Okay, so I'm pretty much completely swamped with trying to get the family moved to Richmond, and don't have any free time for writing, so I'll need to take a short leave of absence from Wahooze. Maybe a week or so in addition to the spotty posting of the last few weeks, nothing extreme.
But before I go, here is the post-spring depth chart, released this past Monday. Some concentrated thoughts generated from perusal:
-- More >OR< at quarterback. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. For the record, my preference is officially Greyson Lambert, with a specific wildcat-type package for David Watford. My guess for what will actually happen is that Watford ends up starting the BYU game while Sims transfers away. While still on the record, I'll say that is probably a pretty good way for this to shake out, as Watford's elusiveness could help a potentially shaky o-line, and the removal of Sims sets up a more natural system of succession at the position... if Lambert can accept the QB2 role.
-- Clifton Richardson is third in the pecking order at running back. A lot of people are up in arms over that one. I am not. Richardson can't stay healthy, and Shepherd (listed second on the depth chart) brings more speed and natural receiving ability to the conversation. None of this probably matters, as [incoming freshman] Smoke Mizzell will be demanding touches in some sort of capacity this fall.
-- Luke Bowanko is kicking out from center to left guard, but will still make the line calls. This is a good deal all-around, as LuBo is a better guard than center. In fact, this sort of solidifies what looked like a problem area all spring (and frankly, all last season).
-- Coming from out of left field to take LuBo's vacated spot at center is redshirt freshman walk-on Jackson Matteo. (Read this piece from Jeff White on Matteo.) If Matteo is a legit starting center as a redshirt freshman, then it solves A LOT of problems. It's almost too good to be true, which is why the jury has to be out until the ammunition is live. But just imagine a four-year starter at center. That would be a good thing. And if Lambert wins the QB job, we could have a four-year starter receiving Matteo's snaps, also a very good thing. Anyway, London has always said the goal is to put the five best linemen on the field together, and if Matteo is one of those five, then I am excited about it. Slightly skeptical, but excited.
-- Sean Cascarano is back at guard... and we really need him to step up now. He's been toiling as a below-average blocker for a while now. Time for him to settle in as a senior. If he can, our line could be pretty good.
-- Game, set, match, Jay Whitmire is now our starting right tackle. I wasn't impressed with him in the spring game, but I know he's got talent and that the staff is pretty high on his potential.
-- The sum of the parts on the o-line still looks below-average to me. Every position other than left guard (if Bowanko doesn't have to move back to center) has question marks. If the 2013 season goes poorly, this will be the most likely culprit.
-- Cody Wallace has moved out to right tackle to back up Whitmire. Not sure how I feel about that, other than to say that he and Conner Davis need to figure things out fast, or they'll never again be starters on the Virginia o-line.
-- I suddenly feel pretty good about our tight end position. We know Jake McGee is a weapon, and Zach Swanson tasted extensive action at fullback and has had time to become vetted in the program. Add Rob Burns' physical presence to the mix, and I think we're cooking with gas. But yeah, that >OR< is kind of bullshit. McGee is the guy. Right?
-- Depth chart is as expected at wide receiver. I'll still be looking for #19 to take over #2's spot in the slot (despite this puff pastry piece from Jeff White), and for #80 to push his way into increased playing time. Canaan Severin seems like an obvious mid-career redshirt candidate to me, as well.
-- Depth at defensive tackle seems dangerously thin... until you consider the arrival of Tyrell Chavis and Donta Wilkins this summer. Both true frosh are ready to play and make an impact in the rotation.
-- No real surprises at defensive end or linebacker, and things seem to be settling in for the defensive front seven. My expectations are growing...
-- Fan favorite Wil Wahee has moved from safety to corner, and he seems to be ahead of C.J. Moore and Divante Walker in the pecking order. This will be an interesting development to monitor, as the #4 corner figures to see some playing time this season. Wahee is a hitter, not sure how good his cover skills really are.
-- It drives some people batty that Rijo Walker can't get past Brandon Phelps at free safety. It doesn't bother me, as I think Phelps has real upside in the Tenuta defense. Upside that Walker maybe lacks.
-- Kelvin Rainey has moved from corner to safety, and is listed as the primary backup to Ant Harris. Interesting. I need to see more from Rainey before I can form an opinion on this, but I suspect Walker is the first safety off the bench at either position.
-- I'm pulling hard fro Anthony Cooper, but he seems to be buried on the depth chart right now. I think the kid can play and deserves a chance at some playing time. He might need to earn it on special teams.
So there you have it. Other than Matteo, nothing terribly earth-shattering.
No on with the hiatus...