Monday, June 15, 2009

weekend review

Well, fellow Hoos, we had an interesting weekend, did we not? It really only ended about 90 minutes ago (that's "as I type this" and probably not "as you read this") with the elimination of the national #2 seed from the College World Series. There's really something to be said for not being the first team out, and as much as I think this whole Omaha business is gravy and the season is already a rousing, smashing success no matter what happens next, I really didn't want to see us be the first team to leave. So that's nice.

Anyway, there's enough for a weekend review-type post - if you remember the football season, there was a big long one of these every Monday - and this was probably a more eventful weekend than a simple football Saturday, so let's dive in. Baseball first.


A 1-1 weekend is perfectly satisfactory. Let's get that out there to start with. Sometimes the announcers will tell you the first game in these double-elimination brackets is the most important. I can see the logic - if you win, you have only to win two more games and you're in like Flynn, and if you lose, you have to win four or you're done. I still say that's so much baloney. The most important game is the one right after the one you just lost. After four of these games, one team will be 2-0, one will be 0-2, and two will be 1-1; and 1-1, whether you win the first or second game, puts you in the same spot. An elimination game instead of a bye come Wednesday is not the ideal spot to be in, but it's a better spot than Fullerton will be in by then, which is - Fullerton. And not Omaha.

So I'm pleased. I don't care who wins between Arkansas and LSU, we'll have to beat them both anyway if we want to advance. And we can take LSU. I don't know about you but I was actually pretty encouraged by that loss; we've clearly got the bats to hang with anyone, we just needed a little more clutch hitting to get it done.

And pardon me, but I did not just hear the announcers in the game say, "Virginia is playing Fullerton baseball." Oh yes I did. And here I thought that phrase died with Irvine. Ah well - I'm content that our team has been the Scourge of SoCal this postseason - eliminating all those pesky Orange County teams and dealing a mortal blow to San Diego State and their special guy. Having played Irvine Baseball and now Fullerton Baseball - and seeing where those teams are now - I can't wait to play some Arkansas Baseball, some LSU Baseball, and maybe some Texas Baseball or UNC Baseball.

And finally mad kudos yo to the national Coach of the Year. This is an award that writers hand out because they have these preconceived notions of how teams "should" do, and don't like to admit that they were wrong; therefore they take a mulligan on a particular team that outshone expectations, chalk it up to coaching, and call that team's coach the Coach of the Year. It's well deserved though. O'Connor hit a few rough patches early on but he and his team have clicked this year at the best possible time. Congrats to the man.


Big weekend with a junior day planned. "Future Wahoo Day".....whatever, I guess you gotta try something to make it stand out, and other places are already doing BBQ's. Couldn't we have like, a pig roast or something? Pig roasts are cool.

Anyway, my opinion of it: so-so. Very so-so. We did move three players up from the lower regions of the board into the nice orange committed section. That's the good news - the bad news is, they'd pretty much already stamped their ticket to Charlottesville and their commitments were less a pleasant surprise and more of a confirmation. These are -

- LB Ryan Cobb: a rather lightly recruited New Jersey linebacker
- WR E.J. Scott: a slot receiver tailor-made for the new spread
- CB Kyrrel Latimer: a cornerback from DeMatha, which is an old French/Latin word for "pipeline to Virginia."

More on each of them later this week.

I'd have liked to also get Conner Davis on board, and his not doing so, in addition to the lack of surprise commits, made it a little bit of a down weekend. I know, I'm greedy. Can't be helped. So what say you to an update of the recruiting board? Here goes:

- Moved Cobb, Scott, and Latimer to orange, obviously.

- Moved LB Jeremiah Attaochu (gesundheit) and OT Robby Havenstein to blue. We've lost a bunch of tug-of-wars with Penn State already - notably Miles Dieffenbach and Luke Graham on the O-line - but the nice thing about that is that this is one area where past results affect future outcome. The coaches are going to be all over Havenstein now; Groh wants his linemen 8 feet tall and 500 pounds if he can get them, and Havenstein is the closest thing on the board to that at 6'7", 345.

- Moved CB Urell Johnson and S Nick Dew down to red. This week, Johnson got offers from LSU and Tennessee; that's as good a reason as any to assume he's not real likely to leave Louisiana. And I've basically given in to the fact that Dew is a Tech fan.

- Added CB Karl Butler (yellow) and, for giggles, DE J.R. "Ego" Ferguson (red.) Do not make the mistake of thinking that means our chances have improved any for Ferguson lately. It's as pipe-dreamy as ever; I only bothered because, what the hell, he's from Virginia. If he was not, I wouldn't have done it.

- Removed DE Kyle Baublitz (Penn State commit) and QB Sam Gibson (LSU commit.) I did not see one tiny mention of Gibson all weekend - I don't expect he was visiting. So that's over with.

Um, look, about that - removing guys and stuff. I really thought we had a fair shot at Baublitz, but, bummer - and Baublitz would have added some nice four-star cachet to this class. Take a look at that board, there ain't much of that left going on. There will always be a contingent of recruitniks who want to see the star-ratings and there will always be a contingent of recruitniks who demand a good showing in-state. If you are in either group, we will probably be hearing your disappointed and angry voice come February.

There's a better-than-solid chance we don't have a single four-star in the whole class; Blake Barker and Alex Kenney are the best shots, and neither is anything like a lock. There's also a way-better-than-solid chance the in-state haul will look nothing like last year's. You may notice we have five on board and none are from Virginia. It was just the opposite last year; the first five, not including the decommits, were all in-staters, and on board before May.

Here's the players from Virginia on the current Rivals 250:

Ego Ferguson - fuhgeddaboudit
Philip Sims - Alabama
Zack McCray - Tech
Justin Hunter - LSU
Travis Williams - we never offered
Evan Hailes - we were never in it
Nick Acree - we never offered

And additionally, more from the ESPN 150 watch list....

Nick Dew - Tech fan
Mark Shuman - Tech commit
Aramide Olaniyan - we never offered

That's basically the Virginia top ten. We're not getting any one of those. Ferguson's the only one we even have the outsidest of shots at. Our in-state crew is going to be the 11-20 guys.

Prediction time: By October 1, maybe even September 1, we will have verbals from Marcus Rush, Robby Havenstein, Conner Davis, and Henry Coley. Coley will be the first Virginia high schooler to commit; he, like Cobb, is lightly recruited. Davis is starting to see the offer faucet dry up a bit - what he's got, he's got, and I don't think he'll wait much longer. Rush visited Michigan and didn't commit, and Michigan is filling up fast on what over at MGoBlog are referred to as "deathbackers" and we at Virginia call "outside linebackers in the 3-4." Basically the same position, entirely different name. They now have like four of these, two of which we were recruting heavily (Jordan Paskorz and Ken Wilkins) - like Havenstein, Rush is going to get the full-court press from the coaches.

And even if the star power isn't there, the talent will be. I really, really like the offensive side of this class so far. Have I mentioned Kevin Parks is a studly stud of studlitude? (Gosh, that didn't make me sound like a 13-year-old girl in close proximity to whatsisface from Twilight at all. I'm one "dreamy" away from getting on some stalker file somewhere.) And the more I read about Tyler Brosius, the more I like. So - to sum up - lousy class on paper, quality on the field.

I have gone way overtime here. I count myself lucky if you read this far. Your reward for doing so is a nagging reminder to go vote in the Cavalier of the Year poll. No, I will not tell you who's leading, though I will say there is a surprise contender. Go vote and find out who.

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