Monday, July 21, 2008

detroit fluff city

The ACC Football Kickoff was held this past weekend, in which players from each school are made available for the media to toss beachballs at and write nice fluff stories about, and just in time too because those editors are getting a bit suspicious about those trips to the local golf course's 19th hole "just to see if some of the fifth-year seniors are hanging around."

Hold off on that stuff for a bit though, because the CDP manages to outfluff the fluffers ( write a better article, without even mentioning the media thingy.

Groh dusts off his old playbook

That's a reference to the fact that no matter who wins the starting job, he will not run around all the time like we're used to seeing from Marques Hagans and Jameel Sewell.

Some quotes of note:

“The Schaub to Heath Miller plays went into a particular folder,” Groh said. “They didn’t get thrown away — they just sat for a while. So, a lot of this is going back to a style of play that fit that type of quarterback and which our present quarterbacks are more like that.”

I believe that was the "Win" folder. Those plays generally worked nicely.

This, however, is the quote that kind of makes me go uh-oh:

With that fact alone, Groh believes that the best approach for Virginia’s quarterback system this year could be the same one as last season: a two-quarterback system.

“I can see the possibility that for a while it might take two quarterbacks for the position to play as well as it needs to,” Groh said. “If it takes two, we’ll use two. Sometimes in Major League Baseball, it takes two guys to pitch the game.”
Uh, here's the problem. Groh has twice used a two-quarterback system in his tenure. Last year, he did it for a few reasons: one, Lalich and Sewell have entirely different playing styles and a change of pace is not bad, and two, Groh saw Sewell's academic problems on the horizon and his wrist injury in the rearview mirror and thought he'd better get Lalich up to speed, pronto. Before that we had the Matt Schaub-Bryson Spinner platoon, which worked as follows: A starts, then sucks and B finishes the game. B then starts the next game, sucks, and A finishes. A starts, then sucks get the picture.

In both systems, there was a drop-back guy, and a runner. Or a runner, then a drop-back guy. This is why they have two-QB systems. You can even have it with two runners, maybe one is a lefty and one's a righty. Two drop-back passers do nothing for the confuse-the-defense aspect of it. In this case, "two-quarterback system" is 5-and-7-season-speak for "the third guy sucks way worse." If we have a "two-quarterback system," chances are the offense is looking bad.

This, by the way, is possible. Remember when we thought we'd be OK because both Christian Olsen and Kevin McCabe couldn't possibly both suck? Yeah. Ordinarily, if you have a senior and two sophomores, you have a starting quarterback that's a senior. In this case the senior has been a career clipboard stand, and one of the sophomores is a bonus baby who hasn't yet distanced himself from the two-star recruits. That's the half-empty view. The half-full view is "gosh, if the coaching staff can develop no-names (Schaub) and wide receivers (Hagans) into perfectly good quarterbacks, I can't wait for Lalich!" Neither is exactly wrong or exactly right. The unfair thing is, whoever wins the job gets to strut his stuff in front of the USC defense, which is a little like getting your drivers' license at 16 then being told Jeff Gordon broke his foot and can't drive the Daytona 500 and you're it kid, have fun out there and try not to wreck your teammate.

Now that I've gotten that quarterback stuff out of my system, here's a little bit of bloggery and linkery:

The Virginian-Pilot went to the ACC Football Kickoff and came away with a nice little piece on Clint Sintim.

The Roanoke Times went to the ACC Football Kickoff and came away with a nice little piece on John Phillips. Phillips, by the way, is a fourth-year junior and a co-captain, marking the second season in a row that a tight end has held that honor. (Last year, Tom Santi.) You watching, Logan Thomas?

So one for Sintim, one for Phillips, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the tie-breaker, and it's.......Phillips. (And VPISU's Orion Martin.)

The RTD frets a little about Phillips' as-yet-mostly-unproven pass-catching ability:

For the past three years, Phillips' duties focused mostly on blocking, so he'll have to prove he can be a receiving threat like Santi, Stupar and Heath Miller before them. Phillips caught 17 passes last year, compared to 40 for Santi and 36 for Stupar. In his first three seasons, Phillips has just 21 catches. Santi had 61 in his first three seasons, Stupar 40.

As a personal editorial, I'm not worried. Phillips has NFL size and very good hands. Whether or not he gets 50 catches this year will be more dependent on the quarterback(s) than Phillips.

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