December 28, 2014

Carousel Update

Hope y'all are having a nice holiday. Not to dump a lump of coal in your stocking but I thought we should take a minute to review what could have been for UVA football in a coaching search. Kendall did a beautiful job assembling a massive list of coaching candidates, but I've narrowed this down to 11 that I think realistically would have considered and potentially come to Virginia considering where they ended up. Additionally it will highlight some guys that are still out there we may be able to get our hands on after maybe next season, though who really knows with this administration.

Pat Narduzzi-Pittsburgh
In terms of winning right away, I thought Narduzzi would have been the best hire we could have made. Narduzzi was hired to replace Paul Chryst at Pitt and I think is going to do a great job up there. Complete no nonsense guy who can make a great defense out of scraps, which is what Pitt has at this point. With a returning QB and that James Conner guy still mauling people at running back, I think Pitt is going to get better next season with Narduzzi.

Chad Morris-SMU
Honestly I doubt UVA was ever really going to have a chance with Morris if he wanted to get back to Texas badly enough to take the SMU job, best of luck coach.

Mike Bobo-Colorado State
After losing Jim McElwain to Florida CSU went back to the SEC well with Georgia. Bobo probably wouldn't have lit up this fanbase, but he certainly knows how to win. CSU also does a great job as a stepping stone getting a nice date with Florida and a massive buyout for McElwain. Considering the Penn State rumors after the peach bowl season, this could explain why London's buyout was so huge too.

Tom Herman-Houston
My guess is Houston gets Braxton Miller with this one too. Nice package. I really liked Herman for the UVA job based on his intelligence and pedigree. If he can recruit athletes well enough (he'll be competing with Morris at SMU for second tier Texas kids.) I think he'll have a lot of success. Who knows if we keep treading water with London long enough maybe he can make the list part X.

Phil Montgomery-Tulsa
Total fartsound. The fact that Tulsa, SMU, and Houston are all going to have high flying offenses and we have another season of read "options" and bubble screens is just infuriating. Montgomery is known as a very quiet guy, but shockingly I can't imagine UVA is all that much louder than Tulsa. What in the world has happened here.

Still Available!
Luckily we still have the following guys available ranked based on my preference:
1. Mark Hudspeth
2. Matt Wells
3. Pete Lembo!
4. Rhett Lashlee
5. Scott Frost

Frost, Wells, and Lashlee all apparently were offered interviews for Tulsa. Hudspeth is still my top choice, but he is going to cost a fortune. Hopefully the ACC TV money can make that happen for us. My top priority still is getting a coach in here who has built a program before, however if we get a hotshot young OC from a big time program, I would be ok with that too.

So we missed out on some big guys, but there are still plenty left. THERE IS STILL TIME CRAIG!!!!!!

December 10, 2014

Orange Slices and Participation Awards

WARNING: Your head is about to explode.

If you are a UVA fan who cares about football, I love you and I'd like to officially beg you to NOT read this article.

NOOOOO!  You ignored my warning and read it, didn't you?  I tried to stop you!

Well, I'll let you take a 30-minute breather and try to calm down.  Let me know when you're back.




You're back?  Good!

It's an embarrassment, right?  Yeah, it's a fucking travesty.

Colin Cowherd was right about our football program.
"UVA is the softest bunch of creampuff, bowtie wearing, brie cheese eating, ascot wearing wussies I’ve ever seen in my life. There is not a softer bunch of cookie dough eating weenies than the UVA football program. Those guys wear makeup to games. That is the biggest bunch of fru fru, daiquiri drinking, non alcoholic beer chugging weenies I’ve ever seen in my life. Want to know the most popular drink at tailgating at UVA football? Zima! Under soft, they have a Cavalier football logo in the dictionary. They wear suits to games! That’s absurd!"

It pissed us off, and still does. But the reason it bothers us so much is because there's so much truth to it.

Craig Littlepage has three priorities that take precedent over everything else: 1) All coaches, particularly head coaches, must be competitors; 2) Coaches must embrace teaching and learning; 3) coaches must be exemplary representatives of UVA.

Let's break this down real quick, shall we?

Precedent #1) All coaches, particularly head coaches, must be competitors.

Jesus H. Christ, that's like saying, "all airline pilots, particularly pilots in command, must not be afraid of heights."  I mean, sheeeeesh.  Must be competitors?  That's your number one precedent?  God damn.  I'd hate to meet a football coach who isn't a competitor.

Banky: Alright, now see this? This is a four-way road, okay? And dead in the center is a crisp, new, hundred dollar bill. Now, at the end of each of these streets are four people, okay? You following? 
Holden: Yeah. 
Banky: Good. Over here, we have an affectionate, easy to get along with, rah-rah, goodie-two-shoes football coach who isn't really a competitor. Down here, we have a hateful, angry as fuck, agenda of rage, bitter competitor of a football coach. Over here, we got Santa Claus, and up here the Easter Bunny. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first? 
Holden: What is this supposed to prove? 
Banky: No, I'm serious. This is a serious exercise. It's like an SAT question. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first? The friendly, non-competitive coach, the hateful, competitive coach, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny? 
Holden: The competitive coach.  
Banky: Good! Why?
Holden: I don't know. 

I will say this this in Littlepage's defense: If there were such a thing as a non-competitive head football coach, UVA would find him.

Precedent #2) Coaches must embrace teaching and learning.

Golly gee, you mean coaches need to actually COACH?  You mean they need to teach their players how to play the game at a higher level?  You mean they actually need to be concerned about keeping their players in school and eligible to compete?  Gosh.

I hope you are successfully reading my sarcasm, because I'm working hard to make it crystal fucking clear.

Precedent #3) Coaches must be exemplary representatives of UVA.

Okay, so we don't want any serial killers or animal sodomists, got it.

Seriously, has there ever been a lower bar set in the history of low-bar-setting?  Never mind, we just brought back a coach who went 5-7 after 2-10 and 4-8 seasons; a coach who is standing tall at 1-14 against our biggest rivals.  Like I said, it's an embarrassment and a fucking travesty.

I'll say it again: DO NOT buy tickets to football games through the UVA ticket office. If we keep buying what they're selling, they have no reason to change it. Let them suck on their orange slices and hand out their participation awards inside an empty stadium.

Oh, and here's some more fun news: Jamie Oakes at 247Sports (a must-subscribe for any self-respecting Hoofan) is reporting that Eli Harold and Max Valles are both planning to forego their remaining eligibility and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

I'll have a basketball post for you soon, promise.

December 2, 2014

It finally makes sense!

The more I think about it, the more I believe Mike London's return in 2015 portends a change at the Athletics Director level.  UVA won't want a new AD to inherit a just-hired head football coach.

Craig Littlepage is 63 years old, and will be 64 by the time the 2015 football season starts.  In other words, ripe for retirement.

Doesn't it make sense that he wants to retire after the current academic / sports year, to see if he can go out with a Final Four appearance in basketball and a baseball national championship?

Doesn't it make sense that he doesn't want to make a big football hire now, then retire and saddle his successor with a newly-hired football coach that the new AD didn't hand-pick?  Instead, it makes much more sense to kick it down the road a year, and let the new AD pull the plug on Mike London and make his own hire in December 2015.

It sucks that Hoofans will have to suffer through a lame duck football season in 2015, but if there's a change at the AD level in the summer of 2015, it makes it all okay in my eyes.

Meanwhile, you need to understand that basketball is a tricky sport for an AD.  It's very high-risk, low-reward.  A bad basketball program at a place like UVA ruffles a lot of feathers and makes an AD's life very unpleasant, while a good program doesn't do a whole lot to pay the bills.  'Page has our basketball program positioned in a great place right now, with Tony Bennett happy and contract-extended --- Virginia Basketball is giftwrapped and ready to pass along to a replacement AD.

Now, all of that being said, a nightmare scenario: Jon Oliver replaces 'Page as Virginia's AD.  I don't think that's possible, not given Oliver's reputation as a total dickwad to those around him and his past legal transgressions (1991 DUI and 1992 cocaine possession).  But you never know.


I'm hanging my hat on this idea that London's return for 2015 is all about Littlepage's retirement plan... and I'm officially staking my Hoofan sanity on the concept.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure if I have it in me to do the research and give you a long, detailed list of potential Athletics Director candidates... but Mike has already done some legwork in unearthing John Currie, the current AD at Kansas State.

Hang in there, Hoofans.  It's all going to work out.

December 1, 2014

Here's the Post

No post when London's return was announced last Wednesday.  I was too busy doing family stuff and preparing for Thanksgiving.  But know, when I heard the news, I felt like kids must feel when they first find out that there's no such thing as Santa Claus.

No meltdown post when we lost to Tech.  I was too busy laying face down on my couch for 20 minutes, smelling the spot where my asshole just sat for three hours.  Then I stress-ate a tub of brownie bites and watched our basketball game against La Salle, which I had dutifully DVRed.

No post over the weekend.  Instead, I sought my catharsis by becoming a message board warrior on the Wahoos 247 forums.  I didn't find relief.

In the meantime, I was plotting course to this moment, when I would uncork this post for you, loyal Wahooze Nation, and Hoofans everywhere.  Some things I considered during the last five days:

-- Whether or not to take down the Countdown Clock, featured so predominantly on the top right of this blog.  I have decided to leave it up, for the next year-plus, or however long it takes UVA to fire Mike London.  What's the point?  To symbolize how the firing will be long past due, whenever it happens.

-- What's my message going to be?  Anger and vitriol toward our athletic department?  A half-hearted rah-rah "we'll always be fans" speech?  Urging you to take on a letter-writing campaign in an effort to catalyze change?  Frankly, it all feels like work to me, not fun.  And I write this blog for fun, not for work.  It can't be a chore.

-- Honestly, I considered shutting Wahooze down completely.  I mean, if UVA doesn't care about football, why should I care enough about football to write a fucking blog?  I'm at a point in my life where I don't have enough free time to keep up with the prolific pace I once set, anyway.  Kill the blog, end my guilt over not posting as much or as often, all while making a profound statement about the status of things.

But don't worry, I'm not killing Wahooze, nor will I try to convince you to write any letters.  Instead, I just want to touch on a few very specific topics that might help illustrate where my mind is right now.

A little soundtrack for your read:

DO NOT, under any circumstances, purchase football tickets from the UVA Athletics Department.

If you keep buying what they're selling, they have no reason to change it.

I hope enough Hoofans understand this [simple] equation and keep our money in our wallets.  If you feel the need to go witness the dumpster fire firsthand, buy tickets in the secondary market.

We're Hoofans and we love our team.  But now is the time for tough love.

Take a long, hard look at London's record at UVA.

Friday night hurt, right?  Losing to your rivals sucks.  Under London, we're 1-14 against Duke / UNC / VT.  ONE AND FREAKING FOURTEEN.  At some point, winning has to matter, and winning games against your biggest rivals has to matter the most.  London isn't doing it, nor do I see any evidence that he's capable of doing it.

The dude is 23-38 (.377) in his 61 games at UVA.  This mark drops to 17-38 (.309) if you remove the games against FCS foes.  He's 11-29 (.275) in the ACC.  Remove his weird ownership of Miami, and that record drops to 7-28 (.200) in conference.  London has won exactly ONE road game (@ NC State in 2012) in the last three seasons.

It's not just inappropriate to bring him back, it's downright negligent.

Myth: Mike London is a great recruiter.

His recruiting classes at UVA are ranked 32, 32, 29, 25, 23, and 64... so he's obviously not recruiting his way out of the hole to the point where Jimmys and Joes overcome the deficit of Xs and Os.

He's not a good enough recruiter to deliver top-15 classes, and he's not a good enough coach to win to a .500 level with top-30 aggregate recruiting.  To me, this is extremely damning.  To me, it sends the message loud and clear that Mike London will NEVER win at UVA.

All of that being said, I understand WHY London is coming back.

He sucks as a football coach, but Mike London is a good dude and a class act.  Our kids stay out of trouble and graduate.  I can understand why UVA doesn't want to make a change right now, given the current climate at the University (Rolling Stone article, faculty turnover, fundraising needs, etc.)

But c'mon.  Don't be so naïve as to think London's still learning on the job and might somehow be getting better and improving as a head coach.  I just don't see it.  He's a babysitter, and that's about it.

I think UVA punted on the decision to fire London for one year, to buy a little time and to save a little money.  That's fine, but Scott Stadium will (and should) be empty, and the program will lose even more of whatever imaginary credibility it might have had.

What now?

Basketball season.  Big, huge, nasty games this week against Maryland (Wednesday) and VCU (Saturday).

Men's Soccer is in the Elite Eight (vs. Georgetown on Saturday) and Women's Soccer is in the Final Four (vs. Texas A&M on Friday).

Baseball starts on February 14th.

Don't think about football.  Fuck football.

But if you MUST think about football...

You can track staff changes, if any are made.  Only Tenuta and Archer are under contract for 2015.  So there's a lot of extensions / assistant coach recruiting to occur.  Who wants to coach for a season on the Titanic?  Probably nobody with any real options.  But it'll be fun in a strictly masochistic way to watch the process unfold.

Oh, and there's a 2016 recruiting class to be completed.  Joy.

What to expect in 2015?

Another losing season against a beastly schedule, and FINALLY Mike London will be fired.  Until then...  Let Year Two of Lame Duck Coaching commence!

Good luck, Hoos!

November 25, 2014

Bring On Black Friday!

I have so much to say and so very little organization of thoughts in my mind.  So I'll just vomit it out through my fingertips, onto the keyboard, through the internet to this screen you are seeing now.

I'll do a numbered list, because who doesn't love a numbered list?

Number 1) You won't see a better catch.


2) HUGE win over Miami, huh?  Really, really huge.  I thought the team played great.  I like the fact that they came out and won this game for their embattled coach.  I enjoyed being able to set aside my "FIRE LONDON" agenda for three hours and just enjoy that game as a Hoofan.

3) But the win, of course, sets up a really fucked-up Black Friday game against Virginia Tech, with literally everything on the line.

If Virginia Wins
-- We get to 6-6 (4-4 ACC), which means we get to a bowl game.
-- Mike London saves his job.
-- Not only that, but [because we can't have a head coach with anything less than a 4-year contract for recruiting purposes] Mike London earns a contract extension.  I assume that extension would be heavily front-loaded and include some decent buyout options... but, still... a fucking extension.
-- If he's the coach into the 2015 season, London earns a $500K "longevity bonus."  So UVA would spin a 180 from firing this guy to paying him more money.  God bless America.
-- The team gets the additional practice time afforded by making a bowl appearance.
-- Virginia goes bowling for the first time since 2011.
-- Virginia goes bowling in a season Virginia Tech does not for the first time since 1991.
-- We hand the Hokies their first losing season since 1992.
-- We end Virginia Tech's stupid-long string of bowl appearances at 21.
-- I don't really buy that they'd force Beamer out, but we'd certainly accelerate his departure... because beating Virginia is literally all they have left.
-- Most importantly, we end their reign of terror over us at ten games, giving us our first win in the rivalry since 2003.

If Virginia Tech Wins
-- We're home for the holidays, no bowl game.
-- Virginia Tech fans step back from the ledge a little bit.
-- More misery for Hoofans.  The win streak stands at 11.  (We're tough, we can take it.)
-- Mike London is MAYBE* fired.

4) Let's talk about the asterisk I put next to the word "MAYBE," above. According to Jamie Oakes at 247Sports...

"The more that I hear from sources close to those that would know, it doesn’t seem likely that UVa is looking to make a change (and that was before Saturday’s win)."


I don't think Jamie's wrong.  There's no more connected media insider than Mr. Oakes.  In fact, if you're a real Hoofan, you need to be paying money to be a member of his site!  But anyway... it's a little bit disturbing to me that the administration wasn't already overtly locked and loaded to make a coaching change after this season.

Was UVA not looking to make a change due to wanting to wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds?  Or is it strictly a money thing?  Or is it continued belief in Mike London?  Or is it the need to focus attention elsewhere at this time?

Assuming a win over Tech and a bowl appearance, I'm ready to suck it up and climb on board for another season of London-led Virginia Football.  But won't there be an extension that [has to] go along with that (remember, you have to maintain a 4-year contract for recruiting purposes)?  And the $500K longevity bonus due in January?  UGGGHHHHHHH.

I can understand wanting to keep the guy around if he takes this team to a bowl game this season.  But I cannot understand or digest the concept of paying him more money at this point.  It sure feels like a 6-6 season and an appearance in the Massengill Douchebag Bowl is the ceiling under London, and not the floor.

5) I guess it's time to start thinking about talking about bowl games, huh?

Instead of doing all of the heavy lifting on this myself, I'll just kick it over to a couple of good ACC-centric articles I found out in the blogosphere.

ACC bowl projections: Notre Dame's fade could shake up postseason destinations for several teams

ACC Bowl Projections, Week 13: A Rather Crowded Bowl Picture With One Weekend To Go

Cliff's Notes:
-- We beat Tech, we're in a bowl game.
-- The game we'd be playing in would be one of the following: Independence (Shreveport, LA) Dec. 27 vs. SEC #10 (C-USA conditional) /// Military (Annapolis, MD) Dec. 27 vs. American /// Quick Lane (Detroit, MI) Dec. 26 vs. Big Ten /// BITCOIN (St. Petersburg, FL) Dec. 26 vs. American
-- My quick scan of the interwebs led me to discover the following bowl projections:

Quick Lane [Detroit, MI] -- Virginia vs. Maryland

Quick Lane [Detroit, MI] -- Virginia vs. Northwestern

Military [Annapolis, MD] -- Virginia vs. Cincinnati

Military [Annapolis, MD] -- Virginia vs. ECU

Military [Annapolis, MD] -- Virginia vs. Temple

Independence [Shreveport, LA] -- Virginia vs. UAB

Bitcoin [St. Petersburg, FL] -- Virginia vs. UCF

-- Nothing says "CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR .500 SEASON!" like a trip to [mother fucking] Detroit in late December.  But hey, beggars can't be choosers.  We'll take the Quick Lane Bowl, and we'll like it!
-- I hate that I don't hate the idea of playing Maryland in a bowl game.  Would be a nice matchup, and another last chance to stick it to the Terps as they go stink up the Big Ten.
-- ECU scares the crap out of me.  I think our D would stand tall, but that offense... with a month to prepare... yikes.  That one could get ugly.
-- None of the rest of those matchups make me nervous.  I think we'd have a decent-to-good chance at winning any of them.
-- I'll never, ever, ever, ever complain about a bowl game.  I love all of them.

6) Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.  We have to beat Tech on Black Friday first.  But look, you have to know, if there's one fanbase that is more unhappy than ours right now, it's Hokie fans.  Poor, sweet, stupid, delusional Hokie fans.  All they have is football, and all their football team has left is the win streak over UVA.  Ultimately, I kind of think of Friday's game like we're George, getting ready to put the bullet in the back of Lennie's skull.  Poor, sweet, stupid, delusional Hokie fans.

7) Am I the only one who thinks it's incredibly fucked up that there stands a very real possibility that VT will be looking to replace Beamer before UVA looks to replace London?

8) I also wonder if I'm the only one who thinks Virginia Tech fans should be very careful about what they wish for.  Beamer probably needs to retire, yes. But we're talking about VT's Rumpelstiltskin, the one man who could spin hay (in this case, hog manure) into gold in Blacksburg.  It's a better job in 2014 than it was when Beams took over in 1991, but don't get it twisted.  Blacksburg is still a cow town, and in the ever-expanding college football universe, the VT job is still small potatoes.  I hear Hokie fans say names like Pep Hamilton, Rich-Rod, and even (seriously, I heard this one) Chip Kelly, and all I can do is laugh.  Careful, Hokie fans, because reality is about to bite you in the nuts, just like it bit down hard on Hoofans.  2014 Hokies = 2000 Hoos, is all I'm saying.  Why are you so eager to commence your version of the Al Groh and Mike London eras?

9) Hey, maybe I should talk about the actual football game about to be played on Friday night?  Tech's offense is... in a word... awful.  A picture is worth a 1000 words in this case:

Predictable that I would post this, but no less hilarious.

So their O is putting the O in OFFAL.  Ours isn't much better, but at least we have a pulse.  Our defenses are about the same, I'd say.  Ours might have a bit more legit talent up front, but theirs will be fueled by the VT/UVA psycho bloodlust they always seem to conjure up for this game, so I call it a wash.  Special teams are both horrendous, but I'd take Ian Frye over whatever #99-wearing shitbag little kicker they trot out, so it's a slight UVA edge.  Ultimately, I like our talent more than theirs, and I think their death spiral is spinning more dramatically than ours... so the Hoos win an ugly, interesting, horrendous game.  My pick:

Virginia 19, Virginia Tech 13


10) What does Vegas think?  They opened things up at VT (-1), but since then the line was bet up to UVA (-2)... and then bet back down to UVA (-1) / pick-'em.  The over/under is 40.5, and I'm taking the Hoos and the under, at about 51% confidence in the pick and 101% confidence in the o/u.

11) It's Tech week. GO HOOS. Crush the Hokies.

Fuck it, I'm going deep.

November 14, 2014

Wahooze Tip-Off

Just a quick Q-n-A with the boys to help tip off college basketball season for the Hoos.

Question 1: What are your general expectations for this season?

Mike: Obviously the ACC is going to be tough this year (we are ranked 9 in the AP poll, putting us 4th in the ACC) but I fully expect us to compete and potentially win the league again this season. Virginia is, and I think will always be, a very unique case in the ACC and probably the entire country. We have a team laden with upperclassmen this season which is something you never see at Power 5 schools. I fully expect that to play into our hands and we win more than our fair share of games by not panicking when down by 10 or so and making a comeback and watching younger teams implode around us. We also play the kind of game that will bury those young teams who I don’t think will be equipped to handle it.

Pierce: My expectation is World Domination, obviously. But really, I think we've seen Bennett's system will/should produce a consistent and competitive product, now that the roster has talent (and players who have bought into the system). Yes we lost an incredible amount of talent in both Joe and Akil, but there's no reason there should be much of a step back. I expect that there will be a couple of annoying losses along the way (particularly, say, before Christmas), but this team should be top-4 in the ACC, challenge for the league title and hopefully a favorable route to another sweet 16 berth.

Kendall: My general expectation is to see another season of really great, entertaining, winning basketball.  It's weird to me that we've officially arrived.  I don't really know how to handle not having anything to bitch about!  No, but seriously, I won't say 'Sweet Sixteen or bust,' but I do think the dart will hit the board somewhere between the Round of 32 and the Final Four.  That's after another top-4 ACC finish and at least a decent run in the ACC Tournament.

Question 2: Malcolm Brogdon will be our leading scorer. Who is #2? #3?

Mike: I’ll get bold for a minute. I actually think Anthony Gill has a real chance to lead this team in scoring. He really impressed down the stretch, led mostly by his ability to score on the block and out in midrange. That kind of versatility is going to make him a real threat, especially with defenses focusing on Brogdon. I think Good London will be our #3 guy, especially with the confidence from deep he showed late in the year.

Pierce: For me, it's hard to say another wing here. Nolte's never done it consistently and while Justin Anderson should benefit from starting (despite being the greatest 6th man in the history of the sport...okay, well maybe just at the collegiate level), I'm not sure any part of the offense is regularly going to go through him. Naming two bigs is equally difficult, considering the obvious 3-man rotation that they'll go though, but if I had to guess, I'm actually going to go with #2 Gill and #3 Tobey. Both will play a ton every game, both have solid offensive ability, both make their free-throws, and really I think we'll see the front-court as a consistent and purposeful focus of the offense.

Kendall: I think Anthony Gill is the obvious answer.  However, I think he finishes #3 in scoring, behind Brogdon and... Justin Anderson.  There, I said it.  Simba becomes the Lion King this season.  I say he improves on last year's 29% shooting from deep, and turns increased playing time into increased scoring punch.  Mike Tobey is #4, by the way, and he'll have a number of 15-18+ point "boom" games.

Question 3: Will the defense be better or worse than last season? Explain.

Mike: Worse, but still awesome. Losing two guys with four years in the system will take its toll. As the season goes on I expect the defense to greatly improve, but replacing Joe and especially Akil on the defensive end is going to be tough. The keys in this area for me are Marial Shayock and Darion Atkins. Hopefully Atkins can shake the Eeyore mentality. Someone is going to need to replace the fire we lost with Akil.

Pierce: Worse. Record-breaking quality doesn't happen often. It's been said a million times by UVa fans/writers, but I'll say it again: Akil Mitchell played un-freaking-believable defense. I trust the packline and I still have faith in our talent, but no one is going to replicate what Akil brought - not to mention Joe Harris' ever-underrated defense. I suspect we'll still be great at defense, no reason not to think so, really - but last year may have been as close to the pinnacle as we'll see.

Kendall: No one on the current roster will be able to replicate Akil's ability to hedge at the top of the key and then teleport back under the basket, so I'll say the D will be a little bit worse.  Still, trading Joe for Justin Anderson in the starting lineup, and adding long, athletic players like Devon Hall and Marial Shayok to the mix could improve the peripherals of Packline.  Ultimately, I'll say the D will be about the same -- improved defensive rebounding (via JA seeing starter's minutes and these new bouncy athletes) equals improved defense in a lot of ways.

Question 4: Which games are you most looking forward to?

Mike: VCU and Maryland are obviously my top 2 out of conference games. Hope we beat them by a combined 40 points. In conference I really look forward to the games where TB has a chance to go up against the coaching legends. Duke, Syracuse and now Louisville. I love the idea that we have one of the bright young basketball minds who can go toe to toe with the titans of the game. Plus it’s fun to beat them.

Pierce: @VCU and @Maryland. Neither game matters in the grand scheme of things - won't affect the ACC at all and neither would be a résumé-damning loss (and honestly, neither would be that much of a résumé-boosting win). But both games are rivalries - one for obvious historic reasons and the other for state-supremacy-revenge reasons. I'm a petty braggart at heart in my basketball fandom - I'll be more nervous and anxious for these games than the league games - which I guess is my version of "excited?"

Kendall: You guys covered the hate games agaisnt VCU and Maryland, and Mike touched on the Duke/Cuse/L'Ville games, so I'll add my $0.02 by mentioning North Carolina on February 2 and Virginia Tech on January 25 and February 28.  UNC is just another game against a quality ACC rival.  Those games against VT are going to be a great opportunities to pound those turkeys into the ground, and I hope we shame and embarrass Buzz Williams as much as we possibly can.  Let's burn their barn to the ground on 1/25.  But the games I'm MOST looking forward to are the games we'll be playing in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, all six of them!

Question 5: Which newcomer(s) are you most looking forward to seeing?

Mike: Devon Hall. I assume he counts as a newcomer. Massively heralded prospect coming out of high school seems to have been forgotten about with the emergence of Good London last season. I think this is the first taste we will get of the future of UVA basketball with the dual point guard lineups, like we will See with Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome in the 2016 class. Devon Hall is a long point guard and could be an absolute monster defensively.

Pierce: Well, Shayok is rumored to be the best/most-ready now, Wilkins shatters backboards, Salt is 40 feet tall, and anyone with last name Stith is already UVA royalty - so that's a tough call. I'll have to go with Stith for nostalgia's sake. Plus he's so smiley, he's like mini-Justin Anderson. Can we play them at the same time? Would they have separate-but-related powers of optimism and charm a la The Carebears? Or maybe combine into some sort of good-vibes-Voltron? I'm excited to find out.

Kendall: The correct answer is B.J. Stith.  He might redshirt, but whatever.  It's Bryant Stith's son, man!  (Bryant Stith, FYI, is my favorite player of all time, regardless of sport, team, etc.  I love Bryant Stith.)  I'll hedge my bets by also mentioning Isaiah Wilkins, who could provide us with the same sort of athletic presence Akil Mitchell did --- but with a bit more offensive upside.

Question 6: Other than Brog, who will be UVA's MVP this season? Explain.

Mike: I haven’t swooned about Justin Anderson yet! He’s the answer for me. He can do it all for the team and will most likely be the one who will step in and take the vocal leadership role, even more so than he did last season.

Pierce: My first instinct was to say Gill, because he's the natural replacement to Akil's responsibilities. Then I thought Justin Anderson, who easily earned game-MVP nods many times last season with his will to win (to put it simply). The answer, though, is Perrantes. A point guard can make or break games more times than any other position - and assuming he stops doing whatever he did to earn a benching for the opener - London's going to put this team in position to win most of them

Kendall: I love both of your answers, but in a mild surprise, I'm going to go with Mike Tobey.  His skillset is totally unique, and it's only if Tobey realizes a bit more of his immense potential will Virginia make that Final Four run I think we're capable of making this season.

Question 7: Call it! ACC regular season finish / ACC Tournament finish / NCAA or NIT? / NCAA seed / NCAAT finish

Mike: Not sure this team has the talent to win it all, but they definitely have the talent to earn some Final Four hype in latter part of the season. I think we will see some bumps in the road as we try to fill Joe and Akil’s shoes, but by the end of the season we will be hitting on all cylinders. I think we get a 2-3 seed in the tournament, but are the sneaky good team no one wants to play (like Michigan State last year). I’d say we have a better shot at winning the ACC Tournament than we do the regular season, but I’m not sure we repeat.

Pierce: I'll hedge my bets and go: 3rd in the ACC / lose in ACC semis due to poor officiating / NCAA 3 seed / ...and with the added benefit of not facing Michigan State, we surpass last year and make it to the Elite 8, where we lose a terrible game to Wisconsin. This is the new normal, y'all. It's gonna be pretty great.

Kendall: 3rd behind Duke and Louisville / lose in the semifinals... to Duke or Louisville / NCAA Tournament, 4-seed / lose in the Elite Eight to 2-seed Florida after upsetting 1-seed Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen.


November 13, 2014

Forde-Yard Dash: Around the Coaching Carousel We Go

A great, relevant, pertinent read (and also one of my absolute favorite weekly columns):

Forde-Yard Dash: Around the coaching carousel we go

Great read, really entertaining.  The Ol' Woodchopper (Greg Schiano) would be an... interesting fit.  (Here's some clickbait if you want to do some reading up on Schiano, which I encourage you to do!  'Gotta Coach Somebody'  I'm not opposed to Schiano, especially after reading that piece from MMQB.)

Greg Schiano can be a real asshole,
but never forget how he elevated Rutgers - RUTGERS! - to relevance.

Assuming all of the jobs Pat Forde touched on open up (they won't), and assuming no other jobs open unexpectedly (they will) or via the coaching carousel domino effect (looking at Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, specifically), here's how I rank the openings:

~~~ elite jobs ~~~
#1 Florida
#2 Michigan

~~~ middling/good jobs ~~~
#3 Virginia Tech
#4 Virginia
#5 Illinois

~~~ tricky opportunities ~~~
#6 Rutgers
#7/8 Kansas / Iowa State

~~~ entry-level positions ~~~
#9 SMU
#10 Troy
#11 Tulsa
#12 Hawaii

I rank VT above us, and it hurts.  I actually think that as of December 2014, the two jobs are fairly equal, if you consider the long shadow Frank Beamer will cast over that program for the next decade-plus.  I nudge Tech just ahead of us in the above ranking thanks to their new Athletic Director, Whit Babcock, who I am sad to admit seems like a really good one.  Much better than our old conservative bowtie, Craig Littlepage.

Anyhoo... read those two articles I linked, Hoofans.  DO IT!

November 10, 2014

Meet Tom Herman

I just found a recent comment on The List, Part III from a poster named "Midlohoo" particularly compelling:

The more I look at it, the more I think Tom Herman might be a particularly good fit. I know you have him on the list, but his name doesn't seem to be getting much, if any, discussion here or elsewhere. He's 39, seems like a really smart (literally, a Mensa member), well-spoken guy, and gives off the same kind of class vibe that UVA likes and that you see with Bennett, O'Connor, etc. He's got a very successful offensive system - a no-huddle, spread "Jet" offense. He's been at Ohio State for the last three years under Urban Meyer. Another key factor: He also was OC/QB at Rice, where ran top 10 national offenses in a high-academic environment. Things I've read suggest he's one of those top assistants who is "ready to run a program," which could mean nothing, but I take to mean that he's considered well prepared for the management aspects of the job, not just for calling plays. I believe he's also considered a good recruiter. He really seems to check off just about every box I can think of and just feels like someone who would fit into UVA's preferred mold.

I loathe all things Ohio State Buckeyes, and that bias led me to kind of subconsciously dismiss Herman from Virginia's search (even though I included him on The List).  But Midlohoo's post rattled the cage a bit, and I went to work finding some reading materials on Herman.

Here's what I'll be reading today.  I hope that you'll join me!

November 4, 2014

Hoofans have spoken...

...and here are the results of the UVA Football Coaching Search Questionnaire!

I'm proud to say that we received over 400 responses to the Questionnaire.  I think that's enough votes to be able to say that these results are indicative of and representative of the thoughts of the die-hard Virginia football fanbase.

I'll try not to crush you with a lot of analysis.  Instead, I think the numbers speak pretty loudly for themselves.  But I will provide some light analysis and attempt some interpretation.

Everything you'll see below is a function of the percentage of the 400+ responses.  Enjoy!

Question 1: Are you a UVA fan?

Kendall's Thoughts: Of the 400+ responses, only eight were from non-Hoofans.  I expected a lot more VT trolling... but maybe we got that, and they just lied on this question.  Whatever, taking it at face value, it's still 400 die-hard UVA fans sharing their opinions on our upcoming coaching search.

Question 2: If you were in charge of making the decision, how many total wins (regular season + potential bowl game) does Mike London need in 2014 in order to be retained in his current position as head football coach at the University of Virginia?

Kendall's Thoughts: I think if he somehow rallies to two wins out of these last three (@ F$U, Miami, @ VT) and makes a bowl game, he's back.  But it's interesting to see that 42% of us are asking for something more than that, and that 32% want London fired no matter what he does the rest of this season.  The natives, as they say, are getting restless!

Question 3: You are in charge of hiring the next head football coach at UVA. Your preference is for a coach with a background and expertise in which phase of the game?

Kendall's Thoughts: 89% prefer an offensive background.  That's an avalanche.  A freaking -ahem- CAValanche.  But it makes sense.  Groh and London both had defensive backgrounds, and as a result, their offenses sucked.  We want to watch a good offense for a change!

Question 4: What's your preference when it comes to age?

Kendall's Thoughts: The sweet spot is 35-50, an age range which [potentially] appeals to 94% of responders.  We don't want the next guy to be too old... but we also don't want him to be too young!

Question 5: What's your preference for background?

Kendall's Thoughts: I wasn't sure what I was expecting from this question.  I knew that support would be low for NFL assistants and FCS head coaches, and that ended up being true, with 1% of the vote ringing in for each of those options.  Group of 5 coordinators are also not en vogue among our voters, despite popular option Lincoln Riley's position as ECU's offensive coordinator.  Ditto the P5 head coaches... not many of whom seem like realistic candidates for UVA.  It seems like Hoofans either want a current power conference coordinator or a Group of 5 head coach.  Each of my personal top 5 fall into either of those two categories, so I can dig it.

Question 6: What's your preference?

Kendall's Thoughts: Duh.  No more soft touch, please and thank you.

Question 7: Is charisma and media savvy an important trait for the next head football coach at UVA?

Kendall's Thoughts: I think it's obviously a nice bonus if your head coach is a charismatic guy who is good with the media.  But look, at the end of the day, just win.  If you win, it'll all take care of itself.  You can be as prickly and standoffish as you want to be... right, George Welsh?  Right, Nick Saban?  Right, Bill Belichick?  You get the point.

Question 8: True or False: Virginia NEEDS a head coach who is a great recruiter.

Kendall's Thoughts: I voted "mostly false," but I get where 88% of you guys are coming from.  Virginia has to have relevant talent in order to be a relevant team.  I just dream of a day when our Xs and Os are so hot and so fresh, that the fish jump into the boat.  You can kind of see this happening with the basketball team right now.  Kids mostly want to play for a winner... so build a freaking winner, and they'll come!

Question 9: Obviously, you want a great system stocked with awesome talent... but what's MORE important, the system or recruiting?

Kendall's Thoughts: The System takes it in a landslide, 88% to 12%.  I think this is a direct result of what I call the Bennett Effect.  Also, Mike London is a .379 winner at UVA... running a whole lot of nuthin' when it comes to a tangible, cohesive system.  I think we've all seen enough of that.

Question 10: What's your preference?

Kendall's Thoughts: Nobody wants the triple option, and only about a quarter of us want to play smashmouth.  That means a majority of us would like to see the ball in the air.  BRING ON THE AIR RAID (or something like it).

Question 11: On defense... to blitz, or not to blitz, that is the question.

Kendall's Thoughts: This was a dumb question to include in the Questionnaire, but I wanted to touch on the defense in some fashion.  But, yeah, we want to blitz.  Shocker.

Question 12: A focus on special teams is...

Kendall's Thoughts: I kind of thought we'd get like 90% saying that special teams is mission-critical.  Instead, just 57%.  But with another 34% saying it's pretty important, there's the 91% who think 'teams is a big deal.  Personally, I just want them to be competent.

Question 13: Please place a check next to any of these coaches you'd be EXCITED to see named UVA's next head coach.

Kendall's Thoughts: That graph is the money shot, isn't it?  Hoofans have spoken, and we have a clear top seven:

  • Scott Frost
  • Mark Hudspeth
  • Rhett Lashlee
  • Chad Morris
  • Pat Narduzzi
  • Mike Bobo
  • Kirby Smart
  • Philip Montgomery
I'm absolutely cool with any of those seven, along with Pete Lembo (sorry, haters), Jeremy Pruitt, Matt Wells, or the McNeill/Riley combo platter.

I do think it;s interesting that we're pretty far away from reaching a consensus on this.  Only one candidate excites more than half of the voters.  That tells me that there's probably going to need to be a lot of "selling" Hoofans on the next head coach, whoever it ends up being.

Guys who had more support than I expected: Scott Frost (he's young), Chad Morris (star fading), Mike Bobo, Philip Montgomery (prickly persona), Lincoln Riley (extremely young), Pete Lembo (currently 3-5 at a MAC school), Greg Schiano (a-hole).

Guys who had less support than I expected: Matt Campbell (I thought his was a pretty hot name), Tony Levine (brings an awful lot to the table), Kurt Roper (Hoofans have a lot of Duke-envy right now), Doc Holliday (gaudy record), Al Golden.

Let me address the elephant in the room: Jim Grobe is absolutely, positively a red herring.  You might be hearing his name right now, but I'd stake everything I own that it's just a smokescreen, or a bad rumor that grew legs.  The dude will be 63 years old when the 2015 season starts, and he just got passed over for the open jobs at UAB and Army.  He's not going to be a candidate for UVA.  He's a good coach, don't get me wrong... he's just not going to be a candidate for UVA.

Sound Off!
It's totally anonymous. Tell us exactly what you think we should know when it comes to UVA and the potential football coaching vacancy!

(Kendall's thoughts are in RED, and I will add my thoughts to each and every one of the comments I received via the Questionnaire.)

I want a coach that makes bad teams competitive. A coach that can always beat the teams they should beat. A coach who puts the players in a position to WIN. A coach who picks a system and excels at it (power running, heavy use of tight ends, spread... Pick something!). Not a coach who recruits great talent but then loses to teams with much less talent. Not a coach who can't call timeouts at the right time making me look stupid at bw3 as I scream at the TV, "TIMEOUT TIMEOUT CALL A DAMN TIMEOUT!!!"

I'm so sad about football it hurts.

We're all in that same boat, buddy.  Hang in there.  It'll get better.

We should have hired Clawson last season when we had the chance ...

Yep, Clawson would have been a perfect fit.  Good for Wake for making that move when they had the chance!

just win baby and i could care less how

Agreed.  But I also want the program to remain [at least mostly] clean.

The past 10+ years has been the lost decade for UVA football. We had national championship talent in the 90's; no reason we shouldn't be like a Stanford. Get good kids and high character kids, with our great stadium,facilities and$$$$. Tired of same old excuses. Littlepage, Oliver, O'Brien and London MUST GO!!!!!!! MORE coaches like Ten it as aggressive, take chances style of play.

Stanford got really lucky with their Harbaugh hire, and that's what put them on the track they're on.  We can catch similar lightning in a bottle with the right hire, I believe it in my soul.

Please avoid the NFL retreads. Please give me someone who is a proven winner who has turned a program around or built a program. I would prefer a focus on defense and special teams over offense. I've seen Texas Tech get steamrolled and Clemson unable to pick up 3rd and short too many times. No thanks.

Yeah, absolutely.  No more NFL retreads.  However, I disagree with you about the focus on defense / special teams.  It's long past time for a juggernaut offense at UVA.

It would be interesting if UVA hires an offensive guy and retains Tenuta, but the focus should be on the caliber of the head coach regardless of background.

One unlikely sleeper candidate, who I admit would be unpopular is Derek Dooley. I think he will be a good coach and would fit well with UVA's academics. UVA is probably in a better position talent-wise relative to the Coastal than Tennessee was compared to the SEC when Dooley came in and with more realistic expectations.

It would be a risky hire, but with enormous upside. He has more of an offense background and may retain this defensive staff, which would be an intriguing staff with a decent OC. Injuries to Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter in 2011 during his time at Tennessee should be noted.

Two points: 1) Tenuta won't be retained.  The new head coach will be able to hand-pick his own staff.  That's the way of the world.  2) I like Derek Dooley, but not for our head coaching role.  I think he'd be a great Jon Oliver replacement as UVA's Associate AD for Football.  Remember, Dooley has experience after serving as Louisiana Tech's Athletic Director.

We have to find a way to retain the talent that is already in the fold. That is also a big priority, and if we can keep the 757 pipeline going, that would also be key.

Yeah, okay.  But to me, retaining our current talent is waaaaaaaaaaaay down the list of priorities.  We've made way too many recent decisions (read: mistakes) while focusing on recruiting.  Build the right program, the players will come.  We need to hire a head coach who will build the right program.

I wanted London to be the man but he has had more than enough time and done nothing with it...continually out coached, poor discipline/penalties have been a trademark and the seeming enjoyment of a QB carousel. Special teams are a disaster and you can most count on an opponent to run a fake punt/onside kick in many situations.

London is a good man and a good recruiter. But he also has a good agent who snookered the school with an obscene extension when he really had only one year of marginal success.

I grew up in the Welsh era and I don't know if GW could do what he did then now, but I do know that UVA isn't bashful about contracts and pAys good money to live in a great town, with close access to fertile recruiting grounds. Academics may be a challenge but if duke and Stanford can be successful, we can again, too.

I'm with you, 100%.  Mike London has been an unmitigated disaster.

When you win recruiting gets easier

You are correct.

need to hit home run on hire. riley , leipold or frost. got to het an offensive h.c


Someone who is a proven winner and comes from a winning system. Love the guys like Lashlee, Huddy, and Riley. Also Matt Wells. But knowing our administration, we won't hire an offensive guy, so that leads me to believe that our best options would be Narduzzi, or Pruitt. Huddy will probably get an SEC gig so I think he's out of the picture. The next best thing? Rhett Lashlee. In fact I am convinced that Lashlee, or Matt Wells will be the best options we have. Matt Wells might even be a better option because of his head coaching experience, but I'm not convinced he would leave his Alma Mater.

I'm with you on Lashlee and Wells.  Either would be a home run to me.

Rhett Lashlee, or Matt Wells. It's that simple

It really might be that simple!

Along with every answer given above, I want someone who is eager to change the culture/perception of Virginia football (i.e. Game day experience, winning mentality, excitement among the fan base, etc.). Experience being a winner under some of the nations best football minds is important. Virginia needs a guy that doesn't give away games but rather closes each game. Our next coach must be able to recruit and assemble a staff that doesn't need to be micro-managed. We need to cultivate a winning tradition.

Since everyone is listening (not really) I would like to see our game day experience change. Right now, it is uneventful, boring, and lame. How about do away with The Adventures of Cav Man, unique home game themes (white out, orange Pom poms or towels to wave in the crowd, something), and for God's sake have a better entrance to the field. I like Sabre so we could keep him but how about the team run down the hill onto the field as fireworks go off? I understand I am wrambling on about things unrelated to our future coaching search but felt compelled to use this link to express my displeasure over our current head coach and our game day experience. Thanks!

Great thoughts!  Preach on, preacher man!

The head coach of the football team, like it or not, is one of the biggest public faces of the university. And quite frankly the football and basketball teams are two of your biggest marketing tools at a school. As such, the teams should adequately reflect the commitment to quality that is expected at the school. Right now, basketball is a perfect representation of what UVA is and should be. Hard work and a deep understanding and knowledge of the system paying dividends on the court. Football on the other hand, is not even close. We have been a laughing stock on the field due to poor coaching and undisciplined play for too long, and it is reflecting poorly on UVA. If for no other reason, there has to be a change in coaching. You have to demand the same level of excellence that UVA does from it's student. The football team has to become a great representation of the success and standards of the University as a whole. This decision, for me at least, is not as much about wins and losses, and more about reputation. As an alum I feel UVA should be know for being a smart, well coached, and disciplined team, and right now we could not be further from it.

You nailed it.  The tenets of Virginia Football *should* be SMART, WELL-COACHED, and DISCIPLINED.  That's a brand of football I'd enjoy watching!

I think we need a head coach that can come in and work his magic FAST. Not sure what qualities are needed to makes that happen though.

Also, I think you should have weighted this survey based on degree of football knowledge. I trust a lot of people's opinion's from 247 more than my own.

Yeah man, I agree that we need a coach who can win immediately.  Our fanbase is perched at the edge of a cliff... and if we don't save them now, they might plummet to their doom.

No matter what happens, Oliver will find a way to screw it up.

No he won't, because he'll also be unemployed.

In order of London to stay with 6 wins John Oliver needs to go. Also, if London goes with 6 wins so should Oliver. If London and Oliver both stay after a 6 win season we are in trouble. As a player I heard this often and makes me wonder if London is the best man for the job "Great players can't make a mediocre coach great but a GREAT coach can take mediocre players and make a great team!" Go HOOS wahoowa

I really believe that London and Oliver's fates are tied together, and for the most part (barring wins in two of the last three) their fates are sealed.  Both of them.

Would really, really like to see winning football here!!! Sick of losing!!! No more excuses, people at top need to make right hire this time and right this ship like they did for Basketball, Baseball etc!! Do what's necessary to win here.

Exactly.  No more excuses.

Bowl or Bust!

Always.  Now that's so easy to get into a bowl game, we should ALWAYS be saying "bowl or bust."

I would also be interested in Major Applewhite.

Regardless, I have seen enough of the London era. I love Jappy Oliver, Jon Tenuta, and Archer but London must go!

Applewhite is not quite ready, imho.

winning the right way


1) Frost
2) Lashlee
3) Riley
4) Narduzzi

Not a bad list at all.  I think you have Riley a bit too high, but I won't fault that, because AIR RAID.

just want someone that is proven to have built a program for success.

Not a difficult equation, is it?

London was never qualified to be a D1 head coach, so any replacement...provided it isn't from his own staff, will be a massive improvement.


A coaching change gives us a chance to hope, if only for a time. Please give us that, UVa admin!

They have to give us that.

I have been regularly attending/watching UVa football games since 1968. Last Saturday's UNC game was the worst (best?) example of the problems with UVa football ever. Total coaching incompetence. London should have been fired Saturday night. If London is retained, then Littlepage must go. Is George Welch's son busy?

Ha ha ha ha, yeah.  It's become inexcusable.

I want an X's and O's guy. Someone who owns one side of the ball (and actually calls the plays for that side). In a perfect world I'd want to see a Chad Morris or Mike Bobo brought in as HC, and Tenuta stick around at DC (hopefully preventing most of the talent on that side of the ball from transferring).

Don't get your heart set on Tenuta.  I think he's gone along with the rest of the staff.

We need a coach that eliminates beating ourselves


We need the administration to hire the right guy with big time program experience who can take over at UVA and build this program from the ground up. Let them mold this team into a superpower amongst the elite teams in America.

Fingers crossed.

Someone who can coach the talent that we have.


UVA is a unique situation with rigorous academics and strict policies regarding early enrollment. That said, there are coaches who fit the mold much like Tony Bennett for basketball, and I think it's critical to focus on a system-oriented coach who will establish a program identity from the very beginning (much in the same way Bennett has with the smothering Pack-line, or Paul Johnson with the triple option).

UVA needs to level the playing field, and with new facilities and fertile recruiting in the state of VA, the opportunity is there for a coach to turn this program around.

We are absolutely on the same wavelength with this.  Well said.

We need to get rid of Oliver and Littlepage, find their replacement, and then go search for our next head coach. If it isn't done in that order, I'm not sure any of this really matters. Both are basketball guys, neither up to the task of finding a suitable replacement.

You're right, but it won't be those two doing the searching.  Oliver will be fired, and there will be search firms and a selection committee conducting the search.  Don't worry too much about Littlepage screwing it up --- it's a decision so big, it will be out of his hands.

Joe Moglia

Interesting thought.  I'll profile him on The List, Part IV.

Jim tressell as head coach with a young off. Cord. That runs an uptemp off. That will score alot of points!

Yuck.  Sweatervest.  No thanks.

We need a return to power football... similar to what Stanford does and what George Welsh won with here. Emphasis on offensive line recruiting, bigger running backs, multi purpose tight ends and tall receivers to throw deep to,

Ugh.  So tired of Hoofans' love affair with the Stanford model.  It's much easier to rebuild around a modern-style spread system than to copycat Stanford's smashmouth system (which isn't even working all that well right now, I should note.)

We need someone with a winning background who is not used to and will not tolerate losing. Age and prior experience level are not as important as a known winner. I prefer offensive minded and also prefer someone with no connection at all to UVA. Prefer X's and O's to rah-rah players coach. Talent development and identification skills are much more important than recruiting skills. Perfectly fine with someone who may use UVA as a springboard to bigger and better things as long as they leave the program in better shape than when they arrived. Must have some tangible connection to a school with rigorous academics so that they have a prior understanding of the academic hurdles they will face and don't have to learn this on the job.

You should be in charge of writing the job description.  You nailed it.

A lot of these questions raise false choices (blitz or no blitz... successful defenses will do both when appropriate). What we need is a Tony Bennett of Football. Someone who a) recognizes talent and fit for our school and system regardless of recruiting stars, b) excels at teaching and communicating systems of offense and defense that win, and c) cultivates a culture of steady improvement at the individual and team level culminating in learned winning (opposite of learned helplessness that we currently have).

It's not a Questionnaire if there are no choices, pal.  Meanwhile, "Tony Bennett for Football" is a popular sentiment right now.

I have been a season ticket holder for various "Power 5" conference teams for the last 46 years. The biggest complaint I have about Virginia football is not their won-lost record (although that is a complaint, obviously), but more importantly, that in the past 6-7 years they have become downright boring. Maybe it's coaching, maybe it's the ACC style, but Virginia plays uninspired football with very few "big plays." I truly believe that is one major reason (even if subconscious) for the declining attendance the last several years. When is the last time we saw a huge punt or kickoff return, how about a long bomb for 60+ yards, or a breakaway 80 yard run. Things that other teams seem to do weekly, we do once or twice a season (if that). Bring in a coach who makes this team entertaining and I guarantee attendance will rise even if the win totals don't.

Also I think that there needs to be a complete change of attitude among the players at UVA through new coaching. I have carefully watched their demeanor on the sidelines during games. They still seem to have a losers mentality. After losses many players seem resigned to the fact that they lost and "let's get ready for next week." They don't seem angry. I think this mindset is total crap. This players need to learn to "hate to lose." They need to feel the pain of losing. It has to become the most distasteful thing in their lives. Bring in a coach who makes these kids believe in their talent and makes them absolutely "hate to lose," because right now they don't.

We got a lot of great comments on the Questionnaire, but this one is my favorite.  And I couldn't agree more.  Thanks for sharing these thoughts, my friend!  Make Virginia Football less boring, and instill in the players a sincere hatred for losing.  Those are two enormous keys to a turnaround.

UVA needs to take the offense in a different direction besides a pro style run the clock type of offense. The pro style offense has not worked the last decade under Al Groh and Mike London and it's not going to work. The lack of talent such as a high caliber QB, HB and offensive line clearly shows. The offense always finds a way to play into their opponents hands due to the lack of inconsistency when it comes to scoring points. They need a coach that will structure the offense a little differently and make it more of an up tempo style by passing the ball more. It seems to suite most of the players abilities on offense more when they go at a faster pace. A coach like Doug Meacham the TCU offensive coordinator or Phillip Montgomery wouldn't be a bad hire because their coaching style matches the criteria. If they deadlocked on wanting to maintain a grind it out style team they should look somewhere on Stanford's coaching staff. Both UVA and Stanford are structured similarly, a big physical push you off the ball style offense. The only difference is Stanford is conditioned and developed a lot better. A good coach from there can put the pieces in the right place especially on the offensive line.

Pro style sucks in today's college football.  Don't reach for the Stanford model, just let it be.

This is my 50th year as a UVA fan; 9-year season ticket holder. I have been there though the good, the bad, and the ugly. The ugly hurts my feelings (perfect attendance); last 2 season's 4-8 / 2-10 records were ugly! Our recent Duke and UNC losses were frustrating. I won't quit rooting for UVA; not sure about how long I'll be getting season tickets. I wish London had succeed and know coaching consistency has many benefits. If London is retained, do not offer more than a year-to-year deal. The contract should be weighted toward incentives (wins, and bowl appearances). London's buy-out seemed a problem to a new coach hire. I think we should have a search going on now for a replacement coach; I do not believe London can be successful at this point in his career. Saddened by these results, but still a proud Wahoo.

Always proud to be a Hoo.  Always.  But yeah, London has to go.  He's awful.

Ruffin McNeill!!! Go Hoos!

27% of voters agree with you!

This next search needs to be far more professionalized and thought-out. From the outside, UVA football has looked like complete amateur hour from the administration on down for way too long.

Yep, it's high time for a professionally-run operation.  No more mickeymouse bullshit, no more Mike London shitshow, no more Jon Oliver clown act.

I'm not convinced that ML should be fired, per se. Given his ability to recruit to the current tire fire which is Cavalier football, he should be demoted to recruiting coordinator and possibly a position coach under a competent head coach who can consistently send Virginia bowling and run the Coastal. That way, we'd have London's recruiting acumen and a winning head coach, plus ML would learn *how* to coach.

Conceptually good, but realistically impossible.  Nobody, not even Mike London, would accept that sort of demotion.

Find another Tony Bennett, Brian O'Connor or Brian Boland--coaches with a system and philosophy, younger and can build a contending program the right way over a period of years. Football is much tougher than the other sports, with the greater scale and complexity involved in achieving success....many more players and coaches to manage and push to peak performance. Need a demanding coach with the passion and football and administrative IQ to make it all happen. While few Wahoo fans demand undefeated seasons, we should expect to be a consistent contender in the ACC.

Yeah, okay.  But WHO is the Bennett/Boland/O'Connor of college football???  My contention is that guy is Pete Lembo.  Or maybe, possibly Matt Wells.

AD is responsible for this fiasco that is Virginia football. He paid London too much to get him from Richmond, then extended and increased after one winning season with a ridiculous buy-out contract.

Yep, it's a fireable offense.  Like I've been saying, Jon Oliver staked his livelihood on the London hire and extension.

We need an offense badly. There are lots of great coaches out there that could instill a system that would succeed. London needs to go...period. He has already shown he is not the right guy.

I agree completely.

Your list of candidates is very comprehensive but none of them particularly excite me. Wells and Calhoun seem like good fits with a chance to stay if they succeed but they are west coast guys and not particularly exciting. The coordinators for southern programs may make a short term splash, but they'd be constantly looking to translate any success here into a job in the SEC. Nobody on the list has UVa ties, except Golden who wouldn't leave Miami. I'm still holding out hope that London can turn it around somehow.

Sorry my friend, but you're wrong.  London ain't the guy, and there are plenty of exciting possibilities on The List.  If you don't see the exciting possibilities, then you're just blind to exciting possibilities.

No preconceptions. They should do a thorough, systematic search. Worst mistake is to hire the next coach because he is the opposite of Mike London - coming from a power 5 school, offensive background, system guy, etc. the guy we need may be those things or may not.

This is a good point.  London was the anti-Groh.  We shouldn't make a decision based on the premise of trying to find the anti-London.

We cannot hire a quality coach until they are major changes in the leadership of the Football program. When potential coaches look at future schedules they will know they are being set up for failure.

Agreed.  Which is why I say Oliver will also get shitcanned.

Keep the AD's off the freaking sidelines! ! This is not the Dallas Cowboys and they are not Jerry Jones. That shit won't work at this level! I think John Oliver is the main reason this program is in the state it is in. Start with firing his arse.

Thank you for saying this!  Jon Oliver on the sideline is a freaking joke.

Great guy, bad coach. Ship sailed for me after the fake fg vs VT in '12

A lot of people are in that boat.  It sailed for me when we lost to Ball State.

Oliver and Tom Obrien must go.

A large obstacle to UVA securing a better head coach has been nostalgia for traditional offenses of past UVA teams/coaches that are no longer effective, and the insistence of donors / fans / alumni  /administrators of not conducting searches that are "nationwide" because they want a UVA connection or some familiarity with the head coach.

Totally.  You'll see Michigan draw a lot of heat for their insistence on finding a "Michigan Man" to replace Brady Hoke.  The same sentiment should hold true for Virginia.  We don't need a guy with former (or present) ties to the program.  Thinking that we need that is just stupid.

Retaining London and hiring a decent OC should be considered, BUT only if that OC employes an updated MODERN offensive system. If so, it should not be allowed.

London needs to go, period.  I don't care if we hire Bill Walsh to be his offensive coordinator.

Go for broke. We need a big sexy name and proven track record, or this program will suffer for longer. Bring in a big name, we can afford it. Bring in a safe bet, and attendance, success, and reputation will suffer more in the long run.

I like the idea of swinging for the fences with a big, sexy name.  I just think that in its present state, Virginia Football is too much of a "fixer-upper" for a household name to want to try to wrangle.

It's about time. UVA needs a true head coach. Fire him now.

No doubt.

I think Mack Brown of Phil Fulmer should be candidates...both have won a national championship and would bring immediate credibility to the program.

Uggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  No.

Rhett Lashlee is the future

Yes indeed.  But will he be the future at UVA?  I'd be happy if he were!

Not Kyle Flood. Starting a seriously banged up QB today rules him out. That kid should not have been on the field for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which risking an even more serious injury.

Yeah, that was awful.  I think it's a safe bet that Flood isn't anywhere close to our shortlist of candidates.

Mike London is a good recruiter, but does not appear to be capable of developing players or managing a game. It is unacceptable to be this bad for this long, given the resources at his disposal. It's time to cut our losses.

It's passed time to cut our losses.  We should have fired his sorry ass after the debacle that was the 2013 season.

London has repeatedly underachieved, he must be fired!


Like I like my women...spread, spread, spread

Ha ha ha ha ha!  Same here, buddy.

Love to see us retain Tenuta in the shake-up. He was abused again by Johnson at GTech but two years in his system with the current talent is just beginning to pay dividends.

We won't - and shouldn't - retain Tenuta.  Clean break.  Cut all ties to this abysmal era of Virginia Football.

I'm not sure about specific names but the UVA HC should be one who can manage the overall operation and places emphasis on systems that work in modern college football with the given talent. Aggressive systems that put pressure on the opposition on both offense and defense seem to be the most successful in today's college game.The fact that many of the modern college systems are being adapted to the NFL should tell you something.If the new UVA HC doesn't have the necessary offensive or defensive experience in these systems it is not as important as whether he is willing to hire the right coordinators and let them have the freedom to implement and execute these systems.

Amen and Hallelujah.

Retaining the current defensive staff is possibly important It retains recruits to some degree and we are a pretty sound defense that can get better with some corners.

Nope.  Get over it.  Everyone must go.

The game against GT was atrocious. The clock management was terrible and the offensive play-calling lacked creativity. I'm tired of hearing "UVA is a great screen team" when what we are is a volume screen team with middling success at it. The defense knows it's coming!

We sucked against GT.  The sad thing is that it was nothing new.  We've been sucking for years!

Really want a coach with a specific offensive system. I'm tired of seeing Lousiana Tech and Ball State come into Scott and put up 40+ on us. Theres no reason we shouldnt be capable of doing that too.

Hell yes, and word to your mother.

Class, represents UVA well, runs a great offense

Check, check, and check.  It's really not a complicated formula, is it?

I do not trust the current athletic leadership to make a competent football head coach hire.

I don't either.  Good thing it won't be them making the decisions.

Can we get someone before the end of the season?

No.  Stupidly, it's not "The Virginia Way."  Personally, I think London should have had to walk home from Atlanta.

I was born in Virginia and have seen or read about the teams since the 60's. We had some good runs but mostly are a mid to low tier team. We can fire London but it won't make much difference. All of the high achieving coaches mentioned for replacements probably couldn't do much better and know it. Virginia football just can't get to the next level. I was a season ticket holder for 24 seasons. The 90's were exciting but except for a few games scattered here and there, UVA football is boring. I will watch on TV, but won't miss anything more interesting in order to do so.

Okay, so you've quit.  Can't say I blame you.  But please understand, not all of us are so pessimistic.

I also think Tommy Bowden would be a reasonable selection. Knows ACC, did well at Auburn, has turned around Akron which is near impossible, and could recruit Florida as well as southeast. I know for sure he has learned from his past, and could be under the radar.

Yikes.  Well... it's not the worst idea I've ever heard.  But still...  Yikes.

One name I think should be on there is Jim McElwain at Colorado State. Was with Saban at Alabama. Has CSU playing well. Would be a great fit here. As for my thoughts. I have been a season ticket holder for 34 years. I have seen the bad the good and now the ugly. I truly believe that UVA can be a top 25 team year in and year out with our facilities. Charlottesville is a great place to live and raise a family. I do believe that recruiting is important but not the end all to be all. Player development is the most important along with putting kids in the right position to be successful. Va and the surrounding areas are full of high school talent. I just want to be good and field a consistent winner for years to come. I do not care if we ever get to the national championship game as long as we can win an ACC title every now and then.

McElwain would be near the top of the list if he didn't have a $1.5 million salary to top and a $7.5 million buyout to pay Colorado State.  Covered this in The List, you must have missed it.

The best case scenario would be the Auburn OC or the Lousiana-Lafayette coach.

Rhett Lashlee and Mark Hudspeth are the individuals you are referring to, and yes, they are very interesting options.

Like most of us hoos, we want a coach that CAN COACH FOOTBALL....the rest will take care of itself!

It really doesn't have to be any more complicated than that.

The search should start, if it hasn't already. All existing coaches should be released by Monday after the VA Tech game. Find an acceptable coach maybe from the above list. Let him hire the assist. he desires.


follow tony bennets playbook, start with sound football, recruiting wins will follow

Easy enough.  Who can coach sound football?

We've already gambled twice on guys with little to no coaching ecperience and lost. This search has to be about getting the program off the mat, not trying to win a title. We need a proven head coach with an offensive background and the more ecperience he has rebuilding the better. Forget all that name buzz/coaching tree crap. None of that matters until you prove it in the big chair. Pick a guy who doesn't have to learn how to be a head coach on the fly. Despite his team's current disappointing season, Pete Lembo should be at the top of the list.

Despite your inability to spell the word experience, I mostly agree with everything you're saying.  A guy with big whistle experience should be held in high regard by the search committee.

definitely go with offense coach like the great George Welsh! was a great discipline and intelligent coach.

He's a legend.  A saint.

Let the new HC pick his own assistants. Athletic department needs to be cleaned.

Yes and yes.

The survey leaves out one important factor - will anyone work for Littlepage. I accept that no one worth having will work with or for Oliver.

I think they will.  'Page can be a dunce sometimes, but I think he's proven himself to be a good boss who is supportive and loyal.  Put it this way --- I doubt that Bennett and O'Connor have any complaints about Littlepage.

UVA fans leave out another important issue - UVA alums do not "take care of former UVA players". Jobs and career opportunities after school? UVA is known across the country a fan base that doesn't care.

Okay.  Not sure what to do with that?

Things are really pretty gloomy, so I think a seasoned veteran coach rooted in the Deep South (a successful program cannot exist off leftovers from NJ, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) should be considered to stabilize the program, then turn it over to an aggressive young coach.

Makes sense.

No Jim Grobe please! Looks like that's the direction the admin is already going....

Jim Grobe is a red herring.

Fire Mike London NOW


Someone with a brain, but not a jerk like Groh. Mike London was a cop, which is a vocation with an upper IQ. How could he not know to recruit/focus on having an O line? Right, he's dumb enough to be a cop.

Some cops are dumb, proven fact.

Need a coach that can develop talent and consistently find the hidden gems in each recruiting class. Extremely frustrating to see good recruiting classes plateau early in their careers. Additionally, Virginia should never have been a place where a coach could come to learn/develop into a head coach. Unfortunately, this is where we are at; the levels of game mismanagement that we see on Saturdays are unfathomable at the FBS level.

Player development isn going to be a huge theme under the new regime, I'm sure.  I agree that the early career plateaus have been incredibly frustrating.

Fire Mike London

Let's do it!

Think outside the box, need energy, need x's & O's, need a guy who can fit with what UVA is. He has to understand who he has to recruit for it to work with his system but he will also have to find kids that will fit in the UVA system as well, and he'll have to be able to sale it to those kids!

We all see it, will the decision-makers?  Can we find the right guy?  Who is the right guy?

Don't be over-excited about a 'hot' coach with recent success. E.g., winning for two years with someone else's players looks good at first, but we need to dive deeper and realize that it may mean he can't developing talent over the long-term. Learn from past mistakes.

Yeah, that's why I still champion Pete Lembo.

Joe Moglia at Coastal Carolina would be the perfect coach for UVA. I would love to see the defensive coordinator we have now stay-I think he has the players and scheme to be very very good next year-other than him drain the swamp and let Moglia bring his assistants with him.

Stay tuned for The List, Part IV.

Keep up the good work with the blog. Unfortunate that we have to deal with the impending regime change but that's part of college football. I've been pulling for London but it's been clear that it's just not going to work. You can't stock this kind of talent on your roster and not make a bowl game every year - bottom line expectations for UVA. Fans who set the bar lower than that are doing so because a decade of mediocrity has brainwashed them. My preference is a big name coordinator from the SEC, partly because I love Southern football and partly because those boys know what winning and true competition is all about. Above all, I want to see Jon Oliver gone more than anything else, I just don't really have the faith that we will see that happen.

I agree that the bar should be no lower than a bowl game every season.  I also agree that Oliver needs to go.

Need someone that can Coach and still keep his finger on the pulse of the other important aspects such as classroom progression and community service.

Excellent point.

Is it too late for a Mack Brown saga here? Go HOOS!

Please God no.  No Mack Brown.  He's horrendous.

Pep Hamilton!

Pipe Dream!

The Hoos will not win another game this season. I remember George Welsh winning with less talent than this idiot recruits. He has pissed away two good recruiting years, with no improvement. George was bashed for 7-4 type years-bet Hoos fans would take that now and not look back!!!

Once upon a time, Hoofans felt like Welsh wasn't getting the job done.  Oh how far we've fallen.

I think Matt Wells ,should be the hire if they make a change. Fits all the criteria and seems like a UVA fit

Yeah, Matt Wells is a really good choice in terms of all-around "fit."

I feel like the 'Hoos would be great with Jon Gruden...or someone like him. Someone that can coach up the QB's and add fire to the enthusiasm of the overall program. Also an older guy wouldn't be a bad play either. Someone with years of experience and great in-game management skills ( London's are atrocious!)

Gruden will never happen, but I like your points about experienced game managers.

Okay guys, thanks a ton for reading, thanks for taking the time to participate in the Questionnaire, and thanks for sharing your comments!

Go Hoos.