Monday, September 21, 2009

weekend review

Let's start with the good stuff - the soccer - because the rest of it's just depressing.

Beating the #2 team in the land on their own turf is fun. As with always, the ACC is friggin' stacked at the top, and I'd really like not to have to try and fight our way through the minefield again in the tournament. No matter what, the top four or five are going to be beastly, which means if at all possible you want to get a top three seed. Next weekend's matchup is Clemson, with George Washington as filler in between, and Clemson is lousy. The real test is in two weeks at North Carolina - cripe, we have to go on the road to play all the good teams - and if we can eke out a win there and take care of things against the Clemsons and Virginia Techs of the world, we're in business.

But where on earth is the offense? I mean damn. Two goals in three games ain't gonna cut it. Yes, I realize we've been outshooting everyone (including Mount St. Mary's 18-2, yow) but at the end of the day I'd like to see a little less bombing from long range and a little more production out of the moneymakers. When Neil Barlow (first goal since 2007) and Mike Volk (first goal as a Hoo, ever) are your only two goal-scorers in three games, that is a problem, whether or not you won. Maybe they can borrow Gregg Brandon's spread offense, since the football team doesn't seem to be using it.

Speaking of which, the juxtaposition of these two articles caught my eye, and it's really not a good sign. First, "Offensive switch not enough," and second, "Special teams hardly such." Here are the two things we brought in hyped-up new coaches to fix - Gregg Brandon, the offensive wizard, and Ron Prince, the prodigal coach and supposed special teams ace - and they suck. Hard. (Not the coaches. The execution.) And it's the things that you notice without even trying to: lousy offensive production, long kick returns - that kick return touchdown by Southern Miss was a dagger.

It's also worth noticing in the offense article that part of the offensive excellence in the first half was because Southern Miss was totally not expecting the switch back to a regular offense. Think that was maybe our one chance to sneak up on anyone? Groh seems excited about having the bye week to reboot the offense, but the general rule has been the more time we have to prepare for a game, the worse we do, so I don't have high hopes for the UNC game.

The other lesson I've learned - twice now - is that you can't shock the system with a completely new offense and expect to be successful in year one. If we had time, like, a couple years worth, to get this offense installed, I bet it'd look pretty good, maybe as soon as 2010. We don't, so the only thing now is to try and mesh it with the old one. Which might be the way you ought to do things in the first place. We saw some of that on Saturday. Nobody missed the much narrower line splits, but the tailbacks and slots for the most part were in a spread-style formation. Not a bad way to go if you can get the offensive line to figure out who to block and how.

Some bullets, then on to the other standard stuff.

- Dominique Wallace is out for the year. No biggie. The medical redshirt he'll get will give him the redshirt he should have had - without the extra practice, but with some game experience to balance that out. We have enough tailback depth to cover it.

- The UNC game is at noon. Curses. Why must they always have games at the same time as the Michigan one?

Now for the really emo stuff: the recruiting board. Updates:

- Removed DE Andrew Tallman, newly committed to Miami.

- Re-added LB Aramide Olaniyan, who decommitted from Duke. I don't know why. Maybe just because the board is getting so thin. If he comes here I'll be dead shocked.

- Bumped DE Ethan Farmer and WR Brandon Coleman from yellow to red.

You might also notice there's no blue section any more. With the recruiting atmosphere at Scott Stadium as poisonous as it is, do you really think our chances of landing anyone can be called good? There are 14 recruits on the board, really only 8 of which have anything resembling a realistic chance of picking UVA. At best, we'll get two, mayyyybe three. At best. That puts this class size at 15, tops. There will certainly be transfers when there's a changing of the guard at head coach. There always are. On the bright side, we definitely won't have to worry about having too many scholarship players and not enough scholarships. If we're going to fill this class up, we're going to be scraping the bottom for players that were previously torn between Hampton and JMU. That's always fun.

And that doesn't even take into account decommitments, which there certainly will be. There always are. Ever since the William & Mary game the CavsCorner guys have been running around getting a hold of as many committed players as they can and checking the solidity of their commitment. (Who, exactly, is behind the paywall, except for the ones with headlines: Conner Davis and E.J. Scott.) Most - not all, but most - have said they're solid. (They made no secret of the fact that one guy they called is very concerned - again, "who" is behind the paywall.) Which is to say, they're solid while Al Groh is the head coach and the team is 0-3. When the team is 1-6 and Al Groh maybe isn't the head coach any more, are they still solid? You have to figure these guys are getting bombarded with negative recruiting. Some of them probably have Ralph Friedgen's number blocked so they don't have to hear from the king of "you don't really want to go there."

Anyway, speaking of the recruits, let's see how they're doing.

KEVIN PARKS: This is the one guy I absolutely do not want to see decommit. Another day at the office for Parks as he picked up 225 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. The next time he runs for over 100 yards - probably next game - he'll break the state of North Carolina record for 100-yard games. West Rowan is a dominant force. I wonder if we can sign up their linemen too.

TYLER BROSIUS: Handed the #9 team in the state a 34-21 loss with 184 yards passing and two touchdowns.


OK, time to check in on the rest of the ACC and live vicariously through teams that get to win a game once every so often.

- I hate watching games on baseball fields. I also hate watching my preseason ACC champion pick get trucked, especially by Miami. Winfield wants to take it out on North Carolina, which, hey guys, beat them and all but please don't make them mad for the week after. The 7th Floor is, uh, just don't click, especially if you're at work and your boss would take exception to pictures of hairy - never mind.

- Speaking of UNC, they pulled it out over ECU, and Tar Heel Mania thinks a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures of pirates, specifically. Yet more specifically, pirates getting beat the hell up.

- Boston College's offense is even better than ours. Boy, I can't wait for that game. I can already see how this will go. The drive chart is going to look a little bit like this: punt punt punt punt punt punt punt punt punt punt punt punt. The longest offensive play of the day will happen when Jimmy Howell sets up for his fifteenth of the game and finds his leg refuses to swing up and down any more, so he shovels it off to a blocker who rumbles past the chains, prompting the officials to award the game to UVA after secretly declaring sometime in the third quarter that the first first down wins.

What brings this on? The 54 yards of offense BC managed on Saturday against Clemson, that's what. BC Interruption, ironically and sadly, asked themselves on Friday if the two-QB system could work and concluded it could. Then their team let them down in the most spectacular way possible: Justin Tuggle - 4-for-20, 23 yards, three picks. Block-C is giddy about Clemson's defensive effort, which, you can't really blame him. That's another game I can't wait for, in a much more sarcastic way.

- Tech eeeeeeked it out against Nebraska, thanks to Tyrod Taylor running out of ways to suck and having no options left but to win the game. Still, Gobbler Country loves their offense about as much as we love ours. Also, Matt Millen was calling that game - with any luck, he stopped by Frank Beamer's offense after the game to offer some tips.

- Maryland. Hehehe. Thank God we pulled out that win over Middle Tennessee in 2007 because now any Twerp that wants to talk about William & Mary need only be answered with, "Middle Tennessee, twice." Testudo Times is already looking for a replacement for Beanpole Ralph.

- Florida State walloped BYU, like, pretty intensively, so I was curious to read the TFSU bloggers' opinions. I didn't get past, "After a wonderful experience in College Park last year..." Wait, what? Is that possible? Are you sure you were in College Park?

- Wake Forest and NC State beat up on some teams they were supposed to beat up on.

Later this week, look out for:

- Another ACC Roundtable
- A list of potentially poachable head coaches in I-A football. Yeah, it's that time. Ugh.

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