Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Just bullets today, and some linkage:

- As soon as we ever figure out who the offensive coordinator is going to be, I want to try and do up a little something something for him and DC Jim Reid, but man is this OC hire taking forever. Doug Doughty tosses out two names: Craig Johnson and Kevin Rogers, quarterback coaches for the Titans and Vikings, respectively. I don't know who this is going to end up being, but I think I know who I'd rather it not be: the already-on-staff Mike Faragalli. Nothing against Faragalli specifically, it's just that if Mike London is willing to drag this OC search on forever and ever with Faragalli waiting in the wings as backup, Faragalli must not be that attractive an option.

- You might have noticed yesterday that the new university president has been identified as one Dr. Teresa Sullivan, currently the provost at Michigan. If you're like me, you never heard of her til yesterday. So I asked for a little input from those who might know better. It's just message board chatter, so take it for what it's worth to you, but it is at least a step in the right direction.

Me, I ask only a few things of our school president. One is to uphold the principles of student self-governance. I can only hope Sullivan can match Casteen here - this was one of Casteen's strongest points. Another would be to understand that a world-class university needs to be world-class in everything it does - and that includes athletics. Pointy-headed academicians - the type that will scream at you if you park at 4:58 in a parking lot that's reserved until 5:00 - do not get this. Sullivan spent decades at the University of Texas and several years at the University of Michigan, and has this to say about athletics:

Her long-held belief that athletics are an important component of university life should do the same, she said, with the athletic community, as well as with students, faculty and alumni. "There are great advantages to having athletics on college campuses," she said. "Games are a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together and to connect in special ways, particularly with alumni, parents and friends of the University."
I don't have the slightest clue about how respected she is in her chosen field of sociology, nor how good a job she's done as an administrative underling, though I expect the answer is "very" if she's been selected as the president of a university such as ours. I have to say I'm at least mildly encouraged here at the beginning, though. She is talking the talk, at least.

- Aaron Corp is going to Richmond, which is just great because now we get to play against him right off the bat. But speaking of next year's opponents....

- .....is the house coming down at USC or what? The timeline here looks very roughly and not to scale like this:

  1. Basketball coach resigns because hammer is coming, claims it has nothing to do with said hammer.
  2. School self-hammers basketball program. Hard.
  3. NCAA rejects self-hammer, says "we'll take care of this thank you very much." Self-hammer apparently not hammery enough.
  4. Football coach resigns because hammer is coming, claims it has nothing to do with said hammer.
  5. Investigation wraps up.
  6. ????
The death penalty would be very surprising here. Anything short of that would not. Pete Carroll claims he had "given up" on a return to the pros and the Seattle job just opened up like the Red Sea. Horseshit: Carroll is a national championship coach. How many NFL jobs have opened up since then? One phone call would have gotten him an interview with any of them. Carroll saw the writing on the wall at USC and decided to leave that stuff to some other poor schnook.

The question is this: Will the coming sanctions be heavy enough that the NCAA opens up the transfer door and allows players to leave without sitting out a year, as they did at Alabama earlier this decade? I think there's a strong possibility of that, and in that case it'll be interesting to see who jumps ship. It could be a very, very different Coliseum that our own team walks into in September. Will Mike London have us in the right shape to take advantage of a USC team that might be in a state of terrible disarray? It'll be interesting to find out.

- And speaking of disarray, did this offseason turn into an earthquake in the coaching circles or what? It sure looked like a quiet one back in November: UVA, Louisville, maybe Colorado (didn't happen.) Yawn. Sure, Al Groh looked like a goner after the first week of November, but who could have predicted back then that Notre Dame, Florida, USC, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Kansas, and South Florida would all coached by someone different in 2010? That's half a ton of coaches at two of those schools alone, and if Maryland had any money in their athletic budget, it'd have been the trifecta of fired fattys. Three coaches dismissed for being dicks to their players, even with the exact magnitude of said dickery in question. One resignation because of an impending NCAA doomhammer and another that may or may not be a resignation or a sabbatical or even an extended weekend for all we know. That's a long list of schools in need of a coach, and rather surprisingly, only one of those fired their coach for losing football games.

- Seriously, there is a lot of VT love going on among the pundits. Kirk Herbstreit had them in his early top five for 2010. Rivals has them 11th (not totally out of whack) and the early favorite for the division title next year (also not totally out of whack) but also has this to say: "The presence of RBs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans and QB Tyrod Taylor in the backfield should give the Hokies one of the nation's most fearsome rushing attacks." Rivals' Steve Megargee notes: "Virginia Tech returns most of its skill-position players on offense and should boast the nation's best running-back tandem next season in Ryan Williams and Darren Evans."

Fortunately for delicious irony, that last phrase is right next to a large, full-color picture of C.J. Spiller. I'm reminded strongly of 2008, when Clemson was anointed The Team To Beat on account of their deadly running tandem of Spiller and James Davis as well as their array of skill players. This is something the media loves to do, because it's easy and requires only a quick look at a stat sheet and a roster: whichever team has the best returning skill players is the team to beat.

The media, of course, glossed over the fact that Clemson had a young and terrible offensive line and not a whole lot going on for them on defense. A 12-7 loss to Wake Forest later, Clemson had a new coach to go along with the rest of that inexperience. I'm obviously not going to suggest that Frank Beamer will follow Tommy Bowden into forced retirement, but, consider their defense. By my count, eight regular or semi-regular starters on Poly's defense will have to be replaced: Jason Worilds, Nekos Brown, Kam Chancellor, Cordarrow Thompson, Cody Grimm, Dorian Porch, Stephan Virgil, and Demetrius Taylor all graduate, or in the case of Worilds, leave early for the NFL. And don't forget three of their best blockers: Greg Boone, Ed Wang, and Sergio Render.

That is a lot of defensive talent that has to be replaced somehow. You can't just gloss that over. You especially can't claim Georgia Tech is out of the running just for losing two top juniors and gloss over the seven regular starters Poly is losing, as Megargee did. If you're despairing because we're in a rebuilding year in 2010 and everyone thinks VT is going to roll the conference, don't. I'll tell you right now, Poly will fall short of these expectations.

- Tomorrow is the GT game, and the game preview will, at least in part, take the form of a Q&A session with esteemed GT blog From The Rumble Seat. These are always a lot of fun to do and FTRS knows their GT stuff, so there's much to look forward to.

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