Monday, September 28, 2015

always look on the bright side of life

Oh come on guys.  That wasn't so bad.  You act like nothing good comes out of a game like that.  Well I got news for you.  Lots of positives to take away from that shellacking mildly disappointing outcome.

-- Chrome helmets!  Siiiiick.  Players think that kind of thing is totally sweet.  I know because I hear it all the time from fans who think that kind of thing is totally sweet.  (UVA's only actual good performance this year has come in the classy and traditional regular blue helmets, blue jersey, and white pants.  Just sayin'.)

-- Chrome helmets bonus!  You couldn't see the V-sabre logo on them, which means slightly less association with that disaster mildly disappointing outcome.

-- Olamide Zacchaeus blew away the UVA record for kick return yardage in one game.  That's what we call taking advantage of your plentiful opportunities!  Plus he didn't let loose any embarrassing quotes afterwards, distinguishing him from the guy whose record he broke.**

-- Consistency, and lots of it.  Boise's line score was 17-12-17-10, the symmetrical halves marred only by Matt Johns's intentional-grounding safety.

-- I mean c'mon, it wasn't that bad, it wasn't even the worst embarrassment mildly disappointing outcome, margin-wise, of the London era.  It wasn't even the second-worst.

-- Boise State's not in our conference, so we still control our own destiny in the ACC.  Unlike, oh, say, Georgia Tech.

**Marquis Weeks and his hilariously infamous "just like running from the cops" blurt.

So now that I'm fresh out of smoke to blow up your ass, I was thinking.  What did I like least about that....thing?  Was it the usual run-game incompetence?  Was it Matt Johns's Verica-esque decision to start the game?  It sure sets an awful tone when your offense's first act is to try and get its own quarterback killed and for him to respond by panicking.

No, I think it was the players' behavior, themselves.  T.J. Thorpe doing a little dance after scoring his touchdown....ok, the game is not at all out of reach and you've just done something to halt the nasty momentum you've built up.  Fine.  I'm thinking more the second half.  I'm thinking Tim Harris, down 20-some points, emphatically signaling incomplete pass at the Boise bench, having had very little to do with said incomplete pass but it happened near him so I guess that's all the excuse you need to strut.  I'm thinking Zach Bradshaw, twice in a row, flirting with a roughing-the-passer call that he probably deserved.  I'm thinking Keeon Johnson getting a personal foul penalty on a kick return - and Mike London's first instinct being to whine at the refs instead of chew out Johnson.  Who, by the way, was sent right out on offense.

This team is in theory saying all the right things; we know we're better than we showed, we can still reach all our goals for the year, we just have to move on and get it right, etc. etc.  The unfortunate thing is that when you combine it with all the peacocking they're doing out there, they give off the undeniable impression that they're the most overconfident crappy team in history.

I suspect they're in play-for-each-other mode at this point.  Usually that comes around November when bowl eligibility is no longer a thing.  But this wasn't the first time Mike London has been miked up for a pre-game speech.  They never fell quite so flat in the past, though.  Past speeches, you've also seen the team responding enthusiastically.  Friday?  They stood still as stone, letting London motivate the camera while they impassively absorbed his "who do you play for?" speech.

It's an un-encouraging sign for the London tenure.  One of hundreds, yes.  One I may be wildly misinterpreting, yes.  I don't think I'm missing the significance, though.  56-14 means the team was not motivated.  A sack-averting interception on the first play from scrimmage means not motivated.  Armchair psychology though this may be, it seems plain that London has lost one of his major remaining selling points.  The last one that remained to affect any results in-season, actually.

A wildly undisciplined and unmotivated football team, cocky for no reason, uncoached in fundamentals and unable to execute most plays, even on the rare occasion those plays are well-called and well-timed, coached by a staff that reportedly** doesn't even get along with each other too well - mortgage the house and bet that there are more mildly disappointing outcomes on the horizon.

All that's left to look forward to is the cleaning house, and the truest sign of the toxic fecklessness of the architects of this mess is that nobody's even sure that'll happen.

**very much only message board talk, but the kind that you at least cock an interested ear to.


Anonymous said...

The housecleaning needed to happen after last year, with Blanding/Brown in the fold already. Instead, they end up delaying the rebuilding of the program and hamper the development of the talent already here. Of course, this leads to the point that I wanted to touch on today ...

With Al Groh, the one thing I knew was that his staff could coach some kids up. Sure, they might be pricks, and maybe they could never figure out the QB position (not like London has either), but you knew he could coach some talent up, particularly up front. London's main selling points were: leader of men, all-around good and friendly guy, great recruiter in-state, and there was some hope that what he did at Richmond, in coaching some kids up, might translate. Well ... he certainly hasn't been a great leader for this club, with things going down the drain and his own mismanagement of roster and game issues, amongst the myriad of things he's failed at.

I'd argue that in terms of recruiting and identifying talent, London has been over-hyped. It can't simply be about the star ratings of kids. He's wasted some nice recruiting wins (Greyson Lambert comes to mind), but had some things fall into his lap (like CJ Stalker's educational goals ranking high for him). There simply hasn't been a lot of guys that even felt like next-level talents that were recruited by London - Morgan Moses, Jake McGee (at one point, yes, he felt like a NFL guy), David Dean, obviously Eli Harold and Max Valles, maybe Maurice Canady. Obviously, some are too young, but even with the younger guys, outside of Blanding, I start wondering

a) Were Brown and Mizzell as good as their star ratings? Mizzell was never a b/w the tackles guy, and his open-field ability has never translated, while for a 3-technique projection, Brown hasn't been able to carry more weight and doesn't seem as explosive as advertised.

b) Kamara was always in that Severin mode (speaking of a waste of a year ... ugh Severin), a bigger receiver who didn't seem that explosive. I'm a bit disappointed that after a redshirt, Moss is no where near cracking the lineup, and it makes me wonder if his talent level was over-hyped as well, as he just isn't that big brute for inside work yet.

Certainly, a college coaches job isn't simply to collect next level talent. Solid, core college guys to build your program around are needed. Even then ... we've got what, Kevin Parks Jr., Henry Coley, Darius Jennings, Demetrious Nicholson, Anthony Harris, DaQuan Romero, maybe some of the young guys like Kiser. For a coach who has had one "cycle" of recruits (that is, at least 4 recruiting classes), that is simply not a lot of talent. There's been a lot of waste (Severin losing a year, LaChaston Smith being a RB, amongst many). For all the talk about 2/3 star gambles by London ... how many have really hit?

I really don't think London's main selling point on recruiting has been nearly as advertised. Some of the talented recruits he got were never developed correctly, but some of them were over-hyped. They simply haven't correctly assessed talent well enough for his entire tenure, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thoroughly pissed me off that Sheppard, Robinson, and Thornhill were wasted. There simply isn't a regular role for them this year unless a lot of guys get benched. I am fine with Stalker because well, there's a regular role if he's healthy. Zaccheus, I can live with as he's filling a role and I question how high his ceiling would be anyways. Eldridge annoys me unless he suddenly starts getting a lot of burn. Who's the last guy? Gallon? That one pisses me off a bit as well. There's no regular role for him. We really shouldn't need him on ST's.

It's simply not hard to imagine that it's possible that Sheppard/Robinson/Thornhill/Gallon/Eldridge could, with an extra year of development, be key program guys in their 3rd/4th/5th years. There's at least some level of potential to wonder about. It'd be one thing if there was a key role for them now ... there simply isn't. Find some way around it.

Then again, this is SOP for London.

pezhoo said...

Don't forget Mike Moore. Everyone wanted him. Schools like Michigan State, Florida State, Notre Dame and Clemson. And now in his last year, he's playing some odd linebacker/DE hybrid. That's not going to work.

BostonHoo said...

The bright side of this mess is that the incompetence of the coaching staff was so glaringly exposed in the Boise Beat Down that I do not see how they can possibly return next year.

Anonymous said...

Mike Moore feels like another guy that was a bit over-hyped based on star ratings (which led to offers, etceteras). Loved his dad, but he's not a power end, and he's not a pass rusher. Since he's stepped on campus, he's just been sort of there, a bigger end with average pass rushing ability.

Let's not speak of the other Moore ... still befuddles me how big he's listed now. Can't believe there was so much hype for him.

Anonymous said...

They can return next year. The Coastal is terrible, or at least beatable, and every report of the staff's obvious immediate demise to this point has always been way off.
They're here until the moment they're gone. Best accept it.