Sunday, October 27, 2013

the stat sheet says we won

And the scoreboard says we lost.

We will jump right into the bullet points because there's no need to construct a narrative here.  376 yards of passing and a +5 non-desperation-time turnover margin, and a loss, says all that needs to be said.  It takes a pretty awful team to lose under those circumstances.  So.  Bullet points.

-- It was mentioned during the game that David Watford set new UVA records for completions and attempts.  The interesting part was that he broke the completions record before the attempts record.  The other interesting part was that both previous records were set by Matt Schaub, in another loss to Georgia Tech some 11 years ago.

-- I think Steve Fairchild called some occasionally stupid plays (you're trying to pick up a critical fourth down and you call for a pass to Billy Skrobacz?  Not to demean Skrobacz, but he's a fullback, and therefore not particularly likely to be open unless the defense fails to account for him entirely.  There wasn't another playmaker somewhere on the roster?)  But overall Fairchild's scheme is starting to work nicely.  Some "too horizontal" criticisms should be laid to rest.  Clearly, if Fairchild has the WRs to stretch the field, he'll use them, as evidenced by Tim Smith's excellent day.  I consider 13 yards per catch the dividing line between short-field possession receivers and long-field deep threats; Smith finally averaged over 15, and given the day from him and Darius Jennings, plus a couple of fine catches by Canaan Severin, I gotta give the receivers an A this week.

-- That said, before checking the box score I would have sworn that Watford's average yards per throw was much higher than 6.1.  Seemed like there were plenty of downfield throws, and Watford completed over 70%.  But nope.  Barely six yards per throw again.  So not all the concerns are laid to rest.  But Watford laid in a few really nice throws, and if he can bring on the consistency in that department he'll change the dynamic quite a bit.

-- OK, the big issue: second-quarter clock management.  The refs pretty ridiculously let five seconds run off the clock before deigning to acknowledge Mike London's timeout.  But if you're going to call a run play, it doesn't really matter; neither six nor eleven seconds are enough time to run the ball and then get the field goal unit on.  Nor is eleven seconds even enough time to run the ball and then spike it, given the time needed to untangle the pile.

The run play is mildly defensible since, you know, give the ball to your best player.  Kevin Parks had already had a touchdown that entirely consisted of yards after contact.  But on the other hand, you're putting the game in the hands of your weakest unit (the O-line) and you know this shit didn't work against Maryland so why would it now?

-- I would've also liked to see an onside kick after the touchdown and 2PC that made it 28-25, but I can see the argument for not doing so.  Just get a three-and-out and you're fine.

-- Watford might've had an even better day throwing the ball, but Eric Smith had his worst day at right tackle.  Jeremiah Attaochu abused him all day long.  I haven't noticed Smith a ton, and for a freshman RT, that's a general plus, but Saturday was not his day.

-- I really wish the defensive game plan against the option focused on forcing the keep rather than forcing the pitch.  Help is closer when the QB keeps and the GT run game never busts big plays except on the pitch.  (Or the middle handoff.)  Vad Lee and Justin Thomas combined for seven yards on eight carries.

-- I got in from seeing the Lions beat the Cowboys in way-awesome fashion (and now I get to make fun of people who left the game early), and other celebratory activities, and then had to write this depressing stuff.  What a hobby.  This is where we are, man; Saturdays suck (unless Michigan wins, then they halfway suck) and I turn to the Lions to make the weekend better.  The Lions.  That is a bad Saturday state of affairs.

Prediction review:

-- The UVA running game fails to top 125 yards.  Yup.  Even in taking out -17 from sacks and such, the running game didn't exactly rack up yards.  Part of this was game plan; London claimed that the plan called for tilting the balance toward the pass because they felt GT had a good run defense but a sucky pass defense, and there ended up being more than twice as many called passes as runs.  Part of that was also due to playing from behind, but still.

-- David Watford again tops 6 yards a pass.  Yeah, I mean, barely, but he did.  And like I said - I would've sworn he was closer to eight just from watching.  I was surprised to see the final number so low.

-- Both David Sims and Zach Laskey have 100+ yard rushing days.  They did, and I'm especially proud of myself for this one.  This one's going out on a limb since, as pointed out in the comments, they platoon.  But yeah, no middle at all without Brent Urban, who can't get back soon enough.

-- No GT receiver has a catch of 30 yards or more, unless it's mostly YAC.  Dammit.  An elusive perfect day ruined by one lousy wheel route.  Robert Godhigh's 38-yard catch, despite him being a running back and all, spent too much time in the air for me to count this one.

Moving to 19-for-40 on the season gets me close to 50%, a number I haven't beaten since I started doing this.  Ten points was exactly the spread, so I have to stick at 4-3-1 ATS but move to 5-3 straight up in my overall predictions.  Fish in a barrel, man.


BostonHoo said...

I don't view this game as a train wreck at all. It looks to me like Watford is finally developing into the kind of playmaker we all had hoped for. But the clock management issue is very disturbing. I thought Tom O'Brien was hired to lead ML out of the weeds on this.

Brandon (not Brendan) said...

My problem at the end of the half was that the _players_ hadn't been told to call timeout after the first run. We had like 6 guys standing around 2 refs out on the field with the clock winding, they should've been signaling like crazy... instead we had to wait for london to run a marathon. Then there would've at least been time for some sort of pass attempt before the clock-killing run attempt.

Also, the spread was 10.5 most places by kickoff, if you want to boost the stats ;)

TBS said...

Kudos again for your amazing prediction of 2 100-yd BBs. Never thought that would happen in a million years. Actually I thought your D played well overall vs. our option esp considering all your injuries. The dive hurt you a lot, as well as big plays in general. Tenuta had lots of problems vs. the dive when he was at ND, IIRC.

The time mismanagement at the end of the half was bad, esp with 3 HCs on staff as indicated earlier. London did NOT impress me with his evasive BS babble when pressed for an explanation during the halftime sideline interview.

Keep up the great job with your blog!

Brendan said...

"My problem at the end of the half was that the _players_ hadn't been told to call timeout after the first run."

I think this is an excellent point. How hard could it be to impart this to the players?

"Actually I thought your D played well overall vs. our option esp considering all your injuries."

Kind of, but what baffles me is how they can look so good on some plays and so bad on others when GT has the exact same playcall on. The GT playbook is much smaller than everyone else's so the defensive play calls ought to be as well. Thanks for the kind words on the blog though.