September 22, 2013

Who the HELL is Daniel Hamm?

Not many people saw it, but those in attendance at yesterday's 49-0 ass-whupping of VMI laid witness.

Daniel Hamm, true freshman running back, walk-on from Fort Chiswell, 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, 21 carries for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Keydets.

"Yeah, but it was against VMI," you'll say, with an arrogant skeptical tone.  While that's true, if you were there to see #22 run, you saw exactly what I saw: nice speed, good balance, deceptive power, the ability to find the hole and hit it hard... and best of all, devastating cutback ability.

My friends, I think we have found ourselves a player here.  Yesterday, Hamm was everything I hoped Smoke Mizzell would be.  With Smoke (and also Khalek Shepherd) missing the game with "mild ankle sprains," it was Hamm who answered the bell as Kevin Parks' understudy, and Hamm was the man who handled the workload once the score of the game got out of hand for VMI.

The newsbeat has taken notice.

Maybe this was the best game of his career, and maybe we never hear from this kid again.  But Hamm passed the eyeball test, and then some.  He got carries over [scholarship running back] Kye Morgan, and frankly, looked much better than Morgan out there on the field.

At the very least, Hamm has earned futrure considerations.  And this morning, if I'm Kye Morgan, I might just be thinking about transferring.

Meanwhile, about a week ago I offered up a list of things I wanted to see against VMI.  Let's revisit that list.

-- A win.  CHECK.

-- A win by 40+ points.  CHECK.  49-0 final score.

-- 250+ yards rushing.  CHECK.  We finished with 357 rushing yards, and looked good getting there.

-- 500+ yards of total offense.  CHECK.  580 total.

-- A competent-looking David Watford, playing loose and fast (and turnover-free) in a confidence-building performance. And I'm not talking about his confidence, I'm talking about our confidence. If the fans turn on him, bad news.  Nope.  I think Watford looked fairly bad against lesser competition.  18-for-25 for 206 yards (8.2 avg per completion) and two touchdowns is a fine stat line.  But two interceptions is horrendous.  The first one he threw, by trying to force the ball to Miles Gooch, was especially unnecessary.  Jury's still out on Watford, but I've got a bad feeling growing in the pit of my stomach.

-- Smoke looking like the Smoke we expected.  He didn't play.  But Hamm fit the bill.

-- Less than 50 rushing yards for VMI.  CHECK.  We held them to 41.  Exxxxxcellent.

-- Less than 175 yards of total offense for the Keydets. Our D needs to dominate this game.  CHECK.  The Orange Crush absolutely dominated this game, holding them to 79 total yards and zero points.

-- Zero turnovers for us, 3+ turnovers for VMI. Show me we can generate those big, game-changing plays on D while protecting the ball on offense. That's our only recipe for success this season.  Nope.  Two turnovers for each team.  Not good enough, guys.  We need to protect the ball, and we need more takeaways.

-- More tackles for Harris and Romero. I'm greedy.  8 tackles for Harris, just 2 for Romero.  But to be fair, the first team defense wasn't needed for the second half of the game.

-- Sacks for Eli Harold. Sacks. Plural.  Just one.

-- KP up over 100 yards rushing, and up over 5 ypc.  CHECK.  135 yards on 17 carries, 7.9 ypc.  But if you take away his 61-yard breakaway, it's 74 yards on 16 carries, 4.6 ypc.  We'll still take it!

-- Darius Jennings asserting himself as our best wideout and go-to guy in the deep/intermediate passing game.  The deep/intermediate passing game wasn't used and wasn't needed.  DJ finished with 2 catches for 17 yards.

-- A deep/intermediate passing game, period.  Nope.

-- A completely and totally empty student section, so we can just go ahead and drop the facade and quit pretending we actually have student fans. UVA students suck at football. (Those 500 kids at the Godwin game were better than our student fans, no shit.)  CHECK.  Our student fans are pathetic.

-- Jake McGee dominance, and some obvious chemistry with Watford ('specially on rollouts).  3 catches for 19 yards and a touchdown.  We're still criminally under-utilizing this weapon in our offense. 

-- Pick six for Brandon Phelps, see above. I'm holding you to this, 21.  Nope.  Bring on Quin Blanding.

-- A win. A big, glorious, magnificent, blowout win.  CHECK.


  1. Daniel Hamm earned a scholarship. Especially if the incoming class is as light as it's looking.

    Also you forgot to mention my favorite player Dylan Sims who is a kicker sporting number 91 got in the game. Apology accepted.

  2. As a current student who stayed for the entire game I am offended. Yes the hill was empty, but really, who wants to slip and slide on a muddy hill for 3 hours to watch VMI be pummeled. The actual stands portion of the student section was ~80% full, and was actually quite loud before we started to pull away. It's raining, and the students don't really "pay" for tickets damn right most are not going to going to show up for VMI. If you spread all of the students who packed into the stands rather than brave the hill out, the student section was just as full as the rest of the stadium. And don't act all high and mighty when the rest of the stadium is half empty and the creaky old alumni can't bother getting up for a third down, let alone making some noise every once and a while. Don't even get me started on how pathetic our alumni/general public fans are during basketball season, you'd think we're at a a wake or something with how little noise they make. Also fuck the bigoted alumni who keep the goddamn "Not Gay" chant alive, every year we have to hear about how we need to stop that chant but in 3 years as a student I've NEVER EVER heard it from the student section.

    A side note, the University suspends all bus service on gamedays. If they really want more students to come, offer some goddamn bus service to get their drunk asses there, 30+ minute walks in the rain are not encouraging anyone to leave the comfort of their homes.

    1. You were there, so you're not the problem. But you should be aware that the student section extends up through the upper bowl. Sections 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 501, 502, and 503, plus the hill. The band kids were in their seats, the bottom half of sections 101, 102, and 103 were somewhat filled. The hill was empty. 501, 502, and 503 were completely empty.

      I'm sorry it pisses you off, but our student fans suck. It's up to them to prove me wrong. But again -- YOU were there, so YOU are not the problem.

    2. As for needing a bus to get your ass to the game, give me a fucking break. Get out of bed and walk down the street. Get there. We drive hours to get to the Fontaine lot to tailgate, then walk a mile to the game. In the rain. Because we love UVA football and we care about the Hoos. Our students can't currently match that level of investment or dedication, no use arguing. If it were important to the students, they'd be at the games.

    3. Also, at some point the three of us were all students. I walked for every game from 808 Cabell Ave. Throw that in google maps and then come back and whine about the buses. It's a free football game.

    4. I'd just like to chime in agreeing that the UTS service is unreliable and terrible.

    5. Seriously though, we need more diehard students like you.

    6. Totally agree with Pierce's last statement. Anonymous, you are part of the solution, not part of the problem. Don't bother trying to defend your fellow students, and I won't bother trying to defend my fellow alumni. We'll just agree to be the best fans we can, and know that we're each doing our part. Deal?

    7. Problems with the student fans:
      1) apathy- can't do anything about this except win more games
      2) not understanding football- this is the one that really bothers me. if you don't know whats going on, it isn't too hard to look around and figure it out. But far too often those who don't have a clue and are only at the game because it fits their social agenda are the ones doing embarrassing and detrimental things. They complain when obvious penalties are called (false starts, etc.) then are silent when the refs make judgement calls with huge impacts (borderline holding that brings back a td). They systematically either leave or show up at halftime, and leave if we ever fall behind by 10+ and THEY MAKE NOISE ON OFFENSE AND ENCOURAGE OTHER IGNORAMI TO DO THE SAME
      3) This generation of student hasn't seen a successful UVa team since grade school and has an ingrained sense that football doesn't really matter as long as we're good at other things. They use this to rationalize their behavior.

      Lastly, I'd like to remind everyone of the Maryland game last year. UVa has the ball 4th and 10 from the MD 49 with just over a minute left down 7 and that was the loudest I've ever heard Scott, especially the students but including everyone else. Theres trouble getting the play call in and a delay of game turns it into an almost impossible 4th and 15. Its that kind of thing that makes it hard being a fan

  3. To spin this negative argument into something positive, why don't you rally your friends and show up in force for the Ball State game? If our student section is 75% full and rocking, I'll gladly eat crow on the blog.

    Do it, man! Make it happen!

  4. Great post, Kendall. I called a McGee TD from the stands right before he was targeted for one of his too-few catches. I stood in the student section yesterday. I usually go there instead of my season seats so I can watch with my friends who have season tickets scattered throughout the stadium. I walked about 2 miles from my car to get to the game and missed the first 5 minutes of play. I had no problem finding seats in the lower section in the first quarter in this game. The upper section was maybe 5% full and the hill was maybe 30%.

    I do appreciate that the students have abandoned "Not gay" for a much more appropriate "fuck tech". If you watched the feature on Jake Snyder, I'm sure you understand why that is a good choice. Just a joke, guys. The fact that some alums can't put their homophobia aside is frustrating and it makes me think they are secret beamerball fans...

    What I hate about the student section is that many students don't know how to cheer at a football game. Be loud when we are on defense. Be quiet when we are on offense. Our players don't need to be encouraged to play good football, but they could use our help distracting our opponents' offense. When you see poorly timed timeouts, false starts and plays that fall apart as soon as they begin, the fans are doing their job.

    1. Totally agree, Ian.

      Something that frustrates me is that our fans CAN be amazing. For important (and often night) games, they show up in droves and are just as loud as anywhere else this side of Baton Rouge.

      There's potential - they just have to show up. Unfortunately, for both the students and alumni, there's many who don't show up. (Same could be said for basketball, but at least the JPJ requires fewer numbers, so when the diehards who come for every game are there, the missing numbers are less noticeable.

    2. This maybe used to be true, but check out the student section on Thursday night against UNC last season. We had a chance to win that game and then VT and get to bowl eligibility, and the student section was maybe half full. Maybe. Night game, no students.

      All of this being said, we rip off a string of two or three winning seasons, and our fans will be great. Winning cures all ills.

  5. I agree students are terrible at supporting this team. Watcha alabama fans who walk in rain and getvthier drunk ass tob stadium! Wanna be big time football fans act like it!

  6. Don't you think calling for TF even if highly rated to come in and be upgrades or difference makers in wins ans losses has been some of UVA problems. They have virtually given all 4stars a sure route to major PT if not starting sinceLondons arrival. None have really shown to be upgrades to those already here. Quin B although looking the part has not been able to be difference in win and losses at Bayside High this year so to expect an immediate impact on this level is too much to ask. Ie DT, Jennings Phelps, Nicholson and so far Mizzell. But the walk on who woulnt normally get reps looks to be the truth. This makes me wonder how many more players are getting past over because of star rating preferable treatment.

    1. Ahhh, yes. Hokie conspiracy theories. Good stuff.

  7. I personally prefer the "Damn Gay" chant.

    1. I also prefer the "Damn Gay" chant.

  8. I stayed for the entire game through the rain and love the Hoos. However I completely understand why students didn't show up in large numbers, and if in their shoes I probably would leave early in a similar scenario.

    Here are basically the options: you can either stay, get soaked and watch a completely lopsided game or hang out with friends, study or start partying. I think in college i will pick the latter in a decision of this nature.