July 25, 2013

View from 515: How to make Yourself Seem Smart

You know that guy in your section that is talking about motioning receivers and under-utilization of pulling guards? Do you want to BE that guy this season? We've compiled some talking points that can give you some insights into the intricacies of Virginia football and what they mean for the program or player as a whole. Wielding your awesome new powers you can go pwn n00bs in whatever section you sit in, unless it's section 515.

Topic 1: Jake McGee and Running Plays
McGee is clearly one of our biggest offensive weapons heading into this season. But he can't take the next step toward becoming an elite tight end until he learns how to block. [New tight ends coach and sage coaching veteran] Tom O'Brien said going into this offseason that the biggest thing he would work with McGee on is gaining weight and developing his blocking. The weight part has been taken care of, McGee is now tipping the scales at 250 pounds. The blocking part remains to be seen. McGee played virtually exclusively on passing plays last season due to his blocking deficiencies, so it will be interesting to see if his blocking has improved enough to let him play every down. If not he remains a huge tell for the opposing defense when he comes on the field, which will end up being a huge detriment to his stats. Trust me if three drunk idiots in section 515 can figure out he only plays on passing plays, any defensive coordinator can as well.

Topic 2: Morgan Moses in Pass Protection
I am very bullish on Big Mo for the upcoming season, but there is no hiding his past performance. Last year on the right side it became painful to watch Moses get run past by smaller and faster defensive ends and linebackers. From all indications Moses has been putting in some serious work in the offseason, which includes getting a ton of reps against our very own speed-rush specialist Eli Harold. There will be an easy tell to see how confident the staff is in his ability to handle a rush end, and that is the placement of Kevin Parks in pass protection. If he is constantly occupied helping Moses keep the QB clean, it could severely handcuff Steve Fairchild and his ability to exploit the offensive weapons we have. However if Big Mo can hold his own, you could see Fairchild get more creative on passing downs, including calling more screens and swings out of the backfield.

Topic 3: Utilization of Unique Talents
The first two have been depressing topics, so let's get to a fun one. It is my view that this team has two very unique talents on this team in Eli Harold and Smoke Mizzell. It's going to be very interesting to see how Coach Tenuta and Fairchild scheme to create huge matchup problems. Ideas include motioning Smoke out of the backfield into the slot receiver position where he will hopefully get matched up with a linebacker, and having Eli stand up in a 3-4 scheme and get matched up with a tight end or running back. There is a reason these kids were rated so high coming out of high school, and it is their unique ability to play in multiple spots. Keep an eye on them as they move around the field to see how creative the staff can be.

Topic 4: Run Play Selection
The interior offensive line play we absolutely horrendous last season. Couldn't hold a block on a run, and couldn't stand ground on a pass. Dreadful. And it really derailed a lot of what we wanted to do on offense. Word out of camp is that Coach Fairchild is very good at calling plays that exploit a team's strength, and ignoring those that can expose weaknesses. Nowhere will this be more apparent than run play selection. IF you see a lot of power off-tackle runs and misdirections, and not a whole lot of straight up the gut man football, you know the interior line is struggling to hold up in run. Which actually brings us to our next point.

Topic 5: WR Routes
This team has a plethora of burners on the outside. Coupled with a potential dynamic receiving threat form the backfield in Smoke and a suspect interior line it will be interesting to see how Coach Fairchild approaches the passing game. Kendall has been pining for years now to incorporate more spread elements into our offense, and we may finally have the perfect mix of ingredients to do just that. Jennings and Terrell are players that excel when given the ball in space, while Smith and Scott are precise route runners that have speed to burn after the catch. Couple that with a mobile QB and a RB that can catch and you have a lot of weapons to be accounted for. There is actually nowhere this is going to be more beneficial then the red zone. Just as Tenuta's defense will bring more guys than you can block, Fairchild's offense could bring more guys than you can stop.

Topic 6: Tra Island (and DreQuan and Reese Island as well)
As mentioned above Tenuta brings a TON of pressure. And the key to that is the play of the corners. If we can consistently count on Nicholson, Hoskey, and Canady to lock up their assignment in press coverage, there will be enough time to get to the QB and force bad throws and interceptions. The way to tell this is watching Anthony Harris and Brandon Phelps. If they are coming on blitzes and playing center field instead of rolling to one side or another to help out a corner, you will know that Tenuta has faith in the corners' ability to handle themselves.

There you go! There are 6 topics to let you be that guy in your section. I'll throw in a few yelling tidbits here at the end.

  • First of all, don't boo! This is a pet peeve of mine. Nice move tough guy, go play a D1 sport.
  • Back to relevance. This is NOT the season to blame the secondary. They're going to get beat, and there are going to be big passing plays. That's a fact of life with this defense. If they get beat, it will most likely be because the pass rush isn't getting there in the time the corners need for this style to be effective. So when someone in your section is yelling at a DB, you can turn and destroy them with knowledge of jam coverage and overload blitzing. (Unless the DB gets smoked at the line, then it's their fault.)
  • You need to live with the short plays and interior runs. This team has had the most success running and using short passing plays to help set up play action and draw the defense in to tear the roof off on deeper plays. Be okay with a screen pass on 2nd and 8. Be okay with a 3 yard gain into the pile. It's all working toward something. We hope.

It should, hopefully at least, be a far less frustrating year this season. Coach London will be naming a starting QB early in camp and that person will be the starter for the foreseeable future. David Watford looks to be in the driver's seat moving forward, which could ultimately cause us to lose uber-QB Grayson Lambert to transfer. But if Lambert does transfer, it means Watford has really taken the job over, which is what we should all desperately hope for someone to do.

37 days till Kickoff!!!!!

Go Hoos!

July 18, 2013

ACC Bowl Games thru 2019:

GREENSBORO, NC – Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced today partnerships with seven football bowl games which will be effective for the six years of postseason play following the 2014 through 2019 seasons.

​​The seven agreements include the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, which was announced on June 25, and are in addition to the previously announced 12-year partnership with the Discover Orange Bowl.

​In all, the league has reached agreements with the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando; the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas; the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.; the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn.; the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York City.

​Additional bowl partnerships for the same time frame are expected to be announced in the near future, as the conference will have 15 teams in its postseason mix beginning in 2014 with Notre Dame joining the league's postseason options.

​The new agreements, all six years in length, feature increased net financial revenues to the Conference, reduced ticket obligations, added flexibility in selection of teams to create the best possible matchups and avoid repeat appearances, prioritized geographic regional proximity for better fan access, additional new market and bowl game possibilities for ACC teams and a greatly increased presence in bowl games in Florida.

​“We are extremely pleased to announce relationships with this outstanding collection of future bowl partners,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "Each of these premiere bowls is recognized for its excellence, and they collectively combine to offer our 15-member league more flexibility, improved financials, marquee match-ups and attractive destinations.”

​The ACC will once again send its champion, if that team is not part of the College Football Playoff, to the Discover Orange Bowl in South Florida. If the Discover Orange Bowl is hosting one of the semifinal games of the College Football Playoff, the ACC champion will play in one of the other host bowls of the playoff – the Fiesta Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Bowl – if not playing in a semifinal game.

​The Russell Athletic Bowl will have the first selection of ACC teams after the Discover Orange Bowl and the College Football Playoff. As part of that agreement, an ACC team will also play in the Capital One Bowl whenever the Discover Orange Bowl hosts a Big Ten team to play the ACC champion.

​The league will be returning to the Russell Athletic Bowl for the 14th consecutive season after the 2014 campaign when the new agreements go into effect. The league has posted a 9-3 mark in the game.

​After the College Football Playoff, Orange Bowl, Capital One Bowl (when applicable) and Russell Athletic Bowl, selections will be made from a pool which has the conference sending four teams to the Hyundai Sun Bowl, the Belk Bowl, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and either the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl or the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl.

​The ACC will be returning to the Hyundai Sun Bowl for the fifth consecutive year. The Hyundai Sun Bowl, tied with the Orange and Sugar Bowls as the nation’s second-oldest bowl game, will be holding its 80th annual contest this year.

​The conference will also be headed to the Belk Bowl, which will be played in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., for the 13th consecutive year in 2014. The conference has been a part of every Belk Bowl game since its inception in 2002, including its predecessors: the Continental Tire Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

​The league will also renew its agreement with the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, a relationship that began in 2005. In the six-year cycle beginning after the 2014 season, the ACC will send a team to Nashville for the Music City Bowl three times and will send a team to the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl game three times. This agreement allows the ACC to return to the Gator Bowl, a game in which it participated annually from 1995 through 2008, and offers increased options to maximize bowl destinations for teams and fans.

​And, as previously announced, the ACC will be sending a team to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl for the first time after the 2014 season, though new member Syracuse played in both the 2010 and 2012 bowls. The New Era Pinstripe Bowl, which is operated by the New York Yankees, will be in its fourth year of existence this year. Played annually in Yankee Stadium, the game has seen its attendance increase in each of its first three years. Affiliation with the game allows the ACC an increased branding presence in the nation’s largest market and gives its schools and fans a chance to take part in a series of events showcasing the metropolitan New York area.

My thoughts on all of these bowl tie-ins...
  • CFP -- Hoping the ACC puts a team into the bracket more often than not, but right now the only programs on that type of footing are Florida State and Clemson... and both of them enjoy clowning around and taking terrible losses from time to time.
  • Orange -- It's a good ACC bowl affiliate.  It's the right ACC bowl affiliate.  But how often will partial-member Notre Dame snake into that berth?  I guess that remains to be seen.
  • Capital One -- Whenever we get an ACC/B1G matchup in the Orange, the ACC sends a team to the Capital One?  Izzatright?  Kinda weird, but it's a prestigious bowl to be able to backdoor.
  • Russell Athletic -- Meh.  It'll always be the Blockbuster CarQuest MicronPC Champs Sports Tangerine Bowl to me.  Orlando is a fine bowl destination, but having the first choice after the playoff and Orange Bowl is weird to me.  I kinda miss the Gator and Peach Bowls in that regard.  But kudos to the Tangerine for elevating its stature within our conference.
  • Sun -- Aka "The Georgia Tech Invitational."  Seriously though... El Paso?  The Sun Bowl has a nice 80-year history, but it's a weird tie-in for the ACC if you ask me.  Kinda sticks out like a sore thumb.
  • Belk -- Love this one.  Easy trip to Charlotte for most of the fanbases in the ACC, and it's usually an intriguing matchup.
  • Pinstripe -- I'm excited to see this one added to the mix.  I'm not so much of a traditionalist to demand that all bowl games be played in warm weather climes.  NYC for a bowl game?  Sign me up!  I'm sure the Pinstripe will be trying to eyeball BC/Cuse/Pitt in most seasons, however.
  • Music City -- Love having an ACC bowl game in Nashvegas.  It really should swap spots with the Sun Bowl in the pecking order, though.
  • Gator -- I think the Gator's biggest problem is Jacksonville.  Nobody - NOBODY - wants to go there.  It's nice to keep the ACC dialed in to its history with this game, but JAX is the reason this game is backsliding fast down the bowl game hierarchy.

My thoughts on the benefits of the new bowl structure as pimped by the ACC...
  • Increased Net Financial Revenues -- Good... GOOD...
  • Reduced Ticket Obligations -- As a UVA fan, I say thank God.
  • Added Flexibility in team Selection -- As a UVA fan, I say get ready to see us passed over for different teams on the reg.  Increasing the flexibility is bad for us, in general.  Why?  Our fans don't travel to bowl games, and TV sets don't flicker on to watch us play.  Sure, all of that could change, but we are currently clearly behind the following ACC teams in bowl game cachĂ©: Florida State, Clemson, UNC, Miami, VT, Louisville, Georgia Tech, NC State, and Pitt.  That means you need to be prepared to see any of those nine teams to leapfrog us in the bowl selection process, thanks to this added flexibility.  (For example, the Belk Bowl chooses 6-6 UNC over 8-4 UVA.  Trust me on this, it sucks.)
  • Greatly Increased Presence in Florida Bowl Games -- Meh.  It's an expensive trip from Virginia to Florida, for the most part.  I'd do it for the Orange Bowl.  Not so sure about the Capital One or Russell Athletic.  Instead of all of this focus on Florida, I might have liked to see the ACC make a stronger play to stay affiliated with the Peach Bowl [in Atlanta], Military Bowl [in Annapolis], or work to create its own bowl game, like the new American Athletic Conference is trying to do.

Actually, that's pretty interesting.  WHY isn't the ACC doing this?  Better yet, WHERE could they plop down their own bowl game?

This shows the sites of the current bowl games.

I think a game in Philly would make sense.  Ditto Boston.  DC proper?  Baltimore?  Raleigh?  Or hey, how about Hampton Roads?


Can't wait to see UVA vs. Northwestern in the Inaugural 2020 Virginia Beach Admiral Bowl.

And if you hate all of these bowl games... well... get bent.

July 17, 2013

Movies I Love: 2013 Running Backs

For the 2013 running back corps, the movie I love is...

If you haven't seen it, you seriously need to.  It's great.

Okay, so in the movie, Megamind is a villain who accidentally upsets the order of things and is essentially forced into the role of hero.  For the 2013 version of Virginia Football, I think we have our own unlikely hero, and that player is [junior] Kevin Parks.

Being good has its perks.

Longtime readers of the blog know that I've been a longtime fan of KP.  An excerpt from Last Summer's Bowling & Burgers...

"I continue to be crazily high on Kevin Parks. In his redshirt freshman season, the guy was able to rack up 709 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns with a mesmerizing blend of speed, burst, and unexpected power. He was wildly productive in high school (10,895 yards and 158 touchdowns, that's over TEN THOUSAND yards and ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FREAKING EIGHT touchdowns -- I never, ever, ever get tired of bringing that up), and is proving to be wildly productive in college, despite the lack of eye-popping measurables of any particular variety. I just love this kid and am unbelievably delighted to have the chance to watch him play for UVA for another three seasons."

KP went on to lead the team in rushing with 765 yards and 5 touchdowns during the dismal 2012 season.  He also added 189 yards on 24 receptions, good for 6th on the team.  KP is an all-purpose, workhorse type of back, and he'll be the focal point of the offense in 2013.  He's the main character of this movie, too small and too slow to be a real hero, but a real hero nonetheless.  He's Megamind to a tee.  And my guess is that he'll save our Metro City this season.

A quick scouting report on KP:
  • Low-slung runner with a low center of gravity
  • Runs with great balance and body control, excels at "slipping through cracks"
  • Accelerates to top speed quickly
  • Lacks elite-level breakaway speed
  • Runs with deceptive power and can break arm tackles, but lacks size to "push the pile"
  • Quick feet pose problems for bigger/slower linebackers
  • Decent hands, but not a natural receiver
  • Follows blockers, reads holes
  • Bellcow type of runner, whose small frame could lead to injury issues
  • Off-the-chart intangibles, work ethic, leadership potential, etc.
In my mind's eye, I see KP as a smaller version of Rudi Johnson.  (This is a compliment to KP, if you weren't sure.)

Want more KP?  Parks is Ready to Rumble

Note: KP has the second-most rushing yards in UVA history after two seasons.  His 1,443 yards rank only behind Wali Lundy's 1,755.  If KP stays healthy, he could really dent the record books here at Virginia.

And speaking of Wali Lundy... that's another decent comparison.  KP's game mirror's Lundy's in a lot of ways.  He's a grinder.

Megamind's "hired muscle" is the alien-fish-in-a-bowl-piloting-a-robot-body Minion.  He's essentially Megamind's sidekick / henchman / toadie / best friend.  UVA football's Minion is [sophomore defensive tackle-turned-fullback] Vincent Croce.

We don't really know much about Croce, other than the fact that he's a defensive tackle who couldn't keep enough weight to actually play DT.  So he has moved to fullback.  It's not the odd fit that you'd imagine, however --- Croce played a lot of tight end at the prep level, so he's not new to blocking.  If he can really embrace the position change and use some of that old school d-line violence in his role as (likely) starting fullback, he could be the best darn sidekick KP could ask for.

Metro Man
If Superman and Elvis had a baby, it'd be Metro Man.  In the movie, he is Megamind's arch-nemesis, but fakes his own death in order to "retire" from being a super hero.  As such, he abandons Metro City.  Pretty obviously, our version of Metro Man is [Liberty's new star running back] Clifton Richardson.


Conceptually, I like the idea of the high road, but I wouldn't be being me if I didn't drive through the mud a little bit and take a few potshots.  This is a fan blog, after all... and lawd knows I'm a passionate fan.  Potshots:

1) Richardson - for all of his talent (and there is a LOT of it) - just couldn't seem to get or stay healthy.  Like a fabergĂ© mack truck.  Like a hard-charging, 6-foot, 225-pound china doll.

2) I hate it when players transfer because of their spot on the depth chart.  Let the testicles descend and fight for your spot, bro.

3) UVA fans like to say that Richardson was our most talented running back.  That maaaay be true... unless you consider toughness and determination as components of "talent," which at the running back position you absolutely can and should.

Add it up, and it's a frustrating situation.  Hate it when good players, potential impact players, transfer away.  But just like Metro Man stepping aside to allow Megamind to be the star, so slinks Clifton Richardson away to Lynchburg to toil in the smalltime with the Liberty Freaking Flames.  KP's Megamind steps forward to defend the city.

Meanwhile, if you think our luck with attrition at the running back position is bad... well... you NEED to check out the last decade-plus of bad luck at Iowa.  The totality of their bad luck is insane.

Hal Stewart / Tighten
Tighten is the super villain of the movie, the rookie super hero turned sociopath, and the main challenge to Megamind's starring role.  So emerges [true freshman] Smoke Mizzell.

I'm not going to say anything about Smoke, other than giving you these and letting you watch them...

So yeah, Smoke is going to play on special teams, hopefully giving us the weapon in the return game we've lacked since Alvin Pearman.  He'll also get plenty of snaps from scrimmage, likely being the primary source of pressure behind KP.  He's going to be good, as a true freshman.  If you need a reason to be excited about this season, make it seeing Smoke's first season in orange and blue... even if he is KP's villain in this movie.

"Is there some kind of nerdy supervillain website where you get Tesla coils and blinky dials?"
  • [junior running back] Khalek Shepherd -- He's fast, I'd say he's sleek (that felt like a fun word to use here), and rumor has it that he has good hands (when his facemask doesn't get in the way --- ziiiiiiiiiing!)  He'll probably open the season as KP's backup, and I bet he gets plenty of carries/touches/targets in 2013.  But the bottom line here is that I think he's the #3 option behind KP and Smoke, even if he's maybe one of the better #3 backs in college football.
  • [redshirt freshman running back] Kye Morgan -- He didn't impress me in the spring game, and is likely destined for bench duty or maybe some special teams work this season.  He's got plenty of time to develop, but 2013 likely isn't his time to shine.
  • [true freshman fullback] Connor Wingo-Reeves -- Probably a redshirt, but he brings the unique skillset of being a fullback all the way, and knowing it, and embracing it.  HERE's what I had to say about him in February.

So there you have it. Our 2013 backs: Megamind.

July 16, 2013

2013 College Football Mock Draft

Pretty Cool:

125 picks, no UVA players.  That's pretty telling.  

Meanwhile, not sure I'm buying Logan Thomas at pick #88... unless Northern Illinois is going to play him at tight end.  But Thomas was the only VT player in the draft, so that's good.

Overall, I think this is a fun read.  Not very scientific, but Staples is one of the best in the biz.  It's worth taking a look at this exercise, especially if you're both a draft geek and a college football nerd... like me.

Jadeveon Clowney, for my money, is one of the best college football players of all time.

July 11, 2013

Summer Orientation - How to be a UVA Football Fan

How to be a UVA Football Fan

Summer orientation for this year's First-Year class has begun this week on Grounds. Flocks of name-tagged future Hoos and their families have begun to wander through the purple shadows looking for the nearest Starbucks and asking things like, "Is that building really named Balz?"

Well, welcome little Wahoos. I'm sure your orientation guides will set you up well for the fall - remember your UVAisms, never forget that Newcomb > OHill, and make sure the friend you make today and you register for a class together or you'll never see them again. To complete your preparations for joining us in August, Wahooze is here to help you with one of the most important lessons you could ever learn: How to be a UVA football fan. So, sit back, relax, grab a non-alcoholic Zima, and prepare to join one of the more... er... interesting... fan experiences college football has to offer.

Step One - Know the Basics

Certainly, having been accepted to Mr. Jefferson's University, you're already someone who expertly prepares for the challenges of the unknown. You already know our colors are Blue (Navy) and Orange. You've probably heard Cavaliers and Wahoos thrown around interchangeably. Keep in mind these other tidbits and you'll have a good foundation for starting your acclimation:

Coach: Mike London. Nice guy. Used to be an assistant coach here - has also won a D1-AA (FCS) national championship as head coach at Richmond. Jury's still out on whether he'll succeed here.

Quarterback: David Watford or Greyson Lambert. We'll find out sooner or later. Or not.

Greyson Lambert looks the part - but could be 2nd string.
Stadium: Scott Stadium. Pretty. There's a grassy hill. You'll probably watch games from it or the adjacent student section. You can't bury kegs in it anymore, but students used to.

Mascot: Cavman. He has an intro video. He fell off his horse once. Little kids love him. He's no Sabre the HorseHippoDragon

Acceptable Cheers: Any variation of Go Wahoos/Hoos, etc... Never have I heard someone yell "Go Cavaliers!" I don't recommend it.

Fight Song: Not really. When we score we sing the Good Ol Song (video below). It's now what you sing on New Year's instead of Auld Lang Syne. 

Step Two - Know the context

I've written a little on the historical background of UVA football, but you should probably get a good idea of how the school, students, and alumni approach football here. Firstly, we're not that good. We've gone 4-8 two of the past three seasons. However, we've been good before and there's a lot of hope surrounding Mike London and his ability to turn great recruiting into great results on the field. In my opinion, UVA is more of a basketball school than a football school - with a large focus on non-revenue sports as well. In the Director's Cup, the measurement for overall athletic programs, UVA always does well, as our lacrosse, tennis, swimming, soccer, and rowing teams regularly challenge for national championships. The basketball team seems set for consistent excellence with Tony Bennett at the helm, as does the women's team.

Football, however, will always be the most important sport in this country (Well, at least until society eventually deems its inherent dangers unacceptable). To the UVA community? Eh, not so much. Football here is relatively well-funded by the athletic foundation and its donors, so don't think it isn't a major focus in the community. However, while sort of being in the South, UVA (and Charlottesville, for sure) doesn't share the same fanatic obsession that many other schools in the region do. Scott Stadium wont sell out unless the team wins games and most University decisions that affect football are made with a "that's nice, let's hope they do well" motivation than a "THIS SCHOOL MUST WIN ITS AMATEUR FOOTBALL MATCHES AT ALL COSTS" mentality. This isn't to say folks don't care. We've got new facilities, a beautiful stadium, an overpaid coach, and you'll see more Orange and Blue around Grounds on Saturdays than your brain can handle. 

Frankly, it's nice to do things a little differently, a very UVA-ish way to approach it, but fans still want wins. I think UVA has a nice mix of caring about football (thousands of people still shell out hundreds of dollars to watch a usually-underachieving product) and keeping the overall importance of higher education. I could write at great length about the hypocrisy of the NCAA, but for now, it is what it is* and I appreciate how UVA approaches it. This lack of maniac ambition will always keep the ceiling for on-the-field performance lower than other teams, though.

*Al-Grohism Yall!

Step Three - Gameday Experience

August 31st approaches! 

How does one properly attend the game?
If it's a noon game, you're going to need to set an alarm, not just to get there by noon, but to get your requisite tailgating in as well. Being 18, you'll need to grab your ginger ale sans bourbon, fried chicken and such at any of the tailgates on the Lawn, behind Clark, or surrounding the stadium. 

But before I leave my dorm room - what to wear? 
You may surprised that this is a heavily debated, yet unimportant, topic. Tradition at the school dictates that you adorn your preppiest jacket/tie or dress/pearls before heading over. Logic would say an orange t-shirt and something weather-appropriate would be a more sensible outfit. You could also dress up like Thomas Jefferson. Do what you want. Those who care either way are missing the point.

Wasn't joking.

Where do I sit?
You can sit in the student section, in between the marching band and the hill. Or you can sit on the hill. The hill has the advantage of usually being less crowded than the bleachers, but the disadvantages of not having a good view of the videoboard and plenty of mud. Ladies, I don't recommend traversing the hill in heels.

How do I sneak booze in?
Er... I... have no idea. Ask someone in person. You'll figure it out.  Editor's Note: Here's a clue: airplane bottles.

What else should I do beforehand?
Hydrate. In fact, hydrate while you're there as well. It'll be plenty hot out during the early season games. A thousand shames upon your family if you fall victim to the ever-embarrassing act of passing out on the hill.

What do I do?
While certainly many treat it is a social event, you should probably pay some attention to the game while it's going on. Cheer when the good guys do well. Boo the refs no matter what. Sing the Good Ol Song when we score. Show up in time for kickoff, dammit.

What should I not do?
Keep the obscenities to a minimum, that type of language is reserved for Kendall. Plus, we're classier than that. Obey the decision the section in which you're sitting has made concerning standing v sitting. Don't boo 18-22 year old amateur student athletes, except Maryland players.

Step Four - Stay Informed

For keeping up to date on all things UVA sports, I recommend the following:

For fan opinions:

For recruiting info:

So, there you have it. You're now completely prepared to study, return in the fall, and be an expert UVA football fan. It may not be as rewarding these days as rooting for Alabama, but it's a great thing to be. Isn't that right, Mike Tobey?


July 10, 2013

Goodbye, Sweet Prince

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia men's basketball head coach Tony Bennett announced Wednesday (July 10) that sophomore guard Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.) is leaving the Cavaliers' program.

"Taylor has informed me that he has decided to transfer from our program," Bennett said. "His main reason is that he wants a bigger role as a player at another school. His release will be granted and we wish him well."

The 6-3 Barnette averaged 2.6 points and shot 43.2 percent (19-of-44) from 3-point range in 26 games during his freshman season at UVa in 2012-13. Barnette, who started two games for the Cavaliers, tallied a career-high 13 points in a 68-50 win over St. John's in the NIT second round.

"I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by Coach Bennett and his staff," Barnette said. "I will miss all of the great people I have had the opportunity to live life with this past year, especially all of my awesome teammates."

I have some mixed feelings here.

1) Frustrated that we can't seem to hold on to players, especially role players.

2) Excited that TB now has the "mad money" of an extra scholie to play around with.

3) Relieved that Teven Jones is now solidly part of the 4-guard rotation. I think he's probably much less of a flight risk today than he was yesterday.

4) Confident that losing a player that projected to be - at best - the 10th man in the rotation this upcoming season won't affect us too terribly much.

5) Slightly concerned about this continuing trend of attrition. Tony has overseen the premature losses of Brandenburg, Jamil Tucker, Landesberg, Spurlock, Jeff Jones, Baron, Regan, Harrell, James Johnson, Jesperson, and now Barnette. That's a lot. I'm not prepared to say that's too much, but that's a lot.

July 8, 2013

Movies I Love: 2013 Quarterbacks

Five years I've been doing this.  Five years.  The presentation has undergone many changes, but the message is the same -- discuss the position group in advance of the season.

Usually, the effort is spiced liberally with optimism.  But I think I've finally reached "over the hill" status as a UVA football fan (see also: beaten dog syndrome), so I'm cutting back on the optimism and trying to use a bit more realism.  The embarrassment over Phillip Sims has affected me in profound ways.

Anyway, let's kick this thing off.  I'm embracing my laziness over intros and explanations.  Sink or swim in this bitch, people.  It's not that damn hard to figure out (if you've seen the movie).  (If you haven't seen the movie, it'll still make sense on a macro level, but it won't be as good.  Make it a priority to see the movie, damn you.)

First up, we're talking about the 2013 quarterbacks.

And the movie I love is:

Randall 'Pink' Floyd
This is a projection of what I think will happen, not necessarily what I want to happen.  Reading the tea leaves, I think [redshirt sophomore] David Watford opens the season as our starting quarterback.

Pretty sure he completed a nice play action bomb to Tim Smith on this play.

David Watford pros:

  • Can run.
  • Has a cannon.
  • Should be good on read option / bootleg / rollout type plays.
  • Will have "earned" the job.
  • Has generated buzz for his work ethic and leadership during the redshirt season, spring practice, and offseason.  The team will probably rally around him.
  • Opens a 757 quarterback pipeline, allowing for easy flow from Watford in 2013, '14, '15 to [then-sophomore] Corwin 'Turtle' Cutler in 2016.

David Watford cons:

  • Lack of accuracy on short/intermediate throws.
  • Has a sometimes-weird sidearmish delivery (see the photo, above).
  • Even though he can run, I don't think he has much "wiggle."  Which is to say he's fast but maybe not elusive.
  • Skinny frame, and if he runs, he will absorb some hits.  Have to worry about durability here.
  • Reminds me a lot - TOO MUCH - of Jameel Sewell.
  • What happens to Golden Boy Greyson Lambert if Watford wins the starting job?  Easy to see a flight risk there.

Add it up, and it's a meh sort of option.  Watford could be pretty good, or he could be mediocre.  His wheels and demonstrated toughness / leadership creates a relatively high floor for the situation, which I like.  I also like how a mobile QB works with what figures to be a shaky offensive line.  I think the 2013 offense as a whole would benefit from Watford under center, as it opens up pages of the playbook that can help cover a so-so OL.  And obviously, a player who can scramble away from pass rush pressure is a good thing for an offensive line that will allow pressure to leak through.

What I really don't like here is the potential impact it would have on Lambert, and the potential for a rhythm-robbing injury to Watford -- like we saw way too many times with Sewell.

Like with Randy Floyd's indecision on whether to sign that stupid piece of paper, I'm having trouble signing off on giving my full blessing to David Watford as our starting quarterback for this season.  Pink likes playing football to get laid, just like I want to watch UVA football win so I don't want to kill myself.  I guess ultimately Watford is probably our best option for 2013, just like agreeing to the coach's wishes is ultimately the best decision for Pink.

Mitch Kramer
The young freshman, just trying to dip his wick.  This is [redshirt freshman] Greyson Lambert.

This just looks RIGHT.

Lambert is tall, statuesque, live-armed, and capable of making all the throws.  He was recruited by Nick Saban.  He says the right things, does the right things, and looks the part of a Golden Boy.  But he lacks experience and he lacks Watford's x-factor mobility.  He also lacks ties to the recruiting scene in the state of Virginia.  So my best guess is that he's the backup to Watford this season, at least until after he takes his licks and comes back to dump a bucket of paint on O'Bannion (read also: relieves Watford and produces against a tough opponent, like say BYU or Oregon, or maybe Pitt -- that timing seems right).

As much as I hate Mitchie in the movie, I love Lambert's upside for UVA football.  It's probably my preference for him to be named the starting quarterback in training camp, and then proceed through a career as a four-year starter at UVA, during which time he goes on to shatter school records, win bowl games, throw perfect rainbow bombs for touchdowns, bang chicks, and be awesome.  But this is Virginia Football, so I'm being pessimistic about all of that.  I want to see Lambert start, but I'm guessing he won't.


Party at the Moon Tower
Mike and Pierce (and probably any/every other UVA football fan) will kill me for saying this, but I think the best option for the 2013 season, in an attempt to win now and also secure future success, is to go with a two-QB system...

"UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH..."  I know, I know, but hear me out.

What I'm talking about is a two-QB system, NOT like the blatant dumbassery London employed with Mike Rocco and Watford/Sims the last two seasons.  Instead, I want Lambert starting and handling all of the regular quarterback stuff, with Watford coming in for special short yardage and goal line packages in which he runs that shit he'll be naturally good at running -- the boots and scampers and rollouts and read option stuff I mentioned above.

To me, that's the best of both worlds for this season.  Take advantage of the two very different - yet complementary - skill sets.  Kevin's dad busted the party?  Just go to the Moon Tower.

"Air Raid, you little freshman bitches!"

These guys won't play, unless our Titanic hits the iceberg.  In which case, the stupid boat is going to sink, anyway.  But that's a different movie, sorry.

  • [redshirt freshman] Matt Johns -- I know next to nothing about this guy, other than the fact that he was a lightly-recruited 3-star guy out of PA and part of the 2012 class that included the more buzzworthy Greyson Lambert.  That Johns stayed committed to UVA once Lambert verballed tells me Johns is either a fighter or content to be a backup.  Still, I like the video I've seen of him, and I get the feeling that he has a nice amount of upside.
  • [true freshman] Brendan 'Whitey' Marshall -- No doubt, he's redshirt bound.  HERE's what I had to say about him back in February.
  • [true freshman] Corwin 'Turtle' Cutler -- He's prepping.  We'll see him in 2014.

So there you have it.  Our 2013 quarterback situation: Dazed and Confused.

July 4, 2013

2013's Mixed Metaphor!

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

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

In 2011, the mixed metaphor was football and Monopoly, with the incredible and inspiring Monopoly Properties series.

In 2012, the mixed metaphor was football and bowling, with the fantastic and compelling Bowling & Burgers series.

2013's mixed metaphor for my mind-numbingly brilliant position-by-position football preview is going to be... drumroll... MOVIES I LOVE!

Still gotta let this broast in its own juices a little bit, but it's coming together quickly.

Get your nostrils flared, Wahooze Nation.  I'm about to unleash something stinky.

July 2, 2013

Andrew Brown Video

Andrew Brown is best know for his "violent hands." If you were curious what that looked like here is a peek.

The speed and power of Brown's hands makes him almost unblockable. If the hands are neutralized it turns the offensive lineman into a slightly more mobile tackling dummy. Brown's speed and agility do the rest. He's a talent we haven't had in a while folks, enjoy him!

Brown is currently at The Opening, the Nike sponsored national HS combine. Those videos are against Corey Martinez, a 4-star offensive lineman from Tampa who is predicted to ultimately sign with Florida State. Impressive show against some top talent. 

Videos shot by 247Sports

July 1, 2013

Virginia Football 2013 Overview

"Easy-to-digest tidbits for the casual-yet-dedicated Hoo fans" is not really my cup of tea, I'll admit.  I think it's a noble cause, and I'm ecstatic that Pierce is tackling (pun intended!) the effort here on Wahooze.  But for me, the fun of writing about this stuff lies in the nooks and crannies of superfandom, in the fat folds under the spare tire earned by eating at the painful, heartbreaking buffet of Virginia Football.  There's not much that is easy to digest on that fucking buffet, believe me.

That being said, I recently stumbled across this gem from USA Today.  I think it's the most fair, level, well-written overview of our team that I've seen this offseason.  So it's definitely worth your click and worthy of a read.

(And yes, I do plan to write actual posts and not just link articles all the time.  Let me work through my current time crunch, you greedy bastards.)

Morgan Moses (and the UVA o-line) holds the key to a successful season.

Note: USA Today rates us #78 out of 125 (I think) FBS-level football teams.  That's basically the bottom third of the FBS, and surely the bottom fourth or fifth of the power conference [SEC, B1G, Big XII, Pac-12, ACC] teams.  Not awesome.  But honest, and probably spot-on in the assessment.

Anyway, this season figures to be an adventure, and we'll watch it unfold from our seats in section 515.  Go Hoos.