Thursday, September 4, 2008

game preview: Richmond


History against the Spiders: 23-2-2

Last matchup: W, 17-16 (2001)

Team records: UVA 0-1 (0-0), UR 1-0 (0-0)

Last week: USC def. UVA 52-7; UR def. Elon, 28-10

Line: UVA by 14

Injury report:


John Bivens (knee)
Aaron Clark (knee)


Staton Jobe (foot)
Javaris Brown (hand)


B.J. Cabbell (foot)
Ras-I Dowling (leg)
Mikell Simpson (leg)


Landon Bradley (foot)
Jon Copper (neck)
Maurice Covington (foot)
Kevin Crawford (hand)
Raynard Horne (foot)
Chase Minnifield (foot)

Richmond season preview here.

The last time we faced Richmond was, to the best of my memory, terrible. Actually I thought I remembered a 7-6 score rather than the 17-16 scorefest it actually was, but either way, it was awful. Richmond's kicker honked an extra point, which turned out to be the rather lucky margin of victory - this I remember all too well. It was the only season in my years as a student that we did not go to a bowl game.

This game, with a big rainblob moving up the coast and preparing to soak the field before the game, does not promise to be any higher-scoring. Actually, it has never been very high-scoring from the Richmond side - the Spiders have never scored 20 points on us.

Obviously, the two major stories for this game are 1) retro and 2) Mike London. Orange uniforms, yay! Retro ticket prices too; "please please please come to this game?" And Mike London brings his new team to Charlottesville to face his old one. This has people worried that he'll know our game plan, but our game plan seems to involve a lot of plays that won't work on a slippery wet field, so if Mikey Groh is stubbornly intent on complicated screen passes and short precision routes, Mike London will not be our #1 concern.


- Play like the freakin' BCS team we're supposed to be, not the defensive clown show that showed up last week. Richmond is a good I-AA team, but they're a I-AA team. Treat them like every other opponent, and we have enough talent to handle them. Slack off, and they have a running game that can open up holes in you.

- Score first and keep the lead. The field is likely to be worse than sloppy, and passing will be tough. Mounting a comeback drive consisting entirely of four-yard slogs is nigh impossible; and to make it double trouble, Richmond has an excellent running game that they'd be happy to use to sit on a lead.

- Sintim and Burrell need to be huge. Richmond will use both the running back and quarterback in the run game, and their best linemen are the tackles. Outside linebacker play will be key in keeping the Richmond run game from consistently gaining ground.

- Run game of our own would be nice. It wasn't in the house last week.


- Godforsaken play calling. Last week, 9 of the first 10 play-calls were passes. This is stupid. It would be grossly unforgivable in wet conditions. Trying to get too fancy with precision routes and screen passes will result in mistakes and turnovers. This is a game for Peerman, not Simpson.

- Do the opposite of the second bullet above.


Last week, I thought the defenses would be the big thing in the game. I was half right. This week, I will say the same thing and be all the way right if the weather is how it's supposed to be. A wet field is an edge to Richmond, given their emphasis on the run. But, either way, it's a little bit worrisome. Last week was our chance to show how good we are, and it did not go well. This week is our chance to show how bad we are. Besides the run attack, Richmond has those linebackers to worry about. Lest you think I worry too much, keep in mind that Richmond gave up 41 points to Vanderbilt last year - an offense that I'm watching, right now, kind of stink up the field. So, the opposite of last week, if things transpire as they should, we win. Swamps on the playing field have a way of evening up the odds, though.

It's going to take us a while to get a fair idea of what to expect from the injury reports. Nothing was ever mentioned about Simpson, for example, and my thought is he'll play. Dowling, on the other hand, isn't listed on the depth chart, and likely will not.


Georgia Tech @ Boston College
Virginia Tech vs. Furman
Wake Forest vs. Mississippi
Clemson vs. The Citadel
Florida State vs. Western Carolina
North Carolina State vs. William & Mary
Duke vs. Northwestern
Maryland @ Middle Tennessee
Miami @ Florida

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