Monday, September 5, 2011

weekend review

And I'm back from mini-vacation.  Had time to squeeze in some game-watching, which is good because there's something about winning by 37 that makes long weekends even better.  Doesn't even matter who you're playing.

I can't think of any bad things to say about the game that don't involve "but it was 'only William & Mary.'"  Not many, anyway.  A few small things, I guess, that could theoretically dampen your enthusiasm but probably shouldn't:

-- Mike Paulus sucked.  The defense benefited greatly from a horrible, horrible day by the opposing quarterback that wasn't even the result of awesome coverage or a ton of pressure.  I mean, that was poor.

-- Eight penalties, although I was actually surprised to see the number was that high.  I kept thinking to myself during the game how penalty-free things were looking.  Guess I wasn't paying close enough attention to the flags.

-- David Watford looked pretty freshman-y.

But that's about it.  Otherwise, helmet stickers for all.  I could spend all day listing all the great things about the game and all the players that stood out with quality performances, but that's too long a list, so here's the one thing that made this thing fun above all other things: Freshmen.  Specifically, the new faces that played starring roles.  Doesn't necessarily have to be freshmen; Tim Smith kind of burst onto the scene in a whole new way, for example, as did Justin Renfrow and Will Hill on the defensive line.  Kevin Parks and Clifton Richardson running the ball.  Mike Rocco.  Demetrious Nicholson with an interception.  Darius Jennings.  It's kind of a truism that a coach's "era" doesn't really begin until his second year, and here we are and that era just began in a very big way.


This is a new thing I'm doing this year, which by the end of the season will either be a huge exercise in trumpeting my own horn, or an unprecedented display of embarrassing accountability.  Veteran readers might have picked up on the different format for game previews this year, including a set of predictons, and I'm going to review them semi-excruciatingly and see how I did.  And keep track all year, to see if I'm good at this stuff or not.  Here, then, are the predictions I made in the game preview and whether or not they came to pass:

- UVA's biggest advantage will be when they are running the ball, as W&M's front seven is too undersized and unable to rotate players effectively.
Verdict: Oh, absolutely.  Nothing went better on Saturday than the running game.  UVA ran the ball whenever and wherever they wanted, and everybody got in on that action.  Complete dominance on the ground.  If the ground game gets two-thirds of that kind of result in every game this year UVA will win eight games.  Prediction was TRUE.

- Perry Jones will carry for more than 100 yards.
Verdict: FALSE thanks to the hot hand of Kevin Parks.  Otherwise he probably would've.

- Kris Burd will have more than 100 yards receiving.
Verdict: FALSE again, as the passing game plan was even more conservative than I expected and Tim Smith was the one who led the team in receiving.  These are both very healthy falses though; they bode well for the offense.

- Mike Rocco's day will look a lot like Marc Verica's against Richmond in 2010.

Verdict: I'm gonna give myself a TRUE even though Rocco threw for 100 fewer yards and no touchdowns (Verica had one.)  Why?  Both had high completion percentages, rarely threw deep, and were given a very similar game plan.  Really what caused the difference in their stats was the use of Watford for a few series and the late insertion of Ross Metheny.  Verica threw all the passes last year.

- David Watford will throw the ball at least once or twice.
Verdict: Obviously TRUE as he threw five times; in retrospect this looks like a silly gimme and I feel a littly guilty taking credit, but I'm going to anyway.

- Jonathan Grimes will have at least one big run.

Verdict: FALSE in a very good way.  Grimes, the Heisman-equivalent candidate, was a complete nonfactor.

- W&M will find little running room inside.

Verdict: TRUE in a very good way.  W&M's running game was shut down; they averaged 2.75 yards even when you don't count the one sack.  No room either inside or out.

- W&M will have some success passing the ball in the short game to Grimes and Alex Gottlieb, but the receivers will be, by and large, shut down.

Verdict: Half TRUE, so I'm counting it.  They'd've had more success going to Gottlieb if Paulus could've delivered the ball to his area code.  The wide receivers were a nonfactor.  Ryan Woolfolk didn't catch a pass; D.J. Mangas caught three, but all the rest of the completions (such as there were) went to backs and tight ends and suchlike.

- UVA's pass rush will give Mike Paulus trouble.

Verdict: Not so much, actually.  One "sack," of which Paulus was not the victim, and was the result of forcing the ball out of bounds rather than your traditional sack.  I don't remember many blitzes by the UVA defense and I wouldn't be surprised at all to re-review the game and find there were none.  Very, very vanilla gameplan on defense, especially starting in the third quarter when the game was getting out of hand; I think after that point the defense just stood in the basic 4-3 without a single wrinkle.  The pocket got pushed inwards at times, but the pass rush just was not a factor.  Going out on a FALSE note.

This leaves me 5 for 9 on the week.  Going to keep track all season and see how I do.


Now for the Senior Seasons section, in which we check in on the verbal commits and how they're doing this year:

DeMatha 24, Loyola Blakefield 20: Michael Moore knocked down a fourth-and-goal pass in the late minutes to preserve DeMatha's season-opening win.  DeMatha is 1-0.

Salem 31, Bayside 6: Major humbling for Bayside.  Anthony Cooper had just three catches for 40 yards.  Some major 2013 targets involved here, including Bayside RB Taquan Mizzell and Salem QB Bucky Hodges.  Bayside is 0-1.

Ocean Lakes 40, Princess Anne 7: Eli Harold caught 3 passes for 73 yards.  Ocean Lakes is 1-0.

Landstown 27, Kellam 7: Kyle Dockins intercepted a pass.  Landstown is 1-0.

North Cross 34, Norfolk Christian 27: Worrisome start to the season for the NCS boys; they lost to Liberty Christian last Monday in a makeup of their game that was postponed by the hurricane.  Mario Nixon had four catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Other games:

Admiral Farragut 42, Victory Christian 13 (Demeitre Brim**; VCA is 0-1.)
Buford 35, Carver 7 (C.J. Moore; Buford is 3-0.)
Appling County 35, Wayne County 25 (Greyson Lambert; Wayne is 0-1-1.)
Ridley 21, Malvern Prep 20 (Michael Mooney; Malvern is 0-1.)
Council Rock North 42, Central Bucks South 20 (Matt Johns; CB South is 0-1.)
Langham Creek 66, Stratford 28 (Kelvin Rainey; Stratford is 0-2.)
Green Run 22, Cox 16 (Mark Hall; Green Run is 1-0.)
Hampton 43, Heritage 0 (Jamall Brown; Hampton is 1-0.)

**Brim is out for a little bit with a broken jaw.


And you know we can't go without a famous recruiting board update.  We pretty much have to since it's been like three weeks and that was enough time for some action.  Here are the changes:

- Moved CB Kelvin Rainey from green to orange.  Rainey committed just today; you might've noticed I snuck in his results from this week above.

- Removed RB Chris Mangus from blue.  Whatever tactic they're using at VT to recruit running backs out from under our nose, it's working.  (Likely enough it's "you don't want to sit behind Clifton Richardson and Kevin Parks for four years" which means we're in pretty good shape, actually.)

- Removed OT Blake Fromang (Vandy) and S A.J. Justice (SMU) from yellow.  The latter's offer was only semi-committable with this class filling up.

That's it for that.  There isn't much drama left here; Canaan Severin will be the next one to watch for.

But lastly, that's not it for recruiting.  The biggest recruiting news of the weekend came from the basketball world - and won't pay off for years.  That would be the commitment of B.J. Stith, and if the name seems vaguely familiar then you need to brush up on your history, son.  B.J. is the younger son of all-time UVA great Bryant Stith; his brother Brandan will eventually join him (probably), giving us a thrill in 2014 when not one but two Stiths are once again in uniform for the Hoos.**  I usually write up a profile on basketball recruits right away, but I had to have a little internal debate on this one and "write a profile" lost out.  B.J. is just a sophomore starting this year; a damn good one, supposedly, but a sophomore nonetheless and there isn't much to go on.  I'll file it for the summer of 2013.  We're just gonna have to be patient on this one.

**Having a Stith in blue and orange again is yet another good reason to play a throwback game once a year in U-Hall.  This needs to happen.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I'm really excited about the Stith news. Bryant Stith is my all-time favorite player: just a workhorse in all facets of the game, made everyone around him better (even in his first year), could take over a game when needed (Notre Dame, anyone?), and not an obnoxious bone in his body -- great representative of the University. (Also, he and I were in the same class, so I got to see his entire college home career in person.)

By the way, Brendan -- Don't let the fact that you're grading yourself make you hold back. Specific forecasts are so much more interesting than vague ones, even though they'll ruin your scores.