Monday, October 25, 2010

weekend review

Short update this week as far as the recruiting board goes. Just the addition of WR Timmy Keith and some readability fixes.

The depth chart is a lot more interesting. The bad news there is that I'm not gonna put in the actual changes til later in the week. The good news is that intrigue abounds. It's an intriguing web of intrigue.

- First off, Morgan Moses is now so huge, and awesome at football, that he's the starter at not one, but two positions. The whole right side of the line is his. Tackle and guard.

Lot of ORs running around, as in "Morgan Moses OR Oday Aboushi" at right tackle. Right guard is "Morgan Moses OR B.J. Cabbell," and left tackle is "Oday Aboushi OR Landon Bradley." The interpretation is clear: If Bradley can play and be effective with a huge cast on his hand (following his hand surgery) that turns it into a club, then Bradley will start at LT, Aboushi at RT, and Moses at RG. If not, Aboushi moves to LT, Moses mans the other tackle spot, and Cabbell hangs on to his starting gig for one more week.

Either way, the writing that was on the wall a couple weeks ago is thisclose to collecting on its promise: Cabbell will be a backup sooner rather than later, and Moses is getting his job. Bradley was a whipping boy of mine last year, but his play has improved to a level resembling acceptable. I like Moses better at guard, which is his obvious long-term home. I don't have much of a preference for this week, having not the faintest idea how comfortable Bradley can be without the ability to grip with one hand. It's his right hand, which speeds his return - a left tackle could never protect the edge without his left hand.

- Linebacker is another fun story. Aaron Taliaferro is on the outside now - the strong side backup behind Laroy Reynolds. Is Mr. Lazarus (so nicknamed in camp because of his rise from the dead) headed back to the figurative tomb? Darnell Carter moves over to replace Taliaferro as the half-starter in the middle with Steve Greer.

Editorial: I'd like to see more time for Greer. He wasn't the team's leading tackler as a freshman for nothing. Teams don't run around the edge on Virginia for nothing. The tackles aren't being missed in the middle.


Newsy stuff this week is one item only: RIP Fran Crippen. Former UVA swimmer and older brother of current UVA swimmer Claire Crippen. His death during a 10K swim race in the UAE is all over the news.

Perhaps a former swimmer who's been to that part of the world (me, if you're unclear) can clarify a few things for curious readers?

First, I'm not going to place as much blame on FINA (the worldwide governing body for swimming) as the media is looking to. Water that's too warm is really hard to come by. Swim meets are typically held in cold-ass water, because cold water is faster. Warm water relaxes the muscles. The temperature of open-water events obviously isn't controlled, but having regulations for swimming in water that's too warm is like having regulations for ski hills that aren't steep enough. Bad for competition, bad for your times, why would you worry about it? It's likely the strongest amount of blame should be placed on the meet organizers for a lack of decent safety procedures.

After all, your average marathon has tons of precautions against health issues. A 10K swim race is eons more demanding than a marathon. It's like an Ironman Triathlon. Blame, if you must call it that, can fall squarely on Crippen's shoulders for continuing despite not feeling well, but besides the shortest of the shortest of sprints, full-body fatigue is par for the course for swimmers. It's not like basketball or football where you can be subbed out. Just you and your body, and if you don't drag yourself out of the pool after an event - especially a distance event - with every muscle burning like hellfire, then you didn't swim hard enough. You get out and never want to move again. Laying on the pool deck in just your swimsuit for the rest of your life sounds just fine. Crippen can't have been expected to know the difference between the extreme fatigue he'd normally feel at the end of a 10K and life-threatening exhaustion.

Which is why FINA and the Emiratis are being total dicks about this. Callously blaming it on "overexertion." Yes, it's probably true. But if they were real swimming officials they'd know overexertion is pretty much normal. The whole field was overexerting themselves.

As for the water temperature, again with the dickitude in insisting the water was "only" 84 degrees. As if there's this huge lifesaving difference in the three degrees between that and the 87 degrees that the swimmers are saying. I've been to the UAE. On a ship, which wouldn't you know, we made it our business to know what the water temperature was. (You have to in order to keep the machinery running properly.) In the Persian Gulf itself, the water temps were in the mid-90s; close to shore and in-port, they never dropped below 100. 102, 103, usually. Granted, I was there in July, not October. Granted, Fujairah, where the event was held (not Dubai, as the reports sometimes claim), is outside the Gulf - that makes a difference, the water is warmer, saltier, and way grodier and jellyfishier inside. All the same, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if an official inquest finds the water was above 90. It's the fucking desert.


Alright, let's move on and check in on the senior seasons. Here in Michigan, it's already playoff time for the high schoolers. (Go GP South Blue Devils.) One more week of games and that'll be true for Pennsylvania, too. Maryland and North Carolina, two more weeks; Virginia, three. We'll keep you updated throughout, of course.

L.C. Bird 14, Clover Hill 13: Bird puts the ball in the hands of their running backs for the most part (Anthony Harris only threw five passes and completed three), but when they trailed 13-0 in the second half they turned to their best athlete. Harris scored both Bird touchdowns, the winner on fourth down, and Bird pulled out the win with a goal-line stand.

Dinwiddie 33, Petersburg 21: Kevin Green came out on the short end of a good old-fashioned quarterback duel. Green ran for 127 yards and two TDs and completed 17-of-36 for 160 more, plus another touchdown. He was also picked off twice in the loss; the winning QB, whose stats were equally gaudy, is VT commit Chris Hall.

Phoebus 37, Hampton 12: Caleb Taylor's defense held David Watford in check. Watford was just 5-of-18 passing. He ran for an early touchdown to cut the score to 10-6, and threw another one in garbage time.

H.D. Woodson 22, Ballou 20: Darius Redman helped to seal a big upset by intercepting a pass with 90 seconds left. Then he nearly blew it by getting greedy and trying to return it for six; the ball was stripped and Redman had to go back on defense. D'oh. Time for a little coaching moment. Redman also caught an 8-yard touchdown pass.

Hermitage 48, Douglas Freeman 0 (Diamonte Bailey)
I.C. Norcom 48, Granby 7 (Kameron Mack)
Cox 22, First Colonial 20 (Ross Burbank)
Green Run 34, First Colonial 28 (David Dean)
Bethel 42, Menchville 10 (Clifton Richardson)
Episcopal 19, St. Christopher's 15 (Thompson Brown)
Landon (Md.) 22, St. S/St. A 0 (Darius Lee)
Damascus 35, Northwood 16 (Brandon Phelps)
Stone Bridge 50, Langley 10 (Rob Burns)
Good Counsel 37, St. John's 14 (Vincent Croce)
DeMatha 39, Bishop O'Connell 17 (Jordan Lomax, Kelby Johnson)
Independence 62, Rocky River 17 (Adrian Gamble)
Mt. Lebanon 27, Peters Township 16 (Tim Cwalina)

That is it for now. Later in the week: basketball! That time of year. Weird, huh? Football season announces its presence in such a way that it's impossible to miss, even if you try. Basketball season goes "um, hi."

Wait, no. That's not it for now. Also there is the AP poll study, in which the appearance of bias grows steadily stronger. Teaser: only three of 25 teams did not get any regional help, and the West Coast voters are off the hook this week. See the archive page for the rest.

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