August 31, 2012

Wahooze Pix - Week One

Alright folks, hopefully by now you've signed up for our pick'em league run through ESPN, but if not - hit the link over there ------->

However, we're still going to run with our weekly picks of the ACC games. Largely, because the ESPN pick'em doesn't cover many of the ACC games, but also because we're dying to tell everyone what we think every week. (Note: I'm not including Syracuse and Pitt - because they're still irrelevant Big East teams). Also, we'll be having guest pickers each week as well - new faces as well as some returning experts. Get excited. 

Someone recently tried to convince me that this week's guest picker is something of a local celebrity around the Hook. While I'm not buying it, here's a picture of him with some actual celebrities:

Ian Solla-Yates and the Watson twins, ladies and gents 
Ian basically runs WNRN, so all you community radio fans may recognize his name. But what you might not know is between Bonnaroos, Ian is an avid Wahoo fan, long-time season ticket holder, and established member of one of the more impressive tailgates around. 

There's actually a fair amount of intriguing matchups in the conference to start the season, so let's get to it:

Tennessee (-3) vs. NC State
Vols: Nobody
Pack: Errybody

Kendall: State helps the ACC begin to reclaim some lost respect.

Mike: People are going to sleep on the wolfpack nationally, but not for long. I think they make a big statement here, and have Derek Dooley one game closer to being on the UVA staff.

Pierce: State should win outright, but at least cover the spread. 

Ian: NC State wins. The Wolfpack seems to be the only team immune to the SEC's spell over the ACC and tennessee is never that great. My least hated north carolina team wins. 


Auburn vs. Clemson (-3.5)
Tigers of SEC: Mike, Pierce, Ian
Tigers of ACC: Kendall

Kendall: Clem's son does his part, too.

Mike: Not sure I'm all in on Clemson without Samuel Watkins...

Pierce: Clemson will blow it.

Ian:  If last season is any indicator of what Clemson can do when they are the clear favorites for a game, then it's Auburn with the upset. I'm picking Auburn. 

Miami (-2) at Boston College
Canes: Errybody
Eagles: Nobody

Kendall:  Dazzling low spread for the Canes here.  I think they win by 3 TDs, easily.

Mike: I will never take BC in a game this year. EVER.

Pierce: Easy money here. Miami should win by 2 scores at least.

Ian: Miami wins. Boston College was terrible when they had their best player. Miami won't have any trouble here.  

Florida International at Duke (-3.5) 
...Panthers?: Kendall, Mike
Blue Devils: Pierce, Ian

Kendall:  FIU is one of my guilty pleasures.  They have upside to be the 4th best program in the state of Florida.

Mike: FIU wins my Heather Dinich Memorial "Sneaky Good" team for this week.

Pierce: Ugh...Duke at home? Cmon they can't lose to FIU can they?

Ian:  FUI wins, in the long run, I mean. I bet they're getting paid a shit ton for their joke of a team to fly up to Dook's track/football field and lose by a lot. I'm sure FUI's classic department will be sitting pretty, though. 

Murray State at Florida State (no spread) 
Murrays: Nobody
Jimbos: Errybody

Kendall: Blood letting.

Mike: You can go ahead and give me FSU -100

Pierce: Joke of a game.

Ian: A team that consists of Andy Murray and Murray from Flight of the Conchords would be more entertaining. FSU will have no problem here. 

William & Mary at Maryland (ns) 
Tribe: Mike
Garbage: Kendall, Pierce, Ian

Kendall: Tempted to pick the W&M upset, but not quite ballsy enough.

Mike: We've all seen this. Maryland is truly awful. Not just the fan in me saying that, the person with vision saying it.

Pierce: Maryland is so bad, but something tells me that they win by a lot here.

Ian: Probably the most likely upset for a FCS team this weekend, but I still think Maryland wins. On the other hand, fuck Maryland. 

Elon at North Carolina (ns) 
Phoenix: No one
Tar Holes: Todos

Kendall: Easy pick.

Mike: Fedora will try and send a statement by putting up some ungodly numbers this game. And I really like Renner.

Pierce: Go Elon! Not they have a chance.

Ian: UNC wins, but fuck UNC. 

Richmond at Virginia (ns) 
Spiders: Nope
Hoos: Yep

Kendall: We are going to crush U of R.

Mike: Wahoowa motherfuckers

Pierce: Good lord we better win by a lot.

Ian: HOOOOOOOOOS!! We're going to win big. 

Liberty at Wake Forest (ns) 
Flames: Hahaha
Deacs: Everyone

Kendall: Wake does their thing here.

Mike: Sorry Jerry.

Pierce: Easiest game next to FSU's.

Ian: Can the power of Jesus and Zombie Jerry Falwell overcome actual football skill? No. WF wins.

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (-7.5)
Al Groh: Mike
Little Brother: Kendall, Pierce, Ian

Kendall: Not buying GT this season, sorry.

Mike: I'll also take the under at 3.5 points please

Pierce: I'd spot VPI double the spread, easy.

Ian: as the famous cheer goes, "hokie hokie hokie hie, fuck fuck VPI" Georgia Tech can start strong and it's not rare for VPI to drop an early season game. Still, I don't see VPI losing an ACC game this early in the season. Hokies win, but I still hate them. Also, Al Groh sucks. 

August 30, 2012

Question for Wahooze Nation...

What is the ceiling for the Virginia Football program?




Post your responses in the comments section, below.

Thanks guys!

Richmond Wish List

Kicking back with a stray Sam Adams I found in the back of the fridge, watching Vandy (cool all-black unis, bros) take on the Ol' Ball Coach.  College football is back!  Halle-frickin-lujah!

On my mind right now: things I want to see on Saturday as the Hoos take on the U of R Spiders...



-- Orange helmets over orange jerseys over white pants.  Check, check, and check.  Can't wait to see it, even if it is a little bit Clemsonish.

-- 50K fans in the stands.  Or more.

-- Rock in command of the offense, leaving no freaking doubt that he's QB1 for this season and next.

-- Some completions down the field.  Dink and dunk is great, but I want to see us peel the ceiling off Richmond's defense with some deep bombs completed.

-- Darius Jennings.  I'm drinking the kool-aid.  Show us that the preseason hype is legit.

-- Perry Jones and KP.  The one-two punch is always a real beauty to behold.

-- Interior o-line showing no cracks and blasting the Richmond d-line off the ball.

-- Defense playing decently, sure tackling, good pass rush, good coverage.  Give me some reasons to hope for an above-average unit and another 8-win season instead of a struggle to 6 wins.



-- Bill Schautz screaming around the edge, like just before his broken leg.

-- Eli Harold and Mike Moore getting meaningful snaps and playing well.

-- Linebackers flexing nuts.

-- A few thumps from Ant Harris.  I want to ooohh and aahhh a little bit, hoss.

-- Maurice Canady!  I believe!

-- A kicker who doesn't suck.

-- A Hoo victory by 20+ points.


Let's do this thing.

GO HOOS!


Season Preview - Sprint to the Finish

Well it looks like I've backed myself into a corner with poor planning/scheduling...finish the preseason preview after the start of the season or cram the remaining games into way more than anyone wants to read in one post? I think we all know which path I'm going to go down:

HAIKU BONANZA

Saturday, October 20th

Wake Forest, Jim Grobe
Have a solid young QB.
His name? Tanner Price.

This team isn't bold.
They aren't flashy or awesome.
But they are decent.

UVa should win
only because it's at home.
Hoos 20 Deacs 10

Saturday, November 3rd

David Amerson
is pretty good at football.
Mike Glennon is good

Perhaps, the Wolfpack
challenges for the 'lantic.
BCS? Maybe.

They have our number.
Wolfpack will score 33.
Hoos will score 14.
Saturday, November 10th

Oh poor Al Golden
Miami is a shitshow.
Talent without wins.

Maybe they win more
their second year with system.
Can't hate his tie, though

I bet we don't win.
Canes surprise for 28
Hoos manage 20

Thursday, November 15th

Woo! Thursday night game!
Heels are due a loss from us.
Though it's an upset.

I think they'll be good.
I really like their new coach
and all their talent.

Hoos, night game magic
light up 37 points
Heels score 22

Saturday, November 24th

Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech
Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. 
Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech

Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. 
Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech
Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. 

Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech
Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. Tech Sucks. 
 We're going to win.


August 29, 2012

Season Preview - Maryland

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha 2-10.

Saturday, October 13th

Last year was a complete disaster for new Maryland coach, Randy Edsall, as his team followed up Jabba the Hutt's 9-4 2010 campaign with a 2-10 year and the early departure of seemingly half the team. Coming into 2012, UMD needs to replace their QB, best offensive linemen, and a dozen others who jumped ship after meeting their militaristic new coach. But hey, at least Edsall can say everyone still on the team really wants to be there. Truly, this team is in terrible shape. After incumbent QB Danny O'Brien, who tore it up in 2010, transferred after being replaced, the man who replaced him, C.J. Moore, tore his ACL in summer camp. Now, this already terrible team will be looking to freshman Perry Hills to run around as quarterback.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Maryland also brought in a new defensive coordinator to change up their system on that side of the ball. Brian Stewart runs a 3-4, which isn't an easy transition for college teams by any means...and certainly susceptible to the run, particularly without the perfect type of trained athletes needed to run it effectively. Let's see...how did Maryland look last year against the run?

First play of the game.
Alright, well I guess you've got to start somewhere. Sometimes "somewhere" is from the very bottom. 

Speaking of new coaches, Maryland also sunk to an entirely new level of garbage with its panic hire in the offseason of Mike Locksley, who completely failed in his first attempt as a head coach at New Mexico. Locksley brings some of the UNC flavor back to the ACC as an assistant coach, already throwing enough Xboxs at mega-recruit Stefon Diggs to upgrade the talent instantly at the skill positions. Locksley does have a pretty decent track record as strictly an offensive coordinator, so he may be able to make something out of the complete shitshow of a depth chart. Can it come together this season? I doubt it. But there's enough talent for a couple big plays here and there. However, he's probably only got a 2 year window before Edsall gets canned or the NCAA shuts down the terrible program due to its recently installed benefits program. Whatever brings in the wins though, right? But those wins aren't going to come easily anytime soon. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see Maryland go winless for the next couple years (or forever), which won't happen. However, they'll be pretty darn awful this season.

The Hoos should control the game from the start this year. The usual plan, mixing up the offense after establishing the run, should lead to a ton of possession and a ton of points and while our defense will have holes this year, they're going to be a hell of a lot better than this pathetic opponent. One of Edsall's first quotes after taking the job was "We don't lose to Virginia." The football and basketball teams are 1-4 since that statement. 1-5 should be easy enough.

Early Prediction: Hoos 40 Turtles 10

August 28, 2012

Depth Chart for the Richmond Game

The depth chart was released yesterday.  Fingerpunch it HERE to take a look-see.

A few of things stand out to me:

-- Rocco over Sims and Watford.  Could have guessed that.  But what's interesting is that Sims is listed above Watford as QB2.  London announced that a redshirt is planned for Watford.  If that kid sticks around until his 5th year season in 2015 (once Sims is gone) for his lone chance to start, I will be his biggest fan.  Talk about team-oriented thinking!

-- Canaan Severin did not crack the two-deep at receiver.  That's a surprise to me.  I thought he had shown enough to earn some burn.

-- I was right about Matt Mihalik.  Leapfrogged in the pecking order by younger players with more tangible upside.  (Sorry Mr. Talley from Gum Springs, I don't always enjoy being right.)

-- Paul Freedman gets the nod over Colter Phillips at tight end.  I bet this was based on in-line blocking more than anything else.  Both guys should play a lot of snaps.

Freedman
-- Swanson starts at fullback.  Let's call a spade a spade.  Dude's an H-back, not a fullback.

-- Brent Urban stuck - and is now starting - at defensive tackle.  I never liked guys at DT that were too tall; too many potential problems with center of gravity.  But Conrath might have been intoxicating in his effectiveness.  This will be interesting to see play out.  I like the big Canadians we have on the squad.  The "moose pipeline" is flowing freely!

-- Eli Harold and Mike Moore both crack the opening depth chart.  I think Schautz will hold onto his job at RDE, but I won't be surprised to see Jake Snyder cede some base defense snaps to Mike Moore.  That kid just seems ready to play from a physical standpoint.  Eli Harold is still too skinny, but he'll be an impact player in the nickel.

-- Henry Coley at sam... I have a really good feeling about this kid.  Turns out, I'm not alone in that feeling.

Coley
-- Kwontie Moore on the two-deep.  He'll start in 2013 and 2014 before heading to the NFL after his junior season.  Book it.

-- C.J. Moore on the two-deep behind Tra.  Bit of a surprise.

-- Anthony Cooper listed as a safety.  He just switched from receiver.  I guess his talent level is pretty damn high.

-- Hoskey beats out Canady to start at corner.  I still think Canady gets the better of that spot before too long.

Canady
-- Drew Jarrett doing the placekicking!  Crap!  Was pulling for Frye, because I wanted the tallest starting PK in the NCAA, and because Jarrett quit on the team once upon a time.

-- Khalek Shepherd must be beat up, else he'd be listed at both return spots.  Right?

-- Not including special teams, of our 22 starters for the Richmond game, only seven are/were "London recruits."  32%.  The rest are holdovers from Al Groh, though you might be inclined - as I am - to credit Coach London with the development of Luke Bowanko, Perry Jones, Brent Urban, Henry Coley, and especially LaRoy Reynolds as bonafide starters.  The two-deep includes 19 London recruits.  43%.  Inching closer.  Once the team is 100% London's, we'll be ready to judge our head coach from a recruiting and talent development standpoint.  As of now, he's still playing with some cards from the hand Al Groh dealt him.


I am so freaking pumped for the start of the season.  Time to stomp the Spiders.

GO HOOS!




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Season Preview - Duke

Happy Game Week everyone! Preseason Preview is still in full effect. Up next: Duke.

Saturday, October 6th

Ah, Duke, the ACC's cellar dweller for hundreds of years, who had recently managed a little winning streak against the Wahoos, enters this season coming off a 1-7 mark in the ACC in 2011. Every year, it seems folks talk of Cutcliffe's rebuilding efforts and the continued improvement to expect year after year. Every year recently, we hear: "This may be the year Duke turns the corner and makes a bowl game" and "this year, Duke surprises its conference rivals by finishing with a winning record" and other ridiculous garbage. But every year, these optimistic predictions never come true. Why? Because every year, Duke still sucks. Truly few things were as embarrassing as our losing streak to this awful team, but thankfully we got back on track last year with a 31-21 victory. How does Duke look coming into 2012? Looks like yet another rebuilding year, but they could surprise some people, David Cutcliffe is a great coach, veteran quarterback, blah blah blah.

On offense, Duke returns 14-year starters, Sean Renfree and Conner Vernon at QB and WR respectively. The duo should be a familiar one for UVa fans, as they've combined for seemingly every big play the Blue Devils have needed against us for years. They're not the most athletic pair in the ACC, but you can't argue with their production. Every year, the ACC boasts a couple white receivers that, for whatever reason, are always wide open. And every year, one of those is Conner Vernon. However, two guys do not an effective offense make and most teams should be able to keep Duke in check barring many surprise contributors.

For the Duke defense, any hope of success rests on the shoulders of star DE Kenny Anunike. Anunike is a star on the line, though injuries held him back last season and as the Blue Devils begin their second year running a ridiculously stupid 4-2-5 defense, Anunike will look to make an impact creating pressure on the QB and running game. Really though, the Devils' defense was terrible last year, particularly against the run. This may be due to the inferior talent, or the coaching scheme that will have defensive backs trying to get by blocking tackles and tight ends, but regardless I'm not predicting much in the way of improvement. Especially with UVa's power running game style, I think the Hoos will control most of the game. Rocco/Sims should spend plenty of time handing the ball off and the team should leave Durham with a more comfortable win than last year's.

Early Prediction: Hoos 27 Blue Devils 13




August 22, 2012

Season Preview - Louisiana Tech

Wahooze hearby promises to speed up the pre-season previews and finish before the season starts. Up next: The Bulldogs of LaTech.

Saturday, September 29th

For years, Louisiana Tech was just as bad as the other non-LSU Louisiana schools. Truly, no one knew the difference between LaTech, UL-Monroe, or East Louisiana State Academy for the Arts. Much like the directional Michigan schools, the team was relegated to collecting paychecks from BCS schools for early season tune ups and selection for your "small terrible school" dynasty on Xbox. However, the Bulldogs have climbed out of the D-1 cellar, in no small part due to UVA-alum Derek Dooley, and are coming off an 8-5 season and their first conference championship in a decade. The team will be looking to continue its improvement, as it gets ready to join Conference USA in 2013, and should provide a bigger challenge for the Hoos than some folks might realize.

Quarterback Colby Cameron returns after taking over the starting job half way through the 2011 season to lead an offense that relies heavily on the passing attack. The Bulldogs have some decent receivers, including speedster Quinton Patton, but not a lot of talent among the running backs. Optimally for Virginia, this offense will still be one-dimensional by the time they come to Charlottesville and the young secondary will have plenty of support against the pass-happy offense. Establishing a more diverse gameplan will certainly be a top priority for coach Sonny Dykes, but there's not a lot on paper that makes it likely to happen soon. However, this team put up plenty of points and yards against some fine defenses last year, so don't think the Hoos have an easy job ahead of them.

On defense, the bulldogs are replacing a lot in their front seven, but return a pretty stellar defensive back unit.  Safeties Jamel Johnson and Chad Boyd will be heavily relied upon in both the run and pass defense, as the linebackers will be replacing the teams two top tacklers from last year. On the line, the tackles will be in good shape, while the ends will both be new starters with plenty of game experience. In general, the Bulldogs D should be fine, but the talent and speed UVa brings should give the Hoos the upper hand. I don't see LaTech slowing down Jones, Parks, and Richardson (Attorneys at Law).

This is a game UVa should win - but it will be a big accomplishment to do so. Similar to the Southern Miss game last year (which we lost), this out of conference matchup is a difficult one. I think the schedule actually benefits the Hoos a lot here, as the team will be pumped to play at home after a couple of weeks on the road. Plus, the game will be the second in a row against a BCS team on the road for the Bulldogs, as they play Illinois the week before. Could UVa lose? Absolutely. Usually we lose a game like this every season. However, I think the offense wins it for us in a shootout.

Early Prediction: Hoos 34 Dogs 28


August 21, 2012

Smoke on the Water

Just let this play while you read this:



Today is the day boys and girls. Taquan "Smoke" Mizzell is set to committ at 2:30 pm today in a ceremony at Bayside High School. We've said all along that Mizzell is the most important recruit for this class for a wide variety of reasons. Let's check him out.

Talent: Smoke just got his 5th star from Rivals. High praise for anyone, and extremely rare for UVA to land a player of this caliber. The last rivals 5-star was Eugene Monroe in 2005. Mizzell brings a very unique blend of speed and power and an exceptional ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and make plays in space. Does that sound familiar? Mizzell is a stronger, quicker, and more agile version of Perry Jones, who this offense seems tailored for. The Hoos seem to have the mentality to get guys that will excel in their scheme, rather than stockpiling talent, but in this case, they seem to be doing both. There is a bit of a logjam at running back, but Mizzell has the talent to play right away.

Bayside: There is little doubt that Bayside is quickly developing into a very strong UVA pipeline. Over the last 3 recruiting cycles UVA has managed to pull the elite talent out of that school, and in looking at the quality of player that comes out of the program, that is a great haul. Henry Coley and Tra Nicholson will most likely start this season at sam linebacker and corner respectively, and young Anthony Cooper has shown great progress at practice this season. Mizzell would become the latest of the great players to come out of Bayside. However the best player to come out of there could very well be in the next class at Bayside, 2014 safety Quin Blanding.

National Prominence: These are the kind of players that help build up your program from good to great. Right now UVA is viewed as a program on the rise, but getting more and more big-time talent to buy in will help transition from a program that is building to a program that is built, and built with a solid foundation of talent. The recruiting momentum gained from getting one of the top players not only in Virginia, but in the country, will do nothing but help UVA gain a more prominent place in the minds of the next batch of recruits, especially the class of 2014.

Should everything go according to plan today this could be one of the turning points of the program. Along with Eli Harold from last season Mizzell is a player of national prominence that will grab headlines and thrust UVA into the limelight. This is a great day Wahoo fans. Sit back and enjoy it. Maybe with some Johnnie Walker Blue, right Kendall?


August 16, 2012

Season Preview - Texas Christian

Wahooze's Season Preview continues with the team's difficult out of conference road trip: TCU

Saturday, September 22nd

With the exception of Boise State, no non-BCS conference team has had more recently sustained success than Texas Christian University. Since coach Gary Patterson took the reins in 2000, the team has been a mainstay in the top 25, regularly beaten BCS opponents, and been a member of 14 different conferences. Their calling card has usually been a stout and speedy defense, but recently with Andy Dalton and Casey Pachall at QB the Horned Frogs have been scoring in bunches. 2012 marks the Frog's return to a major conference, as they've replaced Texas A&M in the Big 12, which should be a substantial transition for the team. Now, each week they'll be playing the caliber of opponents they used to see only once or twice a year. Can they handle it? Most likely. Can they win the Big 12 this year? Potentially. Do they have a lot to prove regardless? Absolutely.

TCU returns most of their firepower on offense, with Pachall leading a group of talented backs and receivers - with only a minimal history of failed drug tests! Backs Waymon James and Matthew Tucker and wideouts Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson should keep pace with the Big 12 competition in terms of speed and talent, but will be tested regularly at a higher level than in previous seasons. Still, the Frogs should have no issue scoring assuming they can adequately replace their losses along the offensive line. While that's never a simple task, I think TCU will be up to the challenge brought by their new conference brethren. Luckily, their only opponents before UVa are Grambling St and Kansas, so hopefully the Wahoo's D will be a big step up in terms of athleticism (particularly among the front seven). Could UVa take advantage of an inexperienced line and slow down the Horned Frogs' attack? Potentially...

On defense, a lot of the issues rest in the secondary, where suspensions (drugs) and graduation (probably still somehow drug related) have depleted the returning talent for the unit. However, there's turnover (more drug busts) within the DL and LB ranks as well, so the Frogs will be looking to replace playmakers quickly and effectively all over the starting 11. That being said, the roster is still a talented one and Patterson being the coach that he is, the defense should be in decent (if not great) shape early in the season. The Hoos catch them very early though, so it'll be interesting to see how Lazor's (hopefully clicking on all cylinders) offense is able to fair in this road test. TCU is not an easy team to beat, no matter how many of their players get kicked out for drugs. Few outside of the orange and blue will give the Wahoos a shot here, but frankly I feel better about it than the GaTech game. Early season out of conference road game? History says we show up flat. PHILLIP SIMS MIKE ROCCO PERRY JONES DOESN'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOUR HISTORY.

So Early it's Silly Prediction: Hoos 26 Frogs 24

The Saban Blueprint



Excellent read from SI's Andy Staples:


The guy seems like a bit of a scumbag to the casual observer, but he's a total innovator at the college level and a truly great coach.  Easily and obviously the best in the game right now.


August 12, 2012

EuroTrip Update




Virginia Basketball is about halfway through its European Tour.  The results so far:





Some takeways from the trip so far...

  • The defense - the calling card of Virginia Basketball under Tony Bennett - is sucking.  We're bending over and taking 82 ppg from these funky, old, short, unathletic Euroteams.
  • The team misses Malcolm Brogdon, who is unable to play on the trip due to continued rehab of his bombed-out foot.
  • We might have found a real player in true freshman center Mike Tobey.  Tobes has scored 18, 12, and 19 points in the three games, adding an average of about 7 rebounds per game.  If he's a legit 16 & 7 guy as a freshman... wow.  He won't be that, but if he can give us 8 & 4, that's a giant, unexpected boon.
  • Another player who has been impressing is UVA's "Big Fundamental" -- Akil Mitchell.  Big Fun has chipped in 8, 12, and 20 points in the three games.  (This is a nickname that I am fucking determined to make stick.  So help me make it work.)
  • Or maybe these Euroteams just don't have any size and our two bigs are having a field day due to the lack of competition.  But if that's the case, what's up with Darion Atkins' 5 ppg on the trip?  Either Big Fun and Tobey are shining, or Atkins is stinking.  I choose to go with shine over stink.
  • The freshmen had a good first game, but as a group struggled in the second and third games.  Erratic play, that's to be expected from youngsters.
  • Evan Nolte has been starting at the 3, with Joe Harris at the 2.  Nolte gave way to Paul Jesperson, who started at small forward in the third game.  Of course, this will all change once Brog is back and starting at the 2, pushing Joe to the 3.  I've long thought Nolte would start at the 4, but now it looks like it might be Big Fun at the 4 and Tobey at the 5 once the season starts.  Interesting...
  • On the bad defense so far on the EuroTrip, our starting strong safety point guard Jontel Evans had this to say: "Rome wasn't built in a day."  Ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!

We have two more games on the trip -- vs. AMW Team France on Monday and Tuesday, 1:00 PM EST both days.  It'd be nice to win both and pull this trip out of the fire, but I'm honestly okay with going over to Europe and having our teeth kicked in -- that will be a nice springboard for tough love coaching as we head into the season.  Best case scenario for the fans but worst case for the team would have been to breeze through a 5-0 record in Europe.

So chin up, Hoofans, Rome was not built in a day.

I just hope Nicholas Batum doesn't play for AMW Team France.
I buy "you gotta crawl before you can walk," but you don't want
to be crawling because you just got punched in the nuts.

August 11, 2012

Two other blogs you should be reading...

This is just a humble mom & pop operation here at Wahooze.  We post for our own self-centered enjoyment only.  To get the comprehensive look at UVA sports through the eyes of invested and knowledgeable fans, you'll need to complement Wahooze with two other fantastic blogs.

I highly encourage you to check these out, subscribe, visit often, and essentially give them your clicks:


Streaking The Lawn
UVa sports uncovered... from the Rotunda to Homer and back




from old virginia
I am a Virginia fan and this is my Blawgg. I began life as a diehard Michigan fan, and orange joined the maize and blue in my blood when, as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first year, I saw my first UVA football game on a hot September afternoon. Here you will find impassioned and monumentally biased coverage of 'Hoos football in the fall, basketball in the winter, baseball and lacrosse in the spring, and everything else when the mood strikes me. 




Seriously, slide some clicks their way, folks.  Both are great reads.



August 10, 2012

Bowling (no Burgers), 10th Frame: THE OFFENSE



No more frills.  Just gritting the teeth and rolling into the 10th, trying to close this game out in style, drunk rednecks and their buttcracks be damned...

Strikes
  • I hate Colin Cowherd, but I enjoy his show and I generally agree with just about everything he has to say when it comes to sports.  One thing I heard him say (he says it a lot, actually) that has really stuck with me is: "Quarterback + Weapons = Wins."  The stripped-down, cool, simplistic genius of that statement really resonates with me.  And in the world of modern football, it is just about almost completely true.  So this year, UVA has Sims/Rocco + PJ/KP/Smith/Jennings/Terrell/McGee (and a few other role players with impact potential.)  That's above-average quarterbacking, with an arsenal of nice weapons.  Wins, here we come.
  • That's right, I just said "above-average quarterbacking."  If Mike Rocco wins the job, he gives us experience and quiet productivity on a trajectory to surprisingly break the school's all-time passing record.  If Phillip Sims wins the job, he gives us the best pure talent under center that we've had since Shawn Moore... and maybe even ever.  So either way, I think "above-average quarterbacking" is a correct statement, even if a potential QB controversy might threaten the harmony of the situation.
  • As for the weapons, one of the most important things about this year's team that I didn't really touch on during the 5th Frame is the plus-plus-plus receiving ability of our running backs, and especially of our starter at the position, Perry Jones.  Did you know that PJ is our top returning receiver?  His 48 catches for 506 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air were all second on the team behind Kris Burd in 2011.  This year in training camp, the offense is flashing some two-back looks, with Jones flexing out to the slot.  Perry Jones gives us so much versatility, he truly is a supreme weapon for the offense.
  • Our two starting tackles - Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses - basically ensure an effective offensive line.
  • The incredible depth of talent in our backfield - Jones, Kevin Parks, Clifton Richardson, and the best 4th string back in football, Khalek Shepherd - basically ensures a productive, reliable, and at times explosive rushing attack.  And these guys also pitch in quite a bit with the passing game.
  • The receivers need to step up, but there are numbers here.  All we need to do is see two of Tim Smith, Darius Jennings, Dominique Terrell, Miles Gooch, and/or Canaan Severin step up as solid, reliable starters, and the passing game will be effective.
  • Bill Lazor is a very, very good offensive coordinator.  That needs to be said, clearly and concisely.  I have limitless faith in the scheming, playcalling, and overall design of the offense.  Lazor just straight up delivers the goods.
  • Add it all up, and we have the makings of a very good offense in 2012.



Gutters
  • Of course, it's not all unicorns and rainbows on the offensive side of the ball.
  • Will the tight ends give us anything this season?  I'm underwhelmed by Colter Phillips, Paul Freedman, and Jeremiah Mathis.  Jake McGee is my great white hope, and he's not practicing right now for whatever reason (injury or whatever.)  Not that we need good tight end play in order to have a good offense... but if we're putting them on the field, they need to produce something, good blocking at the very least.  There needs to be a point to having a tight end, otherwise just go four-wide... which might be the long-term plan, anyway.
  • The interior of the offensive line is shuffled and will need to gel.  Right now it looks like Cody Wallace, Luke Bowanko, and Sean Cascarano are with the first unit, but who knows how it will ultimately shake out in training camp?  In any case, I think it's a dicey prospect to assume that we'll be running up the middle with much success this season, given the smaller stature of our backs and the unsettled interior line.  This formula coupled with pedestrian tight end play could make short yardage and goal line situations a bit of an adventure.
  • Placekicking could be a problem this season, if none of the million kickers we have on the roster takes the reins and rides hard.
  • That's about all I got.  I'm maybe a little bit too confident in our offense this season.


Score for the Frame:
Good quarterback play, good running game, great coordinator.  The only shortcomings are potentially mediocre output from a position group whose impact is clearly being minimalized systemically, a question mark on the interior o-line, and the idiot kickers.  None of those three issues is going to be enough to derail this unit, and I'm pretty freaking bullish on the O's ability to move the ball and score points this season.  First roll, on the strength of Bill Lazor: STRIKE.  Second roll, on the back of QB + Weapons = Wins, STRIKE.  Third and final roll, with the few small question marks looming, is a crappy 5-pin hit to end the game.  Damn, we missed our turkey in the 10th by just that much, but it was still a great frame.




Score Thru 10 Frames: 149

The Game:

| 7/ | 7- | 33 | 8/ | X | 9/ | 8- | X | 81 |XX5| 149

What does this even mean?  I really have no idea.

I will say this: back when I was a league bowler, a 149 was a pretty solid game for me.  If I bowled this game in league play, we'd usually win... say... 7 out of 12 games.  Do with that information what you will.


August 9, 2012

Bowling (no Burgers), 9th Frame: THE DEFENSE


Kitchen's closed.  No more tweets, no more burgers.  Just strikes and gutters as we move along into crunch time and take the wide-lens view of the defense as a whole.  (The 10th frame is the offense.)  Here we go...


Strikes
  • By my inexact calculation, here is our list of "plus" starters on the defensive side of the ball.  These are the guys who elevate the talent level and ability of the defense above the average norm of mediocrity: DT Will Hill, MLB Steve Greer, WLB LaRoy Reynolds, and CB Tra Nicholson.  You might think that's a short list, but I really think the rest of our starting lineup is fairly ordinary in terms of the competition we're facing in the ACC.  The four guys listed above represent the difference-makers in our starting lineup.
  • I might be tempted to add Bill Schautz to the above list, but he'll need to deliver the goods on a consistent pass rush, and we haven't even seen him play starter's minutes yet.
  • I think our defense will be very good up the middle.  The tackles should be solid (and rotating in waves, and thus always fresh.)  We know we have ability at the Mike in Greer and uber-recruit Kwontie Moore.  Not sure about the safeties, but I have confidence in Ant Harris playing in the box.  Add it together, and I think teams will have trouble running up the middle against us.
  • Stopping perimeter runs should also be an area of relative strength.  I think our ends are going to be good run-stoppers (especially Jake Snyder), and our corners will be willing tacklers, but the key is the seek and destroy capabilities of our outside linebackers, especially Roy.
  • This is a bit of a cop-out, but with our o-line and running backs, we should be able to successfully control the ball when we want / need to.  This is key to keeping the defense off the field and keeping them fresh and rested.  So I count our running game as a positive for our defense.
  • This is just a hunch, but I think the tangible uptick in speed and athletic ability across the board will lead directly to an uptick in the number of turnovers our defense will generate.  Brandon Phelps and Rijo Walker, I am looking at you.
  • When we blitz, I think we'll blitz hard and effectively.  Guys like Da-Da Romero and Reynolds could be very good when they come on the pass rush.  And if we dial up a safety or a corner blitz, I think the improved athletic ability of the players in our secondary will make those plays successful.



Gutters
  • We'll need that blitz to be good, because I worry about our base pass rush.  Schautz could deliver, and Hill is a good interior penetrator, but beyond those two nothing is really proven.  We need Eli Harold to come as advertised and lock down a role in the nickel pass rush.  We also need guys like Ausar Walcott and Jake Snyder to deliver the goods when they are attacking the passer.  Will Mike Moore and Courtnye Wynn redshirt, or will they see action this fall and help us with this pass rush?  Will young tackles like Chris Brathwaite and David Dean offer up that interior pass rush we'll need to compliment our middling edge rush?  Lots of questions in this area, in my opinion.
  • Meanwhile, nothing helps a pass rush more than a strong secondary, and vice versa.  Unfortunately for us, this season figures to see both the pass rush and the defensive backfield as weaknesses.  My concerns about the secondary are already well-documented, but when these two pieces of the puzzle (pass rush and coverage) don't fit together, you tend to get a defense that can have the top blown off of it with relative - and disastrous - ease.  Ready to see us give up a lot of big plays this season?  If not, you better get ready.
  • Under Mike London, the defense will eventually be the calling card of this program.  We're just not there yet.  The talent is in place, it just needs to gain experience.


Score for the Frame:
Okay, so in a nutshell, we'll be strong up the middle and solid on the edge.  The pass rush will be inconsistent, as will the young secondary.  We'll blitz more often than we've seen so far under Jim Reid.  Our defense will struggle to stop good passing offenses, but should be able to generate some turnovers.  The talent level is high, the depth chart is well-stocked, and as green players get bloodied and battle-tested and earn seasoning, the D will improve as the season drags along.  To me, this sounds like the basic epitome of an average college defense.  Therefore, this is an average frame.  Solid eight-pin hit on the first roll.  Bang a pin but fail to pick up the spare with the second roll.  Nine for the frame, and an open frame heading into the 10th...




Score Thru 9 Frames: 124



The Game So Far:

| 7/ | 7- | 33 | 8/ | X | 9/ | 8- | X | 81 |   | 124



Wind of Change...

Sometimes I like my posts to have a soundtrack, and since this song is currently stuck in my head and it kinda fits with what I'm about to say, go ahead and play this shit while you read the post.

Yes, I'm freaking serious.  Press the "play" arrow and then read the rest of the post while you listen to The Scorpions.

DO IT!

Thanks.




Okay, so training camp started on Monday, and we already have some interesting movement on the depth chart.  Since we just wrapped up our position previews section of the Bowling & Burgers series, I thought this was a fine time for an update.

Here is all of the potential change to the post-spring depth chart through four days of practice this summer:


  • Phillip Sims is apparently out-playing Mike Rocco at quarterback.  This is not a surprise, and I still think Rock holds on to the QB1 spot... but I'm less certain of that now than I was a week ago.
  • True freshman Trent Corney is tearing it up at fullback.  He's the biggest buzz of camp so far, in fact.  If he can learn the plays and protections, he could be the starter this fall, which might move Zach Swanson back to tight end.
  • Brandon Phelps seems to have moved from cornerback to free safety, and is practicing with the first team, which might move Rijo Walker back to cornerback... or to an all-purpose nickel back role, for which I think he is especially well-suited.
  • True freshman Maurice Canady has been practicing with the first team at cornerback.  Not Drequan Hoskey.  So it looks like the starting defensive backfield right now is Canady, Phelps, Anthony Harris, and Tra Nicholson.
  • Henry Coley has been working as the starter at Sam linebacker.  Daquan Romero is currently with the second team.  Those two should wage a fairly interesting battle the rest of the summer, and might just end up splitting time this fall.  As a result of Coley's move to the outside, true freshman Kwontie Moore has been practicing with the second team at Mike linebacker.
  • This one has been a surprise to me.  Brent Urban has moved from defensive end to defensive tackle, and has been practicing alongside Will Hill with the first team.  Not sure what is happening with Chris Brathwaite and Justin Renfrow right now, but it's good to have so much competition at DT.
  • Along the first-team offensive line, it has been Oday Aboushi at left tackle and Morgan Moses at right tackle, as expected.  But the interior has been shuffled, with Sean Cascarano practicing at right guard (moving over from left guard), Luke Bowanko at center, and Cody Wallace at left guard.  Looks like Matt Mihalik might be the odd man out of this starting unit, at least for right now.
  • The freshman defensive end trio of Courtnye Wynn, Mike Moore, and Eli Harold have been impressive, and are generating serious pressure around the edge.  Expect at least one of these guys to make a big impact this fall.
  • By all accounts, true freshman wide receiver Canaan Severin has been excellent in practice.  If he can carry that over to the games, we might have an answer to our glaring need for a possession-type receiver.

That's all of the big surprises.  We'll try to update the blog with any more noteworthy changes.

Football is back.  Hallelujah.

GO HOOS!

August 8, 2012

Bowling & Burgers, 8th Frame: The Quarterbacks



The QBs tweet for Nathan:

Sims vs. Rocco will be the story of training camp, but Rock might already be the clear starter. I'm just glad we have 2 great options at QB.

Rolling fast now, the alley is about to shut down...


Strikes

  • Mike Rocco passed for 2,671 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011.  With two years of eligibility remaining, if he maintains a 2,500+ yards/season pace, he would leave UVA as the school's all-time passing leader.  Let that sink in for a second.
  • Rock was just a sophomore last season, and once the threat of David Watford dropped away and he got comfortable and confident as the starter, his game took off.  Some seem to think he's limited athletically and has a low ceiling for development... I disagree.  At the QB position, and especially in college, a player gets exponentially better the more he plays, the more experience he gains, and the more he masters the playbook.  If he's not disrupted as the starter this season, I think we'll see Rocco really take off.  He looks a lot - A LOT - like Matt Schaub to my untrained yet experienced eyes.  And Rock might just break Schaub's UVA records.
  • The elephant in the room is the presence of all-word quarterback recruit and transfer from the 2011 National Championship Alabama Crimson Tide, Phillip Sims.  We've covered Sims quite a bit already on this blog - here, here, here, here, here, and here - but unless you've been living under a freaking rock somewhere, you already know all about who he is and how good he might become.  The Virginia football program is lucky to have this kind of talent on the roster, let's just say that.  While Rocco has the potential to be the best statistical passer we've ever had, Sims has the chance to be the best passer we've ever had, period, point blank.
  • I'm not 100% sure what the future holds for David Watford, but for now I think he's a pretty darn good option for us as the #3 QB.  Hopefully he redshirts this season and sticks around for his next real shot at the starting QB job -- in 2015.  But I just don't really see that happening.  So for now, I'll be content with having him as our #3 QB and just leave it at that.
  • Meanwhile, we have two great true freshman talents cultivating on the bench via redshirt seasons in 2012.  Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns have a lot of ability and ensure that the future of the QB position at UVA is in good hands... and that's even before you factor in incoming 2013 recruits Corwin "Turtle" Cutler and Brendan Marshall.  (The staff has done a fantastic job of stockpiling quarterbacking talent, a major morass of the prior regime.)


Gutters

  • Quarterback controversy.  No need to elaborate on that two-word sentence, other than to say that this exact situation has ruined many good teams throughout the history of football.  We have a really positive situation at QB right now if Rock stays at QB1 and Sims earns QB2 status and comes in for mop-up duty.  Of course, that won't last.  The first time Rocco throws an interception - or heck, an incompletion - you know the fans will begin to scream for Sims.  I just fear that these two quarterbacks won't be able to co-exist on the roster, given the fan scrutiny they'll endure.  Having two good quarterbacks is a good problem to have, but I don't relish Coach London's position right now.  (In fact, I bet he's still trying to figure out how exactly to handle this, while waiting for one of them to get hurt to maybe make things easier.)


Projected Depth Chart
QB) #16 Michael Rocco (Jr.), #14 Phillip Sims (So.), #5 David Watford (So.)


Burgers...

Pierce: The QB burger is a Triple Baconator. There's too much meat. Truly, we need to pick one of the burger/bacon/cheese servings and enjoy that. But which QB patty is the chosen one? My guess is it'll be Sims.

Mike: The QBs are a super underrated burger. No one knows what to expect. But it should be well known soon. Whole lot of talent.

Kendall: Screw burgers, this is a steak sandwich.


Score for the Frame:
Despite the potential for disaster via quarterback controversy, our roster is suddenly littered with tremendous talent at the QB position.  With Rocco developing so quickly, Watford oozing ability, Sims' great pedigree, and Lambert toting around that howitzer, this is the best stockpile of passing talent I've ever seen on the UVA roster.  Easily, this is a STRIKE.




Score Thru 8 Frames: 106


The Game So Far:

| 7/ | 7- | 33 | 8/ | X | 9/ | 8- | X |   |   | 106



Season Preview - Georgia Tech

Wahooze's Pre-Season Full-Season Preview of the Season continues with our look at Week 3's opponent: Al Groh.

Saturday, September 15th

Led by masterminds Paul Johnson and Al Groh, Georgia Tech's gimmicky offense and NFL-styled defense should no longer be new to college football fans. Both systems have taken root for the ACC Coastal team and have led to mixed results in recent years. In 2009, they won the conference championship (though it was later vacated due to being dirty cheating scumbags), only to follow it up with Johnson's only losing record at GT in 2010. Last year, the Jackets beat the hell out of Clemson, but lost in a big way to Miami - go figure. Basically, they run a "flexbone" option based on deception and persistence. Prepared teams are able to handle them, but others can fall behind quickly and seemingly never get the ball back.

The Yellow Jackets return their most recent starting running-back-playing-quarterback, Tevin Washington, as well as A/B backs Orwin Smith and David Sims. However, not a single wideout with a catch last year returns, which would be a big issue if the Jackets ever attempted to throw the ball. Truly though, that is the issue, because when Johnson's teams have been forced to throw the ball, they've been horrid. While the flexbone is difficult to stop consistently, if you're able to, forcing Tech to throw usually leads to disastrous results for their offense. The outlook should look similar this year, barring a shakeup at QB, for which there is certainly potential. Some teams will be able to handle the option, but most won't do it well enough.

On defense, Al Groh's 3-4 scheme is entering its third year on the team. By this point, the players should be well versed in the system and the majority will have been recruited specifically for such. Does this mean it will work? Last year's defense was slightly better than the prior year's but it still wasn't very good. Rolling with 3 defensive linemen requires that they be strong and disruptive enough to not get thrown around by opposing OLines - and that hasn't been the case for the Jackets. The unique defensive scheme is good enough to usually win, but that's due largely to the successful offense.

Be sure to catch their season-opening game against the Hokies over Labor Day weekend, as it will probably play a large role in determining who wins the Coastal, as well as show us how much of a contender this year's Rambling Wreck is. Really, if they hold steady on offense and show a little improvement on defense, they should challenge for the ACC - but frankly, I never look at this team and see anything impressive. I think the option is getting more and more familiar to conference foes and their defensive coordinators. I think enough teams will shut it down enough times to keep the Jackets at 6-8 wins for the near future. Lord knows I'm not as down on the 3-4 as Kendall, but I do agree that it takes a monumental stroke of preparation, talent, and luck to pull off in college. That all being said, I'd be pretty surprised in the Hoos pulled it off down in Atlanta.

Early Prediction: Jackets 31 Hoos 21


August 7, 2012

Bowling & Burgers, 7th Frame: The Receivers



The receivers tweet for Nathan:

Our best WRs are small/quick, but lack size. The TEs are mostly blockers. The possession-type WRs are young. McGee is our secret weapon.

Rolling...

Strikes
  • The spotlight - and all the associated pressure - is on Tim Smith now.  After a couple of seasons of providing good moments interrupted by drops and injuries, is he ready to step up and emerge as a consistent go-to #1-type of receiver?  I think he is, but it's not a slam dunk.  He won't be the sure-handed over-the-middle guy that Kris Burd was, but Smith is a good downfield receiver who could flash some gamebreaking ability if he's able to turn short and intermediate receptions into long touchdowns via yards-after-catch (YAC) ability.
  • Speaking of YAC, that's the name of the game with this year's receiving corps; it is absolutely key.  There are big possession guys, but those guys are young (Canaan Severin, Mario Nixon) or marginally talented (Miles Gooch, Bobby Smith).  Our best / most experienced receivers are all smaller guys with great open field wiggle.  Super sophs Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell are going to be on the field a lot, and are going to see lots of balls thrown their way... can the two youngsters take advantage of the opportunities to snare those quick passes and turn them upfield?  Mike Rocco's rapid, compact release coupled with these guys' ability to make cuts on a dime and flash open could be a beautiful thing if they come together in concert.  However, I stop short of saying that the QB/WRs combo could make the offense explosive -- these guys aren't burning DBs to a crisp with deep speed, and Rock isn't hitting them in stride 40 yards downfield.  We'll throw more bombs, sure... but the real damage figures to be done with #20, #6, and #2 catching quick flares, crosses, and slants and then weaving through traffic to get downfield.  (Don't think this damns them with faint praise, but I think our passing game could look a lot like the effective Duke passing offense of recent seasons.)
  • We've got some experienced tight ends in Colter Phillips, Paul Freedman, and Jay Mathis.  The trio are decent receivers, and also offer enough blocking presence to keep the run game revved at full throttle.
  • Those three TEs are solid, but the guy I'm really excited about is Jake McGee.  He's the "move" tight end, and the guy who can split the seam wide open and burn some linebackers and safeties deep over the middle.  I think McGee easily has Tom Santi potential, and may even be able to press for Heath Miller status.  I was that impressed with him at the Spring Game.  So on a team where the possession receivers are a bit questionable, McGee has a chance to emerge as THE GUY for those clutch short yardage, chain-moving catches, along with the occasional deep shot to split and slip the safeties.  He's an interesting player to say the least, which is why I call him our secret weapon.


Gutters
  • Here's the receiving production we lost from last year: 113 catches for 1,472 yards and 5 touchdowns.
  • Here's what we return: 81 catches for 1,014 yards and 7 touchdowns.  That's 42% of the receptions, 41% of the yardage, and 58% of the TDs.  So essentially, we're trying to replace 60% of our production among the wide receivers and tight ends.  Yikes.
  • Everyone is really excited about Dominique Terrell in the slot, and looking for him to have a big season in that role this year.  But considering the fact that he only managed 8 catches for 59 yards and one TD last season, I think it's important to temper expectations.  He'll see more snaps this fall, but that's not great production to build from.
  • We have been recruiting the wide receiver position like gangbusters under Mike London, bringing in three wideouts in 2010, three in 2011, SIX in 2012, and currently sitting at three for the 2013 class.  We currently have 15 wide receivers on the roster, 12 of which are under scholarship.
  • Compare the above to the tight end position, for which we have just one recruit during that same timeframe.  Think the TE position is being marginalized in the UVA offense?  This is not really a "gutter" per se, but it's an interesting observation, right?  To me, that looks like a program recruiting to run a future Air Raid-style spread, not a typical pro-style power offense.  The smaller scatback types we're recruiting at running back only serves to further that theory.  Stay tuned.
  • Here's a real "gutter": In terms of big, possession receivers emerging as legit players this fall, I have hopes for just two, and those hopes are faint: True freshman Canaan Severin and converted quarterback Miles Gooch.  Severin looks the part and had a great first practice, but the receiver position can be a difficult one to learn as a first-year player.  Meanwhile, Goocher still looks a little bit like a broken robot to me -- fits and starts, nothing very fluid.  Both guys are big (Severin: 6-2, 210 / Gooch: 6-3, 220), both can run, and both can catch, but they face a serious uphill battle and have a lot to prove before they emerge as reliable weapons this fall.
  • I love the potential of the Smith/Jennings/Terrell trio, but I'm not in love with the redundant skill sets and limited production to date.  I felt much better about the receivers last year, when Kris Burd was back as a senior along with Matt Snyder, with these three guys set to provide speed and slipperiness as complementary weapons.  I'm just not totally confident that this troika of receivers can carry the passing game as the centerpiece receivers.
  • It's time for E.J. Scott to show us something.  Is he a player, or is he depth chart fodder?  He figures to be one of the first WRs off the bench, so we'll see what he can do.
  • I have written off Bobby Smith.  When he committed to come play at UVA, I was in love with his size (6-5, 200).  But the poor guy can't stay healthy, and he's failed to put a dent in the depth chart.
  • We have a lot of really talented young receivers in the program right now, but not many figure to have a role this season beyond redshirting and learning the system.  Severin might play, and if there's another frosh who sees action, my guess is Adrian Gamble, who has had a year of prep to help him develop physically.  The great talents of Mario Nixon, Jamall Brown, Kyle Dockins, and Anthony Cooper will - and should - be cultivated carefully via redshirting.  That's a good plan, but it's a little bit frustrating to see a fairly one-dimensional receiving corps not being able to take advantage of the talent pipeline that is suddenly flowing at this position for the UVA program.  If Smith/Jennings/Terrell struggle at all, it could be difficult to keep the kids off the field, and/or it could be very frustrating to know the caliber of players we have waiting idly in the wings.  We could be stuck burning redshirts that shouldn't be burned by rushing players onto the field when they aren't ready to play... OR... living with whatever we're getting from the trio of starters, even if that's subpar production.
  • If Tim Smith goes down or fails to step up, I think we're screwed.  No other receiver is even potentially ready to take over #1 duties.  Maybe Darius Jennings, but I don't see it.  Not yet.
  • Phillips/Freedman/Mathis will play, and play a lot.  I'm just worried that these guys with their low glass ceilings will block Jake McGee from seeing the field.  I'd rather see him take his lumps and learn on the job than to see those three guys deliver predictably mediocre results.  In other words, I'd rather ride the roller coaster than the merry-go-round.


Projected Depth Chart
Flanker) #20 Tim Smith (Jr.), #17 Miles Gooch (So.), #84 Canaan Severin (Fr.)
Split End) #6 Darius Jennings (So.), #19 E.J. Scott (So.), #80 Adrian Gamble (Fr.)
Slot) #2 Dominique Terrell (So.), #17 Miles Gooch (So.), #84 Canaan Severin (Fr.)
TE / H-Back) #89 Colter Phillips (Sr.), #88 Paul Freedman (Sr.), #83 Jake McGee (So.), #81 Jeremiah Mathis (Jr.)




Burgers...

Pierce: The wide receivers and tight ends are plentiful and talented. If they were burgers, they'd be a place with great selection without sacrificing quality - I can't think of any chains that do this group justice, so whichever local burger expert you prefer. For Cville, I'd look to the new burger bar downtown -- Citizen Burger Bar. Tim Smith and Darius Jennings should both have a huge year, but as you'll continue to see on Wahooze, we're pretty high on Jake McGee going into the year as well.

Mike: The receivers are a a sack of Krystal burgers. We have a ton of them and they are all good. I'm really excited to unleash this arsenal on the ACC this season. Weapons galore. We have talent for the slot, speed on the edge, and huge guys for the red zone. Should be a great complement to the ground game.

Kendall: To me, the receivers are like the big, fat, homemade, hand-patted cheeseburger your drunk friend peels off the grill about three-and-a-half minutes too early.  Slightly pink in the middle, no nice char marks, a little bit dicey to eat.  Sure, it probably tastes okay, and it's gussied up with all the best fixins, but can you be 100% sure it's not going to make you sick?


Score for the Frame:
I like what we have at the receiving positions, but I can't get over what we lack -- experienced possession receivers, top-flight tight ends, and abundance of starting experience.  This unit has to be considered a question mark, not an exclamation point.  However, the ability levels are high, the talent is palatable, and the upside is tangible.  This is like a blindfolded roll during cosmic bowl under the blacklights to me.  Eight pins on the first roll, thanks to what we DO have, but a missed spare on the second roll due to what we lack.




Score Thru 7 Frames: 96


The Game So Far:
| 7/ | 7- | 33 | 8/ | X | 9/ | 8- |   |   |   | 96