December 31, 2013

How Tony Bennett Can Fix Things:

1) Play Brogdon at his position -- shooting guard.  Stop playing Brog at point guard.  Tony was wrong, I was wrong, Brog can't handle the 1.

2) Find a way, any way, whatever works, but find a way to fix Joe Harris.  Maybe funnel every single offensive play through him against Florida State.  Encourage him to jack up shots and even celebrate the misses.  Being unselfish is a good thing, but he has grown way too unselfish, and we really need him to be an assertive sniper.  We won't win without it.  So even if it means blowing smoke up his ass until he figures out this funk, just find a way to fix Joe Harris.

3) Settle on a starting lineup and tighten the rotation.  Here's who should be starting: Perrantes, Brogdon, Harris, Mitchell, Atkins.  Traditional lineup, with a true 1, a true 2, a true 3, a true 4, and a pogostick 4/5 big at center.  Bring Teven Jones off the bench for 8-12 minutes per game to spell Perrantes at the 1 (again, no more Brog running the point, ever).  Justin Anderson off the bench to spell both Brog and Harris (and as such, he gets starter's minutes).  The Janitor (Anthony Gill) and Tobey off the bench for scoring punch, and keep them in if they are generating points.  I like this plan because it brings the "energy" guys - Anderson, Gill, Jones - off the bench, and Tobey's ability to score can give us a boost if things start to stagnate.

4) Feed the post, feed the post, feed the post, feed the post, feed the fucking post.  Attack the rim whenever possible and feed the post.  If it's not a layup, a Joe Harris 3, or a Mike Tobey bunnyhop jumper, then it's a bad shot.

5) Actually, I take that back.  There's one more shot I want to add to the list of acceptable shots.  GIVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO LONDON PERRANTES.  Kid's a shooter, let him shoot.

6) Recommit to defense.  As in, the best packliners should play.  I know this directly contradicts what I said above (Brog at the 1 is probably our best defensive option and Justin Anderson is definitely one of our better defensive players), but we're a system-based team, Bennett is a system-based coach, and we can't win without that system taking us there.  A poster named Hoos500 on the 247 board made a great comparison: "I think we're the equivalent of GT's football team in basketball right now." To me, that's spot on.  GT doesn't win if the flexbone isn't sharp, we don't win if the packline doesn't slow the game down and force the opponent into bad, impatient shots.  Our system works, but it's not necessarily fun to watch and it can't cure all ills.  However, the system is all we really have, so we have to win with it because we'll surely lose without it.  Put the best packliners out there and totally commit to defense, embrace the fact that we have some fatal offensive flaws.  It's the only path to success this season, unless a guy like Perrantes and/or Brogdon experience mercurial in-season improvement.

7) Find a way to locate and recruit to fill our glaring missing ingredient --- a guy (or a few guys) like [2014 recruit we just barely missed out on] Nate Mason.  What I'm talking about is small, quick, CONFIDENT guards with some swagger, who know how to score.  Back off on the size and pure shooting ability of the guards and wing players, and pursue more pure athleticism, more instinctive scorers, and a bit more dribble-drive ability.  This is more of a long-term fix, I guess.


I like Tony Bennett a lot.  I don't really like watching his system on the court, but I do acknowledge that it can be extremely effective, and can help us overcome recruiting limitations that otherwise would doom us.  However, nights like last night simply cannot happen.  Yes, Tennessee went unconscious from deep, and without a few jets added to the roster, we'll struggle to score against any set defense.  But look, we can't make defense our calling card and then give up 87 points to an average team like that.  We just can't.

Every season will have its hiccups.  But that was a pretty fucking big hiccup.  It was more like a vurp.




December 30, 2013

Sheesh.

The 2-10 football season kind of fucked me up.

I really NEEDED to see the basketball team come storming out of the gate.  Being honest, I really NEEDED to see us stomp VCU on our home court.  Didn't happen, and that kind of fucked me up, too.  I fucking hate VCU.  So with that loss, apathy came calling.

Over the course of the last month or so, I've been able to crawl back to a position of caring, even despite the ugly loss to Wisconsin and the stupid loss to Green Fucking Bay.

Now, curb-stomped by Tennessee on national television.

And you know what?  This packline, grind-it-out methodical bullshit is not fun to watch.  Winning is fun to watch, even if it's ugly.  But losing while we're playing this style of basketball?

I mean, what the fuck is the point?  Why do I subject myself to this shit?

Another night, ruined.  Could've spent this time watching the next-to-last episode of Orange is the New Black.  Instead?  Fucking Virginia Basketball.  35-point loss to a barely-above-mediocre Tennessee team.  The game was never close, it was never competitive.  Bennettball let us down yet again.  Losing ugly, fucking awesome.  And by awesome, I mean awful.  And by awful, I mean...

Why the fuck do I care anymore?

Mike London is still our head football coach, and the biggest cause for celebration in basketball is when we force our opponent into shot clock violations.

*sigh*

My kingdom for something even remotely approaching competency in either of the major sports.

Bring on 2014.  2012 sucked ass.  2013, I had hope for you.  But fuck you, bitch.  You were even worse than 2012.

Bring on 2014, I guess.



December 24, 2013

A Beautiful Rant

Our friend Brendan over at from old virginia is at it again, this time with a recruiting update that segues easily into criticism of Mike London's recruiting.  DEFINITELY worth a Christmas Eve read.


Personally, I couldn't agree more with what he's saying.  OL recruiting has been criminally sub-par under London.  And though we've lured in a few studs on the DL, there's no reason we should be flirting with disaster with such a thin depth chart.

I'd like to add one more beef with London's recruiting: the quarterback position heading into the 2014 season.

So right now, we have incumbent David Watford, who can throw but isn't a passer; who is fast but isn't a runner.  He's not a QB we can win with, in my humble opinion.  Then there's Greyson Lambert, who really looks the part... until you begin to factor in the way things look when he's on the field.  Also, reports that he's struggled with confidence do very little to entice me into confidence that he'll ever be "the guy" at UVA.  (A quarterback with a fragile psyche is exactly the opposite of what we need right now.)  Then there's Matt Johns and Brendan Marshall.  Who knows how good these guys might be?  But I do know that it's pretty clear they were brought in to be career backups.  And finally, Corwin Cutler.  They say he's got the goods.  We'll see, I guess.  But I can tell you that we're doomed to failure if a true freshman wins our starting quarterback job in 2014.

Newsflash: WE NEED A FUCKING QUARTERBACK.  LIKE, RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Are there no graduating seniors with a post-grad year of eligibility floating around out there?  Like Wisconsin with Russell Wilson?  Are there no FCS-level gunslingers we could bring in and not have to worry about them sitting out a year as per transfer rules?  Are there no JUCO kids ready to get behind center at UVA?


For all the shuffling of deck chairs on the Titanic London is doing on the recruiting trail right now, it mystifies me - nay, it INFURIATES me - that we're not kicking the tires on veteran quarterbacks who could step right in and start for us in 2014.

Lots and lots of problems are going to add up to Mike London being fired in November 2014.  Gross mismanagement of the quarterback position is chief among those problems.


Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 23, 2013

Basketball Thoughts

Hey there, Wahooze Nation - long time no talk. Many apologies, on my behalf. Don't worry though, now that my beloved Lions have derped (some might say: UVA-ed) their way out of playoff contention, the entirety of my attention and ire can be directed at our basketball team. Get hyped.

So hyped.
So, let's analysisize:

The Wahoos are almost done with their non-conference schedule, sitting at 8-3 with Norfolk State (tonight) and Tennessee (the 30th) remaining. So far, things have been up and down, as a cynical fan would expect:

-Blow out an inferior opponent? Check. (JMU)
-Lose heartbreaker at home by missing free throws after dominating the game? Check. (VCU)
-Easily win road game against name-brand mid major? Check. (Davidson)
-Beat a couple of decent teams in a no-name road tournament? Check. (SMU/Missoui St)
-Save worst offensive performance of Bennett's tenure for most important non-conference game on national TV? Check. (Badgers)
-Follow that up with another embarrassing display on the road? Checkamundo. (Badgers-lite)
-Regroup (sort of) and (sort of) handle another decent mid major in a must-win game? Check. (Purple Badgers)

8-3 is not a bad place to be, especially considering none of the losses were bad ones (unlike last year). Assuming the boys can handle (BEHOLD) the green and gold tonight, they'll make it through the non-conference slate without a disastrous loss - which was essentially the goal. Yes, it would've been nice to have either that VCU or Wisconsin game - both of which were absolutely winnable. However, neither loss, nor the Green Bay one, were too damaging to the tournament resume.

That being said, 8-3 is not as good of a spot as 10-1 or 11-0 would have been (obviously). What it truly means for the team is that the ACC results need to include that many more wins for the team to make the NCAA tournament - and to earn a seed higher than 8/9. Kendall laid out a great RPI update over on the 247 board here. (If you're unable to read it, I'm sure he wont mind posting it on the blog, it's well worth the synopsis).

Basically, unless the team loses tonight, regardless of the Tennessee game, my opinion of the conference games is that 10-8 would put the team squarely on the bubble - and probably on the wrong side of it. 11-7 would absolutely be tournament worthy team - though it might not put us in a favorable position to win more than one game.

Can the team do it? Probably, but certainly not without clearing up some of the mind-boggling issues we've seen in some of the early games: turnovers, terrible shooting, BEYOND terrible free throw shooting, and countless lapses in focus/energy. My brief thoughts towards some solutions: No more Brogdon at the 1. More Atkins all of the time. More Teven Jones spelling London. More pushing for fast break points after stops. And for the love of all that is Orange and Blue, MORE JOE HARRIS SHOOTING THE BALL.

Greatest picture ever? Or greatestest picture ever?
My gut reaction to the ACC schedule is this:

@FSU - L
WF - W
@NCSU - W
@Duke - L
FSU - W
UNC - W
VPI - W
@ND - L
@Pitt - L
BC - W
@GT - L
UMD - W
@Clemson - W
@VPI - W
ND - W
Miami - W
Cuse - L
@UMD - W

12-6. Maybe that's unreasonably optimistic, but I think the schedule is favorable. We only play Duke and Syracuse once - teams that are easily the class of the league. I'm unimpressed with most of the middle of the road teams in the league, though I think Pitt, ND, and UNC are probably in tier two, with UVA being the top of tier 3 (for now). The key will be showing well enough against the tier two and three teams, while handling our business against the bottom tier teams. Can they do it? Absolutely - and I think they will. Will I be shocked it they blow it? I'm a Lions and UVA fan. No amount of losing will shock me anymore.

Don't worry. We're in this together.


December 19, 2013

Let's Talk About the Ticker

Received this piece of anonymous feedback last week, courtesy of the GIVE A YELL feature (look to the right, just below the "Hoos House" picture):

Guys, you have the 'The Firing of Mike London' ticker up - which is great. Only problem, what if the team somehow manages to win 5 next season? Hate to say this but I believe [Craig Littlepage] will consider that 'measurable success' and extend [Mike London's] obnoxious contract. God only knows what will happen if we somehow stumble to 6 wins. :(


Great piece of feedback.  Thanks anonymous.

Okay, let's talk about the ticker.

1) I know it's a low-class move.  At times, I feel a little ashamed that I can stoop so low.  But then I quickly remember that this man (and the administration that chose him) has methodically ruined something I care very deeply about -- Virginia Football.

2) I don't know for certain because I've never met the guy and I don't know him personally, but by all accounts, Mike London is an awesome dude.  Good guy all around.  Great in the community.  Just a fantastic person.  HOWEVER, this sad realization hit me this season: as a head football coach - as our head football coach - Mike London is a clown.



3) We just followed up a 4-8 season with a 2-10 season, and we did not fire our coaching staff.  There are maybe 10-15 schools out of the 123 in the Football Bowl Subdivision who might have also kept the coach in place.  Among BCS conference schools, I'd say maybe Iowa State, Kansas, Indiana, [pre-Cutcliffe] Duke, [pre-Grobe] Wake Forest, [current] Colorado, [pre-Franklin] Vanderbilt, and Kentucky would have retained a coach performing at the level London is currently performing.  From a "competitive spirit and expectations level," we have dropped to the bottom 10% among the 64 BCS-level schools.  To me, that is completely unacceptable.  Yes, Al Groh dug this grave, but it's Mike London that dropped us the six feet down.  And it's our administration making the football decisions that is dumping the shovels of dirt on top of us.

So yeah, there's a ticker.  There's a ticker because I think Virginia Football is dead in the water until there is a change at the top.  That's Mike London being fired, but it's also a complete scorched earth dismissal of the coaching staff, and the dismissal of Jon Oliver (possibly to also include Craig Littlepage).

So circling back to the anonymous feedback, from above...

What happens if we win 5 games in 2014?  Well, I really don't think we will.  Unless a miracle - like, a real-life miracle - happens at the quarterback position, 4 wins is the ceiling for this team.  I hope I'm wrong about that, but I'm not hoping too hard --- because if we do win 6+ games and go to a bowl game, it only further delays the inevitable coaching change we're going to need if we want to find our way to stable footing and achieve any level of sustainable long-term success.

I share your concern, Anonymous.  I share it to the point where I'm trying to reconcile whether or not to buy my season tickets for the 2014 season, knowing that there will be a fucked-up duality of me wanting to see the team win vs. knowing they need to lose in order to avoid further delaying the future health of the program.

It's a shitty situation, all the way around.  I'll end up buying the tickets and being at the games to support my team and to support the kids who are out there playing football.  But enthusiasm for the overall product?  That won't be there, not after our administration made the unforgivable mistake of not cleaning house after the 2-10 disaster.



UVA football is a joke.  Our head football coach is a clown.  And keeping him after a 6-18 run across two seasons is insanity.


One last thought:  Don't worry too much about it, Anonymous.  Ticket sales for the 2014 season will lead the admin in the right direction.  Nothing short of 8+ wins [a virtual impossibility] will move the needle, and even that is probably going to be too little, too late.


Do either of Quin Blanding or Andrew Brown play quarterback?


December 10, 2013

Bitter Disappointment





I still don't have the words.

Luckily for us, two of my favorite websites DO have the words.

Take a read...


from old virginia: coaching position paper

PS -- I think Brendan and I put up our countdown clocks at about the same time on Friday morning, totally free and independent of one another.  You know what they say about great minds.  I dated the one on Wahooze for the Monday following Thanksgiving (and the 2014 Virginia Tech game) -- the date I figure to be the most likely firing day.


Streaking the Lawn: Basketball Season Not Going According to Plan... Yet



Meanwhile, here's a mini-meltdown I had on the Wahoos247 message board this weekend, after another poster suggested that "the next twelve months are win-win -- either we go bowling next season and everyone is happy or we fire London and everyone is happy."

Yeah, that's what happens at the end of the twelve months. But what about the time in between? What about right now?

I'm thinking about the spring, we'll be hearing about spring practice, who looks good, who got hurt, etc. I'm thinking about training camp in the summer, hearing how the freshmen look, how the QB battle is panning out... but it ALL feels like shifting deck chairs on the Titanic to me. It will ALL ring hollow, because this coaching staff doesn't know what in the hell it's doing, and we don't have a quarterback who can raise the game of others and elevate our play on the field.

Instead, I think we'll be noticing how badly we're getting killed in the realm of ticket sales, how we're getting massacred on the recruiting trail because of our lame duck coach, and deep down we'll consider all of the myriad ways a lost season in 2014 will set the program back even further. All of the articles put out by the non-partisan media will be unflattering at best. It's going to ultimately make us out to be the joke of a program we are. We just followed up a dismal 4-8 season with a 2-10 season, and we retained the coaching staff. Our program is a joke. There is no other narrative to be found. IT'S A COLOSSAL FUCKING JOKE.

I'm sorry, I know this is a negative post. But I'm feeling really fucking negative right now. I mean, Duke is playing in the ACC championship game today. We just wasted two golden opportunities to beat God-awful Virginia Tech teams, and instead we get serenaded by chants of "ten more years" by their scumbag fucking inbred redneck fans in our home stadium. Jamie [Oakes, the guy who runs Wahoos247] is doing yeoman's work covering recruiting, when all I want is for us to be like Wake Forest and give him the chance to cover an exciting coaching search. Jealous of Duke and Wake Forest. Duke and Wake Forest FOOTBALL! Jesus H. Christ. Wake's going to hire Pete Lembo or Dave Clawson, either guy who would be perfect for UVA, and we get to watch our mind-numbingly incompetent head coach flop around on the sideline like a dying fish for another terrible season.

Then I look for a distraction provided by our-good-but-not-yet-proving-it-at-all basketball team, who cockspasms a chance at a marquee win by playing like they're shooting the ball at a freaking apple crate against Wisconsin.

I want to just say screw it and walk away, but I can't. I'm stuck. I love Virginia football and basketball too much to just drop this hobby and take up bird-watching or stamp-collecting. It's frustrating, I'm frustrated, I'm sad, I'm angry, I'm embarrassed, and I know I'm not alone.




December 6, 2013

Friday Lynx

Yeahbuddy.


I'm still trying to process in my mind what the hell happened this season to get us to 2-10, and also how in the hell we can look the rest of the college football world in the eyes and proceed with Mike London as our head coach with a straight face.  BECAUSE IT IS A COLOSSAL FUCKING JOKE.

Virginia Football is a rotting corpse.  I stopped promising posts, but the autopsy is coming.

In the meantime, here are some juicy links.


A good, well-written, objective look at our 2013 season, from Patrick Stevens at Syracuse.com:

Jim Grobe, a good man and the best coach in Wake Forest history, stepped down on Monday.  Details from Chris Vannini at CoachingSearch.com:

I'm linking this here because I'm planning to live vicariously through Wake, as they embark on this coaching search.  We should be embarking on our own coaching search... but alas.  We get another season with Mike London trying to learn on the job and decide if a popgun pro-style offense can punch its way out of a wet paper bag.  *sigh*  (Watching Wake this season could give us a really good preview of our own coaching search a year from now.)

Speaking of a coaching search... step one is a little honest self-evaluation.  This fantastic piece from USA Today's Paul Myerberg gives you the Wake job in a nutshell.  (There are a lot of similarities between the Wake Forest job and the Virginia job, so read this article with that in mind.)

Last link for today.  Ball State's Pete Lembo is probably the candidate that makes the most sense for Wake Forest.  If you've been reading this blog, you know that we love Lembo.  If Wake smartly hires him while we continue to tug our pud with Mike London, I'm going to be sad.  This is from Wake's SB*Nation site, Blogger So Dear:



Join the countdown.  360 days 'til Mike London is fired...

December 2, 2013

Let's Talk RPI.

I'm not yet ready to discuss football. Soon, maybe. But not yet. For now, fuck football.

Okay, RPI...

Click here: Real Time RPI


After the Corpus Christi championship, we're up to #39.

Others of note:
#1 UMass (?!??!!)
#5 Syracuse
#6 Wisconsin (big game on Wednesday, boys)
#31 VCU (like it or not, we need to be pulling for them to win games)
#43 UNC
#44 Pitt
#63 Green Bay (presents a golden opportunity for a marquee road win this Saturday)
#67 Northern Iowa (another great opportunity)
#69 SMU (would be great if this ends up being a top-100 win for us)
#75 Missouri State (I wasn't impressed with them at all, but it'd be a blessing if they can stick around in the top 100)
#77 FSU
#97 Duke
#102 Clemson
#104 BC
#109 Tennessee
#111 NC State
#116 VT
#121 Wake
#135 Maryland
#163 Davidson (they aren't helping us at all)
#168 Miami
#198 Hampton
#221 GT
#209 Liberty (bad win for us)
#222 JMU (another bad win)
#224 Navy (another bad win)
#313 Norfolk State (lurks as an RPI-killer when we play them on 12/23)
#321 Notre Dame


In general, we need the ACC to stop shitting the bed in OOC play. Duke will be fine, 'Cuse will hover around the top ten, but I worry about the rest of the conference.

If some of these teams don't bubble up - and fast - we're not going to have many chances for "quality" wins. This week's ACC/BigTen Challenge is key. We need to beat Wisky, and we need the rest of the ACC to do work.

Tennessee isn't where we need them to be quite yet, but that's a top-75 team as per my own eyeball test. Green Bay and Northern Iowa both give us good RPI-helping opportunities.

None of this means a whole lot... yet... but I think it helps set the stage for where we are right now, and what we need to do to a) make the NCAAT, and b) earn a favorable seed.



Favorable Seed