Tuesday, October 4, 2011

weekend review

I'm going to try and write this post with more of my attention on the TV where the Tigers are trying to get a leg up on the Evil Empire, so kindly forgive any possible spelling errors.

UVA is 3-2 with a win over Idaho, but you wouldn't know it by reading message boards.  Fans ain't happy, and rightly so in general when you go to overtime against Somalia State.  Special teams miscues stood out, but another question might be, why was Idaho allowed to more than double their season sack total in getting to Mike Rocco three times?  (Hint: the answer is not "Rocco is immobile."  On the first one, for example, Luke Bowanko whiffed his block so badly we might as well have had 10 men on the field.)  Three drives were killed by third-down sacks.

Let's ease your mind a little about a few things.  Even though the game was won by a point in OT, it wasn't as bad an overall product as it looked:

- The defense allowed just six points throughout regulation - Idaho's only touchdowns came off the blocked punt and in OT when given field position at the 25.
- The offense generated almost 500 yards.  Perry Jones and Clifton Richardson combined to average better than 5.6 yards a carry and Mike Rocco averaged a perfectly decent 8 yards per pass and 12 per completion, both numbers improvements on his averages.

Truthfully, we should be taking a measure of encouragement from this game.  Idaho is an inferior opponent, and for the most part, the two primary facets of the game dominated them.  The only reasons this game wasn't something like a 28-6 blowout was the special teams miscues and an occasional ill-timed flub on offense.

Well, and one more reason: Mike London's continued insistence on platooning his quarterbacks.  This rotation was OK when the opponent was William & Mary or the first three quarters' worth of Indiana.  I can understand thinking there's a decent chance David Watford could eventually overtake Rocco as the starter and wanting to give him meaningful game experience.  It is starting to be not OK as we go into the season where other teams are developing cohesion and we are not.  At his best, Watford's passing is a minimal dropoff from Rocco's, and his running plus that makes playing him worth it.  But Watford is a true freshman, and thus is bringing to the field all the inconsistencies of that label.  Watford has completed half his passes, has an abysmal 99.8 passer rating, and is averaging 4.8 yards per attempt.

To put that last number in perspective, our top three running backs are averaging 5.2 yards a carry among them.  We are better off handing the ball to a running back than having Watford pass it.  This is because A) he is much less consistently accurate than Rocco and B) he doesn't have a different playbook, just a smaller one.  B is because of A.  We have, I think, four legitimately winnable games left on the ACC schedule plus one anything-goes rivalry game. Therefore if your rebuttal to this stuff is that Watford has more potential, and needs to gain experience now that the season is a waste, so he can be better in the future when he takes over, it is respectfully requested that you shut your cakehole.  I have no patience for people who give up on the season when we have a winning record and still have goals well within reach.

This week is the dreaded Bye Week, and Georgia Tech is on the other side of it.  Last year in Atlanta, GT made a little history in rushing 74 times for 477 yards, the most they'd ever piled up in an ACC game.  Not fun.  One reason I suspect that Paul Johnson went after Al Groh for his defensive coordinator is that Groh was consistently able to find the answer to Johnson's unique triple-option.  On the other hand, another thing Groh's teams consistently did was to lay a shit-egg after the bye week and in the first week of the season.  The more time we had to prepare, the worse we looked.  Jim Reid has shown a tendency to be baffled by funny-stuff offenses that don't drop back in five-step drops like sporting gentlemen, so let's see if this coaching staff is better at bye-week preparation than the last.  Last year the bye week was wasted on VMI, so this is the first real test of that.


Prediction summary for this game.  One thing's for sure: I already know I'm doing better than last week's goose egg.

- Kevin Parks gets fewer carries than both Perry Jones and Clifton Richardson.

Parks sat completely, so obviously this turned out right.  Even if he could maybe have gone, it was probably a wise choice - this gives Parks three whole weeks between games to rest that ankle.

- The UVA run game stays near its average of 4.5 ypc.

Not gonna give myself this one; taking away Rocco's sacks and scrambles, the run game did better than five per carry.  Almost 5.3 if you take away the one 9-yard loss by Darius Jennings.

- Mike Rocco will still get the lion's share of snaps if healthy; if for some reason he can't go, Ross Metheny will at least get significant snaps.

Yes, although London inexplicably went to Watford almost exclusively after the fourth quarter.  Had he not done so I submit that there's a decent chance the game would not have gone to OT; the offense stalled under Watford.

- Assuming Rocco plays, he will deliver noticeable improvement on his passer rating and completion percentage, and pass for 250+ yards.

Rocco's passer rating before the game was about 109, and his completion percentage was 62%.  His passer rating for this game was 144.9 and he completed two-thirds of his passes.  So even though he was 11 yards shy of "250+", I'm marking myself down for a big ol' yes.  Why?  Because I'm still peeved about not giving him the chances he should've gotten to win the game, that's why.  Overall, this was a much better passing performance than he's been averaging this year, so the spirit of this one is pretty much met.

- Idaho will not record a sack.

I failed to foresee a sudden, inexplicable, and untimely suckfest by the offensive line.  Idaho had three.

- Idaho will have no running plays over 15 yards.

One damn Princeton McCarty run of 20 yards kiboshed this prediction.

- The UVA defense will hold Idaho to less than 100 yards total rushing.

One hundred and three.  Dammit.

Three for seven, but let the record show I came pretty damn close on a couple more.  Total this season is now 15-for-38, a dismal 39%.  I'm 4-1 in predicting the outcomes, though, but just 2-3 ATS.  Hoping to get better now that we're entering the ACC season and looking at teams I'm familiar with - keep in mind I predicted a final score of 30-17 against UNC, and the final was just two points off.


We get a quick recruiting board update this week with a couple of items:

- Removed OT Adam Bisnowaty from red (committed to Pitt.)

- Moved ATH Cyrus Jones from yellow to green.

It's not exactly that I think our chances of landing Jones are "good," but they're better than they used to be, and the board's color scheme is supposed to be an indicator of "who you should watch for" as much as "chances of landing this guy."  It's worth keeping an eye on Jones, more so than him sitting in yellow would indicate.

Landing Jones would be a huge, huge coup considering who's after him, but it'd be like icing on a cake that's already been frosted twice.  There's only so much WR playing time to go around.  If I had to pick one more recruit on that board to add to the class, it'd be the true defensive tackle Korren Kirven, but if I had to pick one actual realistic chance to add, I think I'd actually pick Mike Tyson.  We could use a little more WR-to-DB and DB-to-LB flexibility.  But truth be told, I'd be happy with this class exactly as it is.


Speaking of this senior class, let's see how they did in their contests this week.  I need to add that the mighty GP South Blue Devils won again last Friday to go to 5-1, which sets up a showdown with Port Huron this week.  A win clinches a share of the division title for either team, and if South wins, they'll clinch a playoff spot as well.  A lot riding on this week's game.

Now for the recruits:

Buford 59, Decatur 13: C.J. Moore ran a fumble in for one of Buford's eight touchdowns.

St. Joseph 34, Holy Spirit 7: Max Valles had a sack in St. Joe's big rivalry win.  St. Joe's is undefeated at 3-0.

Franklin 41, Montgomery 0: Kye Morgan ran for 88 yards and a score, and broke the school's all-time rushing record in the process, so many congrats to him.  Franklin is 3-1.

Ocean Lakes 18, Salem 14: Eli Harold ran for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns and "led a stout defensive effort" with Ocean Lakes rallying in a weather-suspended game.  Ocean Lakes is 4-1.

Landstown 27, Bayside 21: Kyle Dockins and Anthony Cooper each caught a touchdown for their respective teams; Dockins' was a 67-yarder.  Landstown is 4-1, Bayside is 3-2.

Varina 48, Lee-Davis 12: Maurice Canady averaged 35.8(!!!) yards per carry - six totes, 215 yards, three touchdowns, and threw for another score for good measure.  He's still at quarterback, which went much better this week than it did last week.  Varina is 3-1.

Victory Christian 0, Agape Christian 0** (Demeitre Brim - VCA is 2-2-1 - I think.)
DeMatha 24, Bishop O'Connell 6 (Michael Moore - DeMatha is 3-1.)
Kings Park 47, Eastport South Manor 16 (Sean Karl.)
Central Bucks South 45, Central Bucks West 14 (Matt Johns - CB South is 3-2.)
Stratford 51, Northbrook 0 (Kelvin Rainey - Stratford is 2-3.)
Worcester Academy 40, Northfield Mt. Hermon 6 (Canaan Severin - WA is 2-0.)
Hampton 56, Denbigh 7 (Jamall Brown - Hampton is 3-2.)
Norfolk Christian 27, Bishop Sullivan 3 (Moore, Nixon, Wahee, Wynn - NCS is 3-2.)
Hermitage 36, Douglas Freeman 0 (Andre Miles-Redmond - Hermitage is 4-0.)

Last week:

Coffee 49, Wayne County 28 (Greyson Lambert - Wayne County is 1-2-1.)

**If this isn't some kind of Internet screwup.  It raises the eyebrows, I know.

Annnnnndddd THE TIGERS WIN.  With that, I'm out, and so, I hope, are the Yankees, tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

You think we have four winnable games left- *plus* VT?

I want some of your optimism. :)

Anonymous said...

Winnable games: NC State, @Miami, @Maryland, and Duke. The odds of winning all 4 is approximately 0%, but each individual game is very much winnable (which is not to say "favored").

Brendan -- Any theory as to why London keeps switching QBs? Not your opinion of it, I mean -- but rather, what do you think London is trying to accomplish? I can't figure it out.

Brendan said...

I certainly think the four games mentioned above are winnable. NC State got crushed by Cincy and their defense is a MASH unit. Maryland got smoked by Temple. Duke is still Duke. Miami doesn't really scare me. We need to win three of those.

My theory on the QBs: In some cases it's because Watford is promised a series at a specified time. In others, I'm not sure of the thinking, but it seems that London is treading close to the Groh method of pulling the QB when he isn't moving the ball effectively. I think Watford played the end of the Idaho game in order to provide the mythical spark. But the Idaho case kind of makes me throw up my hands in confusion about this, because at least in the Southern Miss game it was fairly obvious why Watford was in. Against Idaho, the reasoning isn't terribly clear, because it's not like Watford was moving the ball either.