June 30, 2013

The Big Fish

Yesterday, Mike London reeled 'im in.

Andrew Brown is a consensus 5-star recruit.  He's rated 5-stars by literally every recruiting service out there.  He's the top DT prospect in the country, and he's a top-five overall prospect in the 2014 class.  We beat out serious bids by Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Nick Saban's Alabama to land Brown.  He's a defensive tackle with defensive end athleticism, and projects to the inside in the base defense and to end in flex packages or in nickel/dime looks.  He's potentially a program-changing recruit, and certainly a cornerstone for the future Orange Crush defense.  This is the highest-rated recruit we've landed since Ahmad Brooks in 2002.

It's a really big deal, especially when you consider the fact that we're adding him to the mix with all-world 5-star safety Quin Blanding.

Our recruiting (especially in the 757) is now in full-on snowball mode.  If Mike London can keep that snowball rolling and Tom O'Brien and friends can deliver the on-field coaching chops, we might actually, finally, mercifully be on the way up toward relevancy as a football program.

As a fan of Virginia Football, you have to celebrate the victories, and this is a major victory.


Welcome to the Wahoo Family,
Andrew Waverly Brown the Third!  AWB3!

June 27, 2013

Packlines: NBA Draft

Welcome to Packlines, our hard hitting analysis and general musings over all things basketball. Tonight is the NBA draft, and though there are no Hoos in the draft this year, that could change very quickly over the next few seasons. In this issue we will take a look at the Hoos currently on the roster who have NBA potential, and when we think they could be making the jump.

Joe Harris (SR)
Joe is a senior this season so obviously he will be making the jump after this upcoming season. In terms of skillset he clearly will be brought into a team to be a shooter. While his jumpshot will get him into the NBA, his other intangibles will be what keep him there. Every player coming out of this system will know how to play tough defense. This is going to be what will separate Joe from other players who can shoot. Typically the second round is reserved for more proven commodities in college, so I would expect Joe to be drafted early in that round.

Justin Anderson (SO)
While Joe will be viewed as the steady shooter destined for the second round, Justin Anderson will be viewed as the dynamic athlete that could develop into a star. This potential in my mind will vault him into the first round whenever he decides to come out. Justin, in my opinion, is going to be viewed to the untrained evaluator as a hustle defender with tremendous athleticism, based on our slow style. However I could very easily Anderson emerge from Joe Harris' shadow and become an absolute stud in 2014-2015 and dominate pace-adjusted statistics. JA should ride that success right to the NBA.

Mike Tobey (SO)
This is the kid that all Hoofans should keep an eye on this season. Tobey has a chance to really make a name for himself this summer and season and has something that few prospects coming out have. Height. Tobey is playing on the U-19 national team which will put him up against some of the best talent in his draft class. If Tobey holds his own on that team, increases his strength, and becomes a consistent low post scoring threat, he could easily become next year's Alex Len. While that is unfathomable for some of us to think about, I want you to try and remember how lost Len looked in the 2012-2013 season, and how unimpressive he was in certain games this year. And now he's being discussed as potentially going #1 overall. Size sells, and size with the kind of post game that Mike Tobey already has, sells very high. I think Mike has a good chance to rocket up some draft boards, and may think about making that jump after this season.

Those are the big three of guys that have high NBA potential at this point. That's not to say that other players won't make it, but at this point in their careers it's not 100%. Current guys on our roster like Malcom Brogdon, Evan Nolte, and Akil Mitchell, still have things to prove to scouts, but could easily become NBA prospects in the future.

A Historical Perspective on UVA Football

Now that baseball and the other spring sports are behind us, it's time to get back to our summer View from 515 series. Continuing with the easy-to-digest tidbits for the casual-yet-dedicated Hoo fans out there, we had a request for an overview of UVA's history as a football program. There's plenty to read in depth out there on the subject, and I've heard tale of an excellent DVD as well, but here's some important nuggets in my mind, including a frame of reference for the current team and the new ACC:

The Dates

1888 - Football is established at UVA

1892 - The South's Oldest Rivalry begins with UVA's first game vs UNC

1921 - UVA, with 13 other schools, forms the Southern Conference

1923 - The team officially becomes the Virginia Cavaliers

1931 - Scott Stadium opens

1953 - UVA joins the Atlantic Coast Conference

1984 - Following a 33 year self-imposed ban on postseason play, the Wahoos play in, and win, their first bowl game (Peach Bowl)

1989 - First ACC Championship

1990 - First #1 Ranking

1995 - Beat FSU for their first-ever ACC loss

2003 - Most recent victory over Virginia Polytechnic. Yeeeeeoooouch

The People

George Welsh
  • Longest tenured coach in team history (19 seasons '82-'00)
  • Led the team to their only 2 ACC championships, first 10 win season
  • Rebuilt the program from one of the worst in the country, creating a consistently competitive team the likes of which UVA hadn't seen since coach Art Guepe left in 1952
  • Adopting his son's design, started the use of the V-sabre logo

Bill Dudley
  • Usually regarded as the greatest UVA player of all time ('38-'41)
  • All-American and Maxwell Award winner
  • Led the nation in '41 in touchdowns, yards per play, and points scored

Matt Schaub
  • With apologies to Shawn Moore, the best quarterback in UVA history
  • Owns UVA records for game, season, and career passing yards
  • 2x Tire Bowl Champion (the greatest of all bowl games)

Thomas Jones
  • Owns the UVA single season and career rushing yardage records
  • 1999 All American
  • Also owns the UVA single-game all purpose yardage record (331)

Anthony Poindexter
  • Personally, my favorite UVA player ever and current assistant coach
  • 1998 All American, ACC Defensive POY
  • Hit people really hard. Really really hard. Also saved busloads of orphans by stopping oncoming trains
  • Helped tackled Warrick Dunn in the final and deciding play of the 1995 win over FSU


How does Virginia stand historically in the Atlantic Coast Conference? Not very well. Clemson and FSU dominate in number of championships (14 and 13, respectively) made even more impressive by the fact that FSU's first season in football wasn't until 1992. UVA's two conference championships tie the school with GT and Wake for the fewest championships, save those schools with zero (BC, Miami, Pitt, Cuse). Considering the recent history of the conference, I'd say UVA is solidly a middle of the road team for the conference. Often, the team has done well enough to play in ok/good bowl games and every so often beats a top team on national TV. However, second or third best in the coastal division isn't the consistency fans are looking for. So far, the Mike London era has been up and down in terms of success, but the future of Virginia football, whether with London as the head coach or not, should be better than the recent history. At least, that's what the team will hope to achieve.

This Season

So. After a glance at where we've been, in what context does that put this year's team? Unfortunately, there's such a ridiculous amount of uncertainty leading into fall practice, that it's really hard to say. With turnover at both coordinator roles, a new quarterback, and the loss of some key players, this team is going to be hard to predict. Vegas has put the over/under on wins at 4.5, which I think is where it should be. However, UVA tends to overachieve every few years, so we could very well win 7 games. Regardless, this season is unlikely to have much historical impact on the program - aside from what may be one of the best recruiting classes ever...but that's an article for another day.

June 24, 2013

The Northwestern Model

I hear a lot of people talking about the Stanford model, when asked how Virginia Football can/will/should pull itself up by the bootstraps. I think a better, more realistic parallel is to Northwestern... and this good piece from SI.com's Ben Glicksman susses that out nicely.

Virginia: The 757's ACC Team

June 20, 2013

Goodbye, Gandolfini

James Gandolfini wasn't the best actor, but in my opinion, he was one of the greatest.

In bringing Tony Soprano to life like no other actor could, Galdolfini paved the way for Dexter Morgan, Walter White, Nancy Botwin, Don Draper, Sawyer, Jimmy McNulty, Rick Grimes, Sarah Linden, and Daenerys Targaryen to flicker joyfully across our television screens over the course of the last decade.  Tony Soprano was the first and most important serious character in a golden age of serious characters in serious television, breaking the monotony of dry procedurals and laughless sitcoms.

I'll always love Tony Soprano, and I'll always remember James Gandolfini.

Incredible.  Still gives me goosebumps, six years later.

June 18, 2013

Status: Sour

There is a lot of stuff I should be talking about on this blog right now, and over the course of the last month or so.  Clifton Richardson transferring*, Phillip Sims flunking out of school**, slicing the 200 minute pie for basketball***, breaking down the end of the baseball season**** and looking ahead to next season*****, etc.  But the honest truth right now is that between the 4-8 football disaster, the basketball season ending with a home curb-stomping at the feet of Iowa, Virginia lacrosse going belly-up, baseball being thoroughly dominated on its home field by Mississippi State and their mouthbreathing yokel fans, and Phillip Sims making me look like a fucking assclown in just 10 short months... I'm running low on inspirato right now.

Perhaps the most painful thing to me is that I'm suddenly coming to grips with the concept of it being late May and early June, and instead of looking forward to football season, I'm just dreading it.

The newest blow to my confidence level was Sunday's news that defensive end recruit Jeremiah Clarke committed to UNC.  Clarke isn't a program-changing recruit, but he's a kid for whom we had been the clear leader since jump street; a kid who just two months ago at the UVA Spring Game, was asking anyone who'd listed where he could buy more UVA socks to add to his collection.

To me, Clarke-to-UNC was a real bummer.  Much moreso than a typical lost recruit.

I specifically took it as a bad sign, and it led me to find a few reasons to doubt Mike London's ability to close on recruits.

I'm an optimistic person. I work hard to stay happy and see the good in the world.  When it comes to Virginia football, I try to keep the faith, but losing Clarke to UNC hurts.  It was clear that we really wanted - and needed - this kid.  He was buying UVA socks two months ago, and now he's a Tarheel.

London's best asset as a head coach is the recruiting.  If we're not stacking up premier recruiting classes... then... ... ... ?

Not trying to be a jerk, just being pragmatic.  The coaching will be improved with the influx of experience on the staff.  But if the recruiting drops off to the "UVA average," then what exactly is London bringing to the table as our head coach?

I now officially worry that we've already lost too much traction for London to remain viable as our head coach.  We need good recruiting from Mike London to make up for some of his deficiencies. If we're not getting those recruiting results, then we might as well have an Xs and Os guy who doesn't recruit very well.  (Al Groh says hello.)

Anyway, that felt good to vent.  I don't want to do the clich├ęd "wait 'til next year!" thing with basketball and baseball just yet.  It's too painful, knowing how hollow it usually rings.  So instead, I will focus on what will actually make me happy as a UVA fan right now, and that is scouring the interwebs for potential head coaches if/when London gets canned after the 2014 season, and daydreaming ways to fix the ACC divisions and scheduling conventions.

So until this writer's block eases off and I have something getting me fired up to write, adios.  I'll be back soon.  And who knows?  Maybe this bitchpost uncorked some passion inside of me.  I guess we'll see.

* Doesn't really matter, KP was going to be our bellcow, anyway.  But now we're thin in the power back department, although I am excited to see the path cleared for more carries for Khalek Shepherd and Smoke Mizzell.

** Fuck it, dude.  Better to burn out than to fade away.  At least this un-muddles the QB situation a little bit.  But yeah... Phillip Sims can pound sand.  He had a chance to be great, but pissed it all down his leg.

*** Thanks, Mike.

Post coming soon... maybe.
The long and short of it: Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell throttle back to 28 mpg, hopefully keeping them fresh for March.  Justin Anderson emerges as our best player, but only gets 25 mpg in the process.  Anthony Gill explodes onto the scene, but tops out at 22 mpg in a crowded frontcourt. Brog works at the point for long stretches, but is eventually overtaken by the two freshmen and ends up getting his time at off-guard.  Mike Tobey rounds out the thickest part of the rotation, and the rest of the guys end up being role players.

**** We were outclassed in every facet of the game by the Bulldogs, and it hurt.

***** We're going to be good.  Damn good.

June 13, 2013

HEY! You should do this football

UVA just got done refinishing the Lambeth Colonnade. If UVA Football wants to do something cool, they should hold an open practice here. Bring back the old timers, have a little fan party, and most importantly drum up the excitement for the program. It's not far from McCue, or parking, and it would be an awesome idea.

June 11, 2013

Wahooze Turns Four!

Wow.  It's been four years now.  Four years, and 820 posts.  I have impressed myself!

I want to thank Mike and Pierce and all of our loyal readers and followers. It continues to be great fun and a much-needed outlet for yours truly.  Thank you for reading.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Curtain Falls...

Required reading from Jeff White:

June 10, 2013


Great season, defying all expectations. Won 50, 22-8 in the conference, took eight out of the ten ACC weekend series, went 2-1 in Durham, earned a national seed, swept our regional to make a super regional appearance. Arguably the third-best season in the history of UVA Baseball. This weekend sucked, but let's have some perspective.

Meanwhile, it's clear our arms were just gassed at the end of the season. A bunch of freshmen and a senior seeing his first truly complete season at the college level. The staff just crashed this weekend. The bats went a little cold against some phenomenal relief pitching from the Bulldogs, and MSU just hit like crazy. With the state of the two teams when we met for this super regional, we were simply outclassed. That much was clear and apparent. Still doesn't diminish our great season.

I come away from the weekend knowing a few things:

1) I am now a die-hard Ole Miss fan. Those duck dynasty yokels from MSU were some of the scummiest fans I've ever encountered. Like Virginia Tech fans dipped in cornmeal batter and deep fried, served with a side of tator tots and buttcheese.

2) We are going to be nasty next year. Sick-McNasty. We'll miss Kyle Crockett, but with Whit and Artie back, along with the arrival of Connor Jones and the further development of the rising sophomores... just filthy. George Ragsdale is ready to replace Grags at 2nd, and Joey Mac in for King at 1st, we're ready to roll. Omaha or bust.

3) As much as I hated the MSU fans, I was impressed with the way they traveled en masse to invade Charlottesville. Considering to the amount of fans UVA brought to Durham, I'd say we are on our way to cultivating a nice core of baseball fans, but we're still pretty far away from the level of support some of these SEC teams draw. Call it a work in progress, I guess.

Anyway, great season. Sad to see it end today, but it was still a great season. GO HOOS!

Bring on football.

June 7, 2013

Scouting Mississippi State

If you aren't reading Streaking the Lawn, then you should be.

This week, STL put out a few really good pieces scouting our opponent in this weekend's best-of-three super regional matchup: The Mississippi State Baseball Bulldogs.

Scouting the Bulldogs' Offense:
Mississippi State's Offense

Scouting the Bulldogs' Pitching:

Q&A with a Mississippi State Blogger:
Q&A with For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

Cliff's Notes:
  • Mississippi State hitting is maybe slightly above average for the super regional level.
  • Slugger Hunter Renfroe is 100% legit -- and went 13th overall to the Padres in yesterday's first round of the MLB Draft.
  • The rest of their lineup is frankly pretty ordinary.  Renfroe is to be feared, the rest of the lineup is manageable.
  • Overall, Mississippi State pitching is very, very good.
  • Their bullpen, especially, is the bee's knees.
  • The Bulldog starters can be a bit shaky, but long reliever Ross Mitchell is a beast.
  • Closer Jonathan Holder is also a beast.

The book on beating Mississippi State is to mitigate the damage Renfroe can do by shutting down the rest of the lineup and keeping runners off the bases.  Get into their starters early and put runs on the board so their bullpen can't come in and dominate the game.  Force them to burn bullpen arms early in the weekend so that they run out of steam later in the series.

Wahooze Prediction:
We've seen teams this good a million times in the ACC this season, and we've beaten them all.  The Bulldogs are not bringing anything special to the table other than Renfroe, Mitchell, and Holder.  We have more offense, and better starting options on the mound.  We'll be productive 1-9, and force them to come back from early deficits in each of the games we play against them.  Hoos win close games on Saturday and Sunday to advance to Omaha.

June 4, 2013

Future ACC Football Schedules!

It's really nice to see no freaking Maryland on this map!

I don't like that we'll only be playing Clemson, Florida State, Wake, and NC State once every six (or seven, or eight) years, but overall I think the ACC Office did a decent job with this.  Anyway, nothing earth-shattering here, but it's cool to be in the know, so BITCH BE COOL.

GREENSBORO, N.C.--The Atlantic Coast Conference Tuesday released an equitable 12-year schedule for the rotating crossover conference opponents for its schools in football which begins this fall.

The rotating crossover opponent is the one ACC team that changes every year on each ACC teams’ football schedules. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC this fall, each ACC team will play all six divisional opponents annually, one primary crossover team from the opposite division which does not change, and one rotating team from the opposite division which does change.

The league previously announced a future home and away schedule for divisional opponents and for each school’s primary crossover team as well as each school’s rotating crossover for 2013. Today’s announcement completes the conference schedule for ACC teams from 2014 through the 2024 season.

The criteria used to develop the schedule includes the following:
1. Each ACC school will play eight conference games annually, four at home and four on the road.
2. Each ACC school will play three home divisional games and three on the road.
3. Each ACC school will play one home cross divisional game and one road cross divisional game. When schools will play their permanent crossover opponent at home, they will play their rotating crossover opponent on the road and vice versa.
4. Within each division, all teams will either play all of their primary crossover games at home or away in a given year with all of the rotating crossover opponents all played at home or away.
5. Each ACC school will play all of their rotating crossover opponents twice during the 12-year rotation, once at home and once on the road, but not consecutively.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Atlantic Coast Conference released Virginia football’s 12-year schedule for its rotating division crossover conference opponents on Tuesday.

The rotating division crossover opponent is the one ACC team that changes every year on each ACC teams’ football schedules. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC this fall, each ACC team will play all six divisional opponents annually, one primary crossover team from the opposite division which does not change, and one rotating team from the opposite division which does change.

The league previously announced a future home and away schedule for divisional opponents and primary division crossover teams, as well as each school’s rotating division crossover for 2013. Today’s announcement completes the conference schedule for ACC teams from 2014 through the 2024 season. Virginia’s tentative schedule for each season from 2014 through 2024 is listed below.

Virginia’s 2013 rotating crossover for 2013 is Clemson and its primary crossover team for 2013 is Maryland. Louisville will take Maryland’s place as UVa’s permanent Atlantic Division primary crossover opponent in 2014.

Virginia’s ACC division crossover schedule through 2024:

2013 Clemson
2014 at Florida State
2015 Syracuse
2016 at Wake Forest
2017 Boston College
2018 at NC State
2019 Florida State
2020 at Clemson
2021 Wake Forest
2022 at Syracuse
2023 NC State
2024 at Boston College

June 3, 2013

Baseball Q&A Update

Did the UVA Baseball team win this weekend?

Yes! The guys beat Army 2-1, after Army's starter threw 347 pitches. They then won two games against the Fightin' Phoenix of Elon 2-0 and 11-3.

Did they look good winning?

Of course.

Seriously though, the starting pitchers (Waddell, coming off a rough ACCT start, and Silverstein) and bullpen were instrumental in each victory, particularly the close games. Obviously, the Hoos will need more offense to make a deep CWS run, so thankfully they broke out the bats in the 3rd game yesterday.

Who will they play in the Super Regional?

We don't know yet. Central Arkansas and Mississippi State play today to decide who moves on to the next round.

Will UVA be hosting the Super Regional?

Yes! But it hasn't been announced if those games will be Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon. That should happen soon.

Are we going to win the Super Regional?

Well, it's at home and we'll certainly be favored. I think most Wahoo fans should be very optimistic, but obviously anything could happen and whichever team they play will be coming off some big wins in the regional round.

Did the Hokies win their first-ever hosted regional?

No, they lost. Hahaha.