Sunday, October 20, 2013

unfavorable comparison

I have to admit I've been unsure how to start this post.  I have all sorts of great ideas for how to finish it, each more spiteful than the last.  Maybe I'll go with the anecdote of the Cleveland Browns fan who died this past summer and wrote in his obituary that he wanted some of the Browns to act as pallbearers for his funeral - so they could let him down one last time.

I only hope I can maintain that kind of phlegmatic humor for the next 15 months, because they're going to be awful ones as far as football is concerned.  Probably the next 12 after that too since it looks likely that a new coach will take a minute or two in getting up to speed as well.  Hopefully that guy can coach his way out of a brown paper bag, because he's going to get here and find a lot of fans wearing them.

This season is a lesson, really.  I'm starting to feel awfully vindicated, in a grotesque way. The UVA-fan conventional wisdom has always been about "building for the future" by pulling experienced players the moment the season starts to go south and putting in wide-eyed freshmen to "get their reps" because it will "pay dividends down the road."  When Marc Verica was starting, fans wanted Ross Metheny or Mike Rocco instead.  When Rocco was starting, fans wanted David Watford instead, and then they wanted Phillip Sims.  Now we're doing exactly what this breed of fans has always wanted, because we have no choice - and it's pissing the future down the drain.  Every loss brings us mercifully closer to the end of the Mike London era, and sends recruits scurrying elsewhere.  Melvin Keihn has liked UVA for a long time and he comes from a very pro-UVA school, and he will probably not go to UVA.  London has been working on Jamil Kamara for three years, and his current leader is Wisconsin. (This said, Kamara seems to be the type of recruit whose leader is the last school he visited.)   Tim Settle is a crucial 2015 recruit, whose recruitment is getting more and more wide open by the day.  2015 needs to be a huge class, because there will be jillions of seniors next year, and London is going to walk into that recruiting cycle with one foot in the lame-duck grave.

Watford may yet bloom in 2015, of course.  Can't rule that out.  The play-for-the-future crowd certainly doesn't have that part wrong yet.  I couldn't decide whether he would progress or regress during this Duke game, I just didn't anticipate him doing both.

At any rate, we are now in dangerous territory.  It could've been avoided simply by not shitting the bed with the lights on in the second half.  The danger is not so much that the London era might be over soon.  I'm taking it for granted that it will be.  You're to take for granted now that I don't have any more faith in his coaching abilities.  I say this reluctantly and with a twinge of regret, even, because he seems like good people, and a guy who genuinely gives a shit about his players.  But I've given him the same slack one gives a player - and in a player's fourth year, we expect him to stop making stupid freshman mistakes because he ought to have grown up enough by now.  Well, here is London's senior year, so to speak, and he hasn't figured out shit.  I'm not going to spend every week ranting about it because I accept that he's not going anywhere after this season.  Just read into everything I say an assumption that London doesn't know how to fix the problems.

No, the real danger is that London's tenure, five years long if we continue down this path, is going to go down in history as even worse than that of the most vilified figure in UVA football history.  Al Groh at least started off pretty well.  Sure, he might have been micromanaging, overly self-assured, and totally inflexible; sure, he irritated a few high school coaches; sure, he pissed off a few people on the way out, and again by letting Georgia Tech structure his contract so we were paying him to coach there; sure, he helped dry up the instate recruiting pipelines; sure, he went to one bowl game in his last four years.  But you have to give this to the man in the glass: He had a winning record against fucking Duke.


Prediction summary:

-- Kevin Parks gains 100+ yards.  Parks sputtered out with lame blocking and generally bad decisions from Watford on the read-option, and gained only 50.

-- The UVA run offense generates about 200 yards.  I really thought we were well on our way here, but again, thppbbbtt, and again, exactly half what I expected.

-- David Watford averages over six yards a throw. (Whee.)

-- Watford tops 200 yards passing. (Whee, again.)  Watford did succeed in both endeavors; the Duke pass defense was pretty awful and Watford looked very good early in calmly finding the guy that some Duke safety or linebacker would leave wide open in a futile all-out rush at the QB.  Unfortunately, Watford got happy-armed as time went on and started overthrowing everyone in sight.

-- Duke's passing game tops 300 yards.  It "only" got 292.  Can I have that one?  I'm having that one.  Largely the reason it didn't is because Boone looked like crap early.  He settled in nicely, though, eh?  And he'd have blown past 300 easily based only on how our defense played.

-- Neither team comes up with a turnover all game long.  Both quarterbacks threw a pick, so, no.

Going three of six - a very dubious three of six, but whatever, the Tigers lost and the Lions lost and the Red Wings lost and UVA lost and I had the restraint not to drive into a bridge embankment so the third prediction is my prize - makes me 16-for-36 on the season.  Also, I came damn close to nailing that final score, so I'm 4-3 both straight up and against the spread now.  This might be unfair, though, at this point; all I have to do is pick us to lose every week and at least then I'm guaranteed a winning record.


BostonHoo said...

I knew it was going south, but I had no idea it would be this bad. I assume the administration wants to retain Mike London for another year in order to minimize his payout after his termination. OK, so we save some dollars, but how long will it take to rebuild the football program and start selling tickets again?

Anonymous said...

Good post, Brendan - I think you're spot on.

If this season is lost already and we're pretty much stuck with the same coaching staff for 2014, how would you try to make the most of this bad situation? What do you think the priorities should be for the rest of 2013? Obviously a bowl game isn't realistic, but what should this team try to do to at least try to gain some momentum for next year?

Also, can someone tell me what the hell the 2-point conversion was all about? That felt pointless, classless and desperate. It also marked the end of any offensive competence by the Hoos. Bad karma if you ask me - kick the damn extra point and focus on winning the game, not trying out stupid gadget plays. This is what special teams are spending their practice time on?

Brendan said...

Answers to the above questions to the best of my knowledge:

1) Assuming no resurrection miracle in 2014, think 2016. Or 2017. Depending on how fast a new coach gets up to speed. If they make the right hire. Meantime, basketball season is pretty cool.

2) For the rest of 2013, I think the answer, sadly, is "stay the course." Putting in Lambert as QB would accomplish very little. It's not like there are any miracles sitting on the bench. They'll just have to keep plugging away. There aren't too many players on the roster now who won't be back next year, so there isn't much waste in terms of experience gained that can't be used.

3) I don't mind the 2PC at all. Certainly didn't seem desperate, and nowhere near classless. It's a sign of having a special teams coach who paid attention to film and used it to his advantage. We used to complain about having a totally clueless ST coach, so I'm not gonna complain about one that does his job.

Bucky said...

Good stuff as always. In other news however I've been missing your awesome team rankings now that the blogpoll is gone. Reddit however has one that is basically the same thing and I think you might enjoy participating in it since there is very little to look forward to till basketball starts up.

Anonymous said...

Why does Wachenheim still have a job? The offensive line is horrendous.

Anonymous said...

So why do fans get a pass if coaches and players don't? So if we fire london can we fire bow tie wearing fair weather fans? If we bench watford can we bench the fans who leave stadium half full every week. Think any big name coach ur dreaming of will appreciate our fan when our rival to the south has ranid dogs for fans? Are u proud of our fans? As a blog u hammer cosches, players and admin. Still waiting on u to bring the hammer to a huge part of the problem.. we have worst football fans in acc. Ask any coach in conference. Step up call them out. Your call everyone else out. Do the right thing. Signed the parrothoo