December 30, 2015

The big Bronco post...

...is coming soon, but it'll be 2016 before it hits.  Sorry for the long wait!  My research has taken me down so many rabbit holes I can't even count.

December 18, 2015

For real, though:

The Force Awakens : Star Wars :: Bronco Mendenhall : Virginia Football

December 9, 2015

Hoos 70, 'Eers 54 // Mike London to Maryland

A few quick thoughts before going back to work on my massive "Examining Broncoball" post...

-- Big win last night.  Big, big win.  In fact, I'm willing to say it might be the turning point of the season, similar to the Tennessee game (you know the one) from the 2013-14 season.

-- I am loving this functional depth... and Tony's willingness to use it.  We ground West Virginia into dust last night.

-- Huge propers to Anthony Gill and London Perrantes. They were fantastic against West Virginia.  Gill kept us afloat during the horrendous first half, and Perrantes carried us over the hump in the second.

Cali Swag

-- My friend Becca and I agreed this morning: we really, really like the lineup of Perrantes, Darius Thompson, Malcolm Brogdon, Isaiah Wilkins, and Gill.  When those guys are on the floor together, good things seem to happen.

-- Mike Tobey is what he is: a key role player on this team.  The ghouls will say "blah blah blah, Tobey sucks, Tobey's soft, blah blah," but look, when we face teams that don't put a traditional center on the floor, Tobey is going to struggle.  He can't handle mobile and athletic power forwards playing the 5.

-- Putting out an APB to find the lost Marial Shayok.  He's in a bad slump, losing playing time, and I'm sure that wrist injury isn't helping.  My hope is that the exam break gives him time to get right.

-- Kudos to Devon Hall.  He has surprised me this season, and has emerged as a useful reserve.  Specifically, his ball handling off the bench allows for Perrantes and Thompson to play stretches on the floor at the same time, yielding our most explosive lineup (see above).  I'm happy to eat crow on Devon Hall.

-- Needs to be said: Evan Nolte isn't scoring, but he's playing pretty darn well of late.  Looks like a senior glue guy to me, and that's a useful piece to the puzzle.

-- Jack Salt is better than I expected him to be.  Still only a 10 mpg player... but honestly that's about 5 minutes more than I expected him to give us each game.  I like the concept of Tony's hockey-style "lines" frontcourt pairings; Salt/Gill and Tobey/Wilkins.  I like the concept, but I think we play our best when Gill and Wilkins are together in the frontcourt.

-- I came into the season with 1- or 2-seed, Final Four expectations.  After seeing us play the first eight games, I adjusted those expectations down to 4- or 5-seed, Sweet Sixteen.  But after last night's turning point type of win, I'm back up to 2- or 3-seed, Elite Eight.

-- It's been a while since I've done a UVAMBB Power Rankings, but here's a quick one off the cuff for this year's team so far...
  1. Malcolm Brogdon -- No doubt, Brog is the engine that drives this team.
  2. Anthony Gill -- Without Gill's scoring in the post, our offense is nothing.
  3. London Perrantes -- His offense is the x-factor that can spur us to greater heights.
  4. Darius Thompson -- DT's the athletic backcourt presence we've lacked since Mustapha Farrakhan.
  5. Isaiah Wilkins -- He's coming on, and his continued improvement will be instrumental to raising our ceiling in March.
  6. Mike Tobey -- Settling in as a 16 mpg, 7.5 ppg producer.  Not meeting expectations, but a key role player all the same.
  7. Marial Shayok -- We need him at 100%, hitting his shots, and providing hustle plays.  He'll get there, and the team will be much better when he does.  I really liked him attacking the basket last season, I hope he gets back to that.
  8. Devon Hall -- Has a knack for providing a timely lift off the bench.  I'd like to see him shoot more from outside.
  9. Jack Salt -- Just bang, bro.  Deliver a few more HARD fouls when you're in the game.
  10. Evan Nolte -- Don't stop shooting!  Don't stop hustling!  Don't stop believing!
  11. Jarred Reuter -- Probably won't play most nights, but he's clearly an above-average fifth big.



~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, by now you've probably heard that Mike London has accepted the job of defensive line coach and associate head coach (whatever that is) at Maryland.  Here's what I have to say about that:

-- It's absolutely a win for Maryland.  Good for them.  London can recruit the state of Virginia, and especially the 757.  He'll definitely be a thorn in our side.

-- Nice job by Mike London - steal our money while running our program into the ground, then skip off to join one of our biggest rivals in recruiting.

-- What little respect I had left for the guy is now completely gone.  He's in Al Groh territory (minus the clear Xs and Os acumen) as far as I'm concerned.  Sorry, just being honest.

-- I spent so much time cursing Mike London's name these last three years, I can't now turn around and feel consternation over him joining the staff at Maryland.  Just can't do it.  Mike London can pound sand.  Thanks for nothing, you shitbag.

-- Now... Not trying to put on a tough face, but even without Beatty (who may or may not join Bronco's staff at UVA), I'm not worried about recruiting.  There is a very specific type of player who will be drawn to this program under Bronco Mendenhall.  It's a total paradigm shift for recruitniks.  I think Virginia will be casting a much wider - and much more strategic - net than it has in the past.  I, for one, can't wait to see it unfold.


Eat shit.


December 7, 2015

BRONCO!




My immediate reactions to the hire:

-- Amazing coup.

-- After two-plus years of reasearching this coaching search, I never once thought of Bronco Mendenhall as "get-able" for UVA.

-- He's only 49.  Can give us a good 15 years, easy.

-- They wrote a friggin book about how well he runs his program, his leadership ability, his management savvy, etc.  (Buy the book, HERE.)



-- This is a 500-foot towering grand slam slam dunk hat trick home run touchdown hire for the University of Virginia.  Holy crap.

-- I'm excited about seeing the 3-3-5 defense at UVA.  The principles underlying it - movement, disguise, aggressiveness, and an extreme focus on speed - play extremely well in our specific recruiting footprint.

-- We wanted the Tony Bennett for football?  I think we got the Tony Bennett for Football.


Be sure to watch Bronco's introductory press conference at 10:00 AM (Monday), HERE!



December 4, 2015

Set Your DVR!

Friday, December 4

MAC Championship -- Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois, 8:00 PM, ESPN2

Tune in to see Dino Babers coach Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game, and enjoy watching the country's #3 overall offense, #3 passing offense, and #4 scoring offense.  That firepower is why Dino Babers is (or should be) a candidate for the Virginia job.


Saturday, December 5

AAC Championship -- Temple vs. Houston, 12:00 noon, ABC

Temple's Matt Rhule is probably on Virginia's board, and he's probably pretty high up there.  Houston is the vogue team here, but Temple manhandled equally-buzzy Memphis, 31-12, two weeks ago.  The Owls don't feature an awesome offense, but they beat you with grit, toughness, and guile -- a true testament to Rhule's coaching.  Try to focus on watching Temple's defensive system, and keep your eye on #8 -- linebacker Tyler Matakevich.  He's AAC Defensive Player of the Year after Rhule unearthed the hidden gem from Connecticut on the recruiting trail.  Matakevich sort of embodies what Rhule brings to the table: outside-the-box recruiting strategy, a keen eye for talent, and the ability to develop players.  The grit and toughness is just a bonus.  (Other Rhule-groomed future NFL players on that Temple defense include defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis - #9 - and cornerback Tavon Young - #1.)




C*USA Championship -- Western Kentucky vs. Southern Miss, 12:00 noon, ESPN2

Here's your chance to see Jeff Brohm, the odds-on favorite to be UVA's next head coach, and his ├╝ber-explosive offense (#10 overall, #6 passing, #4 scoring, #1 points per play).  Don't miss this one.


Mountain West Championship -- Air Force vs. San Diego State, 7:30 PM, ESPN2

In this one, we're watching Air Force and their head coach, Troy Calhoun.  AFA features the nation's #3 rushing offense out of Calhoun's innovative multi-formation flexbone.  This is a key watch for Hoofans; do we want that kind of offense in Charlottesville?  (Note that Calhoun isn't married to the option like Navy's coach Ken Niumatalolo is --- Calhoun ran a highly productive, balanced offense at Wake Forest (2001-2002) and learned the Gary Kubiak offensive system when he was with the Broncos from 2003 to 2005.)


Set your DVRs, folks!

December 3, 2015

Brohm or Bust




You've got to pick up the pieces

C'mon, sort your trash
You better pull yourself back together
Maybe you've got too much cash 
...my brain is hanging upside down.





Whelp.  Mark Richt used us as leverage with Miami.  Typical SEC scumbaggery --- sorry, just calling it like I see it.  I sincerely wish Richt nothing but absolute failure with the Hurricanes.

But you do what Hoofans always do, you pick up the pieces and you move on.

In this case, "moving on" means turning your attention to Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm.

Finish listening to the Ramones, and then watch this gem.




Is this or is this not Virginia Football?
Yes it is.
Do I or do I not currently have a pulse?
Yes I do.
LET'S PLAY FOOTBALL.


Okay, full disclosure: I love this guy.  I love his offense.  I've done a lot of research on him since The List, Part IV, and I really, really like what I've learned.

Consider...

Western Kentucky has won 15 of their last 17 games and that offense is incredible.
-- 44.2 points per game (4th in the FBS)
-- 519.7 yards per game (9th)
-- 48.99% 3rd down conversion (9th)
-- 0.613 points per play (1st)
-- 7.2 yards per play (7th)

Links...

Meet Jeff Brohm

Meet Brohm's Offensive Assistants

The Big 2015 WKU Football Guide -- The nuts and bolts of Western Kentucky's offense

"Rediscovering a Football Mind" -- Learn more about the Petrino system for which Brohm carries the blueprints.

In Praise of Jeff Brohm

Why WKU's offense is more than Brandon Doughty

College football spread offenses: Who spread defenses out the most in 2014?



It always sounded like Jeff Brohm was UVA's second favorite behind Mark Richt.  Now I think the search goes quiet for the next day or two, because Western Kentucky plays in the C*USA title game on Saturday (vs. Southern Miss, 12:00 noon, ESPN2).  But after that, things could move quickly.  We'll get Brohm to Charlottesville, and we could have our coach locked down as early as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.


Stay tuned...