September 9, 2016

10 Minutes to Kill...

...and I want to respond to dnice's comments from my Darkest Before Dawn post.

dnice's comment is in blue.

Say what you will about mike london and what he did to the program, There is no excuse, for us to get spanked by any fcs team.

True.  Don't disagree with you there!

This was the worst game that i can remember as a uva fan. Richmond ran over us like they were florida state.

Fair enough.  Yeah, it was definitely bad.

I know that this is Bronco's first year, but i don't want to hear that rome wasn't built in a day crap. Tom Herman improved Houston in 1 year. Jim Harbaugh did the same for michigan.

Herman and Harbaugh both inherited much better situations than Mendenhall did.  But point taken.  Meanwhile, do keep in mind it was one game, and there are 11 more this season.

Im not saying that i expect our team to win the acc or anything like that, but for heaven's sake, you cannot lose to richmond in a blowout.

I hear you, dnice!  But but but but but but but... This is a very good Richmond team.  VERY good.  It's not your standard crap-ass FCS outfit.

When Bronco was hired I was probably the only uva fan that wasn't very excited. I was about 50/50 on him. I think he is a good coach that will improve us from a discipline standpoint, but i feared that he couldn't recruit well.

You're not alone in consternation over the recruiting.  I'm not there, especially in light of what he said at his coach's show this week, but I understand and respect worry about the recruiting.

But more than anything, I hate, hate, hate, the spread/air raid offense. For the life of me i cannot understand why people overhype this offense. Don't get me wrong, this offense can score points and it can be exciting to watch, but there is a residual effect that people don't consider. Most teams that run this style of offense usually have average to horrible defenses (ex: the entire big 12 conference). The defense becomes soft when it has to practice everyday against a spread offense.

Great point.  This is the part I really wanted to be sure Wahooze Nation could see.  I'll admit, it's an angle I haven't considered... 'til now.

Also, it is difficult to run the football with power in this offense. There's nothing that i hate more than these teams running the ball out the shotgun over and over again. We wasted Kevin parks career by running out of the shotgun the majority of the time. 

I would contend that we ruined KP's career by insisting on having a crummy o-line, but, yeah.

Bronco use to run a pro style for a time at byu, i wish he would go back to it. 

He's fired Anae before, he could do it again.  If, after a few years, the spread isn't helping us win, I'm sure Bronco will make a change.

The last thing i want is for our team to become another texas tech, score 45 points in a game and still lose. 

Okay, but those Mike Leach TT teams did a lot of WINNING.

Leach's records at Texas Tech:


TOTAL: 84-43

I'd be pretty happy with a 10-year run like that at Virginia.

When i look at what we are doing in recruiting, i can't help but to shake my head. It is clear to me that bronco believes that this program can be consistently good but not great. He believes that he can take 2 star players who give great effort and make them good enough for us to perhaps become a 7 to 8 win team. 

Truth.  But, look, you have to start somewhere... and the fish are not exactly jumping into the boat.

This scares the hell out of me because if bronco consistently wins 7 games a season, he will be here forever.

Yes, he will.  And maybe I'm aiming too low, but I'd take 7-5 in perpetuity, and I'd take it in a heartbeat.

You have to be able to recruit talent if you are going to compete for championships, and that should be the goal. 

I agree.

Why is he sending scholarship offers to guys in hawaii and utah. There's talent right here in virginia, ask florida state. You also have the dc/maryland area. The carolinas, georgia, florida. I just don't understand his recruiting philosophy. 

Note: We currently have 9 recruits from Virginia, more than each of Mike London's last three classes.  Bronco is recruiting the state... he's just also casting a nation-wide net.

Im a uva fan for life, so im going to support the program, but i don't have a good feeling about this working out.

I think you're wrong, but one way or the other, we're going to find out!



  1. Kendall, i appreciate your fairness in your critique of my comments. I only have 2 things that i disagree with you on. first on your mike leach comments. Yes, his time at Texas tech was pretty good, but let's keep in mind that his offense was different and not the norm back at that time. It took time for the rest of the conference to adjust to what he was doing. It was similar to what the acc goes through now when teams have to play georgia tech. When you don't see that triple option but once a year, its tough to prepare for. Now the spread offense is everywhere in college football. Now Texas tech is still running that system with kliff kingsbury, but not at the same level of success, because everyone else has caught up. Speaking of Mike Leech, i believe his Washington state team loss to an fcs team also this past saturday and he is in his 3rd year there. The second thing that i disagree with is you being happy with being a 7-5 type team. You would be happy with 7-5 now, because we've been so bad for so long now, but after a while, 7-5 will not be good enough for you. Remember we forced george welsh to retire because 7-5 was no longer good enough. Virginia Tech basically just did the same thing to Beamer. I think 7-5 or 8-4 is the best that we can hope for if bronco continues to run the spread and recruit to the level that he is now. Let me say this. When Uva lose, i am in misery, and i've been in misery for far too long. So i Hope and Pray with all my heart that i am wrong about my concerns. I am in no position to question bronco. He knows more football than i will ever know, so i'm going to get behind him and support him because i'm proud of anyone who wears the orange and blue. Let's go hoos.

  2. Great back and forth.

    As with Dnice, recruiting is scaring me as well. Usually a coach who is coming in can create enough to market himself as a new vista for new recruits, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

    Conversely, we have to remember several things:

    1. The recruiting reflects the state of the program, and we are not middle of the pack in the ACC any more but at the bottom.

    2. The spread offense Dnice fears is what gives teams that cannot recruit at a high level a chance to compete better than power football as it seeks one on one matchups, rather than overpowering lines. The spread fits where the program is at this point in time much better than the pro style offense.

    1. I understand your point, but who says that we cannot recruit at a high level. We were really bad when mike london was here but we still were able to get five star rated players like blanding, smoke, and andrew brown. Also, look at a team like michigan state. They very rarely get top 25 recruiting classes, but they have been able to be very successful running a power offense, playing good defense and being a smart football team. I just believe that we can do the same.

    2. People point to London's recruiting, but the reality is that his great recruiting period only lasted 2 seasons. Those 3 were all great recruiting wins, but its not like London was a great recruiter year-after-year. He got those 3 all in about a 12 month period, and it was great, but other than them he was an average recruiter at best. I mean, where are the 5 or even 4-star Freshman and Sophomore recruits? There are basically none, and that recruiting was all done before Mendenhall was on the scene.

    3. FYI, if you ask any of the outstanding players on the team who recruited them in the past 4 years, I'll guarantee you they'll all say Anthony Poindexter. The Baltimore and the 757 kids all looked up to him. They were all bummed when they found out he was let go, but some still came based on him recommending it.

    4. Anonymous,you are concentrating on the fact that i brought up mike london's name. I should not have done that because he has nothing to do with my point. My point is, based on where we are located, there is enough talent around us for our recruiting to be very good. I believe we should be around the top 30 in recruiting every year. You stated that recruiting reflects where we are as a program and right now we are at the bottom of the acc. That's true. But we were a bad program when al groh was fired, but in the the next 3 years according to we had recruiting classes ranked, 26,28,and 28 in the country. The only reason why the recruiting slipped after that is because it was becoming clear that a coaching change would probably happen at some point.

    5. Dnice, the 1:08am post is mine. I did NOT post the 1:25pm and 2:52pm replies to your second post.

      I do agree with you on UVA being in a ideal recruiting location geographically. As I stated, I am a bit surprised and concerned by the recruiting so far. It is something to watch. When a coach comes in it is usually a change/momentum selling point.

      The idea that the spread cannot successfully run the ball --only "power" football runs well-- irks me; a point Kendall emphasized a few times in the past. The spread runs with a different mindset. The Oregon RB and our runs in that game were a good example of spreading the field across the line of scrimmage to successfully run the ball, rather than trying to concertedly power at a concentrated line in old-school fashion.

      Finally, Mendenhall/Anae has run a balanced offense. In 2014 at BYU, rushes were around 560, and passes about 480. In 2015, 413 rushes to 504 passes. This averages out to a 50/50 balance.

  3. I think theres a legitimate fear that when a coach comes in from across the country he doesnt share the same pride as a recruit from virginia, playing for virginia and as much as he talks about the talent in Virginia, he doesnt share the same perspective because hes not from here.

    I look at Mendenhall as a consultant. He has outside the box ideas that have a proven track record at BYU. Naturally, theres going to be hesitation on our part to believe it will work here and rightfully so. I think we would all be a little more at ease if there was a solid coach from the state of Virginia that talked about building UVA into THE school of the state.

    But at the end of the day, we have to give him time to implement his system with his players. Take what you can get from this season. As long as they dont have double digit losses with blowouts and the team shows improvement, it's a win.

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  4. dnice:

    How are you judging how well a defense is? Total yards? Points given? Efficiency?

  5. Im judging it more on what i see with my own eyes but also points given up. This past week a prominent spread team, texas tech lost a game despite the fact that they scored 55 points. Here are some stats of 2015 scoring defenses and where they rank in the country. These are all spread teams:

    Texas Tech: 124
    Indiana: 116
    Oregon: 115
    Arizona: 107
    Arizona State: 99
    California: 89
    Oklahoma state: 88
    Baylor: 79
    washington state: 74

    These stats should be extra concerning to us, because if i am not mistaking, robert anae (offensive coordinator) learned his offense from mike leech (washington state) and rich rod (arizona). Also, if im not mistaking, most of our coaching staff went to see mike leech this off season to learn more of his offense. let me give you one more example of why i believe teams that run spread offenses have bad defenses. When we played richmond, they completely shut down our run game, but when we played oregon, we gashed them with a simple half back dive up the middle. If we would have attempted to run the ball more in that game, we probably would have gained 300 yards rushing on that defense.

    1. BYU came in at 31st last season, giving up 21.8 pts/gm, which would have been the best mark in the coastal.

      UVa finished at 96th, giving up 32.2 pts/gm.

      I think I understand your point, but a balance can be struck between having a good defense and running a spread and I think Mendenhall has proven that over the last few years.

      Going back to the 2011 season, BYU has averaged 20.72 pts/gm on defense and 31.9 pts/gm on offense.

      I will note that their best defensive year was their worst offensive year and their worst defensive year was their best offensive year.

      Again, balance is key, but I think Mendenhall has the track record to be able to establish that balance.

    2. I should say best and worst by pts/gm.

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  6. A few thoughts, albeit a bit late to the thread:

    1. Dnice isn't the only person who wasn't thrilled with the hire. I see relatively high risk, relatively low ceiling. BYU and UVA are very different places. Success at one may or may not translate to success at the other. Meanwhile, Bronco's BYU program won half of its games against P5 teams, and replicating that here may well be his upside. Considering how the AD/AAD screwed up the program this century, perhaps it was the best hire we could make at the time. I would have a short leash, particlarly with a soft OOC schedule in year 3 (2018).

    2. I don't think the right goal for this program is to win a championship. To me, the goal is to be a winning ACC program -- i.e., win more ACC games than we lose. Maybe that will change at some point in the future, but it is all I have ever wanted. I would loathe the Bronco hire if my goal were to win championships, so perhaps that explains a great deal of the disconnect.

    3. I have no problem with spread variants, or hurry up spread variants. I believe offense is far more important than defense in the college game, at least to accomplish my goals, and I also believe that the Groh/London "defense wins" mentality was a major part of their issues here. But I don't see anything unique or remarkable about our specific spread variant. It seems very generic to me, as it did at BYU. Give them a great QB, like Max Hall or Taysom Hill, and it was very good. Give them Heaps or Nelson, and it's a mess.

    4. I'm generally more worried about Xs/Os than recruiting. I do not think we can successfully recruit at a championship level. Consider Groh's top 10 class in 2002 -- it experienced 50% attrition. UVA is a challenging place; hence, my goals for the program. Meanwhile, I think we have more than enough raw talent on the roster to field a winning team, which is a very low hurdle. If we can get there, I don't envision having any problem recruiting sufficiently to field a team with a winning ACC record, which is my goal.

    5. At this point, I do not know that we have great Xs/Os coaches. I did not see great schematic creativity or innovation at BYU, and do not see it here. I would like to think that UVA leadership could be ahead of the curve, but we have been playing catch-up at best. Imagine if we had hired a coach with a fairly generic spread offense scheme in 2000... Of course, we'll do it now that it's mainstream. I have serious doubts whether this program can be successful given the incredibly poor leadership from the AD.

    6. Scheme installation problems are to be expected, of course. But the UR loss was UVA's worst performance since Welsh began his rebuild. That is not a function of the scheme learning curve, it's poor teaching. After the game, Bronco admitted that he had focused on the wrong areas this offseason. Then we played less competitively with UO than UC-Davis (a miserable FCS program) had played against UO the week before. The talk was relatively upbeat after that game and has been this week. But it will take a multiple of the improvement we saw from week 1 to 2 to field a competitive team, let alone actually win a game. Obviously, I hope we see it today at UConn. But if we acknowledge, as the staff seems to have, that this offseason was largely wasted, the question is whether that is something from which the program can recover.