Does it annoy you how much we cater to football and basketball since they have sucked so bad of late? (this pisses me off)

You know what, this never bothered me as much as it seems to bother everyone else.  My love for UVA football and basketball is so ingrained in the very fabric of my being, that I willingly choose to mostly bury my head in the sand on the topic.  I guess the way I reconcile it is by reminding myself that these athletes do more for the school and bring more money to the school than any other "regular" student and any other athlete playing a different sport, so they are entitled their preferential treatment.

Question #9 -- I played ball with Keith Werman growing up and I know he is good. (He was actually a stud catcher at Oakton if you can believe that.) But do you think he's a novelty act for the baseball team or is he one of O'Connor's essential pieces of the puzzle?

The art of the bunt.
I definitely don't think Werm is a novelty act.  For a program built on fundamental baseball, sound defense, and the ability to generate runs, Werm is a perfect fit.  Essential piece of the puzzle?  Maybe not.  Maybe you'd prefer a second baseman with a bit more pop in his bat, and a bit taller than 5-foot-nothing.  But Keith Werman exemplifies the "pest" mentality that has allowed us to elevate the program from near-extinction to perennial power.  But to take that next step, I believe we need to see fewer guys like Keith Werman, and more guys like South Carolina's Scott Wingo in the Virginia lineup.  I think we have the pitching and we have the defense, we just need a bit more effortless ability to generate offense.  At times during the postseason, scoring runs felt like passing kidney stones.  A non-hitter like Keith Werman didn't help that situation.  I love small ball and I love smart offense, but I think I might love small ball spiced with great hitting even more.

This was fun, Mike.  We should pop quiz each other again soon.

Pop Quiz!

In an attempt to allow Wahooze Nation to get to know the newest Wahooze writer a little bit better, Kendall prepared these questions for me to answer.  Hopefully, this drills down into the heart of my UVa fanship and my credentials for this gig.

I generally dislike  quizzes and school in general
but this sounds like fun
Question #1 -- Pick one: 2011 Virginia Football goes 6-6 or 7-5 in the regular season and makes it to a bowl game, <OR> 2011-12 Virginia Basketball wins enough to be on the NCAA Tournament bubble and makes it in as a 9-seed.  Assume they are mutually exclusive, and the one you don't pick has a losing season.  Explain why you made the choice you made.
                Football. Easily. I think football is further away and more in need of a goodish season. While I think basketball has a much better shot of that happening I think we are still a year away. That being said I forsee us being a bubble team and hopefully winning the NIT. I think that usually sets you up for a big run the next season and provides some good experience for the guys. I think the new kids we’re bringing in sets us up for success in 2012-2013 season. That to me is TB’s make or break season.
                Football on the other hand needs a good season. They need some progress to point to. Otherwise Coach London is attempting to sell a gilded pile of fessus to recruits who if they have half a brain (or a guess a stick for this metaphor) can figure that out. A winning record and Bowl Game shows progress and gives everyone a little confidence moving forward. Also that would probably put us in the Military Bowl at RFK which means we could all go. That’d be sweet. Anyways I think London can sell progress and point to a bowl game in that way. And things are only going to get better. I think basketball can deal with a losing season just based on how stacked the ACC is going to be and hopefully the athletic department can be patient, but I also think both of these things are going to happen. Football just needs it a lot more.

Question #2 -- If you had to bet your life's earnings on the "success" of one of our two coaches of the big-time revenue sports, who would you bet on, Mike London or Tony Bennett?  Why?  How would you define "success" for each of those two coaches?
He's just got a moxie about him...
                Mike London. I think most of college football success lies in recruiting. I always go right to Randy Shannon at Miami when people ask me about Coach London. When Shannon first came in he reinstituted the “State of Miami” at the U and locked down the top class in the country by recruiting local kids and not the national riffraff that Coker had brought in. London to me is doing the same thing. If you look at Tech it’s an unfortunate perfect example of winning with homegrown talent. I think Coach London can go into the hotbeds of football talent in this state and compete and beat Tech and whoever else comes in for anyone. He also seems to be doing well in the DC area which is good news for us but bad news for Coach Edsall at Maryland who already has enough trouble keeping Penn State out of the city. If Coach London can put down roots in the DC area that will be a gold mine and he can build a winning program just recruiting DC, Bad News, and Richmond. Oh and he can Coach ‘em up too.
                I’m still a little skeptical of Coach Bennett’s system in the ACC to be honest with you. Granted he’s been playing with the Chernobyl nuclear fallout survivors from the Leitao era. I saw flashes from this year and we still haven’t seen the offense run with a point guard (sorry Jontel) but this is the big year for me. I think we will take steps forward but I really want to see how we match up with UNC. They are always going to be our measuring stick and I am very confident we are going to lose both games to them this year but I want to see how. If the team can manage to keep it in a slow half-court game and impose their will and UNC just beats us then I will be sold. But if UNC gets out and runs and makes us look like a bunch of fat kids who only ever play horse on a basketball court, then we need to rethink this. I love what TB is doing recruiting wise and I think the system can work. I just need proof that it will.

Question #3 -- Virginia Baseball has made two College World Series appearances out of the last three years, but has come home without a national championship.  In your opinion, what is missing from the program and impeding its ascension to that lofty goal?
Baum Stadium at Arkansas hold 10,000+ fans. They didn't
even make the CWS...
                Boom right in my wheelhouse. Expectations. They need to blow Davenport up and make it equal to the level of expectation of the team. Until the team feels like it’s a big time program playing in a big time stadium they won’t have big time success, or at least the expectations of it. Right now I still think there’s a happy to be here attitude and not an expectation of greatness every season. Coach O’Connor has built a program worthy of those expectations and it’s time the administration ponies up and builds a park.  Screw those temporary green bleachers, all that says is we think we’re going to have temporary success. Pay everyone on the coaching staff and put permanent expansion in Davenport and say we’re in it for the long haul. We have everything else to make a kid want to come here let’s build the stadium and bring in the best of the best. Here’s the plan:
Permanent bleachers down both lines. The whole way down. Dig into the earth on the left field line. You can tuck the bullpens underneath the bleachers. I can design it for you. Get it done. Sitting on hills is stupid and muddy and no one wants your damn kids running around anyway. That adds 1000 permanent seats at least. Also wrap it around the outfield. I would be fine with those green bleachers for a little but to be honest with you that is my favorite place to sit. Make those a real set too. There’s enough of a height decline under those bleachers to put a nice concession stand out there or maybe some offices or a hitting tunnel. Baseball is one of your money sports get them out of UHall.
Once this is done it’ll show everyone UVA means business on the Diamond. We’ve already proven we’ll come out to the park and this will help keep a consistent winner on the field. Otherwise when the Nationals come knocking on Coach O’Connor’s door in a few years (bold prediction for you) he’s going to bolt and the program is going to go with him. Open your wallet Craig and give them what they’ve earned.

Question #4 -- Just in general, what are your feelings about Virginia Lacrosse?
I have a strong disdain for bros. And yes
these are actual players.
                I know very little about the actual sport of lacrosse. I know there is a lot of scoring and a lot of hitting. These are two of my favorite aspects of sports. However off the field I know that UVA Lacrosse is full of a lot of douchebaggery, which drives me insane. I don’t know how such a badass sport got associated with such dickheads but it is unbelievably annoying. I lived across the street from one of the Lacrosse houses my third year and they were constantly being loud and irritating blasting their mind numbing country music crap at all hours of the night. I understand your father makes a ton of money and you really don’t need this degree because you’re probably going to be handed some absurd job after college regardless of how you do in your bullshit sociology major classes but could you please fake it a little more for those of us that support you and actually need to study and do well in school so we can do well in life. Alright that’s enough.
                My best friend in high school played lacrosse so I have watched a lot of it and I know UVA is very good at it. However until this season they always seemed to be chokers to me, never able to get past Duke when it counted. I really wish they had gotten to go through them this season but I’ll take the national championship regardless.

Question #5 -- List, in order, your top five favorite Universirty of Virginia athletes of all time.  Explain why you picked each of those five.
5.            Lars Mikalauskas- I’ve always had a soft spot for doughy Eastern Europeans. Lars didn’t end up playing while I was here but he did go nuts for 16 points against Miami while I was there. He always thoroughly confused me as a basketball player because of that weird shoulder thing that it looked like the medical staff ghetto-rigged out of a shoulder brace and some surgical tubing. He always played hard even though he was getting screamed at in a language I assume he didn’t understand much of, which may have made it easier come to think of it.

4.            Jimmy Howell- I made a point in my last article on WahooWatch that Jimmy should get the jersey for this season. How often is it (and I guess how depressing is it) that your punter is your most consistent performer for 4 years. But think about it. Jimmy always gives you good punts with one shanker at a somewhat critical time. I guess he’s had a lot of practice based on the ineptitude of the football team’s offense over the last few seasons but he is consistently one of our best offensive players. God we suck I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Seeing Jimmy around Grounds I keep thinking he plays QB. The kid is huge. And his bag says number 8, which before I memorized everyone on the team confused me immensely. But hey at least he’s not 97…Tech…but that’s a different rant.

3.            Isaac Cain- Isaac is one of my best friends so he had to make this list. He also laid that dude out on the opening kick of the Tech game last year which was AWESOME. I remember watching that game with my parents and before they even showed the replay I knew exactly who had done it. I’m really going to miss watching him out there this year. It was great being able to know someone on the field, even if it was usually for penalties. By the way that cut block against USC is still a legal play.

2.            Danny Hultzen- My high school coach refers to Danny as “the player I wish you were.” And while that is incredibly demoralizing, but not at all out of character for him, it is also 100% accurate. If I could have my kids look up to anyone playing baseball it would be him. The kid is easily, EASILY the best player we’ve ever had and was humble the whole way through. I think if they would have let him he would have played first base the whole season. That’s a commitment from a star that is so rare these days that you can’t help but admire it.

1.            Chris Long- Genuine fear. I would want nothing to do with playing us if Chris was on the team. I was at the 48-0 football “game” at the Orange Bowl in 07 where I saw every garbage lineman we had on Miami try and contain him. It’s nice that it only took 3 of them. I’m sure Nate Collins and Jeffery Fitzgerald were quite disappointed to only have single blocks with a fake chip from Javarris James or Graig Cooper all night. That man was so good and so dominant and is a once in a generation type of player that even before I went or even rooted for UVA I would stop and watch just to see him dismantle players.  Absolutely incredible and it looks like the NFL is about to heed notice too.

Question #6 -- UVA or UVa?  Why?
 UVA. I grew up in the land of federal government acronyms. It just looks better to me. My dad worked at NAVFAC, I went to school across the street from DARPA, my neighbors worked for the IRS, I had to deal with the TSA, NSA, and DHS on the metro. It’s just easier and looks better to me.

Question #7 -- One of my all-time favorite posts from the two year history of writing Wahooze was AD for a Day.  What would you change about my list?  If you had to add two or three things to the list, what would you add?
I would put the kibosh on the minor league team. I think UVA baseball is easily enough.  And college baseball is a better product than crappy Single-A. Also I would be down for the radio. I love sports talk radio and we really need to have a purely UVA focused station with people from UVA running it, sorry Mark Moses, get outta town (I think that’s a funny insert.)
I would add the following things:
1.            Building on your point of academic tracks for athletes we need a massive overhaul of the tutoring department. If the administration is going to emphasize the academic prestige and standards of the University for recruiting then they also need to help those athletes when they get in. Athlete tutor is one of the most high paying and coveted student jobs at Miami, and that is the way it should be at UVA too. We have the some of the smartest kids in the WORLD at this school you’re telling me no one can make sure the football team knows what happens when you put an aluminum can near a candle? And yes that was a question on my roommates physics 104 FINAL, you want to piss off an engineer show us that shit.
2.            Blow up Davenport. I made this point above but I think the baseball team has earned a nice facelift. You will sell the place out if they stay good and they will stay good if you upgrade the facilities.
You're telling me Temple has more Billboards than us?
3.            Get UVA sports big in NOVA. I mean billboards on highways and segments on radio stations. There are a ton of people up there that went here it won’t be hard. I’m tired of turning on ESPN 980 at home and only hearing about Maryland. Lay down some roots and let’s get that done. Someone get Coach London a weekly segment with Doc Walker and the John Thompson Show. Boom. There’s your start.
4.            WahooWagon. This is a stupid bus idea I have that I think could work. We have that big setra now. Why not use it to bring people into the games. It would help with parking and help with marketing. I’ll use NOVA again but you could park cars in the Pentagon parking lot and have us at UTS come get you and bring you down for the games. That drive to CVille isn’t bad from all over the state but most people don’t realize that. Get butts in the seats and fans throughout the state and the program will grow in popularity which will do nothing but help with recruiting and getting us some money for that bubble.
5.            Buy UTS more Setras. Just do it. They look a lot better than rolling up in Abbott Trailways buses.               

Question #8 -- Is Virginia a football school or a basketball school?  Explain.
                Currently? Neither, but I think both are coming. Historically basketball. Easily. However I do think we are going to have a problem getting out of the academic shadow. Vanderbilt has good sports teams from time to time, so does Baylor and Stanford, but those will always be academic schools first. I think UVA is that school for the ACC, maybe with Wake also. It’s going to take sustained success in either sport to shake off that reputation and become known as a university for either of those sports. For now we’re a strong academic school that is great at weird sports like swimming and baseball because those kids all leave UVA with a degree and do big things with it and can kick back more money for that program than a person from say I don’t know, Tech can. That’s what we’re seen as, but a change could be brewing

The First Domino

Over the next couple of weeks Wahooze is going to take a look at the prospects that the football team has gotten commitments from and the impact we think they are going to have on the program. The 2012 class is shaping up to be a doozy and already sports a good chunk of the top players in Virginia as well as a nice stable of bulls to handle the offensive line for the next 4 years. These articles are going to be in chronological order and will hopefully show how each signing has impacted the rest of the class.

                Mark Hall, a linebacker from Green Run High School in Virginia Beach was the first commitment Coach London picked up way back in February of 2011. That’s quite early and caught me a little by surprise, but is a huge get. Hall was the first domino to fall and was a good start. To pick up a kid from the 757 this early in the process was a great sign for things to come for Coach London and left Wahoo fans optimistic for the future.
                Hall, a 3-Star recruit on rivals.com, is listed at 6-2, 208 and is projected as an outside linebacker in the future. Hall picked Virginia over Delaware, Duke, Maryland, UNC, Pitt, West Virginia, and of course Tech. Hall is ranked as the number 64 outside linebacker in the country and, more importantly, the number 18 player in Virginia. Hall also excels on the basketball court and is a very fluid player in space. He also has room to pack on weight making him ideal for an outside linebacker. Hall has the ability to both rush the passer and drop into coverage. What Hall will lack in polish he will more than make up for in athleticism. I suspect he’ll be redshirted to pack on weight but if not Hall could have an impact on special teams his freshman season (I’m seeing a blocked field goal). Regardless of what happens this signing showed the rest of the state of Virginia that UVA came to play this offseason and that the students are buying into the coaching staff. While the best recruiting tool we have is wins it helps to be able to build a strong recruiting base by landing top talent in the state, and Coach London got started on that early. This is a good pickup and will help Coach London get his players for his system.

July 18, 2011

The Campaign for the White Helmet

Boom first post. Here’s goes nothing.

Soooo Fresh
                I’d like to use this forum to hopefully start a grassroots campaign for the football team to adopt a white helmet. They look sweet. A couple of years ago Bleacher Report ranked the top 25 college football helmets and 7 of the top 25 were white based. Including 3 of the top 7 (Penn St. 7, Texas 4, and Miami 1). Speaking of Miami we’ll take a side trip for a second just to comment that my first love of college football and the school where I spent my freshman year is the U so I might be a touch biased in this argument. However I do think that a white helmet played off the orange jerseys would look sweet. Of course we would need to use the white pants at all times at home, but I also think the orange on blue looks kind of stupid. And God forbid we become the Fightin’ Traffic Barrels again with the orange on orange garbage we pulled at Georgia Tech last year. I think if we’re going to play up this power of orange stuff then the jersey at home needs to be the standard orange top with the white pants, and of course the white helmet. This would also help us have an actually whiteout someday instead of whatever that catastrophe was last year (I think someone forgot to tell the team.) Anyway here is a rough mock up of the new helmet. I am aware it looks a little absurd but let’s use our imagination shall we? 

Someone call Craig and make this happen. This looks sweet.

This game was such a tease

Needs to be seen...

UVA Football 2011 -- Are You Ready?

Site Announcement!

I've pimped this brother/sister/rival UVA sports blog in the past: WahooWatch.  Mike V. does a fantastic job with his blogging.  I've been a big fan of his insight and opinions, so recently I began exploring the idea of combining our two blogs.  Turns out, Wahooze was mighty enough to stage a hostile takeover of WahooWatch, and thus, I am delighted to announce that Mike is joining the Wahooze team on a permanent basis.

To introduce you to Mike, here's his short autobiography.

Hello Wahooze Nation!

My name is Mike Vitale and Kendall has graciously offered to bring me into the fold. Before I start posting I’d like to tell you guys a little bit about myself. As some of you may know I write the WahooWatch blog which seems to have caught Kendall’s eye. I like to pride myself on writing thought provoking pieces that spur some sort of conversation, though my readership seems to have been limited to my parents and Kendall, two of which are contractually obligated to like what I write. Hopefully I can entertain you guys in my call up to the big leagues. Here’s my story:

I grew up in Arlington, VA literally right across the river from Washington DC. I love the local sports teams I grew up with but this love affair has lead to a fairly miserable sports existence minus the Capitals of late and the pre-insanity Gilbert Arenas Wizards. To make matters worse I had my pick of baseball teams since DC didn’t have a team growing up and I selected the Cubs. So I’ve had my fair share of misery in my time. This made my transition to following UVA major sports simple. It’s right in my wheelhouse.

I also bring a good deal of actual sports experience to the table. I played baseball all through high school and was pretty damn good at it. Yeah I’ll toot my own horn here. This usually lets me go super in depth as to what the players and coaches are trying to get accomplished out there. That being said I want to take a moment to mention how much I love Coach O’Connor’s style. I could watch UVA play all day. The style and strategy really makes you think and keeps you on your toes as a fan, and if you don’t think that baseball is exciting then you need to pull your head out of the sand and pay attention because the man is like Eisenhower liberating occupied Europe.

Anyway back to the intro. One big thing you guys are going to notice is that I am grammatically challenged. I just graduated from UVA with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. To quote my old roommate “ESkool no teach me to speak good.” Please bear with me as I won’t be able to match the eloquence of Mr. Howell but hopefully you’ll be able to understand. However the degree does bring some benefit in that I use a ton of stats to back up the points I make. So impress your friends and read the Wahooze!

Mike's a good dude who is passionate about sports and UVA sports specifically, and I'm excited to have him play a major role in the future of Wahooze.

In the days ahead, I'll be enabling his editing powers.  He's going to bring a lot to the table in terms of site design and layout... so brace yourselves for a bit of an aesthetic overhaul of this space.

If you have any questions or comments, post them below.

July 16, 2011

Big Nooze for Wahooze...

Coming Monday, I have an exciting and intriguing announcement to make.  Be sure to check this space Monday afternoon for the details...

July 14, 2011

Those Zany Steelers

I'm a Cincinnati Bengals fan, God help me.  Over the course of the last six years, I've had to endure holier-than-thou Steelers fans lambasting me for my team's players' transgressions.  Crimes against humanity like Chris Henry buying a keg for his [underage] cousin's party, Odell Thurman's drunk in public, Chris Henry's carrying a concealed firearm, and Eric Steinbach's drunk boating.  Bad stuff, sure.

Turnabout is fair play, and the karmic shift is a real pisser, isn't it Steelers fans?

Here's what the black and gold has been up to this offseason...

Rashard Mendenhall didn't break any laws, but he proved himself to be a real winner and a true American with a series of tweets the week following the death of Osama Bin Laden, including:

We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style

Right.  Good stuff, Rashard.  Way to be a patriot, living in the nation whose economic system and sports insanity allows you to rake in millions of dollars for playing a game... and not particularly well, I might add.

And there's Dancing with the Stars superstar and all around swell guy Hines Ward, busted for a DUI.

And now, my second favorite Steeler of all time, James Harrison, with this gem of an article in Men's Journal (of all places).

A few of my favorite "Hitman" quotes from the article:

On being branded as a thug:

“My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people,” he says. “But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty — till Roger Goodell, who’s a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”

On high and low hits:

“I get dinged about three times a year and don’t know where I am for a little minute. But unless I’m asleep, you’re not getting me out of the game, and most guys feel the same way. If a guy has a choice of hitting me high or low, hit me in the head and I’ll pay your fine. Just don’t hit me in the knee, ‘cause that’s life-threatening. How’m I going to feed my family if I can’t run?”

On the 2004 season:

“I should have another ring. We were the best team in football in 2004, but the Patriots, who we beat during the regular season, stole our signals and picked up 90 percent of our blitzes [in the AFC title game]. They got busted for it later, but, hey, they’re Goodell’s boys, so he slapped ‘em $500,000 and burned the tapes. Was he going to rescind their Super Bowls? Man, hell no!”

On the two interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger in last year’s Super Bowl:

“Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.”

On Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu:

“He’s the one guy in football I respect absolutely, ‘cause he’s spiritual and lives it like he talks it. You know, he gets more flags than anyone on our team but never gets fined for nothin’. He’s so polite and talks so softly that he could tell he could tell Goodell to kiss his ass, and Goodell would smile and say thank you.”

Ahh, classy.  I'm sure your [fucking] teammates are super psyched about some of those comments.

I know Wahooze is not really the correct forum for this kind of thing, but second to being punched in the face in Blacksburg, this is my worst sports-related memory in my lifetime:

So yeah, I'm going to be immature, take the low road, and do a little grave dancing on the Steelers whenever appropriate.  (Turns out, the Hierarchy of Hatred didn't quite release all of my venom.)
Oh, and by the way... THANKS AGAIN, Green Bay Packers.

July 10, 2011

2011's Mixed Metaphor?

In 2009, the mixed metaphor was football and boxing, with the wildly popular and successful Fight Card series.

In 2010, the mixed metaphor was football and horse racing, with the unbelievably awesome Trifecta Box series.

What should be this year's mixed metaphor for our mind-numbingly brilliant position-by-position football preview?  I'll let my adoring fans choose by posting comments on this post.

A few ideas to get the brain churning...

Vote for one of those three by posting in the comments, below.

And if you have a write-in vote... I'm interested in hearing it!

July 6, 2011

Q&A with Tony Bennett

Here's a good piece from Whitelaw Reid from The Daily Progress:

Some thoughts generated from this Q&A with Coach Bennett:
  • I like the idea of a faster KT Harrell.  He looked like more of a 3 to me at times last season.  Granted, that was partly due to some nagging minor injuries.  But we need him to be a true 2 this season, and that includes being able to move and guard opposing shooting guards.  Harrell is one of the potential big-time breakout candidates for this upcoming season, and if he really does experience a breakthrough, the team has a chance to be scary good.
  • I also like the idea of a taller Akil Mitchell.  To me, he's a 4 all the way, so he needs the size/length to be able to compete in the paint.
  • I'm expecting James Johnson and Assane Sene to split time nearly right down the middle at the center position.  This is an important year for JJ, as he'll be asked to be the man in the frontcourt as early as the 2012-13 season.
  • With JJ behind him and Mike Scott beside him, I'm expecting Assane Sene to be much more aggressive defensively.  He'll pick up some ticky-tack fouls, but he'll also be able to block a TON of shots, going full-throttle.
  • We have to land a point guard in the 2012 class.  We just have to.  Whiffing at this position could short-circuit the progress of the entire team.
  • I think top six in the ACC is a lock for next season.
  • Sammy Zeglinski should be our starting point guard this season.
  • Will Regan leaving opened up a scholarship for a better player.  Cold and heartless to say, but true.
  • We need to step up our scheduling.  We should get into a couple of marquee regional home-and-home series.  I'd like to see us play Georgetown, Vanderbilt, and/or Memphis in upcoming seasons.