September 30, 2012

No Meltdown

Not today, sorry to disappoint.

Confession: I had my epic meltdown post about halfway written, BEFORE yesterday's game even kicked off.  I thought I knew exactly what I'd want to bitch about if we lost to LaTech, and so I figured I could get a jump start on the process.

But after being out there, absorbing the loss, stewing on it, considering things carefully, and then sleeping on it... I decided to scrap that epic meltdown post and instead give you these thoughts.

-- I've been using way to much profanity and especially too many F-bombs on Wahooze lately.  Gonna try to clean it up a little bit.  Gonna try.

-- Despite the outcome of yesterday's game, I still had a helluva lot of fun.  Tailgating with family and friends, and a day devoted almost entirely to something I really love - football.  And specifically, college football.  And specifically, Virginia Football.  I am taking a step back and appreciating that on it's most basic level.

-- I think this LaTech game is going to serve an important function in the progression of Virginia Football.  Which is to say, this game marks the day that the 5-star quarterback on our bench rose up to push our 2-star incumbent out of the way to take the reins of the program.

-- On the flip side, I think this LaTech game potentially did a lot of near-irreparable damage.  How many fans left Scott Stadium yesterday wondering if Mike London is truly the right man for the job?  Once that doubt creeps in the door, it's hard to shoo it out of the house.  I do know that you'll see a lot of keyboard warriors trying to be provocative by now openly questioning our head coach's mettle and ultimate "fit" for this job.  (I'll admit, I considered that angle myself.)

-- I came into yesterday's game holding Louisiana Tech in fairly high regard as a mid-major program that I liked and would pull for after our game was played.  I left the game holding the Bulldogs among my list of teams that I now hate.  Not because they beat us, but because of the bush league crap they pulled after the whistle.  Constantly.  I can understand the little guy playing with a chip on its shoulder and trying to find and maintain that edge, but the constant baiting and extracurricular stuff was just ugly and dirty.  Like Casey Pachall, I now wish nothing but bad things on the LT program.  Karma will swing for you, young Bulldogs.  And when it does, I expect your comeuppance to be swift and complete.

-- I don't really want to talk about [what was essentially] the last play of the game.  For one, I don't fully understand the rules that govern that situation.  Secondly, Coach London was absolutely livid after the game, claiming the officials didn't grant us a fair chance to switch personnel on the field.  I choose to trust our coach and use the refs' awful performance in that game to assume it was just another screw job.  Those officials were horrendous.

-- We are now 2-3, with seven games left to correct some of our problems and find four wins to get bowl eligible.  I think this mission is imperative --- a losing record will represent regression in the eyes of recruits.  We are currently selling program sex appeal and forward momentum.  If that momentum is halted...  Well... We'll have to start swimming upstream on the recruiting trail.

...and that's when the bears get you!

-- It's a point you'll see elsewhere, but I want to illustrate it again because I think it is extremely important:  Our current underclassmen are from Al Groh's underwhelming 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes.  Two classes which were also carpet bombed by attrition.  The 2010 class - current juniors or redshirt sophomores - were part of the salvage mission from the transition from Groh to London.  That's a three-year talent dip that a coaching staff who doesn't really beat you with Xs and Os or innovative/gimmicky schemes will struggle to overcome.  Mike London will be a better coach when he is putting more talent on the field.  That starts in 2013 and 2014, when the 2011 and '12 classes are seeing a majority of the playing time.

-- Year three of a five-year rebuilding process.  Patience is key.

Now for some thoughts on specific players and the team.

-- Mike Rocco's first INT should have been a catch that [predictably] doinked off of Dominique Terrell's hands.  The second INT was a poor decision on a late throw on an out route, and that's on Rocco.  And the third interception must have been a botched timing route that never should have been thrown.  I'm thinking that's the last pass Rock will throw as our starting quarterback.  At least he can say it was a touchdown pass.  (Sorry, low blow.)

-- I was extremely happy to see E.J. Scott's expanded role on offense.  I think the guy is a player.

AND, he has displayed clear chemistry with Phillip Sims

-- Like Scott, Khalek Shepherd has earned more burn.  Despite Perry Jones' accomplishments, Shep is our most dangerous receiving back.

-- We're still seeing some bad drops from the receivers.  But yesterday, they also made some nice catches.  Kudos to freshman Adrian Gamble for that touchdown "snatch" late in the game. Great play by a young player.

-- I'm troubled by our inability to generate turnovers.  Punch out the ball, pop a fumble, jump a route, SOMETHING.  ANYTHING!  Gotta find a way to get some takeaways.

-- 625 yards of offense in a loss.  That's particularly difficult to fathom, and tough to swallow.

-- True freshman weakside linebacker Demeitre Brim played a lot, and I think he played well.  Between he and D.J. Hill, I think the Will linebacking spot is in good hands moving forward.  (Not sure when LaRoy Reynolds will be able to return.)

-- I still like what Anthony Harris is doing.  He just seems like a battler to me, and I really appreciate that.

-- I continue to believe that our defense is almost completely devoid of playmakers.  We need some guys on D who are capable of making game-changing plays.  We're not getting any of those impact plays, at all.  Stops, yes.  But no game-turning big defensive plays.

-- Welcome back, Superman.  Missed you, buddy.

No more Clark Kent.

-- KP struggled to get any traction in yesterday's game.  Sad to see.

-- Time for a shuffle on the offensive line.  Move Mo inside, and get Jay Whitmire in at right tackle.  Take the chance to improve two spots on the line.  Missed downfield blocks from our pulling guards (namely Cody Wallace) short-circuited our chance to pop several big plays.

-- I believe with all my heart that if we had gotten the ball back with 1:45 to play, Phillip Sims would have gunned us down the field for the game-winning touchdown.  Tragic that he didn't get that chance and really frustrating that we didn't get to see if he could do it.  Exciting that we now have a quarterback in play who inspires that kind of confidence.

The future is NOW.

Duke's up next.  It's a big game for both teams, as we try to salvage the season and Duke (at 4-1) tries to inch its way toward bowl eligibility.  Sims has to start that game, right?  Can't wait to see what he looks like with a full week to prepare as the starting QB, with all of the first team reps.  And make no mistake: a loss to Duke means our season is over, in no uncertain terms.  Look at the schedule and do the math.

September 29, 2012

Houston we might have a problem.

I'm going to start this by saying that  I still think Mike London is the coach for this team. I'll reiterate what I said here. He's still young, he's still learning, but make no mistake, this team is not going to get to the next level unless the coaching is drastically improved. The coaching has been a slight issue over the past few games, but today's debacle at the end of the game, and our seeming inability to handle the up-tempo no-huddle offense truly showed how far we have to go. 2 of the last 3 games we've played a non-traditional offense, and looked awful against it. That comes down to coaching. Being woefully unprepared for an offense that you  know is coming is unacceptable. The Georgia Tech and Louisiana Tech offenses are about as well hidden as Tim Tebow running the wildcat. Figure it out. And for the love of god please run this play

We can't keep getting burned on bubble screens and passes in the flat. Are you kidding me? I could probably design an offense to run against our defense. Throw a million passes in the flat. I can understand if we don't have the players to cover that, but we do. We just do. I'm tired of watching Al Groh's garbage on the field. I said this last week, put the kids on the field. And that brings me to my final point.

If I see Mike Rocco start another game this season, my head will explode. If I watch him throw a pick after staring down an out route or a curl I am going to throw my remote through the tv or myself off the bleachers. The team belongs to Sims now. Rocco plays fine when everything goes his way, but he can't make plays downfield when we need him too. Sims threw a 65 yard out route off his back foot on a line. He also had 3 touchdowns go through the hands of receivers. I'll attribute that to shock that someone read the defense correctly. Give him the damn reins.


Perry Jones is on his way back. He looked better.

DJ Hill looked pretty good.

I'm pretty confident Ant Harris and Tra Nicholson know what they are doing.

Phillip Sims became the starter.

Love you guys. Go win next week.

September 28, 2012

Simple Math

Virginia rush offense > LT run defense

Virginia pass offense > LT pass defense

Virginia run defense > LT rush offense

Virginia pass defense < LT pass offense

Virginia special teams > LT special teams

We are winning this game tomorrow.

UVA 48, LT 31.

And the season turns around, just like that.

September 27, 2012

Wahooze Pix - Week Five

Filling in for Pierce, who is on a work trip or vacation or something.

Last Week
Pierce - 6 (out of 9)
Kendall - 6
Mike - 4
Stephen - 2 (yikes)

Pierce - 28
Kendall - 25
Mike - 25
Guests - 21

This actually kinda sorta makes us look like experts.  Kinda.  Sorta.

Meanwhile, remember that Pierce was dominant out of the gate last season before petering out at the end and ceding the grand championship to me.  So yeah, I ain't sweatin'.  Just hitting my stride.  Pierce is pretty good, but I'm the big swingin' dick here.  Just wait and see.

This week's guest picker is brought to us by Mike.  Enjoy the blurb:

This week's guest picker is my friend Stephen Browning. Stephen and I both grew up in the college football wasteland that is the DC Metro area. While I chose to pursue [watching] athletic excellence in college, Stephen elected to go the academic route. Nerd. However WashU is not completely devoid of athletic accomplishment as their all-white basketball team won the D3 national championship, which is pretty damn impressive in my book. Anyway Stephen's younger brother Daniel goes to UVA now so I will allow Stephen to handle the picks.

Browning in front, Mike in back.  As usual.

Cincinnati @ Virginia Tech (-6.5)
'Nati: Pierce, Mike, Stephen
VPI: Kendall

Pierce: Transitive property: Cincy beat Pitt by 24, Pitt beat VT by 18, VT beat GT by 3, who beat UVA by 400.

Mike: Let's even our records up.

Stephen: VT may win but it’ll be close. Ohio rides its quadrennial surge in importance derived from a national election before it plunges back to being Ohio.

Kendall: No way Tech will drop another game to a Big Yeast team.

Clemson (-9.5) @ Boston College
Klem's Son: EVERYONE!
BC: no one

Pierce: BC has done much better this season than their reputation would suggest, but they can't hang with Clemson.

Mike: Gift.

Stephen: No real reason.

Kendall: Klempsun will be looking to flex nuts in a big bouncebacky kind of way. BC will receive its drubbing in front of the 475 fans [read: parents of the players] who still go see that egregious sad sack of a program play football.

Louisiana Tech (-3) @ Virginia
Traitors to the Cause: Pierce, Stephen
Bleeding Orange and Blue: Mike, Kendall

Pierce: Until something changes, I'm not betting on us.

Mike: I'm embarrassed.

Stephen: Despite my usual lack of confidence in things that come from Louisiana I don’t think the UVA secondary could cover rock with paper. (Editors Note: You suck, go fuck yourself.)

Kendall: Are we trying to play big boy football, or are we still just playing footsie with the idea? More than any other during the London Era, this game will be telling... I give our coach the benefit of the doubt, for now. But if we lose, my meltdown will be EPIC.  Like, more epic than this.

Idaho @ North Carolina (-23.5)
Potatoes: Pierce, Stephen
Cheaters: Mike, Kendall

Pierce: UNC shouldn't have much trouble with the Vandals, but the spread is too high.

Mike: Idaho is awful.

Stephen: This isn’t Basketball, UNC won't cover the spread.

Kendall: Still waiting for the explosion game for Fedora's offense. This is as good a time as any, against the totally horrendous Vandals.  (Psssst, don't tell anyone, but I'm a closet Idaho fan, thanks to video game dynasty mode.)

Duke @ Wake Forest (-3)
Dook: Pierce, Mike, Kendall
Deacs: Stephen

Pierce: Wake's had trouble keeping folks from scoring, Duke's been lighting up bad teams...tough call.

Mike: Still hate you, Dave.

Stephen: A meeting of the minds. Wake in a close one.

Kendall: Big game for Duke football. I'm picking the Devils here so they're fat and happy when we invade Durham next weekend.

NC State @ Miami (-3.5)
Woofpack: Mike, Kendall
The U: Pierce, Stephen

Pierce: Who knows what Miami team will show up. NCSU is thought highly of, but I'm not sure why.

Mike: This is a roadie for both teams.

Stephen: Biggest mistake of your life, Vitale.

Kendall: Not entirely sure why, but I still like State this season. Miami is about to lose six straight -- NCSU, Notre Dame, UNC, FSU, VT, UVA.

Florida State (-16) @ South Florida
Semenholes: EVERYONE!
Wal-Mart of Florida Football: no one

Pierce: Kaboom.

Mike: Ha. -16

Stephen: The ‘Noles look unstoppable this year. I see no reason to bet against them.

Kendall: FSU is about to go 13-0 and make a BCS championship game appearance. Blee'dat.

Middle Tennessee State @ Georgia Tech (-27.5)
MTSU: Kendall
Ramblin' Wreck: Pierce, Mike, Stephen

Pierce: If we can't keep it within 30, MTSU can't either...right? I assume Vad Lee will still want his garbage points.

Mike: They will lose by more than us. Please?

Stephen: My gut is to bet against anything coming out of the middle of Tennessee, regardless of the spread.

Kendall: Middle Tennessee had two weeks to prepare. Doesn't really matter, but I think they'll keep it within four touchdowns.

In closing, I'll say that while Pierce thinks the TNA in a bikini after a football post is tired and clichéd, I'm running the show this week, and BOOM:

Future Headline: Virginia Bites Back, Tops Bulldogs

Virginia QB Mike Rocco threw
for 357 yards in Virginia's
48-31 victory over Louisiana Tech.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Michael Rocco threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns as Virginia defeated Louisiana Tech 48-31 in an exciting shootout-style affair.  The Cavaliers started fast and then pulled away late to preserve the victory.

The game marked the first loss for Sonny Dykes' Bulldogs team this season, but the Cavaliers had their way on offense pretty much all afternoon.

Rocco finished 25 for 37 with three touchdowns. The first on a short pass that Darius Jennings took 39 yards for a score in the first quarter. The second on a 19-yard out pattern to E.J. Scott in the corner of the end zone late in the second quarter.  The third on a well-timed screen pass to Perry Jones, who used a convoy of blockers to take the quick-hitter 67 yards to the house on the third play of the second half.  Kevin Parks ran for a 15-yard first quarter touchdown and Perry Jones ran for a 10-yarder in the 4th quarter for Virginia.  Kicker Drew Jarrett added two fourth quarter field goals for the Cavaliers, one from 36 yards and the second from 42 yards.  Cornerback Maurice Canady ended the scoring on a interception return for a touchdown late in the game.

Rocco looked sharp and made few mistakes for the Cavaliers, who were trying to rebound from back-to-back losses against Georgia Tech and Texas Christian.  The Cavaliers outgained the Bulldogs 593-460 in the game, with much of the Bulldogs' yards coming in the second and third quarters as they challenged the Cavaliers.

Michael Rocco led touchdown drives on Virginia's first two possessions, and the Cavaliers held a 14-0 advantage before Louisiana Tech responded to tie the score late in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs' first touchdown came early in the second stanza when quarterback Colby Cameron found receiver Quinton Patton at the goal line for an 8-yard scoring strike. Cameron made the throw with defensive end Billy Schautz in his face, and Patton caught the ball in heavy traffic. A second touchdown pass from Cameron, this one on a 38-yard post route to Myles White, who beat Virginia cornerback Maurice Canady in coverage, knotted the score at 14-all, midway through the second quarter.  Canady, however, would have the last laugh.

After Parks' touchdown run, the Cavaliers led 21-14 at halftime.

The teams alternated scoring drives in the third quarter. Parks ripped off his long touchdown reception to stake UVA to a 28-14 lead, and then Louisiana Tech got first downs on five consecutive plays and marched 75 yards in nine plays, capped by Kenneth Dixon's 4-yard juking, tumbling touchdown run, making it 28-21. The Bulldogs then made things interesting after Solomon Randle intercepted a tipped pass off of Dominique Terrell's hands. The Bulldogs drove 48 yards on six plays against a gassed Virginia defense and knotted the score at 28-all on a 2-yard Dixon touchdown dive.
Two huge catches by Jake McGee
ensured the Cavaliers' victory on Saturday
Virginia answered with two field goals in the fourth quarter, the second after a Cameron fumble on a strip sack by Ausar Walcott. Louisiana Tech responded with a field goal of its own at the 8:14 mark, to pull to within three points, 34-31.

As heavy rain began to fall on the 48,087 fans at Scott Stadium, the Cavaliers put together their best drive of the season, a 78-yard clock-churning march capped by Jones' 10-yard touchdown scamper.

“The number one thing was the composure of the players, they executed,” offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. “They made it happen, they battled all day and persevered. They saved their best ball for late in the fourth quarter, which is what we want.”

Rocco hung in the pocket long enough to allow his receivers time to get downfield while Louisiana Tech brought the rush. As the pocket collapsed, Rocco drifted to his left and launched a high, lofting pass to Jake McGee, who who came up with a clutch 23-yard gain on 3rd and 8 from the Cavaliers' 35.  On the play, McGee was being dragged down by a pair of Bulldog defenders to draw a defensive pass interference penalty.

“I kind of got pushed up in the pocket and I just saw Jake,” Rocco said. “Whenever Jake’s standing there, I just trust him and I threw the ball up to him and he made a play.”

Six plays later, Rocco found McGee again in the middle of the field for another chain-moving completion, this one for 15 yards to the Louisiana Tech 23. The game-clenching 10-yard run from Jones came with 52 seconds remaining to complete the 14-play, 78-yard drive that essentially ended the game. When it counted most, the offense came through.

Virginia cornerback Maurice Canady ended the game with an interception return for a touchdown on a poorly-thrown post route from Cameron.

“We’ve got competitors, we’ve got winners on this team,” Rocco said. “We tasted what it was like to have a great season last year and come up a little short. We've battled through some adversity this season. So we had guys that were determined to get the job done even if we had things go against us today. This was a good bounce-back performance for us, but now we're focused on Duke.”

September 26, 2012

The Leitao Trap

I hated Dave Leitao. I hated his attitude, I hated his stupid 14 button suits, I hated his court side behavior, and I hated the fact that I was embarrassed to have him as a representative of UVA, let alone the coach of the basketball team. He was a clown. And as one last 'screw you' to UVA on his way out the door Dave made a crucial mistake in the development in his players, one that I fear may be repeating itself on the football field.

Everybody remember this kid? Calvin Baker should not have been playing on the UVA team let alone starting in the majority of the games down the stretch that season. Neither should Tunji Soroye, or Mamadi Diane, or any other of Dave Leitao's failed experiments (looking at you Solomon Tat.) Did we have anyone better at the time? Not necessarily. But what we did have was potential. Freshmen wasting away on the bench included one Samuel Zeglinski and one Assane Sene. Two players who would later prove to be critical pieces in 2012's postseason run, prior to their injuries and general shittiness. And while playing in 2009 may not have made a whole lot of difference in their development as players, it would have done wonders for their confidence and our confidence that maybe that program had some light. And regardless, wouldn't it have made you feel better knowing that these kids were developing while watching them make mistakes rather than knowing that they are just shitty basketball players?

This is the same situation we are facing this year in football. This roster of upperclassmen is just mostly awful. There are some solid pieces left over, but for the most part no juniors or seniors on this team scare you. It's time to take a long hard look at getting some fresh blood in there to take the shine off and prepare them for playing on the big stage. Let's look at some of the targets for takedown, and the kids charging up the depth chart to chase them.

Target 1: Brent Urban
Pursued by Chris Brathwaite

Urban is a tall DT. Think Matt Conrath, but with less pure football talent. Being 6-7 is nice... for blocking field goals. Being that tall just isn't good for an interior lineman, especially in situations where you need leverage. Considering he is listed at only 280 pounds, and you have a long and light DT who can get stood up and moved by elite-level guards with relative ease. Enter Chris Brathwaite. Brathwaite is a young, stout, bull of a defensive tackle who could easily slide into a prominent role starting next to Will Hill. This is not suggesting that we get rid of Urban, but rather that we move him to a 3rd down rush specialist role, where we can use his height to our advantage by blocking passing lanes. Brathwaite played extremely well against TCU and with more experience can and probably will become a disruptive force on the defensive line. London seems to want to employ a heavy rotation on the defensive line moving forward to keep everyone fresh, and it's time to start that process.

Target 2: Jake Snyder
Pursued by Mike Moore

Snyder is a solid player, but he is never going to be anything more than that. On a defense devoid of play makers there is an option to sub in a potentially great DE -- Mike Moore.  He has that potential greatness. As a strong side defensive end, Moore is not only strong at the point of attack, but can also get after the quarterback. Paired with either Eli Harold or Billy Schautz on the weak side, Moore could bring some ferocity to the defensive line. Right now Moore sits 3rd on the depth chart behind Snyder and Ausar Walcott, but for the sake of his development, he should be getting more significant playing time. In the game against TCU, Moore showed he could be disruptive against a solid D1 unit.  Now it's time to get him on the field on a more regular basis.

Target 3: DreQuan Hoskey
Pursued by Maurice Canady

Canady should have had three picks in the TCU game. He's already beaten out Rijo Walker for the nickel corner spot and I don't think his rise is going to stop there. Canady is a big corner to go with small Tra Nicholson (who is in my opinion our best defensive player.) Cornerback is a position you need to learn by playing, and Canady has shown the instincts to be a great corner. He needs to jump DreQuan into the starting lineup, ASAP. That would give the Hoos two solid, and more importantly young, corners. Hoskey can shift right into the nickel slot and I think should be given a shot to return kicks. (He is the fastest kid on the team, by far.)

Target 4: Perry Jones
Pursued by Kevin Parks

Before you amass a mob to come burn me at the stake, hear me out.  This O-Line is incapable of opening up holes for a player with Jones' running style to exploit, yes? Jones projects at the next level as a 3rd down scatback, yes?  Then let's use him in that role now and start the grooming process. The way this line is playing we need a straight downhill runner that can break a play without a ton of help, and that player is Kevin Parks. That player is NOT Clifton Richardson, who needs to be redshirted for this season after fighting the early-season injury bug. Parks brings a tough downhill running style that complements the more elusive style of Jones very well. However, based on the ineptitude of the offensive line this season, KP's straightforward style needs to be the feature of the offense. Jones will still play an exceptionally important role in this offense, but not the role of feature back. Think Darren Sproles for PJ's new role, no one is going to say that's a bad thing.

Target 5: Morgan Moses
Pursued by Jay Whitmire

I am sufficiently off the Morgan Moses at tackle bandwagon. I think he is a great offensive lineman, but he can't stop anyone speed rushing him off the edge. Morgan needs to kick over to left guard and play Branden Albert to Oday Aboushi's Eugene Monroe. That makes that side of the line immediately dominant and frees up Jay Whitmire to get some playing time at right tackle, before he takes over next season on the blind side. This move allows us to exploit the pulling ability of Moses as well as use his girth to beef up the interior line, which has been abysmal this season. Whitmire has tons of potential and on a sidenote should have good footwork for the edge blocking role. (He played center on Northern Virginia basketball powerhouse TC Williams.)

Target 6: Tim Smith, Dom Terrell
Pursued by EJ Scott, Canaan Severin

It is soon going to be a huge problem getting balls to all of our weapons at wide receiver. I'll let everyone revel in how good that feels. However, when certain weapons are outperforming others, we need to loosen up on jumping players on the depth chart and let the hot hands play. Skill and ability should decide when you play, not age or experience. Dominique Terrell, with the exception of a few nice plays last game, has shown awful hands this season, to the point where some are calling him a bust at the wide receiver spot. Tim Smith, on the other hand, can never seem to stay healthy. Discounting the two terrible drops that could partially be contributed to Mike Rocco's inability to consistently throw the damn ball to the right spot, Darius Jennings is the only player I have seen that I would be upset if they got rotated out. E.J. Scott has looked really good through four games and Canaan Severin's size and leaping ability presents a matchup nightmare in the slot against a nickel corner or a linebacker. We need to establish an ability to spread out touches so that all of our players are happy, especially since we are about to be inundated with talent at the receiver position in the next few recruiting classes. It's time to shit or get off the pot. Diamonds are only made with pressure. Insert whatever other coachspeak you want here.

Target 7: Mike Rocco
Pursued by Phillip Sims

I have saved the best for last. This is the truest comparison to the Calvin Baker analogy I can find. Sure the offensive line is terrible and the receivers are not catching balls, but there is no excitement in this offense. Sims knows the playbook by now, otherwise I'm not sure he should be attending UVA. He needs reps. He needs a week of preparation as the starter.  And with him in the game you have some kick to this offense. Would you rather see a pick thrown on a dying duck from Mike Rocco, or on Phillip Sims laser just missing threading the needle on a 50 yard 9-route? I'll take the Sims play all day, because we'll know as he gets better he will start hitting those, and it shows a capacity to make big plays with his arm. And you know it'll scare the shit out of the defenses we play, seeing that downfield ability. Sims provides this offense with a threat we haven't had in a very long time. I don't know about you but I have had enough Jameel Sewell, Marc Verica, and Mike Rocco throwing checkdowns. Ramp up the offense and put the Howitzer in the game.

These changes being made will show that Mike London is focused on the future. I understand people think that this team should be good right now, but let's face it, it's only London's 5th full season as a head coach. His recruits are true sophomores or younger. But look at who is good. I'll argue all day that Tra Nicholson is our best defensive player. Ant Harris looks like a cruise missile at strong safety, and Darius Jennings and E.J. Scott already look like our best receivers. London has an influx of talent waiting in the wings, he's just trying to win with what is left of the Groh players. It's time for Coach London to infuse some excitement into this program and get the young players out on the field. Show me a defensive front with Harold, Moore, Brathwaite and Croce on it. Let me see Phillip Sims throw a bomb to Darius Jennings. Let me watch Canaan Severin and Jake McGee become matchup nightmares on the goal line. But most of all, just give me some damn hope that all of this is getting better. I'm fine taking the lumps and growing pains, just show us that potential, and don't try to win at the expense of fan excitement.

September 25, 2012

Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees

At approximately 4:57 PM (EST) today, in talking with my friend Sparkle, it dawned on me: I haven't been seeing the forest for the trees.

"I know Louisiana Tech has an explosive offense, but our defense has good athletes and has been playing better."

"If Rocco sucks, he'll get pulled faster and Sims will play sooner than he has been."

Yahtzee.  Sometimes it's just that easy.

We are a fucking ACC team - a power conference team with power conference talent - and we SHOULD NOT be sweating a team from the motherfucking WACK.

Our o-line has been shaky... against Penn State and Georgia Tech and TCU.  Is there any reason we can't line up and blow these LT Bulldogs off the ball?  Christ, if we can't run against Louisiana Tech, just go ahead and cancel the season.  Hell, go ahead and shut down the program.

We deserve the right to expect a win at home against a team like this.  There's no reason for fear or any sort of trepidation.

Coach London is not giving the team and fanbase the adrenaline shot it needs by starting #14?  So what?

The offense has been sputtering?  Now's the time to see it run smooth, against lesser competition.

Too many turnovers?  Yeah, okay.

Louisiana Tech's defense is predicated on ball disruption and creating turnovers?  Fuck 'em, run it down their throats.

I think everyone senses that we're at a crossroads.  Underdogs at home against a team from the WAC not named Utah or Boise or TCU.  Fuck that.

I love us as home 'dogs.  LOVE us.  Louisiana Tech is a good team, but people are going a little bit overboard on that win over Illinois.

This is the game where our o-line gets "fixed," Perry Jones breaks out, and the defense solidifies.

Confidence.  I suddenly have it.

Hoos 48, LT 31.

September 24, 2012

16-Team Scheduling Matrix

I just read a truly amazing idea for scheduling a 16-team ACC, on my favorite UVA sports blog -- from old virginia.

Check this out:

I think this is the scheduling concept that makes 16-team conferences viable, and it would work PERFECTLY for the ACC with Notre Dame and _____ as the 15th and 16th teams.

Notre Dame is only half-in right now, but everybody knows that will change within the next decade.

Anyway, that post I linked above is definitely worth a quick read on an otherwise boring Monday morning.

September 22, 2012

TCU 27, UVA 7

In my opinion, there are five things that can make it nearly unbearable to watch your football team.  Those five things are:

1) Turnovers.  Not just a few, but a lot.  Hemorrhaging turnovers to the point where nothing else matters and everything falls apart.

2) Shaky o-line play.  Shaky to the point of being just plain bad.  Can't run the ball, pass pro is not good, the offense just sputters.

3) Drops.  Big plays, game-changing plays hit the receivers in the hands, and then hit the ground.  Or worse, bounce up into the waiting arms of defenders.

4) A defense that can't get off the field.  Generating stops on individual plays, but never able to really get the job done overall.  Like slowly bleeding out through a belly wound.

5) A general talent deficit; a general lack of explosive / exciting / dynamic players who can make game-changing plays and generate hope.

Virginia Football is suffering from all five of those things right now.  So we lost in Fort Worth to a TCU team that frankly didn't play all that well and was sitting there like a low-hanging cherry, ready to be picked.  We lost 27-7.  Felt like it could have been 270-7.

My thoughts:

-- Dear ESPN, nobody gives a fuck about soccer.  Please remove the soccer scores from your Saturday afternoon "bottom line" crawl.  Seriously, nobody cares if Southampton tied Aston Villa 1-1.  NOBODY GIVES A SHIT.  NOBODY.  GIVES.  A.  SHIT.

Fucking lame.

-- Phillip Sims did not look good today.  Another terrible fumble coughed up on a sack.  Bad throws, inaccuracy issues.  Two late throws deep over the middle.  Dominique Terrell made him look good on the 40-yarder.

-- I thought Sims was bad, but I still want to see him start against Louisiana Tech.  Mike Rocco's low ceiling is starting to make things feel like a hobbit house.  I recently compared him to Alex Smith, and now he looks like Alex Smith circa 2009.  That is not a compliment.  I love Rock, but... he can't make plays unless they are handed to him on a silver platter, and those plays are not there this season so far.  We need a gunslinger who can make things happen downfield.

-- Mike and I just talked about this, and both agree: Pierce might have just nailed it when he guessed that Greyson Lambert might be our starting quarterback in 2013.

-- Today, I thought the o-line looked better.  164 rushing yards would agree.  Part of that was KP's big 49-yarder, and part of it was Lazor designing perimeter runs to strike at TCU's undersized edge defenders.  But the line looked better.  There's a pulse.  It no longer stinks like somebody taught their butthole how to smoke cigarettes.

-- What the fuck is going on with all the drops?  Darius Jennings, I know you got tripped up (no PI call, but there should have been), but you need to make that catch down the sideline in the 1st quarter.  That's a touchdown, and a much different game, knotted at 7-7.  You also dropped another touchdown pass from Rocco later in the game.  Big hit, but hang on to the damn ball.  Christ.  Christ!

You're good, baby.  That wasn't you out there today.

-- I decided that I do not like Casey Pachall.  I wish him only bad things.

Nice behind-the-ear tat, bitch.

-- Our defense, for the most part, played pretty well.  Run stopping was great.  Too much YAC from the secondary.  But holding TCU to 20 points prior to garbage time was pretty good.  Good enough to win, with a competent offense.

-- Maurice Canady > Drequan Hoskey.  It's official.

-- Perry Jones showed some toughness today, and had a decent game after banging his knee. I liked what I saw, but we need about double that moving forward.

-- I honestly didn't really notice #9 missing today.  That's a testament to how few impact plays he's been making.  I said this on the message board and caught some hell, but I don't care.  I'm saying it again: Put the club on the hand and get in the game.  Missing this game because of a broken finger?  I admittedly don't have the full story, but that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

-- I like the blitzing, Jim Reid.  We gave up some big plays on corner blitzes, but I still like it.  Aggression.  Trying to make something happen.  More of that against LT and Duke, please.

-- I mentioned it earlier, but will say it again: Nice game from Dominique Terrell.  Good to see him making some plays.

-- Alec Vozenilek is legit.  Great punting today.

-- The kick and punt coverage units seem to be improved from last year, as well.  Jake McGee is a player in that phase of the game.

-- I continue to like what I see from Anthony Harris.  Good tackler, nose for the action.  I like having him on the field.

-- I want more E.J. Scott.  Get that man on the field.

I want MORE!

-- LT, @ Duke, Maryland, Wake.  That's our upcoming schedule.  Gotta win all four and come out of that stretch at 6-2.  Otherwise, I fear no bowl game.  Another o-fer-November seems very possible, just like the bad ol' days.

-- Our upperclassmen - the 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes, ranked #61 and #33 respectively - are not getting the job done.  2008-2010 recruiting - #61, #33, #67 - represents the talent dip in the program at the end of the Al Groh era.  We'll have to play through the fits and starts of inconsistency until those classes are cycled through the program and the upgrade in talent London hand-picked is battle tested and developed.  The 2011 class are now sophomores and redshirt freshmen.  They are on the field now, playing, improving.

-- Bowl game or bust.  Anything less is regression.  And remember, today's game correlates to last season's loss to Southern Miss.

And now, I leave with this season's solutions to all five of the problems I listed at the beginning of this post.

1) Practice ball security.  Bench the QB who is throwing picks.  Bench the players who are coughing up fumbles.  Make it a point to stop turning the ball over!

2) Let it gel.  Resist the urge to shuffle.  Just let it be, and let it gel.  And create gameplans that work around the holes in the line.

3) Plop 250 jugs machines on the practice field and make these motherfuckers catch balls all night and all day.

4) Find a way to generate turnovers.  Blitz more.  Run blitz.  Get hyper-aggressive with the playcalls.

5) Start playing teams that are closer to our talent level.  Hello, our next four games!

2-2, season might hang in the balance next Saturday against Louisiana Tech.  Time to bear down and run to the roar.


September 21, 2012

Wahooze Pix - Week Four

Last Week:
Pierce - 8 
Mike - 8 
Kendall - 6
Nathan - 6


Pierce - 22 

Mike - 21
Kendall - 19
Guests - 19

Funny thing about the cream, it always rises to the top. Last week saw everyone missing VPI blowing the Pitt game and, once again, way too many FBS/FCS matchups with no spread. This week, the gloves come off somewhat. FSU/Clemson, Miami/GT, and some interesting OOC games should make this a more difficult week on our prognosticators. 

If, during your adventures on the interwebs, you find yourself among a large, standoffish group of unfriendly men who fear change and sometimes talk sports, then you'll find myself and this week's guest picker, Stephen. In his words:

As this week's guest picker I would like to take a minute to introduce myself.  I am the HOOSINSC.  I am a fan of message boards, being annoyed by UVA fans on message boards, White Knighting for Mike Rocco, being the Travis Henry of the UVA fan base, and hamburgers with bacon and cheddar cheese.  I hope you like my picks, but if not it's probably your own fault.

Large Mouth Bass meets Large Mouth HOOSINSC
The Citadel @ NCSU (no spread)
Citadel: No one
Pack: Everyone

Kendall: State will beat the 'Del, but it won't be a huge score.  31-7, 34-14, something like that.  If I were a Vegas line-setter, I'd put the spread at 21, which is damning the Wolfpack with faint praise.

Mike: Yup.

Pierce: The only boring pick of the week.

Stephen: Wooooooo.  Wolfpack roll past Citadel easy.

Army @ Wake (-7.5)
Black Knights: Stephen
Deacs: Kendall, Mike, Pierce

Kendall: After being OBLITERATED by Florida State, I'm sure the Deacs will be looking to bounce back in a big way.  I love Grobe, and I think he'll put together a masterpiece of a gameplan for this one.  Wake wins big.

Mike: Wake needs a confidence boost after last week.

Pierce: Wake rolls.

Stephen: Wake wins a 24-17 type of game.  Army beats the spread, barely.

Clemson @ FSU (-14)
Tigers: Kendall, Pierce
Noles: Mike, Stephen

Kendall: Big, big, big spread.  So far, we've seen the Noles wreck Murray State, Savannah State, and Wake Forest.  Clemson is a big step up in competition.  The Tigers beat FSU 35-30 in Clemson last season, and I think the Seminoles return the favor this season... by a similar score.  34-31, FSU.

Mike: FSU finally steps onto the big stage with a big statement win.

Pierce: Tigers could win outright, but I'll take the Noles at home. Not by 14 though.

Stephen: Sammy is back!  Unfortunately the FSU d-line is going to make life hell for Tahj "Hennesey Gut" Boyd and the Clemson o-line.  Clemson needed big time mistakes from the FSU special teams unit to win last year.  I don't expect that to happen this time in Tally.  FSU will cover, 35-21.

Memphis @ Duke (-22)
Tigers: Stephen
Blue Devils: Kendall, Mike, Pierce

Kendall: Not sure the Dookies will beat this spread, but Memphis has lost to Tennessee-Martin, Arkansas State, and MTSU (in an 18-point blowout) so far this season.  Duke will win this game and go to 3-1.  (Needing three more wins to become bowl-eligible, here is their remaining schedule: @ Wake, UVA, @ VT, UNC, @ FSU, Clemson, @ GT, Miami.  I think they will be extremely amped up for their game against us in two weeks, knowing they probably need it in order to get to six wins.)

Mike: God is Memphis terrible.

Pierce: Sure, why not.

Stephen:   I might care about this game if this were basketball.  Memphis keeps it closer than they should and beats the spread.

Bowling Green @ VT (-19.5)
Falcons? Hawks? Something like that: Mike, Pierce
Turkeys: Kendall, Stephen

Kendall: Pitt exposed some fatal flaws in the Hokies last week: Shaky run D, no ground game, Logan Thomas' inaccuracy, sloppy play.  Still, the talent level is high and this game against Bowling Green is a bounce-back.  Hokies win by 3+ touchdowns.

Mike: Bowling Green gave Florida a good game. The book just got written on beating Tech.

Pierce: Nah, not going to win by 20, hokies. Try not to lose.

Stephen:  VT wins.  Slow starts again from VT, but a special teams score / turnover kicks things off like it always fucking does.  VT to cover.

ECU @ UNC (-16.5)
Pirates: Mike, Stephen
Tar Heels: Kendall, Pierce

Kendall: Still waiting for that Tarhole offense to come alive under Fedora.  The second half against Louisville showed some sparks.  I think this could be the game.  UNC 40, ECU 17.

Mike: Screw you, UNC.

Pierce: Tempting to pick ECU to beat the spread, but UNC's probably looking to run up the score after last week's heartbreaker.

Stephen: Beating ECU used to take a little effort, now it's as easy as getting laid on a Friday night in Greenville.  UNC will not cover.

UMD @ WVU (-27.5)
Rednecks to the North: No one
Rednecks to the West: Everyone

Kendall: Games against Marshall and JMU won't tell you very much, but I think West Virginia might end up in the national championship discussion late this season.  For now, they'll eviscerate the Terps in one of the few games I'll be pulling for the 'Eers.

Mike: Luckily this will be a bigger beatdown than our game.

Pierce: Hopefully the Neers cover easily, though UMD could sneak in a few scores that keep it around 20...

Stephen:  LOL, WVU is going to destroy this Maryland team.  Maryland fucking sucks, and I hope for at least one death in the stands.  WVU to cover.

UVA @ TCU (-17.5)
Hoos: Kendall, Stephen
Frogs: Mike, Pierce

Kendall:  I'm a glutton for punishment, but I have faith in our team going out to Fort Worth and putting up a fight.  We might lose by 17, but that's still beating the spread.  I also don't think TCU is as good as people think.

Mike: Confidence is at about zero right now.

Pierce: I'd love to say we'll make a game of it, or even win. But I've got to go with Vegas on this one. I just don't see good things in this UVA team - hopefully they turn up sooner than later.

Stephen:  Ugggghhhhh why can't we schedule some weaker teams?  TCU by 2 TDs, but we beat the spread.

Miami @ GT (-14)
Canes: No one
Al Groh Sucks: Everyone

Kendall: 56-20, Ramblin' Wreck.  Screw U.

Mike: Well, GT looked good last week. 

Pierce: Hopefully GT is this good and we're not that bad.

Stephen: Yellow Jackets are going to crush Miami.  Duke Johnson will score two TDs, but it's probably gonna end 35-14, GT covers.

Really looking forward to the potential meltdown...

September 19, 2012

Which Wildlife Metaphor?

"Wounded Animal"

I've heard it a lot this week.  As in, after the Georgia Tech debacle, the Hoos are a wounded animal heading down to Fort Worth to take on TCU.

I get the metaphor.  When an animal is hurt, cornered, backed against the wall, and just fighting to survive, it comes out biting, scratching, and clawing.  I get it, and I like it.  I like the sentiment behind it.  And especially, I like the thought that Virginia Football has that kind of fight in it; that it's capable of baring teeth and unleashing a mean-spirited snarl.

But there's another wildlife metaphor that's worth considering this week:

"Blood in the Water"

As in, we are wounded, weakened, and the cold-blooded killers will be looking for an easy meal.  Are the Frogs watching film of our disaster against GT and licking their chops?  I wouldn't bet against it.

In football terms, which one are we?  The wounded animal, still capable of doing some damage and fighting our way out of this corner?  Or are we the floundering prey, helpless to defend against those razor-sharp teeth?

Not many UVA fans expected a win against TCU when the schedule came out.  On the road, against a quality opponent, that's a tough one.  It looks much tougher now, though I think TCU can be beaten.

The problem is, do we have any underlying quality?  Do we have the pride to go down there and put up a fight?  Or are we just looking for a swift, painless death?

Saturday is going to show us a LOT about this team, about these players, about this coaching staff, and about this program.  Will we give the Frogs a game, or will we let them steamroll us?

Can we stop the nation's leader in passing efficiency in Casey Pachall?  Can we slow down that TCU passing game, 20th-best in the nation?

We know they'll load the box and dare us to throw.  Can we make it happen?  Can we move the ball and score points against their ultra-aggressive, Virginia Techish 4-2-5 defense?

Here's what Coach London said during his weekly press conference:

"...We have our hands full thinking about TCU right now. I think it's a challenging defense. Whether you call them rovers or whether you call them the strong safeties that are down in the box, they're one of the elements that can force the run because they play their defensive ends in a six technique, meaning they're head up on the tight ends, so when the tight ends block, that employs a run read for those safeties. They kind of dare you to throw the ball, but they have those defensive ends, linemen, outside safeties that can come off the edge or they can play coverage. They can run, so they're very fast and athletic. They pose a lot of problems, not only in the two games we saw this year, they played Grambling and Kansas, but some of the games they played last year you see some of the issues they present because of the style that they play. 

"Well, got to block better. I think that part of the elements of being able to run and also the elements of everyone else, too, tight end making it so you seal the defensive end, the back that's kicking out, the runners who run in the right holes, it's an ongoing process when you have a running game. You know, we have to do better there because the season, like I said, is just three games into it, and we have to address it with personnel, which we're going to do with our inside guys. We'll have to address it with how we will handle it if we don't have one of our bigger backs being able to be in there and participate. But it'll have to be addressed in a way that as coaches we've got to coach our guys and put them in those type of positions to be successful and then look at our personnel and see what we can do to make sure that - because we're going to have to run to let the clock run because if you're not firing on all cylinders in the throwing game, you tend to - the play is three, four, five, six seconds old, and then before you know it you're punting again. You need to be able to ball control a little bit to be able to help offensively." 

I don't know.  It's a tall order, going to TCU and competing with that team.  But that's what we need to do to begin clawing our way out from the corner as opposed to sliding down the shark's gullet.

At noon on Saturday, are we lunch for TCU, or will we bite back?

September 18, 2012

GT 56, UVA 20 --- F-Bombs Away!

(Disclaimer: Lots and lots of the f-bomb in this post.  Skip it if you're sensitive.)

Fuck you, Virginia Football.

Here's why I say that:

On Saturday, I was at my grandparents' house (love you Granny!), but alas, no ESPU.  So I followed along on my phone, when the updates pinged along only after scores.

Ping!  7-0 after a 70-yard pass.  Shit.

Ping!  14-0 after a 77-yard run.  SHIT!

Ping!  14-7, 19 yards from Rocco to McGee.  Alright, we're in business.  Let's claw our way back into this bitch.

And that's when all hell broke loose.

Ping!  21-7.

Ping!  28-7.  SHIT!  Gotta stop the bleeding and try to make it close at the end.

Ping!  35-7.  Fuck me.

Ping!  HALFTIME!  Get bent, marching band.  Eat shit and die, you tuba-tooting bastards.  Nobody gives a shit about your pseudo-modern interpretation of Call Me Al.

Ping!  42-7.  Fuck my life.

Ping!  49-7.  Are you fucking shitting me?!

Then Phillip Sims entered the game against a fat and proud cheshire cat Georgia Tech 2nd string.  Predictably and annoyingly, Sims enjoyed great success.

Ping!  49-14.  Sims to E.J. Scott.

Ping!  56-14.  What the fuck?!  The Yellow Jacket scrubs were even busting off the long gainers!  This one was a 41-yard run from something called a Vad Lee.

Big Bad Vad.

Ping!  56-20 as time expired.  A cosmetic score, but that was lipstick on a pig.

So here's why I say fuck you to Virginia Football:  Not because of the loss, because that was mostly expected after the knuckleduster against Penn State.  Not because of the blowout, because, you know, shit happens.  We suck sometimes.  Sometimes we suck often, and sometimes we suck really, really bad.  Sometimes great teams look mediocre, good teams look bad, and mediocre teams look horrendous.  We looked horrendous.  But that's not why I say fuck you to Virginia Football.

I say fuck you to Virginia Football because I recorded the game on my DVR at home and upon my return Sunday afternoon, I felt compelled to hit the right-facing triangle button and play that shit.  In an effort to not sound like a fucking asshole when talking about that botched abortion down in Atlanta, I felt like I had to watch the game.  People look at me as some sort of half-assed authority on Virginia Football, right?  So I had to watch that dumpster fire burn.  All 60 minutes of that gruesome dogshit; all 3,600 seconds of that hot steamy acidic alienblood enema.  Georgia Tech bent us over easier than a Thai Ladyboy in desperate need of some cash.  (Thanks for that one, Paul Kent.)  And I watched all of it.  Knowing the outcome, I watched it all.

So fuck you, Virginia Football.

Of course, my thoughts don't end there.  Here are the topics hot on my mind some three days after the game and some 48 hours after I watched the train wreck in high definition technicolor.

Our O-Line is a Fucking Disaster
The interior draws all of the verbal ire, but I'm sharing some of the anti-love with Morgan Moses and Oday Aboushi.  Great tackles, my fucking ass.  They have dog's breakfast on their hands just like Bowanko, Cascarano, and Davis/Wallace.  Block somebody!  Open up some holes!  Protect the passer!  FUCKING BLOCK SOMEBODY!  *Deep breath*  Look, I know it can take some time for a rebuilt o-line to gel.  Gel soon, guys.  Put that shit on the anti-griddle in the blast freezer.  (Shuffling things around is not the answer right now, except for maybe trying to get Jay Whitmire on the field.)  Just gel.  Fast.

Our O-Line Recruiting MUST Be a Problem
Under London: Ross Burbank (3-star), Tim Cwalina (3-star, now out of football), Kelby Johnson (3-star), Jay Whitmire (3-star), Ryan Doull (2-star), Sean Karl (3-star), and Michael Mooney (3-star).  Where are the 4-stars?  Where are the 5-stars?  Where are the guys stepping in as underclassmen and making an impact?  Granted, these guys are all still young and need to develop physically.  And nobody questions Coach London's recruiting acumen.  But it's time to focus on the offensive line.  Bring in numbers, bring in bodies, and for fuck's sake, bring in some can't-miss talent.  UVA is always at its best when it has studs along the OL.

Mike Rocco is Alex Smith
Good quarterback when he has a nice, clean, tidy pocket, the support of a strong running game, and competent weapons running around.  Bad quarterback when he has to overcome a lack of talent in his supporting cast and make things happen by himself.  Alex Smith looked like a bad NFL quarterback, like he was in over his head.  And then Jim Harbaugh came along and fixed up his supporting cast.  Now Alex Smith looks legit.  Rocco is the same way.  Fix up the supporting cast, and Rock will look fine.

The Phillip Sims Bandwagon is Annoying
Carved up the defeated and deflated Richmond defense.  Spit the bit in two egregious series against Penn State.  Lit up the Georgia Tech 2nd string, who was resting plump and easy on a 42-point lead.  Great stuff.  People, the guy is not ready to play!  He's just not!  We can't afford to dumb down the playbook so he can get on the field!  We are at a fragile point in the rebuilding effort, and we can't flush this season down the toilet so Sims can get his dick wet.  Ask me again in two weeks, however.  If we lose to TCU and Louisiana Tech, I'll be ready for a change.

Perry Jones' New Nickname: Clark Kent
Superman's in there somewhere, but right now he just looks like a dorky smalltown nerd.

Dearth of Defensive Playmakers
Good dudes and strong, tough guys don't make a good defense.  Try-hard types are fine for fillers, but every good D needs some impact stars.  I don't think we have any of those right now. Greer is a tackler, but he's not a game-changing playmaker.  LaRoy Reynolds is great, but where are his big-time impact plays?  Billy Schautz might be that guy, but he's banged up.  Tra Nicholson?  Still young, and his effort level is now called into question.  What else we got?  Fine, decent players, no playmakers.  We need ballhawks and seek & destroy tacklers and edge-bending pass rushers and guys who drop megaton nuclear warheads when they blitz.  We don't have any of that.  Eli Harold, get bigger soon.  Tim Harris, get here quick.  Quin Blanding, we really, really need you man.

Mike London is Still New at this Whole Head Coaching Thing
That Georgia Tech game was London's 57th as a head coach, 28th as a D-1A (sorry, FBS) coach, and 17th ACC game.  He's still new at this.  But this is year three and he has five years to get things on track.  Last year's 8-5 record probably bought him an extra year at the end of that honeymoon.  So I figure he's got another 45-50 games to prove he's "the guy."  For me?  I love the guy and I think he's a very good recruiter, but jury's out on his Xs and Os.  I'd like to see us cook up some schemes that set us apart from other teams.  Everything is very straightforward and vanilla right now.  I want a little Rum Raisin, dammit.

Need more magic, Coach.

In closing, that game in Atlanta was a fucking travesty.  Pierce was right -- we deserve the right to have expectations beyond a drubbing like that.  I see a lot of really bad issues on the team right now.  But we pulled it out of the fire after a similar situation last season (after losing to Southern Miss and again after losing to NC State), and I have faith that this coaching staff and this team will find a way to get back to a bowl game in 2012.  I'll be looking for signs of life in Fort Worth on Saturday.

Go Hoos.  You don't get it bolded or a bigger font or centered.  Go beat TCU.  We're all behind you, dammit.

September 17, 2012

A Quick Look Back

I am plotting my own "sky is falling" / "what the fuck just happened?" / "Mike London might not be the one" post to go along with Pierce's.

But first, I want to take a quick look back at the 2011 season.  Let's re-live some of this, shall we?

William & Mary -- win, 40-3
Crushed a lowly 1AA opponent in the season opener.  Sound familiar?

@ Indiana -- win, 34-31
Squeaked out an ugly win in a game against a Big Ten opponent to whom we really should have lost.  Sound familiar?

@ North Carolina -- loss, 28-17
Never competitive in our ACC opener on the road against a fellow Coastal Division team.  Sound familiar?

Southern Miss -- loss, 30-24
TCU is going to obliterate us worse than this, but obvious parallels still exist.

Idaho -- win, 21-20 (OT)
This corresponds to the Louisiana Tech game.  We'll be lucky to eek out a win in that one like we did against the Vandals.

Georgia Tech -- win, 24-21
The breakthrough win of last season falls at the same point in the schedule as our trip to Durham this season. A win over Duke wouldn't be a breakthrough, but laws yes we'll need it just as much as we needed to beat GT in 2011.

NC State -- loss, 28-14
= Maryland in 2012.  I don't see a loss in that game.

@ Miami -- win, 28-21
= Wake Forest in 2012.  Should also be a win.  "Should."

@ Maryland -- win, 31-13
@ NC State won't be so kind in 2012.

Duke -- win, 31-21
Home against Miami, I could actually see the exact same score playing out.

@ Florida State -- win, 14-13
The miracle win corresponds to UNC at home on Thursday night.  I like it.

Virginia Tech -- loss, 38-0

Auburn -- loss, 43-24

I still like our chances at a 7-5 season.  If, IF, IF we get some things straightened out.