Tuesday, September 30, 2008

recruiting board

Here it is: the new, improved, and as promised colorful, recruiting board for 2009. It is absurdly colorful. Perhaps too much so. In any case it should be more useful than before.

LATEST UPDATE:

- Moved WR Bobby Smith to orange.

A note on the board. Most of this should be blindingly self-explanatory, including the shiny colors. Any status below verbal is me editorializing, however, and it should be noted that I know shit for an absolute fact. Good, Fair, and Low reflect what I think are our chances at landing a particular prospect.

- Good generally means we're in a final list of no more than three or four.

- Low generally means 1) either we're in a huge pile of offer letters with no good reason to think we'll make any kind of final four/five/six/whatever; and/or 2) the recruit is talking up certain schools without any mention whatsoever of UVA, but hasn't "officially" narrowed his list.

- Fair encompasses all kinds of possibilities, and one man's Fair is not the same as another's. Bernardo Nunez, for example, listed something of an unofficial top four without UVA and then three more he kinda likes, including us. Morgan Moses hasn't done anything at all about narrowing his massive offer list but has visited UVA a number of times. Dwayne Difton has UVA in a top 5 but a commit would still probably be a surprise. And so on. (Editor's note: obviously much of this has changed, but just take these as examples, OK?)

As with the depth chart, this is very inelegantly done as an image rather than a proper table, so clicking on it will turn it from an eye chart into a readable table.

The list, then....

Monday, September 29, 2008

weekend review

Ah, sweet hilarity. The first blurb in RTD's UVA Notes section on Sunday was headlined "Spin Control," and it's hard to tell whether they were referring to Groh's press conference or the article itself. Groh says, "Despite what we see up there (on the scoreboard, you know, the one that said Duke Lots, Virginia Not So Much), in a lot of different areas we saw some positive movement with the team."

Uh, OK. You know what, you don't even need my commentary, you can see it coming a mile away. Hint: the first word starts with "B" and ends with "ullshit."

Next we move on to further hilarity:

Even so, the Cavaliers got strong performances from Rashawn Jackson and Keith Payne and finished with a season-high 110 yards rushing......Yesterday, the Cavaliers totaled a season-high 304 yards...
Both from the same "note." Of course, we picked up 20 yards on three carries on the final drive to end the game when Duke cared just barely enough to tackle, but we'll ignore that for now. 110 yards, boy howdy, and 304 total. Right now we rank 118th and 119th in the land, respectively, in those categories. Just imagine if we could have gotten 110 rushing yards and 304 total yards every game, why, we'd be all the way up to 103rd and 106th. Cry-muh-nitly. Even on his best day, Mikey Groh can't drag us into the top 100.

One thing they can't put a positive spin on is Keith Payne's injury, a hand issue. The best that can be said is that it's not a season-ending deal or one requiring surgery. Well, I'll put a happy face on it if they won't: it doesn't matter, because even if Peerman can't go against Maryland either, Simpson and Rashawn Jackson can run smack into a wall of advancing defensive linemen as well as anyone. But don't let me blow sunshine up your ass or anything.

Well, I've just been Mr. Raincloud so far, haven't I? How about some good news then? Friday was our one chance this fall to say SUCK IT TECH as the soccer team went to Blacksburg and knocked off the Hokies, 2-1. VT is a terrible terrible soccer team and we tend to dominate them. Matt Mitchell took care of all the scoring, which is nice that we're not relying entirely on the freshmen to do this. Next up is a Friday match against UNC, which is a pretty darn good team.

One more tidbit before we go to the high schools: the ECU game on 10/11 will be at noon and not broadcast on any channel that I've got here in Rhode Island.

All right, let's see what happened in the high schools this weekend:

QUINTIN HUNTER: Not a good week, as Orange dropped one to Monticello 44-13. Hunter was just 5/22 passing for 97 yards, 1 TD and two picks, and carried 15 times for 115 yards.

ROSS METHENY: Completed 13 of 22 for 202 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in Sherando's 21-19 loss to Handley.

LAROY REYNOLDS: Caught a touchdown pass as Maury beat Norcom 17-7.

PERRY JONES: Scored a touchdown in Oscar Smith's 37-0 romp over Grassfield. Tim Smith, who has UVA in his top three, scored three.

KEVIN ROYAL: Moved to tailback and carried 20 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns in Brunswick's 20-12 win over Kingswood-Oxford.

Around the ACC:

Murralin 20, Clemson 17. Mickey Plyler breaks his call-for-the-coach's-head-on-a-platter cherry. Block-C requires two separate posts to get through all the meltdown madness from happy Clemson fans, one of which hasn't even happened yet. Scroll about a third of the way down that last link for a little perspective on our very own Al Groh. I frankly think the problem with Clemson is not so much Tommy Bowden as much as those horrendous purple unis.

UNC knocks off Miami. Tar Heel Mania is sorry for being mean to Cam Sexton. Beating Miami has a way of making fans of the team that did it very very happy, even if Miami isn't really all that good.

If Boston College beats hell out of RIU in a driving monsoon and nobody shows up, does anyone care? (Picture is at Eagle In Atlanta.)

FSU beat Colorado. Scalp 'Em has thoughts. Me speak short sentences.

Navy dropped Wake, and Old Gold & Blog worries that the Deacs' national title aspirations are finished.

NC State got housed 41-10 by USF, and State Fans' Nation remains pissed that we, Virginia, are not on their schedule. We feel your pain, man. We wish you were on our schedule too.

Finally, VT took down Nebraska. Effin' CGB is effin happy, eff you very much.

That's all, folks! Those expecting to see some kind of recruiting update, never fear. I am working on one with a little bit better format than the usual. It will have colors'n'shit. And it will have its own separate post so that it can go into the brand-spankin' new Clemons Library section.

Oh! One more thing. Next week, look for some very exciting news regarding the BlogPoll. I am not at liberty to say more. I may not even technically at liberty to say as much as this, but this is a smallish blog still and I doubt the big surprise is all that spoiled. It's a unique thing and très passionnant.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

depth chart by class

This is an item shamelessly reappropriated from MGoBlog, which shamelessly reappropriated it from some Tennessee blog, who quite possibly shamelessly reappropriated it from somewhere else. I like it, it's useful, and it's going to be added to the blog.

What it is, is the depth chart, by class. Here's how to interpret the cryptic message:

- The year indicates the final year of eligibility for each player underneath. The freshman column shows both redshirt and true freshmen, each with four full years of eligibility. Above the dashed line are redshirt freshmen; below it are true freshmen. Guys who redshirt simply remain in this column another year and move above the dashed line.

- Bolded players are current starters on the two-deep; italicized are reserves on the two-deep. Players in red are injured and out for the season. Players in purple are injured but expected to be back.

- I've put an (O) next to outside linebackers and an (I) next to inside linebackers. I wanted to make two separate sections but I'd be flipping a coin on some of the players lower on the depth chart, walk-ons and such.

- Players in gray are walk-ons without a scholarship. I've actually removed most of them from the chart; it's getting to be a pain in the butt to track and most of them are never gonna see the field. The ones that might do remain on the list here.

- The small orange number next to the year indicates the number of scholarship players in that year's class. Next to 2014 there are two numbers - the former is actually the number of players with 2015 expirations and the latter is those for 2014.

- Caveat: Not all positions, most especially those along the offensive line, are going to be exactly right. Offensive line in particular - guys without a set position listed on the roster have to go somewhere, so they end up at tackle because that's how they came in.

- This will be permanently linked on the side as part of a hopefully-growing list of resources.

- It's an image because I am dumb and have HTML fluency equal to my Japanese fluency, and can't write tables. Just click on it and it'll get bigger and easy to read.


 
So there's that, and now there's a basketball one.  I think it's pretty self-explanatory, but one caveat: don't take the numbered positions as complete gospel.  That's sort of a nominal starting point, and not to be read as "either Assane Sene or James Johnson will be on the court at all times because they're the only fives."  You know how it goes in basketball.  Sometimes your biggish shooting guard gets asked to play the four.  Those numbers are written in pencil.


And now guess what - there is lacrosse too!  Positions, again, are....not 100%, especially among the incoming recruiting class where it may not be actually settled yet.  It doesn't help that the official site makes no distinction among midfielders.  But I think they're close.

well that was awesome

Observations on the most embarrassing thing to happen to UVA football in the eight-plus years I've been a fan......

- Fuck.

- Two touchdowns in four games. 120th out of 120 in scoring offense. 118th out of 120 in rushing offense. 119th out of 120 in overall offense. (FIU must really suck.) This is the most pathetic display of pathetic patheticness I've ever seen in an offense. Mikey Groh must be relieved of duties, immediately. He has yet to lead the team to the top 100 in offense, and that won't change this season.

- Mikey must indeed go, but it won't make a lick of difference for this season. The offensive line is absolutely putrid. I'm tired of seeing yet another rushing attempt end up with Mikell Simpson extricating himself from the bottom of a big pile of defenders as four linemen stand around helplessly. Most of them need to be benched. At the very least the interior line must be. Time to see what Austin Pasztor, Mike Price, and Isaac Cain can do with a full-time gig - they can't possibly be worse than Shields, Stair, and Cabbell.

- Nice to see the Duke coaches bawling out Jabari Marshall for his dive into the end zone. Good for them, building a team not only with a more-than-competent head coach in Cutcliffe, but with some discipline as well. I rewound the tape about four or five times trying to hear what exactly came out of that one coach's mouth (it was Ron Middleton, the second-in-command) but all I could make out was "HAMINASEPTAWAHMAHOOMANAVA" which I guess is probably about ten different swear words all rolled into one.

- Duke fans: When you hold out your arms and wave your fingers at a guy inbounding the ball at Cameron, it is obnoxious, yet intimidating. It makes for a nice two-page Zoom Gallery picture inside the Mag. It is copied by schools around the country, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When you do it at Wallace Wade, separated from the players by seventy yards of rubber track, officials, game staff, and grass field, in a half-empty stadium, you are not intimidating. You are tools.

- It's obvious who the best two players on defense are. It is no accident that the game went all to shit when Sintim and Dowling simultaneously went down with cramps.

- Calling for a quarterback change now would be the most counterproductive thing we could do, because:
1 - taking Verica out means no quarterback on the '09 roster will have any kind of extensive recent game experience at all. We can't throw Sewell back into the fire without any dependable backup, because a year away from football is enough time for the wax paper to go back over the eyes.
2 - Verica is the nominal 2010 starter, by which time hopefully things will be fixed somewhat, and we'll need a QB with experience.
3 - No sense in wasting Smalls' redshirt on this wasted season.
4 - Quarterback play is not the problem anyway.

- I have no idea why ESPNU would want to carry another UVA game this season, but they are. Great - we have already grabbed the title of Sorriest-Assed Team In All The ACC (SATIATA) with style and flourish, and now it is time to take a thorough beating at the hands of a hated rival. And technically it's on national TV. Things are gonna get really emo around here, really fast.

- Do you realize Duke is halfway to bowl eligibility? Would a Duke-Vanderbilt matchup be some kind of apocalyptic catastrophe?

- I have no doubt Mikey Groh needs to be demoted to third assistant to the tight ends coach, if not fired outright. I'm still on the fence about Al himself. On the one hand, the team is totally uninspired and directionless, which is 100% a reflection on the coach. On the other hand, you can't blame him for the absurd amount of attrition this team has seen, and I think we have a decent recruiting class coming in and worry about screwing that up, which coach-firings always do.

- Thank God I'm also a Michigan fan. Also thank God Wisconsin underestimated the Blue.

- Fuck.

Let's go to tape and look at Verica's stats/adjusted stats:

Actual stats: 19/42, 194 yards, 0 TD, 4 INT
Adjusted stats: 20/43, 200 yards, 0 TD, 5 INT

How do we get here from there?

5th throw: Koch had to stretch high, but should have caught the ball. Add a completion and 13 yards.

8th throw: Pass interference call that doesn't show on the stat sheet. Covington was interfered with. Probably doesn't matter, as it was a low-percentage throw, overthrown a bit, and probably wouldn't have been caught. Add one incompletion - I don't think the PI prevented a catch.

12th throw: That's right.....as many picks as Verica threw, he should have had one more, but Green broke up the catch nicely.

22nd throw: Torchia dropped it, though he was crushed at the same time the ball got there. Not Verica's fault, the throw was on target. Add a completion and one measly yard.

38th throw: Burd made a nice leaping grab on a way-high throw. Take away a completion and 8 yards.

Blogpoll ballot:


RankTeamDelta
1Alabama--
2Penn State 6
3Texas 4
4Oklahoma 5
5LSU 1
6South Florida 4
7Missouri 2
8Brigham Young 9
9Virginia Tech 2
10Utah 2
11Connecticut 15
12Ohio State 2
13Auburn 8
14Georgia 10
15Oklahoma State 4
16Texas Tech--
17Vanderbilt 7
18Southern Cal 15
19Oregon 7
20Florida 18
21Ball State 5
22Boise State--
23Michigan State 3
24Kansas 11
25North Carolina 1



Dropped Out: Clemson (#15), Nebraska (#18), Wisconsin (#20), East Carolina (#23), Wake Forest (#25).

- I wouldn't have dinged UGA so hard for just losing. Alabama laid the beat-stick. In Athens. With the special black uniforms. (Has any uniform gotten more obnoxious coverage than when Georgia wears black? It makes the front page of both ESPN and Yahoo. What's so special about this?)

- Northwestern is close at 5-0, but their wins just are not quite impressive enough. 16-8 over Ohio. 24-20 over Duke. Not really awe-inspiring. But if they beat MSU next week, it'll be their ticket to rankingdom.

- Wisconsin gets the boot for not having a whole lot of impressive wins, and for losing to a team that Notre Dame beat. Notre Dame also failed to make the cut, as it came down to them and UNC. Kansas, off a bye week and without a ton of impressivity on their resume, was in danger of missing out as well, but they squeak in.

- Just missed, in no particular order: Notre Dame, Northwestern, Nebraska, Tulsa, TCU, Wisconsin.

- I was one of two to put Alabama at the top of last week's ballot. I suspect I won't be so unique this time around.

Kindly do tell me how jacked up the ballot is.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

game preview: Duke

TV: ESPNU

History against the Blue Devils: 32-27

Last matchup: W, 24-13 in Charlottesville
Team records: UVA 1-2 (0-0), Duke 2-1 (0-0)

Last week: UVA lost to Connecticut 45-10; Duke def. Navy 41-31 (technically both these games were two weeks ago)

Line: Duke by 7


Duke blogs: DudeSpin
Duke, as you may have noticed, and believe me if you are a Virginia fan with access to the Internet you noticed, is favored to win this game. This has caused fans everywhere to hover their hand over the panic button, and they're read to smash that mother down should the team falter again. Fear not, friends. They're still Duke. Aren't they?

HOW WE CAN WIN
- For the love of Welsh, open up some damn holes in the running game. This is probably going to be a recurring item, because we can't do this. I am not at all confident about this week either. Duke's run defense is 83rd in the nation but that is woefully misleading. They had Navy last game, which as you know is the Texas Tech of the run game, and actually held Navy to 140 yards less than their average. So I am not asking for this to happen consistently. Just the first run play. And use Peerman. If we can just get one running play off on the first drive that doesn't get stuffed at the line as always, it can open up the passing game. Because.....

- Duke's pass offense is lousy. And again, woefully misleading. By the usual metric, which is yards per game, they're 13th in the nation. By a more useful metric, yards per attempt, they're 112th. I am normally an advocate of using the run to open up the pass and not the other way round, but I'll make an exception here. Verica has officially impressed me, the run game consistently sucks, and Duke's secondary is bad. Make them respect the wide receivers on the edges and open up the middle for Peerman.

- Spy Thad Lewis. Spying a quarterback is kind of an admission your defensive line can't stop him going anywhere, which is probably true given what Tyler Lorenzen did to us. Lewis is the team's leader in yards per carry when you don't count the sacks, and Duke has two main dimensions to the offense: Lewis' running and Eron Riley's receiving. We're not going to stop Riley from getting his yards, but if we can stop Lewis scrambling around and picking up yardage on his own, our chances are greatly improved.

- Bring back whatever magic pills the defensive line took against Richmond. They flat dominated the Spiders and got smoked against UConn. The potential is there to dominate again, and if they don't this week, they never will.

HOW WE CAN LOSE

- Lewis racks up all kinds of rushing yards. Duke doesn't have that great a rushing game outside of him, but if he's running free, everyone else will too.

- Terrible pass coverage from the 'backers. We know Riley is going to get his yards, but B-back Johnny Williams has similar stats except that Riley has scored all the touchdowns. He's not going to be the responsibility of the secondary - the linebackers need to take care of that B-back that Cutcliffe has been using since forever. If they let Williams run wild, it adds that third dimension to Duke's offense and makes it exponentially harder to stop.

- Playcalling. By all means, continue going for it on fourth down. Seriously. By all means, do not continue to call that one-option-only play-action rollout which USC picked off, UConn batted down, and neither team was the slightest bit fooled by. When you don't have a running game, nobody bites on the play-action, OK, Mikey?

HOW THE GAME WILL GO

Could be a little bit wet. Like the Richmond game, there's a biggish storm threatening the area beforehand. And despite the wave of support for Duke, and the widely held idea that this is the game for them to get off the schneid and finally win an ACC game, I think their conference losing streak goes on a little longer. I think the passing game will be the key. Verica looked good in his first college game ever, and he's now had two weeks as the guy to get his work in, start looking a little further downfield, and get to know his receivers better. And I just refuse to believe, until I see it, that we are worse than freaking Duke.

QUOTABLE

“I didn’t even know that so it doesn’t matter to us. It might matter to them. I mean it should.” – Kevin Ogletree, when asked about whether Duke’s ACC losing streak matter to the Hoos. (From TheSabre's Good Ol' Blog.)

REST OF THE ACC

North Carolina @ Miami, 12:00
Maryland @ Clemson, 12:00
Boston College vs. Rhode Island, 1:00
Florida State vs. Colorado, 3:30
Wake Forest vs. Navy, 3:45
NC State vs. South Florida, 7:30
Virginia Tech @ Nebraska, 8:00

yeah, man. random pianos

Finally the truth comes out: Maryland is just jealous of our random pianos. The ones that Marc Verica likes to play which seem to be scattered around Grounds. (I'm sure there's one in Old Cabell since it's the music department building, and I'd actually not be surprised to find there's one sitting in some room somewhere in Newcomb. And who hasn't stopped in behind the Chemistry Building to hammer away at the piano that was left there in the Great Piano Prank of '57 and never removed?) Anyway, you heard it from a Maryland grad, who freely admits Maryland is "a barren, dark university" with random acts of violence instead of random pianos.** And apparently no music department.

Anyway, the news today is fantastic. I'll let soccer coach George Gelnovatch do the talking here. Take it away, George, just how good is the news?

“The good news is that all four [knee] ligaments weren’t torn,” said Gelnovatch, whose Cavaliers (3-3, 1-0 ACC) travel to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech on Friday night.
Sometimes the silver lining really only looks that way because the rest of the cloud is just that dark. The subject ligaments belong to the left knee of wunderkind Chris Agorsor, who - thank heaven for itty-bitty, tiny, squinchy little miracles - tore merely two of the ligaments in his left knee against CCSU. Instead of all four plus whatever tendons so that his knee could hang by the skin - yay.

We'll go back to McFarling (the Maryland grad) again, over at the Roanoke Times, who provides all sorts of ammo for the Why Is Vic Hall Not Playing Quarterback crowd at TheSabre. Vic Hall could very well be a better quarterback than any presently or formerly on the roster, but the problem is how thin we are at corner. Seriously - there is nobody. Hall and a healthy Dowling would be fine if we could get a healthy Dowling. Chris Cook would have been even nicer. The depth there, however, is weak.

**(Note: This is as good a time as any to point out that I am not Main Stream Media and therefore am perfectly within my rights to selectively quote and drag things so far out of context as to be unrecognizable by their own mothers.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

BEST DAY EVER

This is my blog - there are many like it, but this one is mine. My own humble little spot in the big wide InterBlogoWeb where I get to write what I like. That means, just every so often, you will find me wandering off track to write about other stuff I like besides Virginia sports. Not terribly often, mind you, not at all; but this is going to be one of those times, because if it isn't now, it never will be. If you don't care about the NFL or just want to skip ahead to the Virginia stuff, feel free. It's down a few paragraphs, you can't miss it.

Today, all is sunshine and daisies and butterflies and gumdrop rivers. Because, you see, I am a Detroit Lions fan. And today is the day that all of us have been waiting for, who cheer on the Honolulu Blue and Silver.

He's gone. Matt Millen. Fired.

The Lions I grew up with, you see, were maddeningly inconsistent throughout the '90s. They would do things like beat the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, only to get waxed at home the next week against the Cardinals. They would start a season 2-6, then rip off an 8-game win streak to roll into the playoffs, guarantee a win.....and give up 56 points in a blowout loss. Millen was hired to fix the inconsistency. Bill Ford "stake[d] his reputation on Matt's success."

Did he ever fix the inconsistency. It got to the point where us Lions fans no longer minded the losing, because we knew it was coming, we knew who to blame it on, and it just gave us one more reason (84 in total) to pile on the anger.

Millen inspired a movement. Fire Millen became a slogan. This was not just some loudmouth with his www.FireCoachX.com website. This was new, unique, a first of its kind. Fire Millen showed up at Michigan basketball games. At Tigers games. At Red Wings games IN ANAHEIM! The local radio station bought a billboard. Millen inspired the only other-team's-color-out as fans went with orange for the Cincinnati Bengals' visit. (Three years and 11 wins ago. And yes, the Lions lost that game.) FireMillen.com is so popular they're putting out press releases about this. A blog! Putting out a press release.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled. And a little worried. If the Lions continue to suck - I mean, past the time they're supposed to not suck any more - the only person we'll have left to kick around is the owner, William Clay Ford, and he can't be fired. But that's OK. The Lions could go 0-16 and the 2008 season would be a rousing success. Because Fire Millen just became Millen Fired.

WE NOW RETURN TO REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING.

Pretty typical midweek stuff. We'll start with Marc Verica again, because the Wednesday after his first ever start seems to be a pretty good time for fluff articles. Did you know he plays the piano? I didn't either, but Doug Doughty and Jeff White are dying to tell you this. The Washington Post gets in on that action too - that's three in one day, in case you lost count. Verica plays the piano, was put into a similar situation in high school, is unflappable, etc. etc.

Switch gears for a quick second over to the soccer team, which beat CCSU 4-0 last night. Tony Tchani, who is a frickin' hoss, scored twice.

Switch back! The UVA notes in the RTD update us on Sean Gottschalk:

Gottschalk, a graduate of Deep Run High, hopes to resume his football career, but it's not clear if he'll play this season. Even if Gottschalk were to return to practice today -- and that's not expected to happen -- he would need three or four weeks of training before he's ready to play again, Groh said.
"Hopes to resume his career." That is not promising.

Peter Lalich is going to Oregon State, which in Oregon-hippie fashion has a weird class schedule and has not started classes yet - a big reason for the selection.

Saved the best for last - the depth chart and the coach's press conference. Depth chart is mildly interesting. No changes on the O-line, at least not among the starters. Biggest shakeup is in the secondary (which needs it.) Ras-I Dowling returns to the depth chart, backing up Mike Parker in OR status with Chase Minnifield. Brandon Woods is demoted to backup and redshirt freshman Corey Mosley takes his place. Nick Jenkins and Nate Collins switch spots at nose tackle - Jenkins is now listed as the starter, though chances are the roughly 60-40 split of snaps will continue.

From the presser:

- Groh wants to keep the redshirt on Riko Smalls but realizes the circumstances may end up dictating otherwise.
- Hints that Verica had a little more notice to prepare for the UConn game than was generally known.
- Fluff fluff fluff, Duke's a tough team yada yada yada.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

so, not too shabby

Maybe this'll work out OK. I got around to watching the UConn game. Sort of - I watched the offense, anyway, with the specific purpose of making some attempt at evaluating the quarterbacks as is my custom. I didn't bother watching the defense. It stinks, and you didn't need me to tell you that.

But this Verica kid. Hey now. I was impressed. More on that in a bit. The usual way of doing things around here (which is to say: I've done it twice and am going to do it a third time right now) is to adjust the quarterback's passing stats based on what "should" have happened. Receivers drop balls, holding calls are handed out, etc; giving credit for those (and taking away credit when a receiver goes above and beyond the call of duty for a catch) results in these adjusted stats.

Today there's very little of that to do. Here's what I came up with this week:

Verica's actual stats: 22/30, 158 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Verica's adjusted stats: 21/30, 159 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT

Deke's actual stats: 3/8, 30 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Deke's adjusted stats: 4/8, 35 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT

Verica's 12th throw: Koch bent down to make a nice catch at the knees. Take away 1 completion and 4 yards.
Verica's 17th throw: Ogletree caught the ball but managed to rack up -5 YAC, so add those 5 yards back to Verica's total.

Deke's 1st throw: Covington flat-out dropped it. Add a completion and 5 yards.

That's it. Against Richmond there were plenty of adjustments to make with the stats and Lalich came out looking better than his actual stats indicated. Today, not so much.

Anyway. Verica. This redshirt sophomore who'd never taken a snap in a college game looked like a polished senior. No, really! He was decisive, he was accurate, he didn't panic in the pocket. "But, bloggerguy," you're saying. "The playcalling didn't call for anything downfield!" True enough. The playbook was clearly scaled back. It looked like the Jameel Sewell playbook without the running-quarterback plays. This is OK. Many quarterbacks fail to successfully execute even the dump-off over the middle. The throws Verica made, they were good, accurate throws. They were put where the receiver could catch them AND where he could run after the catch. Somewhat.

Because here's the problem: UConn clearly had no respect for the running game. It's garbage. I think it was the fourth quarter by the time Simpson had a for-real, no-shit hole to run through. These guys get no push off the line of scrimmage. None. What's puzzling is the pass-blocking is -dare I say it? - good. I suspect, though this is a darts-in-the-dark guess because I am not an O-line coach, that the technique is good but the S&C is a major weakness. This theory would seem to explain the fact that UConn was not blowing past our guys into the backfield, but also was never pushed back off the line.

Anyway, Verica. I wish we had a running game anymore, because the kid knows his way around a pocket. And this was his first game ever! And he looked like a seasoned upperclassman. I am no longer concerned about the quarterback position. It's thin with only three schollie QBs, but if Verica is a good student and doesn't drink...and stays away from quasi-gay clubs downtown.....and doesn't beat people up....and doesn't mouth off to the coaches.....and doesn't bend his knee sideways (all this is a lot to ask these days) then we are in good shape under center for the rest of the season.

Monday, September 22, 2008

weekend review

I still have not actually watched the UConn game. I'll most likely do that tomorrow, albeit in fits and starts on the TiVo, and mainly for the purpose of doing my review of Verica's performance. I have no desire to sit there like I don't know what's gonna happen next and watch our defense get gashed for half a mile of rushing yardage.

Let's start this thing off with some good news for once. The soccer team showed signs of life on Saturday by thrashing NC State. They've struggled, but did very well in the ACC opener against a team that isn't exactly an ACC contender. Let's hope there's a parallel there for the football team. What we've seen from the soccer team so far is what you'd expect from a very young team with supreme talent, which happens to be what they are. Of the 14 goals scored this season, just 3 are from non-freshmen: 2 from sophomore Jimmy Simpson and 1 from junior Matt Mitchell. Chris Agorsor and Tony Tchani are bound and determined to have a knock-down drag-out fight (figuratively speaking, thankfully) for the goals lead this season; Tchani leads 5-4 at the moment.

Next up: Central Connecticut State, who has rolled up a 4-1-1 record against largely second-tier competition. Fun fact: CCSU is basically Little Britain, with 6 fellows from jolly old England, and that doesn't count the guy hailing from the Isle of Man.

Now back to football and the gloomcloud that comes with it. The RTD today does a nice job of reminding us who we're missing for whatever reason: academics, shenanigans, injury, transfer to other sports, or some combination of the above. The toll is thus: 2 quarterbacks, 2 defensive ends, 2 cornerbacks, 3 linebackers, and a wide receiver, including at least four players (Cook, Fitzgerald, Gottschalk, and Lalich or Sewell) who'd be starters and more who'd be in the two-deep. I won't expound on this much. You know as well as I do what we're missing here.

Oh looky here. A recruiting board. And it looks much the same as it did last week. Nobody committed or narrowed their list or anything. The updates are:

- Added some actual schools for Bernardo Nunez. He claims no leader (Rivals $) at the moment, but mentioned a number of different places he wants to go on visits to. So those schools are piled up under his name.
- Put Michigan and Duke back in Brennan Williams' top 5.

QB Kevin Newsome
- VT, PSU, Mich., UNC, WVU
RB Tavon Austin
- Md., WVU, UGA, Mich., Neb., Tenn., Ill.
RB De'Antwan Williams
- Bama, VT, BC, Md., Rutgers, WVU
WR Justin Brown
- PSU, VT, NCSt., S.Car, UNC
WR Sean Farr
- Md., WVU, Akron, EMU
WR Timothy Smith
- L'ville, S.Car, WVU
WR Antone Exum
- SCar., VT, WVU, PSU, Md., Tenn., Purdue, L'ville, CU, Wake
TE Logan Thomas
- VT, Clemson, WVU, UNC, Wake, Tenn., FSU, PSU
OT Morgan Moses
- pretty much everyone east of the Mississippi
OT Oday Aboushi
- Iowa, Md., Rutgers, PSU, Mich., BC
DE Brennan Williams
- BC, Wake, Mich., Duke
DE Michael Buchanan
- Purdue, Ill., Cal, Vandy, KU
DE Lanford Collins
- VT, PSU, Tenn., WVU, Md., NCSt., UNC, BC, Ill.
DE Garry Gilliam
- UConn, PSU, Temple, Pitt, Akron
DE Will Hill
- UConn, Mich., S.Car., Tenn., Md.
DE Bernardo Nunez
- OU, Md., Oregon, Pitt, ECU, NCSt., Rutgers
DE DeAntre Rhodes
- VT, Md., Clemson, Tenn.
DE Pat Muldoon
- Cincy, BC, Wisc.
OLB Jelani Jenkins
- everyone and their aunt
CB Travis Hawkins
- who isn't interested?
S Javanti Sparrow
- Clemson, UNC, PSU, VT, WVU
DB Joshua Evans
- 28 other schools. for real.

Now for the high schools.....

DOMINIQUE WALLACE: Carried 14 times for 113 yards and three touchdowns in Chancellor's 40-13 win over Riverbend. Wallace is the area's rushing leader with 528 yards and 6 touchdowns in four games.

CONNOR MCCARTIN: 4 carries, 28 yards; 2 receptions, 29 yards in 42-14 Fauquier victory over Mountain View. McCartin is a linebacker recruit.

COREY LILLARD: Ran for 69 yards and a TD in Liberty's 41-32 win over Stafford. Lillard is a DB recruit.

ROSS METHENY: Completed 8-of-10 for 89 yards and 2 TD's in Sherando's 55-7 stomping of Warren County. Metheny has yet to play every drive for his team in a full game, because Sherando is 3-0 by scores of 37-10, 49-0, and 55-7.

PERRY JONES: Scored twice in Oscar Smith's blowout win over Great Bridge. 50-14, in case you're wondering. Oscar Smith is a fucking machine.

KEVIN ROYAL: Scored on a 45-yard pass, but Brunswick lost to Hopkins, 27-12. Fun fact! Kevin Royal is from Greenwich, CT, where the local newspaper (from which all Royal links come) is aptly called the Greenwich Time.

The week was a good one for the ACC: UVA did not play, so the conference did not lose any nonconference games. Which is nice.

- Georgia Tech rolled Mississippi State 38-7. Georgia Tech Sports was in attendance and rather obviously liked what he saw.

- NC State beats ECU* 30-24 relinquishes the title of Sorriest-Assed Team In All The ACC (SATIATA), which I would be really happy for them for doing except guess who gets to pick up the crown? And we need only lose to Duke to jam that mother squarely on our head and go streaking. State Fans Nation hates him some ECU fans and loves him some Russell Wilson.

- Maryland crushed Eastern Michigan 51-24. Eastern is the direction-est of all the D-I Directional Michigans, and has a really hard time in football because they share a county with a football behemoth.

- Boston College handled UCF, 34-7. BC Interruption is not mollified by the lopsided score and senses a quarterback controversy a-brewin' in Chestnut Hill.

- Clemson beat SC State. By a lot.

- VT won another 20-17 game, over UNC this time. Gobbler Country wonders how on earth. Tareye or Buckheel didn't seem to notice, because Yates Yates Yates. One can hardly blame the Heel faithful if they're more worried about the next six weeks than the last one.

- Miami did their part against the power conferences (if not exactly the power teams therein) by beating Texas A&M 41-23. It was not a good week for maroon-and-white teams against the ACC.

- Lastly, Wake Forest looked half-assed against FSU (no thanks to three missed FGs from their All-Galaxy kicker) but fortunately for them FSU looked like complete and total ass, as Wake got out of Tallahassee with a 12-3 win. Old Gold & Blog looks on the sunny side and praises the defense, which got three straight picks against two different Seminole quarterbacks to quash any comebacks. Take possession, pickoff. Take possession, pickoff. Take possession, incomplete, incomplete, pickoff. lollerskates. At least Christian Ponder threw two passes into oblivion before his interception; Richardson just got right down to business and threw two straight first-down picks.

There it is - your weekend in review. Your last little tidbit of info: The Maryland game on 4 October will be at 7:00 (night game, yay! I have fond memories of these, which is surprising considering the usual effect of 10 hours of pregaming on one's memory) and will either be on ESPNU or ESPN360, which would mean either I have to shell out for GamePlan, or I just put on my TiVo recording of last year's thrilla in College Pazilla and pretend Chris Long is still in orange and blue, blowing up quarterbacks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blogpoll ballot

Here it is, Week 4 in all its glory:

RankTeamDelta
1Alabama 5
2Florida 7
3Southern Cal 1
4Georgia 4
5Missouri 1
6LSU 9
7Texas 3
8Penn State 1
9Oklahoma 6
10South Florida 5
11Virginia Tech 10
12Utah 4
13Kansas 5
14Ohio State 5
15Clemson 9
16Texas Tech 6
17Brigham Young--
18Nebraska 7
19Oklahoma State 6
20Wisconsin 6
21Auburn 1
22Boise State 4
23East Carolina 22
24Vanderbilt 1
25Wake Forest 2

Dropped Out: Oregon (#12).

Various points:

- I will be one of the very few stubborn holdouts not putting USC in the #1 slot; in fact, I was last week too, as USC received 65 of 69 first place votes. This is because they have played two games. Beating OSU, yes yes, very impressive, but: They are lucky OSU did not also get beat by Troy. Had that happened, both USC and OSU might have dropped off the list entirely. Slamming UVA does not make you awesome, it makes you Connecticut. Slamming OSU is nice, but OSU struggled to beat Ohio and dispatched of Troy rather efficiently, but not brutally, and in a manner which did actually cause the ESPN guys to use the phrase "upset brewing." So, third place, which is actually a drop from last week because they sat around watching film of Oregon State while Florida was busy crushing Tennessee.

- So take a bow, Alabama. After four games, your resume looks better than anyone else's. They have pasted everyone they've played, and not like Texas Tech, who has double-dipped into the I-AA ranks. Florida gets a little boost to #2 after beating Tennessee very badly, which is a good win, not a great win.

- ECU loses their spot on top of the hill, but they were going to anyway after West Virginia got themselves beat in Boulder on Thursday night. Suddenly beating them doesn't seem so impressive. That win over Virginia Tech is looking much better these days. That's also what keeps them from making the precipitous drop out of the poll entirely, because losing to NC State is not a good way to keep a high spot in the rankings. In any case, they're on notice and likely to drop out soon unless they start winning by hefty margins.

- Also on notice - like big time - is Wake Forest. They're still on the list because they've positioned themselves well in their division by beating FSU, but man did they look bad doing it. That's two ugly wins in a row now, and I had a very tough time deciding between them and TCU for that last spot, and if they don't shape up, they're gone. Especially if TCU gives Oklahoma a run next week.

- Boise State spent Saturday removing Oregon from the list. That game was not as close as the score says. That qualifies as a stomping. That plus last week's squeaker against Purdue means no Ducks this week; Boise State gets their spot.