Monday, August 20, 2012

i didn't want to do this

But I'm going to anyway: delve into the quarterback prospects for this season.

As we get closer and closer to September 1, it becomes more and more likely the guy taking the first snap against Richmond will be Mike Rocco.  Publicly, the coaches are putting on the "everything's even" face, but Rocco is taking the bulk of the first-team snaps.  If the coaches mean every word of it when they say no decision has been made, nothing to report, etc. then the only fair thing to do is let the guy who had the job, keep the job.  If they're employing coachspeak, and they have a fairly good idea in their mind who'll start and aren't letting on (and you ought to know by now no coach would ever say "well, I think so-and-so might be leading") then it's even more likely to be Rocco.  Otherwise, by now we'd have had a much larger tide of breathless hyperbole about Phillip Sims.  In other words, if Sims had, in camp's first two weeks, made large enough strides that he had passed Rocco or was likely to, we'd know by now.  (File that in the folder of statements that have a big ol' chance of blowing up in my face, but whateva.)

 That said, it certainly sounds like Sims hasn't disappointed, either.  The question now is not so much whether Sims is ahead of Rocco, but whether Sims is ahead of David Watford.  Could Watford run the offense perfectly well in Rocco's absence?  It sounds like he definitely could.  But if there's been little indication that Sims has surpassed Rocco, there's been no indication that Watford has.  So the biggest unknown probably isn't the one everyone's asking, which is who'll start - it's who'll be first off the bench.

It's an important question.  The Hoos have a tough start to the season, and each of the first four games build in degree of difficulty.  Richmond is Richmond.  Penn State is a mess, but they're not dead yet.  Georgia Tech has a gelling defense and a difficult offense to contend with.  And TCU is a top-20 team.  The chance exists that UVA could be 1-3 to start the season, and the chance likewise exists that it could be a very ugly 1-3.  And I don't need to tell you what the primary topic of debate will be if the Hoos are a very ugly 1-3, 0-1, after those four games, and Rocco has been under center for all of them.

I mean, even a 2-2 start would spur a little of the backup-QB talk from some corners, especially if we started 2-0 but lost two in a row.  (It would be entirely silly, because 2-2, with this team and those opponents, would actually be halfway decent.)  So the question is, who becomes the most popular guy on the team in that event?  Sims or Watford?  My guess, after consulting my trusty two-sided coin: Sims.  Both because by then he will have passed Watford, and because he captures the fans' attention more easily.

So, the Cliff Notes, which, yes, you have to read all of the other stuff to get to this.  Rocco starts against Richmond.  Probably we beat the Spiders badly enough that someone else gets to play.  Maybe two someone elses, but either way, that will be enlightening.  If the next three games go reasonably well, Rocco very likely plays the rest of the season, and then probably the next one too, and ends his career as UVA's passing yardage leader.  If they go badly, Rocco very likely gets benched, and we start a QB carousel, which is the worst carousel ever, cause instead of ponies and happy carnival music, it's like, zombie ostriches and the Jaws theme.  I hate the QB carousel.  At the end of the spinning, whenever that is, Sims probably emerges as the starter.

At any rate, don't say I didn't warn you that it'll get real unpleasant, real fast, if the Hoos do too much losing early in the year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"instead of ponies and happy carnival music, it's like, zombie ostriches and the Jaws theme"

This is hilarious. :)

You know, the Progress just hired yet another sportswriter that can't hold a candle to bloggers such as yourself. No wonder old media is dead.