Monday, July 20, 2009

from the emails

I'll call this my First Mailbag Post, although that's kind of cheating and you'll see why in a bit. But hey: mailbag, yo! Here we go.

I did get sent this, conveniently enough right around the time I was hunting around looking for something to write about. Stu from Danville** helpfully informed me of the existence of a blog dedicated to covering the Cape Cod League, inside which they have nice little scouting reports on some of our own UVA ballplayers like Tyler Wilson and Jarrett Parker. Also Dan Grovatt and Phil Gosselin.

Grovatt and John Barr were All-Stars, by the by.

The full list of Hoos in the Cape Cod League, by team:

Bourne - Robert Morey
Brewster - John Barr, Jarrett Parker
Harwich - Phil Gosselin, Dan Grovatt
Hyannis - Tyler Wilson
Orleans - Matt Packer

And while we're on the subject, the list of Hoos in the New England League, a slightly less well-known summer league:

Keene - Jared King
Newport - Will Roberts
Sanford - Chad O'Connor

If you're wondering how they're doing, I know of no blog that covers the NEBCL, but it's just as well. King is hitting .143, Roberts has pitched in all of three games, and O'Connor has gotten into just one.

The next mailbag item is sort of cheating because it came in the SabreMail. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mark Bradley decided to make the mistake of using a trivia question to turn over writing duties to a "guest blogger", who should probably stick to trivia night at the bar instead of writing. The topic? Why Tech Will Finally Win At UVA. (That's the Georgia variety, in case you missed the Atlanta thing.) This deserves deconstruction. Let's begin:

There are several reasons why Tech will beat Virginia:

• UVA will be running a new offense this year — a spread (I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery) and Jameel Sewell, the projected starting quarterback, has not played in a year because he was not in school last season. He has to get back into playing shape while he learns a new system under a new offensive coordinator. So the area that is the one question mark for Tech — the defensive line — should see an offense that is a pale imitation of what it’s used to seeing in practice. That also means, hopefully, that Coach Paul Johnson and Coach Dave Wommack will be better equipped to defend against this offense.

Leaving aside the jealous little sneer about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I - no, wait. I'm not going to leave it aside, because any brickhead could watch the two offenses in action and realize there's absolutely nothing similar about the offenses, except for the use of the word "spread." I guess all spreads are alike to Guest Blogger. Never mind that we've already converted half our running backs to wide receiver because we don't have enough to properly fill out a depth chart that has to account for plays with five receivers on the field. Paul Johnson's offense uses three running backs at a time. We barely have three running backs on scholarship any more. Pale imitation my ass. It will look nothing like Paul Johnson's offense. If there's a single I-A offense less able than any other to prepare a defense for ours, it's probably Georgia Tech's.

Interestingly, Guest Blogger seems to think he knows something about who our starting quarterback will be. Perhaps he'll let Al Groh know too.

• Tech has had a year to grow with this offense and Paul Johnson has said that he will be throwing the ball more. Virginia’s secondary is young with one senior starter, so that will also be an advantage for the Yellow Jackets.

Senior starter? Vic Hall, right? The quarterback, right? If he meant Chris Cook (who at the moment, probably isn't a starter), he'd probably feel the need to bring up the lost year last year, like he did with Sewell, so I think he means the guy who spent all spring under center. As for the rest, well, he's right: Ras-I Dowling's inexperience means he only made second-team all-ACC last year, the big loser. He'll be a junior this year, but a way inexperienced junior unlike GT's Morgan Burnett, who is a very old, experienced, seasoned junior.

Interestingly also, GT's nominal secondary starters are Rashaad Reid (sophomore), Dominique Reese (junior), Burnett (junior), and Mario Butler (junior). All that senior experience ought to really help.

• The biggest reason is this: Coach Johnson plays to win, as opposed to Chan Gailey playing not to lose. I was at the game in 2007, and Tech had plenty of chances to win. After taking a three-point lead, it began to play conservative football and that ended up contributing to the loss. I am aware Tech lost to Virginia last year in Atlanta under Coach Johnson.
I am aware I just torpedoed an entire bullet point with one sentence.

Tech is a contender in the conference, while UVA will finish with five wins. Al Groh is on the hot seat while Tech has its coach for the future.
Every single one of these points was also precisely true last year. When we won. In Atlanta. But you were aware of that.

If we do lose to the Jackets this year, which I concede is not unlikely, it will be because of our young, inexperienced linebacking corps getting torn up by an offense unlike any other they've seen. Mr. Guest Blogger does in fact mention this, but loses half credit for making it a one-sentence bullet and glossing over it. Do you know what irony is, Guest Blogger? Irony is a Georgia Tech fan who can watch his team use a novel offense never before seen in a BCS conference to defy legions of naysayers and win nine games, and then claim another team (which he has not researched) will struggle because of a new offense.

**I made that up, it's more fun than not doing it and sounds better than just saying "Stu told me" as if I was trying to explain which of my drinking buddies told me the whopper you're about to hear.


Bird said...

I'd like to take the Paul Johnson breaks curses bullet point that Guest Blogger didn't mention:

1) GT hadn't beat Georgia in 7 years.
2) GT hadn't beat Bobby Bowden ever (11 years).

...3) GT hasn't beaten UVA at UVA since 1990...

PO13 said...

Hey this is your old commenter, PO13. I decided to just go with my google account from now on that links to my gmail. Anyway, I just wanted to say that we all appreciate your great work, and in my opinion, your writing and the blog overall is really starting to take off. As I stated before, I love mgoblog, and I'm fortunate to have a blog for UVA that can be mentioned in the same sentence as Brian's. A few questions:

Do you see yourself re-formatting the page in the future like Brian did? Is that something that is realistic?

How do you stay motivated to write everyday? I'm just heading into full-time employment after graduating from UM, and my free-time is decreasing drastically. Keep it up!

Finally, you have some good comments on mgoblog. How often do you visit that site?

Sorry for the length,
-Pat O

Brendan said...

Pat: Answers to your questions below...

Do you see yourself re-formatting the page in the future like Brian did? Is that something that is realistic?

- Extremely unlikely, I'm afraid. I realize there's a sort of Bauhaus minimalism to this blog, but I don't have the time or the inclination to learn the skills required to change things up. I'm no programmer. I literally flunked C++ in college. And then there's the effort required to actually get in there and do it. I'm flattered to hear you say my blog can be mentioned in the same sentence as MGoBlog, but the simple fact is that is Brian's full-time job, and much of the stuff he does not only is out of my league skill-wise, but it's stuff he can do because he has the time for it. I come home from work, post, and go on with things. If Brian wants to stay up til 4 in the morning futzing with a stubborn piece of code, he can. Me, I have to be somewhere at 8 AM every day.

How do you stay motivated to write everyday?

- The usual silly Internet things like enjoying watching my hit count go up. Plus it's actually helped me become a "better" fan. More knowledgeable, at least.

Finally, you have some good comments on mgoblog. How often do you visit that site?

- Daily. I waste plenty of work time there.