September 3, 2014

Thoughts on UCLA, Richmond


On UCLA...

  • Sorry, needs to be said: UCLA is not a top-10 team this season.  We hung tough against a pretty good team, but no way the Bruins are quote-unquote "elite."  They looked like a 7-5 kind of Pac-12 team to me.
  • Sorry, also needs to be said: While we out-gained them yardage-wise (386 to 358) and outscored their offense, we also cheated them of three possessions by coughing up turnovers for touchdowns.  Take a look at this statistic, stat-heads: Virginia -- 26 yards per possession, UCLA 33 yards per possession.

  • We spent all Spring, all Summer, basically all offseason grooming Greyson Lambert to be the starter in 2014.  Then the hook not even all the way through the 2nd quarter of the first game?  I know that move was made to give Lambert a chance to calm down and see a little bit of the game from the sideline before being re-inserted into action, and I know Matt Johns was pretty good (not great) in relief, but COME THE FUCK ON.  I blame Mike London, because he's guilty of at least one of two things: 1) Being too quick with the hook and blundering into yet another quarterback controversy / carousel at UVA, and/or 2) making the wrong call on who should be Virginia's starting quarterback this season.  Neither mistake surprises me, given the shitshow this coaching regime has been.
  • 0-1.  That's all that matters to me right now.  Moral victories are for losers, and there is surely no place for them in Year Five of a coaching regime.
  • Where the hell was Keeon Johnson?  Darius Jennings, Canaan Severin, and Andre Levrone were good, but where the hell was Keeon Johnson?
  • Okay, I'm ready to eat a smidgen of crow on this.  Our offensive line was surprisingly decent.  In pass pro, at least.  (Run blocking sucked, as we managed only 120 yards on 39 carries, 3.1 ypc.)  UCLA's defensive front is very talented, so the performance of the OL actually gives me some shred of optimism for the season ahead.
  • Special propers to the left side of the line.  Mike Mooney and Ryan Doull played well in their first taste of action.

  • For the record, Crazylegs Matt Johns is my QB of choice from this point forward.  Give me the gamer over the golden boy.  It'll take onions to lead this Virginia program out of the pit of despair, and I think Johns has about a bushel while Lambert has nada.
  • Credit to the Virginia defense!  Five sacks, and looking downright nasty while doing it.  Max Valles looks like a blossoming superstar, and major kudos to Jon Tenuta for deploying Valles in exactly the right ways.  As a nickel rush end, he can be truly stellar.
  • Henry Coley's 14 tackles and 2 sacks should not be ignored.  He's our best player.
  • Voz: 7 punts for 322 yards.  46 yards per punt.  Echoes of Will Brice.
  • Ian Frye was also good.
  • Kickoff coverage was awesome.  Punt coverage, dismal.
  • I thought we tried to force the issue with Smoke Mizzell too early, and too often.  Stick with KP, feed the beast 25 carries per game.  Don't get cute.
  • I know "screen" is a four-letter word for Hoofans, but we went away from the running back screen too early in the game!  It was working!
  • Good for you, Doni Dowling.
  • Tip of the hat to Myles Jack.  That dude is good.
  • I wasn't that impressed with Brett Hundley.  I know he's better than how he played, but that's no Heisman candidate.
  • Once again, let me say: Moral victories are for losers.

On Richmond...

"It's an unhealthy environment for any quarterback at UVa"
~ Mike Rocco

  • Hey, guess what, bitch?  We're counting on Eli, Max, and the gang creating an unhealthy environment for you this coming weekend.  Nice job not being able to win the starting quarterback job at an FCS school, by the way.  At an FCS school where your uncle is the freaking head coach, I should add.

  • I enjoy the fact that [Richmond coach] Danny Rocco has opted to send Mike and Michael Strauss out for the coin toss, by the way.  Go ahead and make it personal, coach.  Can't wait to hurt your and Mike's widdle feewings this weekend.
  • Heading into the season, I didn't really give a shit about this Richmond game.  But now I'm kind of fired up about it.
  • Lambert and Johns are listed as "or" at the starting QB spot on the depth chart this week, yet Mike London insists "there is no quarterback controversy at UVA."  D'okay coach.  What the fuck is it then?

  • I'm expecting both QBs to play in this game, as sort of an elongated live action audition for the starting job for the rest of the season (read also: the right to be the pink horse on the carousel).  Go Matt Johns.
  • Here's a golden opportunity to get the o-line and a KP-led running game on track.
  • Our defense is going to dominate this game.
  • My pick for the game, before Vegas can put something out: Virginia 31, Richmond 10.


  1. I heard Bill Lazor was high on Matt Johns. If we can get decent play out of one of 'em, and the patchwork OL can hold together, we just might make it to a winning season. Sorry, Kendall, I guess?

    1. I don't know man. I guess I hope we either lose 8+ or win 8+.

      By the way, I'm amending my earlier pick of 4-8 to 5-7/6-6 (on the fence about the GT game). Wins: Richmond, Kent State, Pitt, Duke, UNC, maybe GT. I like how the Duke game sets up for us -- we're off the bye, they're off playing GT's knee-diving wishbone.

  2. My immediate thought after the QB switch was that the coaching staff knew all summer long that Johns was the better option. This would indicate that the coaches don't trust their own player evaluations. That's not good. The alternative would be that they were super confident in Lambert, but his play on the field during the first half was so bad that it dictated a switch. Which would mean that the coaching staff's ability to evaluate players, specifically quarterbacks, is suspect. Either way, they got it wrong, and that's not good.

    1. Unless they wanted to put Johns in because they figure, a minute twenty in the second half, let Lambert chill and look at it, and- oh, shit, he just scored a touchdown. Uhm. Hmm. Well, hard to ignore that.

      Don't know which scenario I prefer.

    2. I'm inclined to think that's how it went. They probably just wanted Lambert to take a breathe and calm down. But I am glad Johns did exactly what he should've done in that situation, he played like he had nothing to lose. This is the first time in a long time I've seen a UVA QB play loose, actually seem comfortable in the pocket, and actually make multiple reads to find an open man.

  3. I know London denies that Lambert was hurt, but I'm inclined to believe the injury rumors.