Monday, December 2, 2013

weekend review

So, the more astute members of the audience, and the less astute ones too, should notice a new addition to the blog.  I figure it this way: Al Groh was let go the very same day in 2009 as the season-ending loss to VT.  That was November 29.  By Gregorian coincidence, next year's Thanksgiving Saturday is also November 29, and if things go as everyone fully expects, five years to the day of Groh's sacking, UVA will fire another football coach.  And the team will be freed from the yoke of pathetically undisciplined, aimless coaching.  Maybe that'll only be for a week - we have no idea who'll take London's place - but there's no way the replacement can be less adept at obnoxiously basic crap.

This year's edition of the VT game was London in a nutshell.  He did a great job at firing the team up and getting them ready to play; I certainly did not see any of the quit that was hinted at in the Clemson game and seemed more than evident against UNC.  He also did a shit job at preparing them.  As ever.  We didn't do anything different like you'd like to see against an archrival; we just did a few things better.  And most things just the exact same as always.  The unused first-half timeout can be sold to raise money for the program, of course, but the chance to score off of an opponent's turnover is lost to the wind forever.

I'll probably write a position paper or something on the coaching staff later on, but the cliff notes here are: we're stuck with them; fire all or fire none but don't make any more piecemeal changes; Steve Fairchild comes in for some unfair criticism at times but lots of perfectly good criticism too; whatever the conventional wisdom is about who the next coach should be, I don't want it; and there's not a single coach including alums Dex and Biscuit that I'd shed a single tear over losing.


Basketball was much more entertaining, wouldn't you agree?  In fact, I have the games downloaded and will spend time this week chopping them into highlights - and not only that but the very first HD highlights I've done.  I expect so, at least.  They're very worthy games.  The Fightin' Smoos put up a real scuffle and a scare into the Hoos; that looks to be a pretty darn good frontcourt they have there, and hopefully they put it to good use in the newly-constituted AAC.

The SMU game was a great time for the free-throw shooting to come alive (if only temporarily) as the refs called well over a foul a minute.  Even more so, it was a great time to shoot 10-for-14 from three-point range, which ultimately is what sank the Mustangs.

Interestingly, though, I think I found the Missouri State game more educational, despite the carpet-bombing the Hoos delivered.  It was 11-3, bad guys, at one point, and then an 80-45 run squashed flat any hopes of a Bears upset.  UVA has made a bit of a pattern this year of going on a long, morale-crushing run in the latter part of the first half, clamping down on defense to hold the opponent scoreless for long stretches.  At some point there, Tony Bennett yells something in Russian, and the pack-Drago defense unleashes its cold, calculating fury.

What I think is happening is that opposing coaches are scouting the pack-line a little harder, and finding a couple ways to attack it, and the UVA players need a few passes against whatever the opponent is bringing to adjust.  It helps if the opponent starts the game 4-for-5 beyond the arc.  Then an adjustment is made, and the opponent goes poof.  Against Hampton, the frontcourt guys worked a little harder on denying entry passes, because the Hampton forwards were catching the ball in good position.  Against Missouri State, the guards helped a little less down low and stayed home a little more so as to make those threes just that little bit harder to shoot.  And voila: game over.

Next up is the toughest remaining non-con game: Wisconsin.  The Badgers have remained perfect against some very decent competition: St. Louis, West Virginia, St. John's, and the apple of the bunch, Florida.  On the plus side for UVA: Their defense isn't as elite as it's been in recent years, and they run with a very thin rotation.  Eight players get 97.8% of their minutes, and their five starters get 78.4%.  As you'd expect from a team like that which also hasn't lost a game, they're among the very best in the country at staying out of foul trouble.


Recruiting board needs an update due to commitment today:

-- Added DE Michael Biesemier to orange.  I know I shouldn't talk down about a recruit who just committed like six hours ago and who I haven't even come close to profiling yet, and I know I'm still grouchy about a two-win season, and I know we needed to find a defensive end somewhere in this recruiting class, and commitments are supposed to be exciting, but.... I still have an awfully tough time getting fired up over stealing a recruit from James Madison.  This is what you reap when you sow a 2-10 season.  Eventually we'll have a closer look to see what we see.

-- Added TE Blake Whiteley to yellow.  Whiteley is - brace yourself - a JUCO player, certainly the first I've ever put on the recruiting board.  (UVA's transfer-credit policies tend to rule out most JUCOs.  It's different sending someone to Piedmont to get re-eligible, because the school can tell them what to take.)  Texas will almost certainly snap him up if they offer, otherwise it looks like Arkansas is the main competition.


Elsewhere news:

-- The David Teel interview of Craig Littlepage ruffled a lot of feathers.  Count mine as not among them.  Nothing there came as a surprise; the fact is that once the statement is made that London isn't going anywhere, Littlepage has to back that up with all his guns every time he's asked.  It's a lose-lose proposition, because the tiniest crack in that facade is met with huge headlines all but officially proclaiming the end of the London tenure.  Hell, I've gone and done it myself without Littlepage's help.  The only thing is that Littlepage ought to know it's a lose-lose proposition and politely decline the interview, because now he sounds like a clueless bumbler who takes a 2-10 coach and says, yup, what a great job he's gonna do, I just know it.

The other problem I have is that the transcript there only stokes my fears that Jon Oliver, far from being next to face the firing squad, is actually being groomed as Littlepage's successor.

-- Oval-football season is over, but Euro-football rolls on smartly.  The men's team was shown a red card 57 seconds into the game against Marquette, and so played damn near a full game a man down, and still stomped the Golden Eagles 3-1.  And then received a fortuituous bit of news: as the 8th seed in the tourney, UVA would've had to play #1 seed UCLA in the quarterfinals, but unseeded UConn put a stop to that.  Which means one more game at friendly Klockner.

That will not be televised, but the women, in the women's College Cup against UCLA, will be.  Friday the 6th at 7:30, ESPNU.  Going to be on the TiVo for sure.

-- Alabama fans are officially horrible people.  Not content with killing mere trees, Alabama fans have graduated to actual human murder, the motive being: not being upset enough over the loss to Auburn.  In recent memory, Alabama fans have:

- Publicly teabagged a passed-out LSU fan
- Destroyed a popular monument at Auburn
- Sent death threats to the kicker who missed the field goal this week - and the kicker's family.
- Murdered a fellow Alabama fan because that person joked about the loss.

At some point there - it might've been after the 100th death threat, or when some crazy bitch pulled a gun and started popping caps - Alabama fans lost the right to whine about judging the whole fanbase by a few bad apples.  If you are an Alabama fan there's a smallish but reasonable chance that you're a sick fuck, and a 100% chance you take football far too seriously and need to get a damn life.


Senior Seasons feature as a few of our players move closer to state titles.

Centennial 86, Upland 56: Jeffery Farrar obviously didn't do anything special here, I just felt like pointing out the 909 yards racked up by Centennial.  Farrar's Upland had 557.  Defense was not something anyone was interested in, apparently.

Clearwater Central Catholic 7, Miami Westminster Christian 0: And Caanan Brown could not have played a more different game.  CCC will play for the state championship next week.

Oscar Smith 40, Forest Park 7: The actual notable thing is that the big Smith-Ocean Lakes matchup was derailed, and Oscar Smith will now play Colonial Forge in the semifinals next week.

Salem 42, Woodgrove 25: J.J. Jackson's season ends this week as well.


Anonymous said...

I love the countdown clock.

Anonymous said...

What about your blog title graphic on the front page?

Anonymous said...

On the title graphic, London should just gradually fade from view over the next year.

Brendan said...

I'll commission or make a new one when London is fired.

BostonHoo said...

Of course the departure of London if replaced by a competent coach will improve the program in the long run, but the obvious problem with the quarterback play at Virginia will remain both a short term issue and a long term problem until someone figures out how to recruit a high level ACC quarterback to Virginia. Haven't seen one of those in quite a while.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. I want to officially apologize for suggesting that folks should be optimistic about Saturday's game. I don't know why I didn't see that coming.

I feel bad for Kevin Parks, who has done nothing but rack up yards - and hard-fought ones at that - trying desperately to carry this team on his back. He had a great season, and it sucks that the coaching staff couldn't figure out a way to turn his production into points (and wins).

Also, Brendan, if your hoops highlight package consists solely of Joe Harris' dunk looped sixteen times, I'd be 100% OK with that.

The countdown clock is great. Great job on the blog and thanks for making this horrendous season somewhat easier to bear.