-- 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
-- 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
-- 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.