August 10, 2013

Fall Practice: Quick Notes on Others' Notes

The Wahoos started fall practice this week - and I was out of town for the three open practices - so you're getting nothing firsthand from me. But just in case some of our dear readers don't follow the regional sports reporters on the Twitter (I'm @pierceRX by the way), here's what I've taken away from the dozens of reports:

-Watford's going to be the starting QB and could potentially be officially named so as early as Monday (according to Coach's most recent press conference). This is exciting news for a few reasons: We have a legit and openly named starting QB (Hallelujah!). Plus, Watford taking control of the job implies that he's been performing well enough to receive such an appointment. While we wont know much about his running ability (he's really really fast) until live action against football players on other teams, this speaks well of his throwing ability and decision making. I'm a little curious about the coaches using Watford with the 1st team o-line while Lambert gets stuck competing supported by the (not as good) 2nd string o-line, but in Tom O'Brien I trust. 

-Smoke Mizzell is really fast, really shifty, and really good. Kevin Parks will be our starting RB, but fans should expect a whole bunch of Mizzell this year. As Smoke himself has said recently, he wants to have a similar effect as Miami's Duke Johnson did during his frosh year last year. Is it possible? Sure. I'd bet Smoke's numbers/opportunities wont be as high, though, only because Parks and Shepherd are good enough to play plenty (as they should be).

-Donte (no longer Donta') Wilkins should have plenty of impact as a true freshman. Others who should play plenty besides Donte and Smoke: Tyrell Chavis, Tim Harris, and at least one freshman offensive lineman. 

-Everyone seems very high on new offensive coordinator, Steve Fairchild's, offense. More trickeration? Pistol formation? A Wing? We'll see... but the most encouraging report I read mentioned that he designs 3rd down routes that actually reach to the sticks. FEW THINGS WOULD MAKE ME HAPPIER THAN THIS.

-Similarly, everyone's happy so far with the Jon Tenuta show on defense. As has been referenced ad nauseum, the new defensive coordinator favors a high-pressure blitz-happy defense. UVA fans should expect more ruckus on defense, hopefully more turnovers, and if we pray hard enough, no increase in broken plays. The players like playing with the aggressive style and I'm all for it (until it doesn't work).

-Jake McGee put on weight! He's learning to block!

-We have more talent all around on the team than we've seen in quite a while, in my opinion at least, but I wouldn't confuse this with anything resembling much depth - save a few positions (RB being the most notable).

-Kickers have been practicing their kicking. We have a bona fide special teams coach now, so let's hope for improvement in the coverage/return games as well.

THREE WEEKS TIL KICKOFF, Y'ALL.


Go follow @CavsJournal @WhiteysWorld365 @JerryRatcliffe @Wahoos247 @TheUVAFool right now for more goodness.

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