Sunday, September 7, 2014

$#!T or get off the pot

Sweeping narratives about the just-completed game are usually the order of the day on a Sunday, but this was Richmond and absolutely nothing took place that hasn't been foreseen in the last few months.  So, let's try a position paper instead.

To tell the truth, there's no way to tell from the statistics of two games whether Greyson Lambert or Matt Johns should be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.  There was no telling from the Richmond game, and there was no telling by listening to the announcers.  (That is, in the postgame highlights posted on ESPN.  During the game they had inexplicably anointed Johns after a few plays, which I think was the result of not having an understanding of the coaches' plan.  It's not the first time there's been a substitution at quarterback that the announcers read way, way, way too much into.)

But there's a wealth of information that the coaches have access to that we don't.  Game film, sideline demeanor, command of the offense, practice habits, and so on.  This is the fundamental reason in the first place, why there's such a thing as fans bitching on message boards that so-and-so should get more playing time when he doesn't.  The people with the highest possible level of information are the coaches.

So, it's time to put it to use.  I realize that the difference between Lambert and Johns doesn't appear to be much right now - it's small enough that I don't even have a preference.  But I'm not the one being paid millions of dollars and a BMW to make those decisions.  When it comes to job duties, filling out the QB depth chart is one where London and his offensive assistants have been singularly derelict.  But now he's in a dogfight for his job and a conference opponent is coming to town.  When, if not now, is a good time to make a goddam choice?

If there's still an OR on the depth chart come Monday when it's released, it'd be another very strong point in the case for a change at the top.  Neither Johns nor Lambert are going to hurt the team as the starter - or at least, not any worse than the other.  What does hurt is having a coach who's incapable of making the biggest decision a coach has to make.

I had been thinking that there'd be some optimism to be found in the passing stats, where Lambert got way more attempts (thus, fueling the idea that he was a little higher up the food chain) but the stats and my memory fooled me.  What actually happened is that Lambert got the 1st and 4th quarters (until garbage time) while Johns got the 2nd and 3rd.  Johns just ended up with way better field position most of the time.

So it's basically back to square one.  Let's hope London decides to put on the big boy pants this week: pick someone, give him a reasonable leash, and worry less about hurting feelings and more about doing the stuff he's getting paid to do.


A quick prediction review is in order, as is tradition:

-- Both Johns and Lambert throw for over 150 yards, and their final stats are not very distinguishable from each other.  Half right is a zero the way I usually account for things.  Actually, the offense sputtered, badly.  Of six touchdowns, one was defensive and only one was scored without the benefit of good field position, which I tend to define as starting beyond one's own 35.  I'm not impressed.

-- A UVA receiver grabs at least 8 receptions.  This would've gone hand-in-hand with the expected semi-explosion of offense, and the closest we got was Darius Jennings's 4.  No other WR had more than 2.

-- Taquan Mizzell finally breaks the long gain we've been waiting to see - 50 yards or more.  He compiled a total of 16 all day long.  Here's a sobering thought: UVA's rushing game was barely better against Richmond than non-scholarship Morehead State's.

-- Rocco's presence is basically a non-issue, with Strauss throwing at least 2.5 times more passes than him.  Right on, as Strauss tried 36 passes to Rocco's 11 - and most of the latter's came with the game slipping badly away from the Spiders.

-- UVA picks up at least four more sacks.  Troof.  The official-site box score credits the Hoos with four sacks, two of which turned into turnovers.  The pass rush is one thing we have going here that makes opposing coaches crap their Jockeys.

-- Richmond's offense is held scoreless in the first half, but not the whole game.  Sooo close.  The Spiders got a field goal on their first drive and that was it for the half.  This is what I get for going too far out on a limb (and why I consider a 40% success rate pretty good.)

The season starts off 2-for-6, and 1-0 straight up on score predictions.  Not that picking us to beat Richmond is very hard to do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've heard people compare Lambert/Johns to Schaub/Spinner. I dunno, I guess you disagree, Brendan.