Monday, June 30, 2008

guess what?

New commit, that's what. Cody Wallace, that's who. (Rivals $) The sneaky devil actually committed last week. And here we all were, blogging and talking away and not having the slightest notion.

Wallace is the 18th commit and the 2nd Wallace to commit to Groh & Co. before July 1 this year. We are cornering the market on Wallaces. There are six of them in the Rivals database and the only ones with a commit are coming to Charlottesville. When the Wallace Rankings come out, guess who's gonna be on top? Oh yeah.

Anyway, Wallace C. is a slightly undersized offensive lineman, but he is a tackle where that's OK. He is not interesting to stargazers, because he has none - yet. This is where we remember what Groh says about walk-ons (under-evaluated, not under-talented) and remind ourselves that it often applies to actual schollie guys too. Wallace's only offer as yet besides UVA was UCF, but there were some larger names - Da U among them - that had been showing interest.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

the recruit: dominique wallace

Second in a series. So right to it. Dominique Wallace committed in February (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star) just a couple short weeks after the class of '08 was official. Since then he's taken this whole recruiting thing very seriously (Rivals $):

Reports from other recruits of Wallace's recruiting prowess have been rampant, including those from eventual commitments Quintin Hunter and Corey Lillard.

"I love talking to people about Virginia and why I made my decision to go there. I want this class and the entire program to be strong. If I can help out, I will gladly do so."

Needless to say we are talking about a solid commitment. Here are the vitals:

Name: Dominique Wallace
Position: RB/FB
Hometown: Fredericksburg
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 231
40: 4.48 - 4.55

ESPN grade: 76
Rivals grade: 5.9, four stars, #1 fullback
Scout grade: three stars, #83 RB

Wallace can also be seen on YouTube here. He is the player wearing #48 and not being tackled. His highlight videos show a player who has decent but not great speed; however, the fact that defensive backs sometimes catch up to him does not necessarily mean they can tackle him.

The obvious comparison is to Keith Payne; Wallace already weighs roughly the same. The above Rivals article compares him to Cedric Peerman, but Peerman already gives up nearly 15 pounds and Wallace hasn't even begun his senior year.

What to make of the mixed rankings handed out to Wallace? I'm not sure. Scout and ESPN are consistent in ranking him a mid-grade running back; Rivals gives him a 5.9, which is one decimal point shy of drooling, places him on the Rivals 250 at #137 (our only commit on said list) and calls him the #1 fullback in the country, ahead of hyped-up OSU pledge Carlos Hyde. You could chalk up Rivals' high ranking to calling him a fullback and not rating him up against most other running backs; Wallace's offer list says otherwise. Wallace had offers in hand from NC State, Penn State, Fattypants the Turtle, and impressively, LSU. Tech, naturally, was also interested, as was Notre Dame.

Offer list being, to me, the most reliable measure of a recruit's worth, I think we should expect Wallace at the very least to challenge for a starting role, and sooner rather than later.

Friday, June 27, 2008

playing catch-up

Spent a couple of days away, so right to it - the news you already know and the opinions you didn't know you needed.

First, the recruiting trail, which Groh & Co. are blazing at a furious pace. The latest commit is Justin Renfrow, and the CDP has the story here. The salient points are thus: Renfrow is out of William Penn Charter in Philly, which you know as the school that sent us Sean Singletary. So I love me some William Penn Charter. And Justin Renfrow loves him some UVA in return:

“Virginia had been my No. 1 school since my freshman year,” Renfrow said.

Besides the above quote, the CDP apparently can also be counted on for Baghdad Bob-ian exaggerations:

With numerous eye-popping offers coming almost daily, Justin Renfrow elected to follow in the footsteps of Sean Singletary.

And where are these "eye-popping" offers coming from?

Renfrow, a three-star recruit, boasted offers from Stanford, West Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Duke and Temple, and discussed playing tight end with coaches from Miami and Louisville.

Huh. Well, since we're talking about football, and not, say, law degrees (or even basketball), Duke and Temple are the kind of offers that pretty much don't even cause your eye to lift from the newspaper it's reading let alone go BOING out of the skull. But that's neither here nor there. Renfrow is commit #17, and that number ties us for 5th with Auburn and Texas A&M in the country at the moment for number of recruits. Right now nobody can touch Ohio State, which is taking all the drama out of January for their fans by rolling in 24 commits before July. But damn - stack up the class of '09 against the class of '08 and you'll start to wonder what magical Recruitin' Elixir did Al Groh snarf up sometime in March?

And speaking of eye-popping offers, it's also nice to snag yet another one away from West Virginia. Having run out of eggs to throw at Rich Rodriguez's house, they've broken out a fresh batch of moonshine. MGoBlog used to tag posts "West Virginia is a post-apocalyptic den of insanity", and Brian didn't stop doing that because he ran out of material, he stopped because there's only so much gold you can carry back from the mine. I'm picking up for a little bit where he left off with this thread from their Scout board: Morgan Moses.

Moses is an offensive lineman that we're right in the hunt for; some WVU fans think there is no hunt because he's already silent-verbaled to Groh. This is of course the Scout board, where the polite way to describe most members is "hope springs eternal" and the truth is closer to "blindfolded psychos playing in traffic." Some gems:

he will be surrounded by inferrior talent at UVa, in the WVU spread he will be blocking for the best run game in college football, he will be on TV every january and on featured ESPN games multiple times a year, UVA he might get one national game a year, two IF they would make a bowl, BIG IF though!

Taking a quick look at our TV schedule so far - yup, "ESPN" is still attached to the first set of games - apparently 1 = 3 in WVU Math. Which bodes ill for this next statement:

Once you get 500 miles outside either school everyone thinks WVU education is just as good.

Uh, yeah.

Moving on.

The NBA draft was yesterday night. Sean Singletary, who would not let his 6'0"-on-stilts body stop him from knocking over a rhinoceros if it was between him and an offensive rebound, and who needs something named after him at UVA the sooner the better, became the first Hoo drafted to the League since Roger Mason. Mason, you may remember, was drafted by the Bulls, didn't stick, bounced around Europe for a little while, and is now a respectable if not well-known bench contributor for the Wizards. Singletary is in a decent spot - about as decent as a second-round pick can be in, anyway. The Kings (for that is his new team) have Beno Udrih as their starting point guard, which is in large part why they suck; Udrih was 44th in APG this year. The Kings also have Anthony Johnson and Quincy Douby - both are, technically, schmos. It may be a bit much to expect Singletary to be the Kings' starting point guard coming out of camp next October, but there is a real opportunity for him to make himself part of the rotation.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

tate forcier and his top ten

Scout has a premium article, but why bother with that? The man himself has a website and (pretty generously) lists his top ten in screaming bold letters for all to see. Virginia fans beware - it is bad news. Virginia fans, rejoice! It is also good.

Tate Forcier's top ten schools

As you can see, UVA is not in the top ten....but all is not totally lost. "Schools of interest?" Mr. Forcier must be trying to set world records for speculation created. Good....bad....who knows? I suspect that UVA would replace somebody in the top ten if Groh sent a written offer, given that he's created space for us and seems to want that offer in hand. So I think this should be considered slightly good. Better than bad, certainly - we could be Iowa and out of the picture entirely.

So what's the bottom line? Send a letter, Coach!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

speaking of speaking

I'm a blogger, so according to the MSM I can do this. So, lucky me, and lucky you: A poster at TheSabre reports that the new voice of Virginia has been chosen and it is Dave Koehn, who comes to us from Vermont.

You are denied my opinion on this, as I have none, having never heard of the guy let alone heard the guy. Some are already disappointed, having also never heard of the guy. It might come as a surprise to those people that Brent Musberger didn't fall all over himself trying to get to Charlottesville, but this was not going to be a big-name hire despite the insistences of the athletic department.

Edit: To make it MSM-acceptable, here is the CDP on the hire.

Monday, June 23, 2008

the man speaks

Linky link provided to an interview in the CDP with Craig Littlepage. There is nothing that will forever change the face of UVA sports as we know it, but he talks of such things as U-Hall, a possible new field house for the field teams, and the ongoing reseating, which is so important that everybody's new seat requires a new TheSabre thread.

Part 1

Part 2

In blognews, posting may be sporadic this week, while I entertain distinguished and honored guests. If I were 13 years old I'd say the 'rents were here, but I'm not, so I won't.

Friday, June 20, 2008

the recruit: alex owah

First in a series in which my impressions of the recruiting class of 2009 are laid out for all the world to see.

Our first verbal commit for the 2009 class came over a month before the 2008 class was allowed to put pen to paper. Alex Owah committed just after Christmas. The vitals:

Name: Alex Owah
Position: RB
Hometown: Harrisonburg
Height: 5'11"
Weight: about 170
40: 4.5 - Rivals credits him with a 4.44 in one article.

ESPN grade: 77
Rivals grade: 5.7, three stars, #57 RB in the country
Scout grade: three stars, #77 RB in the country

Huh. We got some crazy numerology going on here.

Excerpt from the ESPN analysis:

Owan is well-rounded back with the skills to hurt you in-line, on the perimeter and with his receiving skills. He is a leaner, wiry kid on film with a body that could easily pack on another 15 pounds without diminishing his speed or quickness. ... Bottom line, Owan is a productive runner who competes for extra yards on every carry. Will need to bulk up to develop into a high-carry back but is very versatile and should fit into almost every offense.

Yeah, Owan. Oh well. Anyhoo.

Owah didn't have a whole bunch of offers in hand before he committed to the Cavs - Tech and JMU (whose offer list probably consists of the entire H'burg starting lineup anyway and also a few of the scrubs) were the only ones. (So says the article.) That tends to be the case when you commit early. Owah listed Tennessee, Wake, and WVU as his other favorites. So not a bad lineup. And any time Tech offers someone and we get him: nyaaaah.

Owah strikes me as a little bit of an Alvin Pearman type. Fastish, toughish. Same height, similar size as a recruit. The videos tend to show him running through the lines and out the other side rather than around them, which you can't do at the college level at 170 pounds, hence the repeated mentions by ESPN about bulking up.

Now, of course, the big HOWEVER, COMMA. There's that whole legal technicality that Owah ran afoul of that we call "armed robbery." Oh, and the painkillers, which he served a 30-day suspension for that happened during the exact opposite time of year from football season. So unless he's in jail for this, he'll be back on the football team come fall. Question is, will his scholarship still be there? Groh is probably waiting for the gavel to fall before he follows with the axe. Planning a felony tends to cost you things like free admittance to school. Then again, it didn't hurt Pat Lazear any. And in the Silver Lining Department, schools tend to cut off contact with suspected felons, therefore the risk of a decommit has got to be as low as it gets, right?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


UVa getting gargantuan video screen for stadium

And gargantuan ads to go with it.

On the plus side we will be able to see CavMan slice up a turtle or a turkey in much greater detail.

The downside: likely less room on the hill. But that's the sort of complaining one doesn't really need to do much of when the school is getting a big-ass video screen at someone else's expense. Here's another thing not worth complaining about: "Boo hoo it's not HD." You don't even have to have walked to school uphill both ways in the snow to remember how long ago the stadium didn't even have a video board.

Monday, June 16, 2008

sweet 16

Cavaliers land yet another football commitment

Things moving fast and furious in the wacky wacky world of Recruitingland. Sean Cascarano came to camp, liked what he saw, and became the sixteenth recruit to offer up a verbal to Groh and Co.

It's only June and you don't need me to tell you that recruiting is a touch more successful this year than last. As this post enters the quasi-permanence of cyberspace, the 'Hoos stand at just two fewer commits than last year's entire signing class. (The usual caveat applies about verbals often not being worth the paper they're not written on.) Last year's class had but one four-star (per Rivals), and was mostly two-stars; this year already, everyone is either a three-star (most of them), four-star (two of them) or not yet rated. Scout appears to not have done much actual scouting, for every recruit but one bears the one-star known as "we dunno."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

three for the price of one

One commitment on any particular day is pretty good. Three is....probably about three times as good. This is what you hope happens when you host a whole bunch of recruits at your school. The Roanoke Times has the story. The new Cavaliers are TE Paul Freedman from Florida and WRs Tyree Watkins from New Jersey and Kevin Royal from Connecticut.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


J.R. Reynolds has got 'em.

Reynolds, who only signed a one-year contract with Vanoli, is by no means fluent in Italian. He says he learned just enough to “get by.” When pressed about what that meant exactly, he admitted it entailed being able to talk a little trash on the court and having the requisite skills to introduce himself to young ladies at various social events.

That's certainly good to know. Knowledge of Italian would also have been good for not ending up with a hardboiled-egg-and-spinach pizza when I was in Sicily. So it's a useful language. Also good to know is these li'l tidbits of news on guys who once suited up for our 'Hoos, especially ones like J.R. This one came from a piece from the Daily Progress. Fluff, to be sure, but the best kind.

And a switch to football....

Sewell aims for return to UVA

Applause and kudos to a guy who'd rather have that UVA sheepskin than cling to a shot at being a sixth-round draft pick out of East Bum State.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

it's a fine thing you're doing, coach

Short article from the RTD on Coach Leitao's trip to Iraq:

Trip to Kuwait, Iraq helps Leitao see the big picture

I wish everyone could go to Iraq, for just a day or two, just for a little bit of badly needed perspective. Failing that, since 300 million people would put a bit of a strain on the nation's airports, we should be thankful not only for the troops that fight the bad guys over there so we don't have to fight them here, but for guys like Coach Leitao that are willing to jolt themselves out of their comfy existence for a few days to offer their support and bring back a little of that perspective.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

it's never too late to chime in

This is old news, but now I have a space to rant about it. We're talking early signing period, brought to the headlines by the SEC coaches and their vote to advocate one.

It is not, of course, a bad idea in and of itself. There are a number of players - Jake Snyder comes to mind as a good example this year - that have their dream offers in hand, they know it, and they don't want to be bothered all year by a bunch of coaches they're not going to play for.

We fans would also sure love not to see any decommitments. Ronald Curry is still fresh in the minds of so many 'Hoos fans. But let's not forget the purposes of recruiting: 1, for coaches to put together the most talented team they can, and 2, to match up these student-athletes with a program they feel comfortable in and a coach they actually want to spend their next four years doing suicides for. Not the fans. Fans wishes don't count here.

So, the SEC proposal. So so so much wrong with it. To wit:

- November signing date. Most of the top programs have 8-12 verbals from guys they wish could sign RIGHT NOW. Oops: still more than five months of craziness between now and then, though. And it happens to fall right during, uh, fall, when said athletes are still trying to balance their crucial senior year of football, crucial senior year of academics, and oh yeah, you got 30 messages, son, and Coach Schmuckatelli is on your doorstep. That doesn't help much. Sure, it helps the coaches, who are recruiting like sunz-a-bitches in December, January, and February. Not the recruit.

- No official visits. Either before or after the signing. Huh? A kid who took his official to your school, canceled all his others, wants to sign yesterday, is disqualified from doing so? Even can't actually go visit somewhere you're signing four years of your life to? Oh, there's unofficial visits, sure, but officials are where the recruiting gets done, since it's the school's dime.

- Early signing period of any kind locks in recruits that might suddenly be interested in a school following a coaching change; or alternately, might suddenly become extremely disinterested in their own school following a coaching change. Sure sure: don't sign if you think you might back out, if there's obvious signs that the coach is gonna get the sack, etc. etc etc. But you know it happens every year - "I was totally taken by surprise" when they fired the coach. Never saw it coming - and now the kid's locked in or has to take a year off. Not right.

What ought to happen is this, and mark it down because it's the official Old Virginia platform. 364 days a year, a recruit can sign a non-binding letter of intent with a team. This would then get faxed to the NCAA, which publishes a weekly list of recruits who have done so to all D-I head coaches. From then on it's hands off - the only allowable contact between a recruit and a head coach from any other school would be at the recruit's high school (where sometimes it can't be helped) and at the university, where the kid would still be free to take unofficials if he so chooses. Otherwise, no calling the kid, no texting the kid, no knocking on his door, no writing him - except by the coach who he signed with. At any time, for any reason, the recruit could tear up the NBLOI and re-open his recruiting, but only once - when he does that, no more signing til Signing Day.

This would free up coaches from having to recruit a kid who's already verbaled to him, which is what the coaches want. And it would free up the recruit from having to deal with pesky coaches who won't take no for an answer, which is what the recruit usually wants. And - the kicker - it would not lock a recruit in to a commitment he no longer wants, thanks to any number of factors outside his control. It wouldn't open up any new crazy-times, which surely a second binding LOI signing period would. Coaches don't need that when they're preparing for the biggest games of the year and recruits don't need that when finals are approaching.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

some basketball news this time

First up, a li'l fluff piece from the Daily Progress on Will Harris:

Harris ready for redemption

There isn't much to digest. No surgery on his back and he likes the #43. When the second biggest juicy bit of news in an article concerns the number, yeah, it's kind of a slow news summer. Which is probably still better than hoping praying wondering wishing that Lars' shoulder will not suddenly refuse to bear the weight of his arm.

Notes from the Richmond Times

What to take away from this? Kevin Crawford's readmittal to the University is a good thing indeed given the need for a defensive lineman with a pulse. Actually many defensive linemen with many pulses. Previous playing time, which Crawford has a little of, is also nice.

Back to basketball as mentioned above: Tristan Spurlock, probably Leitao's #1 recruit now that DeShawn Painter decided he liked orange and blue but got his schools mixed up, will be camping at the JPJA next week. (The Times calls him a 2010 recruit but he is class of '09.) Not that it's now or never, but it sure would be nice to have a talented guy like Spurlock committed when you have him in town, and nice to get a start on, you know, this year's class when the SEC is out there poaching the class of 2013 already.

Monday, June 9, 2008

whoa look i'm already bringin' you the news

If you haven't seen it already, of course.

C-ville Daily Progress

The latest addition to the family of 17 and 18 year old football playin' kids who are likely to fax their signature to Groh 'n' Co. next February is ILB Connor McCartin from Warrenton.

McCartin joins LoVante' Battle as the second recruit ESPN has placed a 40 by; 40 is code for *shrug*. Rivals has no evaluation either. And I'm several hundred miles from Warrenton. So I'm no help there. Yet. But they put a 40 by Keith Payne too, and don't we just love us some Keith Payne. (We still do, right?)

In other, blog-related, areas:

As you may have noticed, it's past 8 PM. It's not likely I'll always be posting this late. Why sometimes, I might slide in as early as 6. Whoa, don't wake the neighbors. So, all you people (yeah, I'm talking to both of you) who've already jumped on board the good ship TGOB, know that weekday posts aren't really going to come in time for you to waste your time at work most of the time. But don't let me stop you from sitting there and refreshing anyway. F5 all you want. I don't mind.

Future posts will entail:

Me telling you what I think of the '09 recruits so far, because I wouldn't be a blogger without it. Besides, it gives me 12 days worth of topics. Keep in mind though: I'm writing entirely from the perspective of a fan who reads things, watches things, and when he can, goes to things. Not the guy whose second cousin's wife's sister's boyfriend hangs out with Al Groh at Chili's on Wednesday nights. Kind of like the Sports Guy before being a fan became his job. I don't get to rationalize my voracious scouring of the Internet with reasons like "it pays the electric bill."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

obligatory introductory

This blog is here because others are not.

The college football blogging landscape is rife with options for your reading pleasure, if you are something other than a Virginia fan. Michigan fans alone have approximately 4,267 blogs to choose from, each of them witty, insightful and claiming a large followership. This would be 4,266 more than the number devoted to UVA sports, the one being the highly entertaining but apparently orphaned Sexy Results. So I'm here to slim down the margin a bit.

So who am I? Proud University of Virginia graduate, devoted University of Virginia fan, and not the right person for this job, I think. I can write, and I have opinions, and I'm not slobbering all over myself waiting for the nurse to bring my porridge, which qualifies me to have a blog. Yay me, and the other 6 billion people in the world too. Unfortunately:

- I don't know what I'm doing. I have minimal computer-nerdery skills, so I'll be learning this as I go.
- I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't have any inside track whatsoever. I get my info from the same places the rest of you do. And I happen to live in Rhode Island, which is not a short walk from Charlottesville.
- I have terrible timing. It's not football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, or anything-at-all season.

The good news is I write better than most of you. So in the days, and hopefully weeks and months and years, to come, I'll be offering you my opinion on the haps in C-ville, and in the college sports world in general (focusing mostly on football and basketball and other sports that our beloved 'Hoos are making noise in) and you get to read them.

Wish me luck.