Sunday, October 21, 2012

the virginia lions

You know how the saying goes.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  Fool me like four or five times in a row into thinking improvement is just around the corner, and I am a Lions fan.  If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a fan of the Honolulu blue and silver, this is pretty much how it goes.  You just have to let the wishful side of you do all the thinking.  Just invent reasons why your football team isn't as bad as everyone thinks it is and then show up on the weekend, or the beginning of the season, with an optimistic smile on your face all set for its violent removal by another wasted day of watching them bumblefuck their way around the field.

At some point you'll show up on Sundays (Saturdays, whatever) with the understanding that instead of expecting anything fruitful, you'll just have yourself a nice cathartic couple of hours complaining about everything.  It's a new kind of fun, albeit somewhat more acceptable when the players are professionals.

No matter.  The only thing I'm disappointed in myself about is not realizing it sooner.  It's not like I haven't had like twenty years of practice - the signs should've been much more obvious.  Undisciplined shit doesn't just fix itself next week, especially when the coaches don't care about it.  The quarterback doesn't suddenly know the offense that he couldn't figure out last week.  During the game I tweeted that a great test of accountability would be whether or not Kyle McCartin played at all after picking up an extremely costly personal foul on our first kickoff.  Guess who played the very next kickoff?  Mike London claimed he should have been benched and it was his (London's) fault that McCartin went out there.  It's too late for that.

This isn't about Kyle McCartin, although that's not to exempt a senior from blame for taking a freshman penalty.  I don't care if it was an oversight on London's part and he meant to bench McCartin.  He didn't.  Meaning he had other things on his mind than fixing the team's most glaring and costly issue.  And apparently so did the guy to whom London has delegated special teams responsibility.  This is why I said we can't afford another week of Anthony Poindexter on special teams duty.  His unit just directly cost his team three points and he didn't give enough of a fuck to hold accountable the guy responsible.  It shouldn't have to be London's call to sit someone down.  Ultimately I think that is London shielding Dex from blame, which is at least more admirable than wringing your assistant out to dry.

So I see no reason why we should ever expect anything but more of the same.  You just got visual confirmation that it's all talk, all bluster and no action.  Week after week it's the same mistakes.  No lane responsibility.  No discipline.  The list of special teams disasters includes at least two penalties, two muffed punts, one 60-yard punt return given up, and one instance of taking the ball out of the end zone again only to trip over the 10-yard line.  The casualty: yet another check mark in the loss column, directly attributable to special teams.  And every week Poindexter is coaching the unit will be another week in which the best you can hope for out of the special teams will be that the margin of loss is so big that their undisciplined bullshit didn't matter.

Further reactions in brief:

-- It feels really good to see my faith in Chris Brathwaite paying off.  Nine tackles, two for loss, is a phenomenal game out of a defensive tackle.  Just a monster game.

-- Actually the defense in general is exempt from the rage machine this week.  Four PBUs for Drequan Hoskey, and 10 for the defense overall, plus Brathwaite's day, and 14 tackles out of Steve Greer; I don't have anything bad to say about the defense.  Obvious caveats about the level of competition apply, but the D played well.  It's a safe bet Wake would never have seen the end zone if they hadn't been set up on our own 16 yard line by you-know-what.

-- Does anyone still believe in the stupidity that is the godawful mistaken belief that whether or not Phillip Sims actually completes his downfield bombs, just the fact that he chucks them will loosen up defenses enough for us to run on them?  For one thing, Wake clearly had no respect for the passing game because they were shooting linebackers and safeties through the gaps all day long and stuffing the run game.  For another, Sims's play-fakes suck, so it's not like there's any good reason to respect the pass regardless.  It is bad for the offense when the quarterback arm-punts.  I feel like I should not have to say that, but then I feel like there are people who still need it said to them.

-- Something that doesn't usually make a blip on any radars but something that I liked: Jeremiah Mathis catches a pass from Sims about 12, 13 yards downfield, and immediately lunges forward.  Almost as immediately he's tackled, but the result of the play is 16 yards.  Watching receivers juke and shuffle immediately after a catch to try and get past a tackler is infuriating because it works maybe once in twenty times.  I watched Perry Jones (maybe it was Parks but I think it was Jones) catch a ball over the middle and immediately stop, with the idea that he was going to juke his defender out of his shorts.  Naturally he got tackled from behind.  Duh, there are other defenders back there and they're chasing you.  Run away from them, which is forward for more yardage.

-- Yes, we got horse-screwed on that fourth-down spot.

-- How do you know your year is going badly?  When the loudest cheer of the second half is for not carrying the ball out of the end zone.  That ought to sting the coaches a little.  On second thought, I bet the first time NC State kicks the ball over the goal line, our returner brings it out.  Things are not being taught.

On to the predictions:

-- Five yards a carry for Kevin Parks.  Uh, or half that.  Either way.

-- Parks both catches the most passes, and has the most carries, of any UVA back.  I should've stuck with most carries, as he had 10 to Jones's 7, but Jones caught five passes.

-- Tim Smith, in his welcome-back party, does not catch many passes (three at most) but one is a big one.  I'm giving myself this one even though he caught four, which is one more than three.  A 56-yarder on one of Sims's best throws of the day certainly counts.  (I continue to beat the drum that there's no such thing as a big YAC play without a very nice throw, and Sims hit him perfectly.)

-- Tanner Price completes fewer than 50% of his passes.  Price (or his receivers) was as bad as I expected, going 7-for-19.  How do you lose when your opposing quarterback goes 7-for-19?  Oh, right.

-- Brandon Terry, not Terence Davis, is Wake's leading receiver.  Terry caught just one pass, but it was for 41 yards and nobody else on Wake, except for one player (Lovell Jackson) caught more than one.  Do I give myself this one?  Yes - the point was that Davis was not a threat to the Hoos, but Terry was, and his big 41-yard catch was the one right after McCartin's PF penalty that set up Wake's first field goal.  People were way down on our safeties for that, but Terry is six-foot-bloody-five, and that play was unlikely to be stopped.

3-for-5 is not bad; it puts me at 16-for-39 for the season, which is 41%.  But my now-dead optimism stupidity has me at 4-4 on the game prediction season and 0-6-2 ATS.  I promise you I will never again pick the Hoos to win another game this season.  You can hold me to that.  They haven't played so as to deserve it.

Note: I've decided to shake things up a tad; for the rest of the season, except for the bye next week, I'll have my game reactions up on Sunday, and then Monday will be more of an everything-else day, including Blogpoll ballots and Senior Seasons.  It used to be more that way anyway, and kind of evolved out of it, and I think it works better this way.


KP said...

Ditto on getting rid of Anthony Poindexter. He is a terrible special teams coach, and if one goes through a review of the three year London era, video evidence bears it out.

I think he is a great player representative from the ballyhoo years at UVa, but he is a liability as a coach.

Anonymous said...

It is beginning to look like London is just a bullshit guy who cannot teach, coach, threaten, or entice his players into playing disciplined, intellient football. Who would have thought that would be a problem at UVa. But, oh, it is. Fuck up with a stupid penalty and London's response is to yell at the ref.

Anonymous said...

I love Dex. But he must be the worst special-teams coach of all time. Both of these last two losses are on him. What Eastwood said about the empty chair: It's not personal, but if someone's not getting the job done, you gotta let 'em go.

The other sad thing is that given the state of the Coastal this year, we had a golden opportunity to win it, with even a half-decent team. (Even at 0-4 we're not eliminated yet. That's crazy.) But we don't have a half-decent team. We might put together one great game yet, but that doesn't make us a good team.

BostonHoo said...

The sad part of it all is that there was solid reason to believe that the program would continue to progress this year and that the Cavaliers would be competitive. In effect, London has produced a team of clowns and dunderheads who reflect no pride in themselves or their University. It is truly disheartening because it appears that all of the pieces for success are there, but the coaching staff is unable to fit them together. Two more years to produce for London.

Anonymous said...

Two more? I think he's got 1 more if this season continues the way it's trending (that is, we finish with 2 wins). If he doesn't hit 6 wins next season and a bowl game, I think he should be relieved of his tenure. Any positive momentum from his good recruiting efforts and the outreach can be blunted by bad football, and we're bad right now, with bad coaching and young talent.