Monday, November 4, 2013

weekend review

Damn right I didn't write anything yesterday about the game.  How many different ways can you say, "Yup, we still suck."  I guess in German maybe.  "Ja, wir sind immer noch schrecklich."

It couldn't be more obvious that London is coaching himself onto thin ice.  Nothing has happened this season to suggest he deserves to stay on, and it's probably two people - named Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown - that are keeping him here, plus the money it would take to buy out the contract.  I suspect if this recruiting class had nothing but three-star players, the money would come a lot easier.

The only suspense left for this season is whether London indeed stays on til next year.  I still think so.  I've seen stuff floating around - besides Craig Littlepage's quotes to the papers - that suggest so.  I also have this in my email inbox:

"The BOV member told [the emailer's dad] that there was a private meeting with Littlepage and two of our biggest boosters regarding a buyout of London's contract. According to the BOV member, London is gone if we finish 2-10."

That could still mean anything, really; it might simply be the board member putting two and two together in a way that leads him to that conclusion.  Or it might be straight from the mouth of Littlepage and then to my inbox, via a few detours on the way.  You know how these things go.

At any rate, London only has a few more games left to save his job.  The next two don't count.  Oh, I suppose if he goes on a three-game winning streak he can ease up the pressure on 2014.  Don't worry, he won't.  Starting with the last game of this season, London probably has seven games at most to keep his job.  It might not be the Virginia way, for whatever dumb reason, to fire someone midseason, but whether or not London is actually fired midseason next year, the decision will be made by then.  Maybe sooner if we should lose to Richmond, which is the second game of the year.  UVA hasn't been 0-5 in the ACC since 1981, which means that London has succeeded in putting himself in the company of the immortal Dick Bestwick.

A few notes from press conferences London has held of late:

-- Demetrious Nicholson, out for the season.  That's not going to improve the situation.

-- Various players will be looking for medical redshirts.  They'll probably get them as the NCAA gives only the most cursory look before rubber-stamping such requests.

-- Not to do with London's press conferences, but it was just awfully nice of both Dabo Swinney and the announcers during the game to make some noise about how UVA is oh so close and just a little more patience and UVA will be a real surprise team and all that.  I'm sure they meant well.  Really.  When your opponents are throwing you a pity party, probably suck a hell of a lot.

-- And now the most troubling aspect by far.  Jamie Oakes paraphrased a London quote this way:

"When asked about the effort and intensity of the team in yesterday's game, London said that at the beginning of the game it was excellent. Clemson executed their offense and defense like an experienced team should.  London said that the team was reeling after Clemson's scoring binge in the second quarter. He said that Clemson played all four quarters like all good teams do."

That's the closest you'll get to a neon marquee with spotlights and a great big flashing sign that says THE TEAM UP AND QUIT.  "At the beginning of the game [effort and intensity] was excellent" is another way of saying "at the end of the game it sucked horse balls."  And "Clemson played all four quarters" is the same thing as "and we most certainly did not."

London's messages to the media about not dwelling on the losses and staying positive are not making it through to the team.  Then again, why should they, when London's pre-game message is "nothing to lose" and his first big decision of the game is to punt on 4th-and-1 from midfield?


-- Speaking of crappy teams, how about a look at a sport that I'm not sure has ever been featured on these pages: Volleyball.  They haven't had a winning record since 2008 and haven't won four ACC matches in a row since 2006, but the latter streak ended this week and they carry a 14-10, 7-5 record so far.  Get a new coach and watch things look a lot brighter; Dennis Hohenshelt is in his second season.  The team is in 6th place in the ACC and has already (with eight matches left to go) earned as many ACC wins as the last two seasons combined.

-- The ladies' soccer team dispatched Maryland with prejudice from the ACC tournament by a 6-1 score.  The semifinals (against 4-seeded VT) are on Friday on ESPN3, and if they make the final, that's on ESPNU.  There were no upsets in the first round, so the other game is the 2-3 between UNC and FSU.  I might just have occasion to post a highlight video; who'd have thought I'd have women's soccer and not a single football video?

-- I'll update the recruiting board when there's more than one update to make, but Madre London went and committed to Michigan State.


Senior Seasons and so on and etc.

Peachtree Ridge 47, Meadowcreek 0: Jordan Ellis set a school record with five touchdown runs in his team's blowout win.  Peachtree Ridge is 7-2.

Bayside 20, Cox 14: Quin Blanding took a 56-yard wildcat run to the end zone for the game-winning score as Bayside improved their playoff hopes.  Bayside is 5-4.

Upland 26, Etiwanda 19 (Jeffery Farrar) - Upland is 6-3.
IMG Academy 19, Central Catholic 13 (Caanan Brown) - CCC is 7-2.
Dacula 24, Central Gwinnett 6 (Darious Latimore) - Central is 2-7.
Reidsville 35, Cummings 7 (Will Richardson) - Cummings is 3-7.
Malvern Prep 49, Episcopal 21 (Evan Butts) - Episcopal is 7-2.
Oscar Smith 35, Great Bridge 0 (Andrew Brown) - Oscar Smith is 9-0.
Courtland 34, Chancellor 0 (Steven Moss) - Chancellor is 1-8.
Woodgrove 24, Broad Run 23 (J.J. Jackson) - Woodgrove is 6-3.


Anonymous said...

Much as I want Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown to stick around, their status as recruits really shouldn't determine the future of Mike London. I think a 2-10 finish and London should be dismissed, and am glad to hear that the potential exists. He's simply not a very good coach, and by all accounts, he's lost his team. Sure, he's "managed" certain things better than Al Groh, but Al Groh, for awhile, was always dependable for a decent season every other year (until the last couple). Al Groh coached up some kids (Nate Collins and D'Brickashaw Ferguson come to mind, along with offensive linemen like Roberts, Brad Butler, and so forth ... granted, there were big name failures).

If it means we hurt for a year, or two, I'm ready to move on and start anew. I have no idea who they might look at as a coach, and really, am not sure who would be on the top of the list, but it's time.


The sad thing, for London, in all this is, if he hadn't so royally screwed up the QB situation, he might have had a decent year this year. It's not hard to envision the decent run game pairing with Mike Rocco and getting us a handful of victories.

BostonHoo said...

I firmly agree that London mishandled last year's QB situation to the point that it has seriously damaged this year's team. Rocco would have made a difference. I think we might as well let this year and next year play out. London will have a more experienced team next year and if he cannot win with them we will know for sure that we have the wrong guy. (Most of us know that now.) Where we go from here or there is not clear. Virginia showed during the GW era that we can win although we will never have the academic, athletic, or alumni culture it takes to compete year in and year out with Clemson, FSU, and the Hokies, but a few six or seven win seasons do not seem out of reach in the long run under the right coach and without sacrificing the values that set the University apart.

HSChoo said...

BostonHoo... Why set the bar SO low? I am so sick of this widespread mentality among UVA fans that we can't attract a big name coach, can't compete the elites of college football, should settle for 6-7 win seasons, yada yada yada... What happened to striving for "Uncompromised Excellence"? Is that not the University's motto? It is a loser's mentality to say we can't consistently win ACC champtionships and compete with elite teams in non-conference/bowl games. We should be fielding ranked teams year in and year out. If VT can do it, why the hell do you think UVA can't? It just comes down to an incompetent athlectic department (purely in terms of football) that has made some critical mistakes and hiring failures. I refuse to believe that all the infrastructure and facilities, in addition to a beautiful college town, prime recruiting territory and a fan base that's just WAITING for this sleeping giant to awake can't amount to a BIG TIME college program. Look at Baylor... Who the hell cared about Baylor a few years ago? If the right moves are made UVA has infinitely more potential than Baylor... or Boise St for that matter. Wake up and demand more from this football program. It is clear as daylight to me what could be and that's why I have always been and will always be a loyal fan to my Hoos. On that note... Let's get down to business and fire Jon Oliver. That GM crap is the bane of all our problems.

Brendan, keep up the great work on this blog. Always a good read and some good insight

BostonHoo said...

HSChoo, I just don't see Virginia bringing in the number of thugs and illiterates necessary to have a top twenty program. You might say, "Look at Notre Dame, Stanford, Northwestern, Michigan, and possibly Vanderbilt; they can do it, why can't we?" I say, "Yeah, but ... with the exception of Notre Dame it took a lot of seven win seasons to get those programs to where they are now. And maybe with the current criminality on the Vanderbilt team that university may beginning to doubt the cost of football prosperity." Let's be realistic and shoot for getting Virginia competitive. Good things might happen after that. Hoo knows?

Anonymous said...

I have felt on many occasions that this Virginia team is "oh so close" to being good. Or at least, I felt that way after the losses to Pitt, GT, Ball State, Duke, and obviously Maryland.

But when you come up short *every time* -- and let's not even mention Clemson -- you have to blame either extraordinarily bad luck... or the coach. Essentially, being "oh so close" means the potential is there and is not being realized, and that's on the coaching staff.

At the moment, despite all that, I'd still like London to get one more season (or half season, to Brendan's point) to turn it around. Let's see if I still feel that way this time next month.

(On the other hand, if TOB is an option, I'd make him HC in a heartbeat.)