Blair Capps: 2009 Virginia Campus Correspondent U-V-A! Go ‘Hoos Go! July 30, 2009 Is it September 5th, yet? Really? It’s not even August? I don’t know about you, but I think that football season can’t come fast enough. I just got back from ACC Media Days in Greensboro, and that only heightened my anticipation for the upcoming season. I heard so many great stories and met a ton of great people. As we count down to the beginning of the season, I’ll be sharing some of my epic tales with you. No sense in bombarding you with tons of hilarity at once; you won’t truly appreciate it! Once football season truly kicks off, I’ll be hitting you with weekly pre- and post-game blogs, along with other great tidbits during the week. Expect to see live-blogs from the press box at Scott Stadium, descriptions of encounters with athletes on campus, my take on the latest Virginia Football news, and anything else I feel like throwing at you. This season is already shaping up to be an interesting ride, so you won’t want to miss a post! I’m also going to be on Twitter this season, so make sure you follow CavsCampusBlog for quick updates. The games I’m not sitting in the press box, I’ll be tweeting from the student section so I can still bring you live content from every home game! There is a link above to my Flickr account, so make sure you check it out for my latest photos. The first ones should be up fairly soon, so you can check out the ACC Media Extravaganza for yourself. All this talking about the upcoming season has made me more impatient, if that’s possible. In short: check back soon, check back often, and feel free to give me some feedback. I can’t wait to get things started against William and Mary! Go Hoos!
Tales from Greensboro July 31, 2009 Greensboro was seriously a dream come true for me. I would love to someday have a career in Sports Journalism, so getting to act the part was amazing! There I was, sitting next to ESPN’s ACC blogger Heather Dinich, trading off questions with her as we grilled Duke LB Vince Oghobaase. It’s official. I\’ve hit the big time. I met so many great people, not just other reporters. Some of the best memories I have came from just hanging out with the players. I am about to relate to you the epic saga of the Driving Range. Every year, ACC Media Days features a golf outing for players, media, and coaches. Sadly, my golf skills aren’t quite up to par (see what I did there?), so I opted to take the golf clinic which was being offered for non-tournament golfers. I’m actually glad I did, since the clinic was where all the hilarity occurred. I was joined by Virginia Tech’s Kam Chancellor and Greg Boone, as well as the Hokies’ blog intern Chip Reed. Florida State’s Dekoda Watson was also present, along with Maryland’s Nolan Carroll. A few ACC employees also joined us for the lesson. As usual, I was the only girl. I’m getting used to it, though. The clinic started out on a high note. Greg Boone, on his very first tee shot, forgot to hang on to
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his 7-iron on the follow through. We were all laughing as he tore off down the driving range after his errant club, which sailed farther than the ball. There’s a memory to savor when the Hokies visit Scott Stadium in November. The Grandover Resort’s golf pro was super helpful; I got a lot of great golf tips and I can’t wait to head out again to see if anything I learned actually stuck with me. However, I was the only one who seemed serious about improving my game. The lesson quickly deteriorated into a “Who Can Hit The Ball The Farthest” contest. I can still hear Dekoda Watson prepping to tee off with his good-natured taunt of, “I’m comin’ for you, Boone!” Watson came prepared to play in a polo, khakis, and an argyle sweater vest. After about an hour of slamming tee shots with my driver, and watching other people land their shots on the neighboring fairway instead of on the driving range, we decided to end the clinic with a winner-take-all Longest Drive Contest between myself, Eric the ACC Employee, Chip, Dekoda, and Greg. As Watson made sure the rules were clearly defined, I set up for my shot. I hit a fairly straight ball about 100 yards. Since Watson and Boone, due to sheer athletic ability, were bombing shots about 300 yards deep, I pretty much counted myself out. However, both Boone and Watson shanked their shots. Chip, the VT intern, ended up winning, but I at least I came away having beaten both of the players involved in the contest. ESPNU was out filming our clinic, and we had an unexpected audience. Boston College’s head coach Frank Spaziani come out to watch and was seriously observing our progress. I’m just glad someone caught Greg Boone’s disastrous first shot on tape. If I can find it somewhere on the Internet, you can be sure I will link it!
Tales from Greensboro- The Head Coaches Episode August 1, 2009 I’m sure some of you caught the coverage of SEC Media Days, and all the chaos that ensued. Let me start off by saying that the ACC version was a lot more friendly. Everyone seemed to generally like each other. Media members, head coaches, players, ACC employees…there never seemed to be any tension. Even the Commish, John Swofford, was friendly and personable. The interviews with both players and coaches took place in a roundtable format instead of hustling people onto and off of a dais and having reporters shout their questions up at people. With the more relaxed format, I was able to get up close and personal with the coaches and players. I went into the weekend with a few goals for myself, one of which was getting a photo with legendary Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden. I got to meet Coach Bowden after the head coaches’ photo shoot, and he was more than happy to take a photo. I spent quite a bit of time at his table, trying to ask my questions. However, when I finally got my turn to ask, the exchange went something like this: Me: “Coach, when I was growing up, Florida State was always the ACC powerhouse-” Bowden: “Where do you go to school?” Me: “Virginia.” Bowden: “Oh I see, you all broke our dadgum winning streak!” I was stoked to get a famous Bobby Bowden “dadgum” answer. He went on to say that although he would love to win more titles, he likes the parity in the ACC and the challenge it presents him.
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I had interviewed Coach Al Groh earlier this summer about UVa’s new spread offense, and I was pleased he remembered me. We had a brief chat after the head coaches’ photo shoot, and he asked me how I was enjoying Greensboro. I got a photo with him as well and, as one of my fellow interns struggled with the camera, Coach Groh joked, “There’s one thing I know about every camera, from the disposable ones to the $5,000 ones: you just hold down the big button on top!” In the interview session with Coach Groh, I got a prime seat at the table. Groh likes to address the reporters by name when we answers their questions. When he called me by name in front of a table full of actual media people, I felt as though I had truly arrived. Sometimes being the only girl at a table of male sports reporters can be a little awkward, especially when they get a little miffed at you! One of the funniest moments occurred at the Wake Forest table, when I snagged an empty seat next to head coach Jim Grobe. Some guy was asking him a question, and in the middle of everything Grobe turns to me and says, “Hi, how are you today?” Needless to say, the guy asking the question was not pleased and I was at a loss as to what to do. I answered, “Fine, thank you.” Grobe turned back to the other reporter, and the interview continued. Afterwards I got a “look” from the other reporter. Hey, it’s not my fault he would rather talk to me than you! My brother is a Clemson alum, so I came to Greensboro with a laundry-list of questions for their new head coach Dabo Swinney. I met both Coach Swinney and his wife at dinner the night before, and they were both really nice people. I loved Kathleen Swinney’s purple-and-orange sundress! <- Yes, that was a girl comment, I know. His table was packed, but the Clemson intern, Emily Price, and I got our seats early. Another reporter at the table made a joke about how long-winded Swinney could be if given the chance, and he wasn’t exaggerating. However, what Coach Swinney lacks in brevity he makes up for in humor. His answer to the very first question was: “First of all, let me just say that I did vote for Tim Tebow!” Swinney also brought up The Chosen One again when someone asked him if he would prefer not to have a QB controversy: “Well, my job would be a whole lot easier if I just had Tebow.” I wonder how Willy Korn and Kyle Parker feel about that? Speaking of Willy Korn and Kyle Parker, Swinney had us all on tenterhooks when he said, “I know who my starting quarterback is going to be this season.” Emily and I exchanged excited looks. Were we really about to be the first to hear who was going to be the Tigers’ starting QB? Swinney continued, “His name is Kyle Korn.” Cue laughter from everyone at the table. Swinney also came up with a clever answer about if/when he ever had an idea that he might have won the head coaching job permanently. He quipped, “Well, when the entire stadium was chanting my name I thought, ‘Hey, I might have a shot at this!’” He seemed perfectly at home at his first Media Days. Another popular coach was Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer; his table was also super full. He was 15 minutes late for the interview session, and I felt like I was waiting for the headlining act of a huge concert, or something. However, once he got talking he was pretty animated. I actually feared for my life at one point! All the coaches had such distinct personalities. Boston College’s Frank Spaziani was really laid back and had a great sense of humor. Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson seemed a little amused by all our attempts to decipher his “wishbone spread” offense. It was such an awesome opportunity to meet all of these men and hear firsthand what they had to say about their programs.
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12 Days of ACC Football August 2, 2009 Starting tomorrow, theacc.com will be running a special “12 Days of ACC Football” segment featuring a preview of each school written by their blogger. Boston College is up tomorrow, and Virginia’s preview (written by yours truly) is slated to run on August 13. Read up on the other schools, and check back here to see my schedule predictions for each team!
12 Days of ACC Football: Boston College Eagles August 2, 2009 Schedule Breakdown 9/5: vs. Northeastern
9/12: vs. Kent State
9/19: @ Clemson
9/26: vs. Wake Forest
10/3: vs. Florida State
10/10: @ Virginia Tech
10/17: vs. NC State
10/24: @ Notre Dame
10/31: vs. Central Michigan
11/7: BYE 11/14: @ Virginia
11/21: vs. North Carolina
11/28: @ Maryland
In Brief: The Eagles enter this season plagued by injuries, transfers, and losses to graduation. Their quarterback search is still on, as is the race to shore up their defense. They’ve lost too many starters at key positions to be in any shape to make noise in the Atlantic Division this season. They will win their non-conference schedule, but let’s consider this a rebuilding year for BC.
12 Days of ACC Football- Clemson Tigers August 4, 2009 Schedule Breakdown: 9/5: vs. Middle Tennessee
9/10: @ Georgia Tech
9/19: vs. Boston College
9/26: vs. TCU
10/3: @ Maryland
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10/10: BYE 10/17: vs. Wake Forest
10/24: @ Miami
10/31: vs. Coastal Carolina
11/7: vs. Florida State
11/14: @ NC State
11/21: vs. Virginia
11/28 : @ South Carolina
In Brief: Last year was supposed to be Clemson’s year. With a new head coach, and a lot of key players still around, the Tigers have the opportunity to make up for what they didn’t achieve last season. CJ Spiller returns along with several other marquee players. However, they have lost some players to disciplinary reasons and have yet to name a starting QB. The match-ups against Georgia Tech and Florida State will be crucial this season.
12 Days of ACC Football- Florida State Seminoles August 5, 2009 Schedule Breakdown: 9/7: vs. Miami
9/12: vs. Jacksonville State
9/19: @ BYU
9/26: vs. South Florida
10/3: @ Boston College
10/10: vs. Georgia Tech
10/17: BYE 10/22: @ North Carolina
10/31: vs. NC State
11/7: @ Clemson
11/14: @ Wake Forest
11/21: vs. Maryland
11/28: @ Florida
In Brief: Florida State is desperately trying to look past the “vacating wins” controversy and take their division. I think they do it this season with a solid QB who knows the job is his, an up-andcoming running back in Jermaine Thomas, and a fearsome defense. It’s time for FSU to take back the ACC. Their conference schedule does them a favor by letting them avoid Virginia Tech in the regular season.
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Ch-ch-check it out! August 5, 2009 I’ll be checking in with 104.9 The Score (SC) tomorrow at 1:15 to talk Greensboro, women in sports journalism, and any other fun topics that might come up. Even if you aren’t in upstate SC, you can listen here: http://tinyurl.com/4cta4e
Turtle Power August 6, 2009 Schedule Breakdown 9/5: @ California
9/12: vs. James Madison
9/19: vs. Middle Tennessee
9/26: vs. Rutgers
10/3: vs. Clemson
10/10: @ Wake Forest
10/17: vs. Virginia
10/24: @ Duke
10/31: BYE 11/7: @ NC State
11/14: vs. Virginia Tech
11/21: @ Florida State
11/28: vs. Boston College
In Brief The Terrapins seem a little shaky coming into this season. They historically have problems maintaining their momentum throughout the season. This season, their defense is more than solid and they have a talented RB. However, Chris Turner’s inconsistency at QB and a weak O-Line will doom Maryland once again. Their first game is against a legit non-conference opponent, so the Terps will have a chance to show the ACC what they are made of a month before their first conference match-up.
12 Days of ACC Football- NC State Wolfpack August 7, 2009 Schedule Breakdown 9/3: vs. South Carolina
9/12: vs. Murray State
9/19: vs. Gardner Webb
9/26: vs. Pittsburgh
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10/3: @ Wake Forest
10/10: vs. Duke
10/17: @ Boston College
10/24: BYE 10/31: @ Florida State
11/7: vs. Maryland
11/14: vs. Clemson
11/21: @ Virginia Tech
11/28: vs. North Carolina
In Brief NC State has all the pieces in place to surprise some people this season. They are loaded at QB, have a solid RB in Jamelle Eugene, and a decent receiving corps. However, their weak secondary will hold them back. They will win the games that they should win, but don’t look for any upsets.
Wake of Destruction? August 8, 2009 Puns are fun. Schedule Breakdown: 9/5: vs. Baylor
9/12: vs. Stanford
9/19: vs. Elon
9/26: @ Boston College
10/3: vs. NC State
10/10: vs. Maryland
10/17: @ Clemson
10/24: @ Navy
10/31: vs. Miami
11/7: @ Georgia Tech
11/14: vs. Florida State
11/21: BYE 11/28: @ Duke
In Brief: Something that got tossed around a lot at Media Days was “Who is going to be this years Wake Forest of 2006?” The conference does seem pretty wide open, and Wake is going to take advantage. QB Riley Skinner returns for his senior season, and Coach Jim Grobe has no qualms about how they are going to fill empty spots on defense. His redshirt, redshirt, redshirt philosophy will serve the Deacs well.
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12 Days of ACC Football- Duke Blue Devils August 9, 2009 Schedule Breakdown 9/5: vs. Richmond
9/12: @ Army
9/19: @ Kansas
9/26: vs. NC Central
10/3: vs. Virginia Tech
10/10: @ NC State
10/17: BYE 10/24: vs. Maryland
10/31: @ Virginia
11/7: @ North Carolina
11/14: vs. Georgia Tech
11/21: @ Miami
11/28: vs. Wake Forest
In Brief Is it basketball season yet? Donâ€™t count the Blue Devils out completely. Their QB Thaddeus Lewis returns, and brings with him an incredible aount of work ethic. Coach Cutcliffe has weeded out the weak characters on the team, which should make them a stronger unit as a whole. Although I donâ€™t think this is the year for Duke, they are definitely on the right track.
12 Days of ACC Football- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets August 10, 2009 Schedule Breakdown 9/5: vs. Jacksonville State
9/10: vs. Clemson
9/17: @ Miami
9/26: vs. North Carolina
10/3: @ Mississippi State
10/10: @ Florida State
10/17: vs. Virginia Tech
10/24: @ Virginia
10/31: @ Vanderbilt
11/7: vs. Wake Forest
11/14: @ Duke
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11/21: BYE 11/28: vs. Georgia
In Brief: Georgia Tech is something of an enigma this season. Their “triple-option wishbone spread offense” is leaving defensive coordinators stumped as to how to answer it and prepare during the season on a short timeframe. Johnathan Dwyer, the Preseason ACC Player of the Year is a devastating runner, who can wreak havoc for Paul Johnson’s offense. The Yellow Jackets make themselves a threat this season, but they still can’t overcome their arch-rival Georgia.
12 Days of ACC Football: Miami Hurricanes August 11, 2009 Schedule Breakdown 9/7: @ Florida State
9/12: BYE 9/17: vs. Georgia Tech
9/26: @ Virginia Tech
10/3: vs. Oklahoma
10/10: vs. Florida A&M
10/17: @ Central Florida
10/24: vs. Clemson
10/31: @ Wake Forest
11/7: vs. Virginia
11/14: @ North Carolina
11/21: vs. Duke
11/28: @ South Florida
The preseason hype surrounding Miami has expectations running high for the Hurricanes, but I personally can’t see any of it coming to pass. Head coach Randy Shannon is on the proverbial “hot seat” (ooooooohhh) but this season isn’t going to make or break his job status. Miami still has a long way to go to get back to their former dominance.
12 Days of ACC Football- North Carolina Tar Heels August 12, 2009 Schedule Breakdown 9/5: vs. The Citadel
9/12: @ Connecticut
9/19: vs. East Carolina
9/26: @ Georgia Tech
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10/3: vs. Virginia
10/10: vs. Georgia Southern W 10/17: BYE 10/22: vs. Florida State
10/29: @ Virginia Tech
11/7: vs. Duke
11/17: vs. Miami
11/21: @ Boston College
11/28: @ NC State
In Brief North Carolina has been building to this point for the past couple of seasons. Although they lost a lot of blue chip receivers from last season, this year all the pieces are in place for them to be a real threat in the Coastal. If they can keep TJ Yates healthy (watch out for frisbees!) and make sure RB Shaun Draughn has another productive season, the Carolina offense should be formidable. Their defense is going to have to come up big. The â€˜Heelsâ€™ conference schedule does them no favors, with preseason Atlantic division favorite Florida State awaiting them.
WAHOOWA! 12 Days of ACC Football: Virginia Cavaliers! August 13, 2009 Schedule Breakdown 9/5: vs. William and Mary
9/12: vs. TCU
9/19: @ Southern Miss.
9/26: BYE 10/3: @ North Carolina
10/10: vs. Indiana
10/17: @ Maryland
10/24: vs. Georgia Tech
10/31: vs. Duke
11/7: @ Miami
11/14: vs. Boston College
11/21: @ Clemson
11/28: vs. Virginia Tech
Summary: Virginia enters this season picked to finish fifth in the Coastal Division after a disappointing 2008 season in which the Cavaliers failed to secure a bowl bid. The offense has been revamped with the hiring of new offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon, and instead of inexperience under center, Virginia has three experienced signal callers who could potentially start at quarterback.
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Defense has a few more holes to fill this season, as all three starting linebackers have moved on. With Vic Hall moving to QB and the transfer of Andrew Devlin, the CB and DE positions lose two valuable players. Pundits are always quick to call Al Groh a “hot seat” coach, but this year’s fresh look makes the Cavaliers a big question mark on many schedules. Don’t write them off just yet! Offense: Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. That’s all anybody is talking these days when it comes to Virginia’s offense. Senior Jameel Sewell returns after missing a year due to academic issues. Sewell’s eventual replacement, junior Marc Verica, is also back following a year riddled with inconsistency. Finally, Vic Hall, the celebrated high school quarterback-turned-cornerbackturned-quarterback, will compete for the starting job following his collegiate debut at the position in the final game of the season. All three players are vastly different. Sewell is the prototype mobile QB, but he struggled in 2007 with throwing the ball once he started to move. Verica is a pro-style pocket passer who was a great drive engineer when he was on his game. Hall showed himself to be a great runner against Virginia Tech, but he also threw for 2,851 yards as a senior in high school and led his team to a state championship. So, which QB is the right fit for UVa? Coach Groh is famous for playing things close to the vest, but he has announced that Hall will be the starter heading into practice. Virginia’s new spread offense, under Urban Meyer’s protégé Gregg Brandon, is modeled after the systems used at schools like Texas Tech, Missouri, and Oregon. The Cavaliers will continue to make use of their great tight end corps, led this year by junior Joe Torchia. The use of a spread offense calls for multiple wide receiver sets, among other things. Returning WRs Jared Green and Kris Burd should have a bigger impact this year, bolstered by the new addition of several young receivers. Senior RB Mikell Simpson, after a disappointing 2008 season marred by injury, returns to man the backfield along with junior bruiser Keith Payne. Speed is a crucial factor, and Groh has been quoted as saying that this year’s class is the fastest Virginia has seen in years. The offensive line is led by senior OT Will Barker, and is a very experienced unit despite the loss of Eugene Monroe. The youngest member, sophomore OG Austin Pasztor, saw a lot of time last season. The O-line will be coming out of a 2-point stance this season, in a blocking scheme more conducive to an effective passing game. Defense: The loss of linebackers Clint Sintim, Jon Copper, and Antonio Appleby will hit the Cavaliers hard as these players were consistent contributors every game. Denzel Burrell, who returns for his senior season, spelled them and made 48 tackles last season. Senior Aaron Clark would have been in the rotation, but he suffered a season-ending injury against Southern California in the first game of the season. He is expected to be a big contributor this season, along with senior Darren Childs. Three senior LBs returning isn’t too shabby, considering the level of talent Virginia lost. Vic Hall is receiving the offensive playbook exclusively, however junior CB Ras-I Dowling returns after a productive 2008 season in which he recorded three interceptions . Senior Chris Cook returns to the team after missing last season due to academic ineligibility. Chase Minnifield also has a nose for the ball; he had two interceptions and four pass break-ups last season. Coach Groh also feels confident that Hall could step in if necessary, even though he is focusing exclusively on offense for the moment. Corey Mosely, the only returning safety, is entering his sophomore season after making 46 tackles as a redshirt freshman.
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Special Teams: The brightest spots on special teams include sophomore punter Jimmy Howell, who averaged 39 yards per punt last season. His numbers are only expected to improve. Long-snapper Danny Aiken returns for his junior year after starting the past two seasons at the position. The only real question mark is placekicking, an area in which the Cavaliers struggled last season with injury and inconsistency. Returning sophomores Chris Hinkebein and Robert Randolph will battle it out to be the designated kicker. Yannick Reyering, the German soccer player-turned-placekicker, has left the team due to a knee injury. Minnifield saw significant time returning kick offs and puts, as did Hall (what can’t this guy do?!) last season. Expect to see some fresh faces and new speed lining up to return kicks this season. With a revamped offense, a defense bolstered by returning players, and a faster team than ever before, Virginia is poised to surprise some people this season. Don’t expect the Cavaliers to be sitting at home come bowl season. They may not win their division (this season), but watch them give the rival Hokies a run for their money in Scott Stadium at the end of November! In my role as sober sportswriter, I pick the Cavaliers to go 7-5 this season. As an optimistic student and fan I think my team is capable of so much more than what is expected of them.
12 Days of ACC Football- Virginia Tech Hokies August 14, 2009 Sorry we have to end this little series on such a low note, Wahoo fans. Schedule Breakdown 9/5: vs. Alabama (in Atlanta) L 9/12: vs. Marshal
9/19: vs. Nebraska
9/26: vs. Miami
10/3: @ Duke
10/10: vs. Boston College
10/17: @ Georgia Tech
10/24: BYE 10/29: vs. North Carolina
11/5: @ East Carolina
11/14: @ Maryland
11/21: vs. NC State 11/28: @ Virginia
In Brief As much as I despise them, I have to give VT credit for stepping up their non-conference schedule this season. Alabama to open the season is a gutsy move. Tech has everything lined up to win the ACC title again, except for the loss of RB Darren Evans to a torn ACL. It’s too early to say just how much this is going to hurt Beamer’s team, but Evans was supposed to take a lot of the running pressure off of QB Tyrod Taylor this season. Taylor himself is an enigma; no one
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really knows how well he will perform passing the ball. This is his first season as uncontested starter, so he should feel pretty confident. Tech’s defense is formidable, as always, but Alabama’s massive O-line is going to be too much for them to handle. As long as they don’t choke, the Hokies should be alright ACC-wise.
Ready? Set? GO! August 15, 2009 I’m back on campus and football is in full swing here in CVille. Today, on my way to the AFC (which was closed, ugh) I passed Scott Stadium and, lo and behold, the football team is in the midst of an inter-squad scrimmage! I whipped out my phone and started Tweeting away, but I was quickly chased off by a member of the football staff. For a split second I thought about pulling the “Do you know who I am?!” card, but I figured he probably wouldn’t be worried about angering a student blogger. “Watch out or I’ll write mean things about you on my blog!” Anyway, I got to see a few minutes of college football, which really warmed my heart. The team looks good. I won’t tell you exactly what I saw or who was performing well, lest the Virginia Football Secret Police find out I was spying on the scrimmage. If you don’t see a blog or Twitter update for a few days, you’ll know they got to me. Tomorrow is UVa Football Media day. I’ll be attending as a member of the Cavalier Daily, but look out for some tweets and maybe a blog update or two. You know I’ll give you the detailed rundown after everything is over. Following the media extravaganza, I’ll be stopping by Fan Appreciation Day at the Stadium. Since I’m not 8 years old, I won’t get my face painted (probably), but I’ll be saying hi to the players and maybe CavMan and his horse. Interviews are strictly forbidden at the festivities, so I’ll be sticking to that so I don’t get thrown out. Le Schedule is below 11 a.m. - Select defensive players available in John Paul Jones Arena Electronic media in Press Room / Print Media in Arena Club Players: Nate Collins, Matt Conrath, Aaron Clark, Darren Childs, Denzel Burrell, Chris Cook, Ras-I Dowling 11:45- 12:05 - Lunch break in Arena Club 12:05-12:50 - Select offensive players available in John Paul Jones Arena Electronic media in Press Room / Print Media in Arena Club Players: Vic Hall, Jameel Sewell, Marc Verica, Rashawn Jackson, Will Barker, Joe Torcia, Jack Shields, B.J. Cabbell 1-1:45 - Head coach Al Groh press conference in Press Room 3 p.m. Assistant coaches rotation in Scott Stadium Press Box
20-Minute Rotation Assistant coach rotation:
Group 1: Brandon, Prince, Trott
Group 2: Poindexter, Scott, Wilt
Group 3: Price, Lineburg, Borbely, Hourigan
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The Meet the Team Event at Scott Stadium (3 p.m. To 4:15 p.m. ) is a Photo Op only … No Player Interviews. If you’re in town, stop by and check out the Meet the Team thing. There’s probably free stuff and food. Maybe I’ll see you there!
UVa Media Day! August 16, 2009 I’ll be Tweeting from the event all day! Make sure you’re following me (CavsCampusBlog) to get all the latest updates. There will be a blog entry later this evening giving you all the sweet info, and some photos on my Flickr.
Media Day Recap August 16, 2009 Ok, so it’s a little later than “evening” but I’m still in college so 10:30pm is early. UVa’s Media Day was obviously a little more low key than the extravaganza that was Greensboro. I got to ask more questions and met more people. One of the coolest things was seeing people I met in Greensboro and having them remember me. Nevertheless, I am still the “rookie”; my name was even mispelled on my press pass. Oh well, I guess I’ve got to work my way up the ranks. We started out with some defensive players in a roundtable format. Denzel Burrel (LB), Aaron Clark (LB), Nate Collins (NT), Ras-I Dowling (CB), Matt Conrath (DE), and Chris Cook (CB) were available for questions. Burrell and Clark were really talkative and outgoing. Dowling is excited about the speed Virginia is bringing to the table this season. Lunch was a laid-back affair in which the players joined us. Will Barker (OT) was at my table, and from what I’ve seen both here and at ACC Media Days, Barker is less vocal than the other players. However, he did express his happiness at being able to sleep late this morning for the first time since camp began! Apparently the players have to get up at 7am, and don’t get home until 9:30pm. The food was delicious, and the players loaded up. No wonder they are all so huge! The offensive players were Marc Verica (QB), Vic Hall (QB), Jameel Sewell (QB), Will Barker (OT), Jack Shields (C), Joe Torchia (TE), and BJ Cabbell (OG). It was a little crazy having all 3 QBs in the room together. Verica has really been working on protecting the football this summer. Torchia is understandably excited about being the starting tight-end this season, after looking up to and playing behind guys like Tom Santi, John Phillips, and John Stupar. All three of them are in the NFL, so being a TE from Virginia carries a lot of weight! The Cavaliers’ new strength coach, Brandon Hourigan, has been putting a lot of emphasis on speed and flexibility. Shields says that this year’s squad is a lot less stiff than in previous years, a characteristic he jokingly attributed to the team doing Pilates. One of the biggest surprises of the day came was when the media was allowed time with the Cavalier assistant coaches. For those of you who don’t know, Coach Groh has a very strict “one voice” policy, in which he doesn’t allow his assistants to be interviewed. I experienced this firsthand earlier this summer when I requested an interview with OC Gregg Brandon, only to be given an interview with Groh instead (eep!). All was well; Coach Groh was amazingly helpful and open during our 1-on-1 interview, despite my nervousness.
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Brandon, the team’s new OC and former Bowling Green head coach, was by far the most popular. He coached under Urban Meyer(!!!) at BG before taking over the top spot. Naturally everyone wanted to ask about the spread offense. Brandon said it was all very similar to the system he ran at Bowling Green. Brandon has been given a lot of freedom with the offense this season, as Groh has taken on the role of defensive coordinator himself. According to Brandon, Vic Hall was “the guy” at the end of spring practice and has only continued to improve. I spoke briefly with Virginia’s new defensive line coach Chad Wilt. His enthusiasm and energy are absolutely contagious and had me wondering “Is it September 5th yet?” He expects his young squad to “do their own jobs, no one else’s” this season. Anthony Poindexter, CB coach and asst. special teams coordinator, was another popular interviewee. He was a former Cavalier standout at safety. Many fans will remember how he stopped FSU’s Warrick Dunn inches short of the goal line when UVa upset No. 2 Florida State in 1995. Poindexter apparently doesn’t because, according to him, “I got hit in the head a lot that season.” Sadly, I missed all the meet-and-greet stuff with the team; they were all on the bus by the time I left the interviews and got down to the festivities. However, I did see CavMan and his horse, Sabre, and the employee who had to walk behind the horse with a shovel. I was also too old to jump around in the bouncy castle, and missed getting a free football. The day wasn’t a total wash; I walked away with a poster and a ton of great quotes. Speaking of these great quotes, I’ll be breaking stuff down all this week from the info I gleaned at Media Day. Keep checking back to hear what the coaches and players had to say.
Shed a tear for what might have been… August 17, 2009 Matt Kelly (S) will have to miss out on his final year of football eligibility due to a torn ACL. Kelly, a former Cavalier lacrosse standout, had one year of eligibility remaining in another sport since he never redshirted for Dom Starsia’s team. He chose to suit up for the Virginia football team after having a great career as an RB in high school. Sadly, he won’t get his chance at collegiate gridiron glory. Yesterday at Media Day, several players remarked upon Kelly’s toughness and enthusiasm. According to his teammates, he was having an impact on special teams this summer. I, for one, was excited to see him take the field; he was such a hard-hitter in lacrosse! I guess it just wasn’t in the cards…
Where I’ve Been August 26, 2009 Hey all! I know I’ve been a little MIA lately, and I just wanted to check in with you all and let you know what’s up. It’s college football related, I swear! For those of you in the Charlottesville area, I hope you are familiar with our UVa student paper, The Cavalier Daily. I am an editor of my very own special sports section called Gameday. Gameday runs every Friday and I get to pick a game of the week and cover it however I would
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like. Sweet gig, huh? Fall is always dedicated to football, and this season is no different. Along with that, I am in charge of the CD’s 50pg special football preview edition, GRIDIRON. It’s my magnum opus; I’m in charge of content, layout, absolutely everything. It’s consuming my soul, but I love every minute of it. GRIDIRON comes out a week from Friday, and then the weight will be off my shoulders and I can dedicate myself fully to blogging. Huzzah! I hope some of you will be around to pick it up either on Friday or Saturday for the William and Mary game. Until then, I’ll be locked in my office cutting out pictures of football players on Photoshop. I hope they realize the lengths I go to to make them look good in the paper.
Are you ready for some football? I know I am. September 2, 2009 Breaking news!!!!!! The Cavalier Daily’s GRIDIRON special is finished! At least, my part is finished and the behemoth of a newspaper edition is out of my hands. All I have to do is sit back and wait for my baby to roll out Friday morning Wait, what? It’s September second? You mean that I re-enter the world a mere three days before Virginia football kicks off again? This day simply couldn’t get any better. Saturday at 6 P.M. my Wahoos will be staring down the hated William and Mary Tribe. After last season, in which we were obliterated by No. 3 USC in the opener, I’m looking forward to watching the boys put on a clinic. Let’s get our quarterback *COUGH* VIC HALL *COUGH* some reps before ACC play starts. Let’s find out just how many quality receivers we have before we start contending for a conference title. The Breakdown: William and Mary is as FCS school. Division 1-AA for those of you playing along at home. As much as I want to laugh this one off, after Michigan-Appy State in 2007 you just can’t look past anyone. That said, we are going to destroy those artsy-fartsy liberal artists from down I-64. What to Watch For: It’s the first game of the season! We haven’t seen anything yet, so keep your eyes open! Vic Hall will most likely be our starter, but he is also listed first on the depth chart at punt returner. Is there anything he can’t do? We had some kicking problems last season. Can he kick a field goal? Speaking of field goals, either Robert Randolph or Chris Hinkebein will be handling the kicking duties. German Giant Yannick Reyering left the team after a knee injury and a season riddled with inconsistency. True freshman Drew Jarrett (representing the 757) is also in the mix. Javaris Brown is a name that you will be hearing often. The redshirt freshman WR was tabbed by his teammate Denzel Burrell (LB) as being a possible breakout star. I saw him catch quite a few passes when I spied on the UVa scrimmage last month. Also be on the lookout for sophomore Jared Green to make a big impact this season. He and Kris Burd are the only two returning receivers who saw any amount of significant playing time. The spread offense will make its debut on Saturday at Scott Stadium. I’ve been writing and hearing so much about it that I can’t wait to see it live. I really want to see how it works against an actual, talented team so I guess I’ll have to wait until next week when we play TCU.
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The return of Chris Cook on defense will really help bolster our defensive backs now that Vic Hall has moved to QB. Cook and Ras-I Dowling look to make one of the better units in the ACC this season. Chase Minnifield is another one to watch, on kick returns as well as on defense. I’m not worried at all about our linebacking corps. We had to replace three great players, yes, but we aren’t putting a bunch of true freshmen out there. Denzel Burrell was a starter last season, and Aaron Clark would have had a great year had he not been sidelined with a seasonending injury. Our entire team is stronger and faster this year, thanks to our new strength coach Brandon Hourigan. The players have been raving about him and the improvements he has helped to bring about. My Take: I love evening games. I love winning evening games. I’m beyond thrilled that football season is finally here. I’m going to go ahead and say that we win. Big. Virginia 45-William and Mary 13. Misc: GRIDIRON comes out on Friday. Pick one up if you are in Charlottesville this weekend for the game. I’ll be in the press box at the game, so be on the lookout for my tweets and blog updates! UPDATE I almost forgot! If you aren’t going to be in the ‘Ville for the game, you can catch it on ESPN360!
IT’S FINALLY GAMEDAY! September 5, 2009 I’m so excited! I’ll be hitting you with tweets all day leading up to the game. During the action, be on the lookout for live-blogging from the Scott Stadium press box as well as additional tweets. Also be on the lookout for tweets from the post-game interviews and press conference. I’m off to start my Saturday right with some Bodo’s Bagels on the Corner and settle in with College Gameday on ESPN. I can’t believe it’s finally time!! GO HOOS! Pregame! September 5, 2009 Times displayed are min. remaining until kickoff. 15:00 Starting lineup announced. 14:00 “The Band is on the Field!!!” However, they are supposed to be. I’m getting goosebumps. 12:00 Gotta remember No Cheering in the Pressbox. 11:30 The band can spell. Putting that UVa education to work, I see. 11:00 I’m also not allowed to sing along with the really rude words to “Rugby Road.” I know there’s a William and Mary verse, too, but I can’t remember it. 9:00 It must be fun to be the cymbal player during the national anthem. 8:00 Press box memorial ritual for Michael Colley. We all downed a cup of Cherry Coke, his favorite. RIP Michael.
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7:00 I’m really going to miss spelling “UVA” when the band plays. Maybe I can do it under the table? 6:30 Nevermind. I just got the evil eye. They just made an announcement about it too. 5:00 In the “Adventures of CavMan” apparently WM has their own Transformer. I’m not worried, though. CavMan can take him. 4:30 Take that, foo’! Deactivated. 3:00 Team takes the field. Goosebumps. It’s Game TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1st Quarter September 5, 2009 The team takes the field with WM for a pregame handshake. Hopefully we won’t see a repeat of the Boise State-Oregon fiasco. Will Barker and the other Cavalier captains are staying for the coin toss. Power of Orange flag raising. It looks like the baseball team is raising it together. Awesome job, guys. We won the coin toss, but we are deferring to the second half. Let’s see what our defense can do. GO HOOS! 15:00 Robert Randolph to kickoff. Stopped WM at the 25, but there’s a flag. Illegal block in the back. Quit trying to cheat. 1st and 10 from the WM 10. Another flag on the play just as the ball is snapped. Delay of game on WM. Bwahahahahaa. It looks like the FCS team can’t handle the heat of Scott Stadium. William and Mary gains 4 on a rush. 2nd and 11. Ryan Moody makes a 9 yard grab, but Chris Cook grabs him too. 3rd and 2. GREAT STOP BY THE CAVALIER SECONDARY. GTFO. Punt time. Vic Hall to receive. Fair catch called for, but the WM cover tackles him. QUIT CHEATIN’! 15 yard penalty. 13:13 Cavaliers take the ball at the WM 39. Vic Hall lines up at QB. Quick toss to Mikell Simpson for about 4 yards.1st pass completion of Vic Hall’s college career. Simpson carried for 2. VIC HALL SCAMPERS 34 YARDS FOR A TD. If I were down in the student section I would be losing my mind. Randolph kick is good, Hall holds. I can’t keep the smile off my face as the Good ‘Ole Song plays. 12:15 The William and Mary section is awfully quiet. As they should be. Randolph to kick off again. Caught at the 3, returned to the 30. We’ve got to stop them earlier. I want to shut them out. Nate Collins brings the pressure, and QB Archer is run out at the Line of Scrimmage. 2nd and 10. Incomplete pass, good coverage by Ras-I Dowling. 3rd and 10.
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Pressure on the QB and all receviers covered. Incomplete again. 4th and 10. Punt time. Hall to receive again. Almost got to that punt, ball out of bounds at the 22. Cavaliers take over. 11:27 1st and 10. Hall under center again. He tries to keep it, but is dragged down for a yard loss. He keeps it again and gains 6. 3rd and 5. Poor decision by Hall, there. Pass batted down. It looks like it hit Will Barker. UVa punt. Jimmy Howell gets it off and their returner is brought down immediately by Trey Womack at the WM 21. 10:23 PASS ALMOST PICKED OFF by Chris Cook. Great coverage. 2nd and 10. Runner stopped dead at the line. Steve Greer, our RFr. linebacker makes the tackle. 3rd and 10. QB under heavy pressure, dumps it off and recevier is stopped at the LOS. Punt. I love 3 and outs. RUN VIC RUN! Flag on the play after Hall gets it past the 50 into WM territory. Crap, holding on us. Back 10 yards. Sportsmanship PSA during the media timeout. Oh, Al Groh is hilarious. Love it. 8:58 1st and 10. Hall keeps it for no gain. Pass complete to Kris Burd for a 5 yard gain. I thought it was a facemask, but oh well. Hall keeps it for 4 yard gain. 4th and 1. Damn we’re punting. Howell to punt. Great boot, pins WM inside their own 20. 7:40 Incomplete pass. Keep on bringing the pressure, guys. I’m sure Coach Wilt is pleased with his DLine’s play. 2nd and 10. Quick pass outside which results in a 3 yard gain. Brings up 3rd and 7. WM RB breaks out for a first down. 1st and 10 on the WM 34. Ugh… Handoff, straight up the middle for 3 yards. Pass outside for a 1st down. WM QB is playing smart, throwing for the 1st instead of relying on his receivers’ feet. 1st and 10 on the 46. Archer hits a wide open WR for 38 yards for his longest pass completion of his career. 1st and 10 on the UVa 5. Archer scrambles and finds a wide open man for a WM touchdown. Kick is good. Double UVa 7 - WM 7 I can’t believe this. 4:54 WM to kick off. Moseley returns it to the 36. Huzzah! 1st and 10. SEWELL IN AT QB? Fumbles the snap, loss of 10 yards. Great. Handoff to Torrey Mack 3rd and 18. We gotta throw. SEWELL FINDS KRIS BURD FOR 26 YARDS AND A FIRST DOWN! 1st and 10 UVa on the WM 46. Injured WM player is mopped up. Sewell rolls out, can’t find anyone, and is pushed out for a loss of 7. Sewell throws an interception. Wonderful. WM returns it to their own 43. 1st and 10 Tribe. Fans are Angry. So am I.
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3:10 Thank God it was an incomplete pass. 2nd and 10. QB Archer keeps, tackled after 3 yards. 3rd and 7. Come on defense! Ball dumped off to the RB, hustles for the 1st down. Run for 6. 2nd and 4. Receiver broght down by Cam Johnson. 3rd and 1. Let’s do this. NOW! Ball carrier Grimes carries for a tough 1st down. 1st and 10 at the UVa 33. We need a turnover, badly. Media timeout. Baseball team on the field to celebrate their ACC title. I wish the football team would win one.
2nd Quarter September 5, 2009 15:00 Pass complete for 4 yards. 2nd and 6. Handoff to Grimes, Nick Jenkins stops him after 2. 3rd and 4. Pass complete to Varno, Childs tackle for a 4th and 1. Good stop. However, WM is going for it! Nevermind 42 yard FG attempt. BLOCKED! Get that weak mess out of my house. Couldn’t see who got a hand on it, but great stuff. 12:59 UVa takes over. Sewell shovel pass to Simpson for 6 yards. Just heard Nick Jenkins got the blocked FG. Simpson carries for 3 yards. 3rd and 1. Incomplete pass from Sewell to Simpson. Crap. Howell to punt. Oh no. Delay of game on us. Backing it up. Try again. Howell with a short punt. Ball downed by the Hoos at the WM 36. Media Timeout. Dom Starsia on the field, and Jason Vigilante. MLax and Cross Country coaches. Two of my favorite coaches at UVa. 11:51 1st and 10. WHOA trickeration. WM QB hands off, get the ball back and throws a bomb to a wideopen WR who was just a touch too slow. Incomplete, but wow. 2nd and 10. Pass complete, but Dowling pulls him down after a 3 yard pickup. 3rd and 7. We need a stop here. We get one as the WM recevier is tripped up. 4th and 5. Thanks, Denzel Burrell. Punt, lets get to it. Ball fielded by Javaris Brown and gains maybe a yard. 1st and 10 on the UVa 16. 10:22 Torrey Mack gains 3 yards. He needs to hit the holes harder. Yes, that’s what she said. Vic Hall bounds outside after receiving a pass from Sewell. Gains 4 yards. 3rd and 3. Pass from Sewell complete to Burd. 1st down! 1st and 10 from the 30. Sewell carries for 9 yards! Second and 1. Sewell makes a characteristic low throw to Jared Green, which is somehow complete for a 1st. Call stands after review.
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1st and 10 from the 46. Let’s move this ball. Wahoowah! I’ve still got spirit and hope. Sewell rolls and finds Raynard Horne for another 1st. Hurray!! 1st and 10 on the WM 40. Sewell finds Torrey Mack for another 1st! Finally we are seizing control. On the 26 now. Sewell keeps and struggles for 7 yards. I wonder where Vic Hall is? 2nd and 3. Sewell keeps again and makes it down to the 7! I can smell blood. 1st and 10 on the WM 7. 1st and goal. Sewell takes it in himself for a Wahoo TD! I may not be thrilled with his passing skills, but the kid can run. Randolph extra point is good with Hall’s hold. UVa 14 - WM 7. Penalty on us for celebration after the TD will be tacked onto the kickoff. 7:29 Randolph to kick off again from his own 15 due to the penalty. He hits its to the 20, and we fail to bring down their recevier until he reaches the WM 43. 1st and 10. Archer lofts one to McAulay for 27 yards to the Cavalier 30. Garbage. 1st and 10. Archer keeps but meets Nate Collins. 3 yard gain. 2nd and 7 Archer keeps and picks up 6. 3rd and 1! Let’s go DEFENSE! Chase Minnifield ALMOST picks it off! 4th down. Are they going for it? Looks like it! 4th and 1. Everyone is on their feet! False start on the offense! WM can’t handle the noise. FG try this time. 43 yarder. BOUNCES OFF THE POST. No good! UVa 14 - WM 7. 5:34 1st and 10 from the 21. Mack runs for no gain. Sewell to Burd for a 5 yard pickup. 3rd and 5. Sewell’s pass is tipped and intercepted. WM takes over at our 45. 4:32 Good god, we look like the 1-AA team here. 1st and 10 Tribe. Pass complete to Varno for a huge 19 yard pickup. 1st and 10 from the 26. Archer’s pass is incomplete. 2nd and 10 Handoff to Riggins for a 2 yard gain. 3rd and 8. We need a big play here. Archer scrambles and throws an incomplete pass, luckily. That receiver was open. Where were you, Ras-I? 4th and 8 FG try. 40 yarder. This one is good, but there is a flag. Offsides on us, declined. UVa 14 - WM 10. At least it wasn’t a touchdown, but they did capitolize on our mistakes. That’s something we’re not doing/ 3:21 Onsides kick to the WM 32. No return. 1st and 10. Vic Hall back at QB. Rolls, throws out of bounds under pressure. 2nd and 10. Vic keeps it for a 6 yard gain. 3rd and 4. From the UVa 39. Hall keeps, puts it on the grounds, and we lose the ball. OH MY GOD. I can’t believe this. We are playing like a bunch of high-schoolers. 2:45 1st and 10 from the UVa 39. 4 yard gain on a rush. 2nd and 6. Archer throws, completes a pass McAuley for a 1st down. 1st and 10 from the 28. Archer’s pass is TIPPED AND ALMOST PICKED OFF! It just isn’t going
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our way tonight. Nice try, Burrell. 2nd and 10. Ball carrier is tripped up after a 2 yard gain. 3rd and 8. We can’t let them come away with points this time. WE need the momentum going into the half. Archer’s pass complete, but not enough. 4th and 1. They’re going for it!!!! COME ON DEFENSE! Tribe takes a timeout. Alright, it’s game on. However, play is blown dead. Flags everywhere. Penalty on WM. Back it up, boys. 4th and 6. 42yd FG try. Let’s get to this one. No points no points no pointtssssssssss. BLOCK THAT KICK!!!! Hahahahaaaaa it was no good.Wide left, just like all of his kicks are heading. We dodged a bullet. 1:16 Hall fakes handoff to Simpson, throws to Burd, but well defended by WM corner. 2nd and 10 from the 25. Hall gives to Simpson for real, who runs for the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 35. Simpson is stopped for no gain Funy stuff, they put a player’s baby pic on the jumbotron and you are supposed to guess who it is. This time it was Mikell Simpson. 2nd and 10. Hall fumbles again, and WM recovers again. FMyLife. :47 It isn’t bad snaps, so you’re okay Jack Shields. 1st and 10, Archer’s pass complete for another 1st. 1st and 1o from the UVa 33. Archer makes a great throw, but receiver steps out of bounds. 2nd and 1o. Holy craaaaaaaap. WE need a turnover, not them. Archer’s pass tipped, incomplete. 2 flags on the play, one before one after. 1st flag illegal shift on them, 2nd a personal foul on us. 1st and 10 on the 23 after the penalties. Archer’s pass complete for 4 yards. Dowling pushes receiver out. 2nd and 6. Handoff to Grimes who is stopped after a 3 yd gain. 2 timeouts in a row by WM and UVa. I just want to go to the locker room for halftime. Well, not me obviously. According to the announcer and the jumbotron, Jack Shields likes DMB. Typical UVa student hahaha. 3rd and 3. D-Fense!!! Archer keeps and makes the 1st, but there’s a flag. Offsides on us. Great. 1st and Goal WM on the 9. TURNOVERRRRR PLEASE! Archer throws to no-one out of bounds. Okay, I can breathe again. 2nd and Goal. Timeout us. 7 seconds left. If they head into the locker room up at the half I will probably have a stroke. Archer rolls, has time, finds nobody, throws out of bounds. 3rd and Goal. We can stop them here. I know it. I can feel it. WM opts for a FG, which is good. UVa 14-WM 13. End of the half.
Halftime Thoughts. September 5, 2009 What can I say about this fiasco? We are turning the ball over, not making the necessary stops on defense, and just generally letting WM control the game.
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It seems like we are only going out in the spread occasionally, and the whole switching QBs has nobody fooled. Both Sewell and Hall have turned the ball over a pair of times, so I’m not thrilled with either one of them . Where’s all the blinding speed I’ve been hearing so much about? Our defense hasn’t been holding them, and it’s only due to a couple of missed FGs that we are still ahead. If this was a real team, like and FBS team, we would be losing by A LOT. We’ve had the opportunity to makes some picks, but we just haven’t capitolized. In general, we are pressuring the QB okay, but there were a few times he had all day to make a play. I’ll freely admit to drinking the Al Groh Kool-Aid this offseason, but I’m more than a little discouraged with what I’ve seen. I hope this is just a tune-up indicative of the first game of the season, and not the norm. I’ll be back with the 2nd half blog in a few.
3rd Quarter September 5, 2009 The Cavalier and his horse Sabre are on the field and so is the team. I hope Coach Groh lit a fire under their tails during the break. We’re receiving this half, so let’s get to it boys. WAHOOWAH! 15:00 Kick returned for 16 yards to the UVa 33. Sewell to Burd, incomplete. 2nd and 10 Sewell’s pass to Snyder tipped and almost picked off. 3rd and 10. We need a 1st down here. We need a good drive. Sewell dumps off to Simpson, 2 yard gain. We’re punting. Great. Jimmy Howell lines up again. No fair catch, and the WM player is drilled after he catches it. 1st and 10 Tribe form their own 27. 14:04 Handoff is stopped short by Aaron Clark. Huzzah! Archer’s pass completes for 8. Brings us to 3rd and 2. Pass complete for a 1st down. Not again. 1st and 10 from the 39. I’m irate on the inside. No cheering in the press box. Grimes picks up 2 yards before meeting Clark. 2nd and 8. Pass to Hill defended well by Dowling. Incomplete 3rd and 8. 2 yard pickup for WM. Burrell makes a solid stop to bring up 4th and 6. Vic Hall deep to receive punt. Punt bounces out of bounds, flag on play. If it’s on us I’m going to get feisty, press box or not. However, it’s on WM, so that’s alright. 11:03 1st and 10 Virginia from their own 32. Okay field position. Let’s see what we can do with it. If we turn it over, or go three and out I may have to move down to the student section to scream. At least Duke is losing to Richmond. Sewell in at QB. He keeps it for 6 yards. No gain on next play. 3rd and 4. Sewell’s pass batted down by an oncoming defender. Punting again. Fan-freaking-tastic. Howell Rugby punts to the 24. WM 1st down
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10:11 Archer keeps, throws to another wide open receiver who just can’t get there. Where’s the speed UVa? They’re beating you deep. I’m looking at you, Ras-I. Pass outside, but the receiver runs into our LBs. 3rd and 6. We need a big stop here. Get hungry, guys. Pressure on the QB, who throw to a receiver battling with Dowling. Flag on the play. Pass interference. Lovely. 1st and 10 from the 43, now. Handoff to Grimes who is chased down form behind by Rodney McLeod. 2nd and 7. Another lofting Archer pass is incomplete. 3rd and 7. Once again we need a stop. The crowd knows it too; they are gettig loud. Aaaaaaaand, we stuff them for no gain. Puntastic. Hall back to receive. Nice punt, Hall makes a grab for it, touches it, loses it, and WM recovers on our 9 yard line. :’( Play is under review. Maybe there’s hope. Nevermind. 1st and Goal WM after an epic fail. Runner stopped after a 3 yard gain. Stupid Grimes again. 2nd and Goal. I hate this. Grimes stuffed by Matt Conrath after 2 yards. 3rd and Goal. Redzone defense holds and forces 4th down. 4th down and FG try. 20 yarder. It’s good. We are officially losing to WM. UVa 14-WM 16. 5:35 We need points. Badly. Kickoff. Low and bouncy. Rookie mistake: big guy tries to air out for it. He is downed at the 33. 1st and 10 Sewell keeps hops and skips for 6 yards. 2nd and 4. 11 yard gain!!! 1st and 10 from the 45. Wallace the ball carrier, snags 3 yards. 2nd and 7. Sewell keeps, tries to cut for more yards, gets 4. 3rd and 3. Sewell keeps, gets dragged down for a loss of 2. WM fans are louder than ours. Howell punts, drops one at the 18. 2:52 WM takes over. We need something good to happen here. We need to MAKE something good happen here. Someone get Chris Slade a uniform. 1st and 10 from the WM 18. Archer with time, but throws it away. 2nd and 10. Handoff to Grimes, stopped after 4. 3rd and 6. Loud crowd. Flag on the play. Please let it be on them. No such luck, however. 3rd and 1 LET’S DO THIS! GRIMES IS STUFFED. Gimme that ball. Gimme that ball back right now. Puntpuntpunt. Hall back. Short kick, but a flag. CRAAAAAAAP! Ran into the punter. 1st and 10 WM from their 30. 1st and 10 Grimes carries for no gain, penalty flag. Great. It’s on them, so it actually is great. Back it uuuuuuup. 1st and 19. Grimes makes a gain, but another WM penalty. Holding again, muwahahahaaa. 1st and 32 WM on their own 12. DEFENSE! Grimes gets 2. End of 3rd Quarter.
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4th Quarter September 5, 2009 We’ve got to do something special in the 4th. Please, please, please. The band is playing “Livin’ on a Prayer.” We certainly are. 15:00 2nd and 30 for the Tribe. If they convert, I honestly couldn’t tell you what I might do. Archer lines up in the shotgun. Pass is INTERCEPTED BY CHRIS COOK! FINALLY! 14:53 1st and 10 UVa from the WM 49. I’m dancing in my seat, silently. Sewell rolls away from pressure, but is chased out of bounds for no gain. 2nd and 10. Sewell rolls AGAIN. This time for a loss of 2. NORTH AND SOUTH!!!!! RUN NORTH AND SOUTH! 3rd and 12. Pass complete for a 3 yard gain. Wonderful. 4th and 9. Howell to punt. Gets it away, flag on the play. Illegal formation on us. Yay. Howell to punt again on 4th and 14. Strikes it cleanly. 13:11 1st and 10 for the Tribe from their own 12. Archer hands off to Grimes, who is stuffed by Burrell at the LOS. 2nd and 10. Another handoff, we can’t seem to pin him down this time. Pickup of 5. 3rd and 5. Archer is pressured and forced out of bounds well short of the 1st down. Nice, Burrell, nice. 4th and 9. Puntttttttt. Hall has time makes a catch and runs right into a defender. I really don’t think punt returning is his strong suit. 11:31 1st and 10 from the 40. Marc Verica enters are QB. Throws a 4 yard toss. 2nd and 6. Verica in the shotgun. Runs for the 1st down. Are you kidding me? 3rd and 1. Sorry he didn’t make the first. Verica keeps it again, and brings about 4th and 1. It looks like we may be going for it. AND WE ARE!!!!!! 4th and 1. Oh no. Verica holds and is stopped short. WM takes over on our 48. 9:48 Crap crap crapcrapcrapcrapcrap. Pass to Marriner complete for no gain. Missed a few plays talking to the UVa SID about postgame interviews. Sorry, guys. 2nd and 20 WM. One yard gain, 3rd and 19. Archer keeps and is chased out well short of the first. 4th and 15. Punt to Hall. Please don’t mess up. He plays it smart and lets it go into the endzone. 8:43 1st and 10 from the 20 after the touchback. Offense needs to make some magic. Verica back at QB. He needs to make some good decisions here. Spread formation. Verica tosses to Burd, who gets nailed. I heard that one up here. 2nd and 5. Verica literally hopscotches away from defenders but only sustains a 1 yard loss. 3rd and 6. 5 wideouts. Verica in the gun. Scrambles, and finds Jared Green for the 1st down! Yay Marc! 1st and 10 from the 42. Verica finds Green again for 5 yards. 2nd and 5. Verica finds Simpson all alone for the first down! 1st and 10 from the WM 47. Verica keeps for a 1 yard gain. I think we need to stick with quick tosses,
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2nd and 9. I spoke too soon. Verica fumbled it away to WM. They take over on our 36 after the ball rolled back. 5:46 If WM gets a TD its over. 1st and 10. Archer finds running room and takes WM down to the 13. 23 yard gai. 1st and 10. Archer to Grimes for 2 yards. 2nd and 8. Archer passes to the ground. Incomplete 3rd and 8. I’m agitated. We need a stop RIGHT NOW! Crowd is into it. ON their feet. Aaaaaaannnddddd…Grimes is stopped after 3 yards. 4th and 5. WM looks to try a FG, but I wouldn’t put it past them to try a trick play. 4th and 5. FG is good. UVa 14-WM 19. 3:50 Just under 4 minutes to score a TD. It all starts with a decent kickoff return. Let’s see if the Cavaliers can get one. Kickoff time. Moseley receives the bouncing kick. Returns to the UVa 40. Let’s Roll. 1st and 10. Sewell back at QB. 5 wideouts. Pass to Javaris Brown up the middle for 3 yard gain. 2nd and 7. Sewell is pushed forward by defenders for a yard. 3rd and 6. Sewell’s pass is intercepted and returned for a TD. I can’t do this anymore. It’s over, everyone. I’ll check back later after postgame interviews and such. Goodnight, everyone. I’m going to be sick.
“I wish I could give you something more profound, but we all know what this one was.” September 6, 2009 Those were Virginia head coach Al Groh’s words to the press, and yours truly, at last night’s postgame press conference after the Wahoos’ disastrous 25-14 loss to FCS opponent William and Mary. Over the last 16 hours, I’ve run the whole damn gauntlet of emotions. As a fan, I’m overwhelmingly upset. As a college football guru, I’m confused as to the strategy our team used. As a student, I’m disappointed and angry. However, right at this moment I’m just tired. I’m tired of excuses. Ranging from “We’re an academic institution,” to “We have a young team,” to whatever the hell else people are throwing out there to try to excuse the football travesty that occurred last night in Charlottesville. Sitting in the press box, I was unable to fully express how I felt during the game. If you read my live blog, you noticed in the fourth quarter that I gave up and turned the damn thing off after Jameel Sewell’s interception for a touchdown that sealed a W&M victory. I didn’t tell you all last night that I went to the bathroom and cried until it was time to head down for the postgame presser. You might think I’m a little silly for getting this involved, but I had such high hopes for this program. I was excited at the prospect of another football season, and ready to see some offensive success after two spotty seasons. Having to hold it all back in the press box took a lot. So yes, I went into the press conference with tears still on my face, ready to see what kind of explanation Coach Groh would offer.
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What can you say about it, really? The other journos down in the interview room were just as much at a loss as I was regarding what to ask. “We turned the ball over eight times,” Coach Groh said. “I’m responsible for that.” Well, coach, it was actually 7 turnovers, but with numbers that high it really doesn’t matter. I have a lot of respect for Denzel Burrell, Marc Verica, Vic Hall, Steven Greer, and Matt Snyder for coming down to the interview room. I know it must have been excruciating, but you guys manned up and faced what was coming. I asked Denzel Burrell if, as a captain, he had anything to say to the students and other fans. “Hopefully they will keep faith in us and keep supporting us. We’re as down as they are about this loss. I just want them to know that we are going to work as hard as we possibly can for the rest of our upcoming opponents this year. In no way did we envision this happening tonight. Hopefully they can just stick with us as we work harder than ever from now on.” Now it’s finally time for me to sit down and give you all my take on the game. If you followed my live blog, I only got a bit of opinion in as I was trying to keep up with the plays on the field. I don’t need to tell you this game was ugly. Virginia didn’t execute in any aspect of the game. It wasn’t a question of what we did wrong. We did everything wrong. On offfense, we ran what looked like “Spread Offense for Dummies.” We only used the 5 wide setup , spread formation some of the time, and when we did it was obvious we were going to throw. Our quarterbacks, all three of them, didn’t do enough to make themselves a dual threat, which a successful spread needs to be successful. Our passers were inaccurate, the receivers had no hands, and there was no pass protection from the offensive line. 0-3 so far, guys. Our quarterback play was shameful. No other word for it. Poor decision making, poor ball protection, and even worse execution. I couldn’t even tell you who of the three was the best or worst. Marc Verica only had one turnover. Hurray? Speaking of the offensive line, I was probably most disappointed with their performance. Our 2 pt stance, involving moving defenders laterally rather than pushing them back, was unsuccessful against the Tribe because they were so much faster. We were a larger line, so we should have used our greater size to pancake the WM defenders and make some room for our offense to operate. Instead, our QBs were under pressure constantly, which forced them to scramble. All the east-west scrambling led to poor decision making and turnovers. This leads me to play-calling. Why didn’t we ever run the ball up the middle? We are a much larger team, so we could have rammed it up the middle and they wouldn’t have been able to stop it. Instead, our lack of speed led to lost yardage and a whole slew of 3 and out situations. Jameel Sewell had better start running the ball north and south, rather than dancing around behind the O-line before he is forced to either make a poor throw (which he did three times for INTs) or take a hit for a loss. I am probably most angry with how we lost, rather than the loss itself. NOT ONCE DID WE TRY TO THROW DOWNFIELD! WHY THE BLOODY HELL NOT? In the fourth quarter down to William and Mary, we continued running the same damn short yardage plays that had been unsuccessful all game. On 4th and 1, Verica kept the ball for a QB sneak. Ok, fine. That’s a legit call. However, he took the sneak FROM THE SHOTGUN. If someone could explain the logic behind this, please let me know. If we had thrown it deep and been unsuccessful, it wouldn’t have changed anything. The way I saw it, we had nothing to lose by taking a chance late in the 4th quarter. If we had given up an INT, well, we had already turned the ball over a ton; one more wouldn’t have made or broken the whole game. Please, I am begging you, Virginia.
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Show some effort and change it up a bit when you are in danger of losing. But, no. We would rather stick resolutely to the same stupid plays that had gotten us nowhere for three quarters. Does this make any sense at all? Is the new system that inflexible that there is no room to make adjustments when it is obvious something isn’t working? When I spoke to Al Groh this summer, he denied that UVa would be scripting their games and using a set sequence of plays. He claimed that there were options for every situation that would be used as the defensive schemes of the other team dictated. I didn’t see it, Coach. I saw a football team resolutely sticking with an unsuccessful game plan instead of trying their hardest to make some magic on offense. On defense, we were SLOW. There is no other word for it. Their receivers were always one step ahead of our secondary. It was sheer luck that WM QB Archer overthrew his man a couple of times, or else the Tribe would have had a lot more points. They did a much better job running the ball up the middle than we did. Our sheer size on the line should have overwhelmed them. Where was the pressure? Archer had all the time in the world to make plays, there was not nearly enough pressure on the QB from our defense. We made him look like a Heisman candidate. Vic Hall should not be returning punts. Ever. One, he stands a huge chance of getting hurt. We might need him at QB or even on defense at corner if the situation back there doesn’t improve. Two, last night he showed some of the poorest decision-making of any punt returner I have ever seen. There was the muffed punt that WM recovered on our 4 and turned into a field goal. At least the red zone D held. Beyond that huge mistake, there were a couple of times I wished he had called for a fair catch. Hall ran straight into the WM coverage team more than once. Let Chase Minnifield handle those. Please. Last night, late in the fourth quarter, the chants of “Groh Must Go” resounded in Scott Stadium. These were the alumni, mind you, up by the press box, not the students. My friends sitting in the student section told me that everyone over there was calling for his head as well. All of my friends’ Facebook statuses expressed their anger and disappointment. If this was any other school, Groh would be cleaning out his office today. However, something tells me that he’ll still be with us. UVa football already proved last night that is is more than prepared to go down with a sinking ship. You can analyze, break down, and agonize over the loss all you want. However, everyone I have spoken to thus far has come to the same conclusion: something’s gotta give. And fast.
Quick word… September 6, 2009 I won’t tell you not to be upset. I am more upset than you can even believe right now. I just want you all to remember that our guys have to face TCU next week. I’m not happy with our performance, but I will continue to support the team and our players. They need as much positive energy as we, the fans and students, can give them. Please, be as outspoken as you like about the team’s performance. However, also keep in mind that these young players will need support and encouragement if they are to improve and show well over the coming weeks.
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I’ll still be cheering, no matter what. Go ‘Hoos. At the presser… September 7, 2009 …Groh is just finishing up. We’ve got lunchtime, then a few player interviews. I’ll fill you in on the details, plus my humorous adventure in actually getting to the shindig, later.
Yesterday’s Presser September 8, 2009 I meant to get this post in last night, but I was absolutely engrossed in the FSU-Miami game. It was one of those games where you were afraid to look away, just in case something amazing happened! Anyway, back to Virginia football. Yesterday’s press conference had a bit of an ominous start for me. My class ended at 10:50 and the conference started at 11:15. Plenty of time, right? It would have been on any other day but Labor Day. I found out that the bus I needed wasn’t running, so I grabbed another bus with plans to switch buses to get from New Cabell Hall to JPJ. However, by this point I was running late, so I jumped off the bus at Scott Stadium and sprinted all the way to JPJ. When I arrived, the door to the arena was locked, so I hammered frantically on the glass until an employee came and opened the door. Somehow I manged to slip in unnoticed, although sweaty and disheveled. At least I hadn’t missed the free tacos. Remember how I said that the reporters at Saturday’s press conference were at a loss as to what to ask? Not today. One of the first questions Coach Groh had to answer was about his players’ response to “outside chatter.” “Well, one of the things that we tell them before the season ever starts is a team collectively and the players individually have to be prepared to handle both the love and the hate, because both of them come during the course of the season. Because either way that affects how the players think and all the players can think about is what they need to do to do their job. So you don’t start saying that in the locker room after the game or you don’t start saying that the day after the game; you start saying that all year long. And when players come into the program, they have to begin to learn to understand that. And so a player hears it most of the time that he’s here over the course of four or five years.” All throughout the conference, Groh blaimed Saturday’s epic failure on player mistakes, not errors in the system. On offense especially, the multiple mistakes made by individuals hurt the teamas a whole. “So another one of those mistakes, I can understand some of the reads that came a little bit slower as a result of this is the first game in competition with the system,” Groh said, “but shotgun snaps and throwing motions, those are things the players have to execute when those things come up.” On defense, Groh was fairly pleased with what his guys did in regards to the line: “Any unexpected change of possession from the norm, that is following a kick or a punt or a kickoff, any unexpected change is a challenge to a team and a unit to prove what they really are. It is a challenge to you offensively, that if you get the ball to, show what you can do with it. It is a challenge with a team defensively, to show what they can do under those circumstances. And the defensive players met those challenges pretty well the other day. That should give them a pretty good sense of confidence.” I myself was pretty impressed with how the line held WM to
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field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone. However, at defensive back there is still a huge question mark. What the heck happened on Saturday? Tribe receivers were beating us downfield. Twice, WM receivers were wide open for long passes, and QB R.J. Archer overthrew them, thankfully. “Well, one of them was just a matter of attention on the part of players involved. The other one was just a part of the confusion on the part of one player, actually a play that was practiced during the course of the week when we are in a combination coverage with a bunch and he made a wrong decision and thought the other player was taking him. That was addressed immediately after the series. And addressing it is not enough, we’ll give it some turns in practice here too to make sure it’s physically taken care of.” I certainly hope it gets taken care of by Saturday! Finally, the big question that is on everyone’s mind: When is Groh going to decide on THE quarterback? “Do you want a calendar date on that? Clearly when one of them shows that he is by far the best option, with the two quarterbacks, who as I mentioned earlier, Vic and Jameel, have amongst their skills the ability to run with the ball. With these two players here, in order to be able to exploit the skills of one, it’s really necessary to get the other one equally ready. Otherwise, if one of them is banged up or unable to go, then the whole system changes. But with two of them we have a great facility to do that. In the case of those two players, I think that will certainly be the case for some time.” And that’s that. However, I want to know about Marc Verica. He certainly isn’t a fan favorite in Charlottesville, but he didn’t do any worse than Sewell or Hall. I hope for his sake that he’s not completely out of the question. At least he had the guts to come to the press conferences both post game and yesterday. TCU is up on Saturday, and I’ll be giving you the rundown on the Horned Frogs later this week.
WAHOOWA! TCU Preview September 10, 2009 Let’s just get this out of the way, right off the bat: The Wahoos need to be better. Period. I don’t want to hear any excuses after this game. I don’t want there to be a need for excuses. I’m going to repeat what I said before the Southern Cal game last season. If we lose this game because the other team simply outplays us due to superior talent, I can live with that. I won’t be happy, but I won’t have a panic attack either. If we lose this game due to mistakes, turnovers, and mental errors, then that is NOT OKAY. What to Expect from the Frogs: Texas Christian comes in after fielding the No. 1 defense in the nation last season. They only allowed 47.1 yards per game on the ground. If Virginia plans on running the ball, they need to do a much better job of pushing forward rather than throwing 82937540867582345 jukes and then getting tackled for a loss. If that doesn’t work against FCS William and Mary, it sure won’t work against TCU. North and south, my friends, north and south. Our offensive line is going to be working hard all day. Senior DE Jerry Hughes, a consensus All-American last season, will be leading the charge. He tallied 15 sacks in 2008, so Hall, Sewell, and Verica need to be better about releasing early before they get hit for a loss. That said, the ‘Hoos need to watch out for those mental errors on offense. Interceptions thrown under pressure, bad snaps, and fumbles will
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kill us this game. The offense needs to stay on the field and make sure the defense isn’t getting overworked. Vic Hall is the only man listed on this week’s depth chart at punt returner, which I still think is a huge mistake, so he had better step it up. There is absolutely no room for mistakes on special teams this Saturday. On offense, junior quarterback Andy Dalton returns for his third season as the Frogs’ main man under center. WR Jimmy Young had 988 receiving yards last season, so he’s the man to watch with regards to the secondary. Ras-I Dowling, I’m looking at you. You were a huge disappointment last week and I expect better. I know you can do better. TCU’s running game is also formidable, averaging 220.2 YPG. Their running attack is spread out over several players, so there isn’t a single man to pinpoint. Communication will be key for Virginia if they are to have any chance of stopping them. Injury Report: Out Mike Parker (hand) Bobby Smith (knee) Doubtful Vic Hall (hip)* Dontrelle Inman (hand) Lamar Milstead (ankle) Bill Schautz (knee) Questionable none Probable Nate Collins (shoulder) Patch Duda (shoulder) Nick Jenkins (leg) Jameel Sewell (wrist)* Matt Snyder (shoulder) Joe Torchia (shoulder) Key: Probable = Virtual certainty will be available for normal duty Questionable = 50-50 chance will not play Doubtful = At least 75% chance will not play Out = Definitely will not play * Looks like Marc Verica is the only totally healthy QB! Groh Says: “The numbers really point out why they are such a good team. First in the country in rushing defense, first in the country in time of possession, second in the country in overall defense, 12th in the country in overall offense, I think 20th in the country in scoring, I think 8th in the country in turnover margin. In other words, when they get it, they keep it and they end up scoring with it. When the other team has got it, they take it away pretty quickly and don’t give up very many points. So to be No. 1 in the country in time of possession, obviously is one of the reasons why a team is No. 1 in the country in scoring defense. If the other team doesn’t have it and you don’t
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help them score, our issue the other night was we helped the other team score. So offensively, we impacted both sides of the scoreboard. We impacted our side of the scoreboard and we impacted their side of the scoreboard. That’s not a good deal, because it’s the defense’s job to keep the other team from scoring. When a part of your team is helping them score then it makes it doubly difficult in terms of keeping the points down and they (TCU) have done a good job in that. They get it, they keep it, they don’t turn it over, and that enables them to put together long drives, keep the ball and then they have been real good at the turnover deal, taking the ball away and then when they take it away and they’ve got it, they don’t give it back again for a long time. So that certainly puts the priority and that’s what’s happened with a lot teams. A lot of teams just don’t have the ball long enough to score enough points.” Blair Says: We need to show well this game. Plain and simple, no excuses. Groh is under fire, the system is being questioned, and pretty much everything the team has done thus far has been torn apart by the media. If there was ever a time to pull off a miracle, it’s now. TCU has some pretty staggering stats on their side, but they have yet to be tested this season. It all just depends on what kind of team Virginia puts out there on Saturday. There isn’t any room for error on either side of the ball. First game jitters are behind us, so hopefully the Cavaliers will be more prepared when they step out on the field this weekend.
One Hour Away… September 12, 2009 …from kickoff! I’m safely ensconced in the Scott Stadium pressbox. I’ll keep you updated through Twitter until kickoff, when I’ll start liveblogging the game. Go ‘Hoos!
1st Quarter September 12, 2009 Pregame: According to our esteemed starting lineup announcer TE Joe Torchia, Jameel Sewell is our starting QB this game. I hope Vic Hall’s hip won’t inhibit him too much. THE BAND IS ON THE FIELD! THE BAND IS ON THE FIELD! <- That never gets old. Ever. I’m surreptitiously dancing in my seat. I don’t think we have a verse about TCU in “Rugby Road.” I’ll work on that. I hope the band director realizes that absolutely no one knows the words to that other song that he stole from Michigan. Quitely now…u…v…a… go hoos go. Yay CavMan! I like how he reads the Cavalier Daily now. TCU’s silly frog has a sign that says “Kiss Me, I’m a prince!” in the video. Now CavMan is about to go kick his butt. Uh-oh. The real live Cavalier fell off his horse!!!!!! This does not bode well. Poor Sabre just wants to go back to his stall and eat some hay. Coin toss! We win it and decide to take posession in the second half. Power of Orange flag raising. Roger Mason has some sweet shades on. 15:00 Kickoff. Hinkebein to kick it away. Ryan Christian and Jeremy Kerley to receive. Bouncing
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deep kick into the endzone for a touchback. 1st and 10 Frogs from the 20. They fake the handoff and pick up 12 yards. 1st and 10 from the 32. Frogs aren’t gonig with a no huddle. Handoff to Joseph Turner for a 7 yard gain. 2nd and 3. Ras-I Dowling picks up the ball carrier, but it’s still a 1st down. 1st and 10 from the 45. BAD SNAP! FUMBLE!!!! CAVALIER FOOTBALL!!!!!! 13:26 Scott Stadium has lost its mind. Nate Collins recovered. 1st and 10 fom the 39. Sewell keeps for 6 yards. 2nd and 4. Rashawn Jackson runs for 2. 3rd and 2. Sewell in the gun. Keeps for…enough for a 1st! 1st and 10 from the 29. Gregg Brandon is signaling…Pass to Javaris Brown, 3 yd gain. 2nd and 7. Sewell scrambles, out of time out of time. Runs out of bounds for no gain. 3rd and 7. Big 3rd down here. We need to convert to make a statement. Barely gets the snap off. Sewell keeps, again. Stopped short. 4th and 4. Field Goal try. Robert randolph to kick, Vic Hall to hold. HORRIBLE SNAP! Over Hall’s head. All Randolph can do is fall on it to stop the bleeding. 10:06 Horned Frogs take over at the 42 after the disgraceful field goal try. 1st and 10. Wonderful. Are these mental errors we’re making? Or are we just that bad? 1st and 10. I’m going to try to be positive. Luckily for the team I can’t scream or voice my displeasure aloud. They’d probably hear me, even from up here. Dalton passes to a wide open receier for a 1st down. Hurray. 1st and 10 from the Cavalier 47. Dalton drops back, BALL IS TIPPED, but not picked off. Ras-I almost had that one. 2nd and 10. If we can get the ball back here I won’t count that first turnover. Dalton, with time, overthrows his guy but he was covered anyway. 3rd and 10. This will be huge for the UVa D. They are pumping the crowd up. Love it. It is so loud! TCU HAS TO CALL TIMEOUT AS THE PLAY CLOCK RUNS DOWN! YESSSS! Still 3rd and 10 after the Frog timeout. Everyone gets loud againnnnnnnn. Defense is hungry. Dalton throws, completes, but it’s not enough. 4th and 4! Punt time for the Frogs. Minnifield back to receive. Calls for a fair catch? WHY?!? Now we start from the 3! 8:57 1st and 10 form the 3. Yay. Spread formation. Sewell in the gun in his own endzone. We can’t screw up this snap. Simpson carries to the 8. 2nd and 5. Torchia in motion. Sewell carries, dances to nowhere like he always does. 1 yard loss. 3rd and 6. Sewell drops back to pass, can’t find anyone. Is dropped for a 2 yard loss. 4th and 8. Punt team is out. Howell in the back of our own endzone. Gets it away to our 44. 6:44 1st and 1o Frogs from our 44. Let’s go defense. Handoff for a 4 yard gain. 2nd and 6. Dalton in the gun. Handoff for a 3 yard gain. 3rd and 3! Everybody get on your feet, because I can’t! Dalton is forced to throw early,
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incomplete. GTFO. 4th and 3 and punt for the Frogs. Minnifield is deep again. Let’s it go over his head. TCU downs it at the 3. Again. Can’t we catch a break on these punts? Track team on the field during the TV timeout. They win stuff, like ACC titles. Go them. 5:08 1st and 10 from the 3. Eeep. SEWELL KEEPS AND FINDS ROOM DOWN THE SIDELINE! HUGE 29 YD GAIN. 1st and 10 from the 32! Sewell in the gun, hands off to Simpson for a 8 yard pickup. 2nd and 2. Barely gets the snap off, but complete to Kris Burd for the 1st. 1st ad 10 from the 48. Move that ball! Simpson scoots ahead for a 2 yard gain. 2nd and 8. We seem to be having trouble with the signals. Simpson catches a swing pass, but there was a holding call on Burd. 2nd and 18 now. Another slow snap. Sewell is forced to run away from pressure, but he gets dropped for no gain. 3rd and 18. Uh-oh. Sewell in the gun 4 wideouts. Simpson carried? WHY? 9 yard gain, but not nearly enough. 4th and 9. Jimmy Howell to punt. At least he has more room to operate. Groh is disputing something with the refs. Let ‘em know, Coach. Game clock gets reset. Howell hits a booming punt 51 yards. Lands just inside the endzone for a touchback. Too bad. 1:09 1st and 10 Frogs from the 20. Handoff to Christian who gets stopped by Matt Conrath. 2nd and 6. How did Turner get away from our guys? We had him, but he got away! 1st and 10 from the 31. Wesley carries to the 40. End 1st Quarter. UVa 0 - TCU 0. Once again the defense is keeping us in this game. Offense needs to pick it up.
2nd Quarter September 12, 2009 Women’s Swim and Dive is on the field. They win stuff too. Maybe the football team should try it sometime. Corey Mosley is clapping too haha. 15:00 2nd and 1 Frogs from their own 40. Dalton under pressure, forced to scramble. Gets it 1st and 10. Frog ball carrier struggles for 4 yards. See, they run it up the middle and gain yards. We run around the outside for nothing. 2nd and 6. Tucker carries for the 1st. Boo. 1st and 10 on our 48. Nice stop by the defense. Tucker for 1 yard gain before he meets a wall of Wahoos. 2nd and 9. Curtis Clay catches a pass and makes the 1st down. 1st and 10 on the 37. Yuck. Dalton ALMOST GETS SACKED! How did Darren Childs miss him? Falls forward for 2 yards. 2nd and 8. Timeout TCU. They might be planning something here. Why is the band playing “4 minutes”? There are like 12 min. left in this quarter. I hate it when illogical stuff like this happens.
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Back to football. Still 2nd and 8. Still TCU ball. Still nervous up here in the box. Dalton throws, but it’s incomplete. 3rd and 8. Get up everybody! Get up! I’ve got goosebumps it’s so loud. Dalton throws under pressure, but it’s dropped! FLAG ON THE PLAY?!?! Apparently we committed a personal foul by running into the receiver after the play due to sheer momentum. GARBAGE! 1st and 1 from our 21. Why don’t we just give them the game, refs? Dalton complete down to the 2. Great. Fan-freaking-tastic. 1st and goal. Touchdown Jeremy Kerley on a 2 yd run. That ref had better hope I never find out where he lives. Extra point is good. UVa 0 - TCU 7. Here we go. The “boos” have started, but I think it’s for the horrible officiating. Now everyone is chanting “Let’s go Wahoos!” Thank you. 11:18 Kickoff. Can’t tell who is back to receive. Looks like Chris Cook and someone else. Cook fields it at the 9 and gets out to the 26. Better than the 3. 1st and 10. Sewell back out there. 4 wideouts and Simpson in the backfield. Simpson gets the call, and is tripped up behind the line. 2nd and 12. Can we get a long pass play? Sewell rolls, and tries to find Torchia who drops it. Coach next door thumps the wall. 3rd and 12. If we run again, I swear…Not a run, but just as ineffective. Quick pass to Simpson who gets it back to the original line of scrimmage. 4th and 10. Come on Jimmy. Another blast from Howell, fielded at the 27 and immediately thrown to the ground. Get out. 9:28 1st and 10 from the 25. 2 yrd loss on the return. Runner is dragged down aftera 4 yard gain. 2nd and 6. Handoff to Turner, who gets up gingerly. 6 yard gain. 1st and 10. Damn Horned Frogs. I don’t like you. Dalton hands off to Wesley, who should have been dropped for a loss, but gains 1 yard before freshman LB Steve Greer stops him. 2nd and 9. Dalton with time, throws to a wide open guy who just can’t get to it. Where’s the coverage? 3rd and 9. We need a stop. AND WE GET IT! Dalton sacked by Nate Collins. Bwahahahahaaa. 4th and 15. Puntpuntpunt. Minnifield is deep. No fair catch, and HE GETS RUN INTO! Who is making the mental errors now? 6:55 After the 15 yard penalty, 1st and 10 Cavaliers from the 42. Huzzah! Nate Collins also listens to Mariah Carey, we just learned courtesy of the JumboTron. Jay-Z is also a big one. Back to football after the TV timeout. Sewell still the QB. Jackson in the backfield with him. Sewell keeps and rumbles ahead for 6. I wish we would run up the middle… 2nd and 4. Sewell throws to Burd, who is covered. Incomplete. 3rd and 4. Still no downfield passes. Still. Sewll keeps, and puts te ball on the ground it looks like. Guess not, but only a 2 yard gain. 4th and 2. Howell to punt again. We can’t get anything going, it seems like. TRICK PLAY?! WHAT? Torchia gets the snap, but runs forward for no gain. TCU ball at the 50. 5:25 Why not do a creative 3rd down play? Oh well. 1st and 10, handoff for a 14 yard gain.
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1st and 10. Great fake handoff, Dalton keeps for a big gain of 13 down to the 23. 1st and 10. That’s how a trick play works. Instead of straight up tacking Wesley, we go for the strip. He gets 4 yards. 2nd and 6. We need a stop. Instead, we get a pitch to Wesley who gets a 1st down and makes it to the 8, bringing up 1st and Goal. 1st and Goal. Uh-Oh. Dalton to Turner, who bounces off all our defenders and almost makes it in. 2nd and Goal from the 1. Damn. Turner finds a wide open hole and makes it 13 for the Frogs. Extra point is good. UVa 0 - TCU 14. It looks like a storm cloud is approaching, both literally and figuratively. 2:55 Kickoff kickoff kickoff. If we can get some decent field position, maybe we can make some magic before halftime. Let’s at least go into the locker room with some momentum. Cook fields it deep, DROPS IT! Picks it up, dusts it off, a makes it out to the 31. I can breathe again. 1st and 10. Sewell makes an awful throw, which is almost picked off. 2nd and 10. Sewell keeps out to the 38. 3rd and 3. Sewell shakes off a few would-be tacklers for the 1st! 1st an 10 from the 46. I got my hopes up, and Sewell gets sacked for a loss of 10. 2nd and 20. Handoff to Simpson, who almost gets back to the original LOS. 3rd and 10. Sacked again. Again, we waited too long to get the play called in. Too much switching around, not enough blocking. End of Half. UVa 0 - TCU 14. The “boos” have started again. One of the coaches next door has either thrown something heavy or punched a wall really hard. I’m just sinking lower and lower into my seat.
Halftime Observations September 12, 2009 No offensive turnovers. Yay? It doesn’t change the fact that Virginia can’t get anything going on offense. The line is giving Sewell NO time, and he is having to scramble much more than he should. On defense, we have done okay thus far, no major errors. Special teams needs a little wake-up call, and I think we got it after Minnifield’s two disastrous decisions on punt returns. The biggest issue I’m seeing is with playcalling. I think that’s what’s getting everyone so upset. We call a run play on 3rd and 18? Really? We are way too conservative, it’s like we’re playing not to lose instead of playing to win. We still aren’t throwing the ball downfield, and I think that’s because we don’t have time to set it up. The running game is still trying to run outside (both Sewell and our RBs) which just doesn’t work. It didn’t work against WM, what makes you think that it will work again TCU, the No. 1 run defense in the nation? A couple of times we have almost gotten caught by the play clock, as OC Gregg Brandon can’t seem to get the signals out to our guys. It’s either that, or they just don’t understand. Either way, the fears I voiced this summer about plays being called in from the sidelines are all coming to pass in this game. We aren’t playing horribly, but it just looks a little lackluster out there. My only question is,
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where’s Marc Verica?
3rd Quarter September 12, 2009 Just saw that OC Gregg Brandon is up in the coaches’ box, not on the field. Who is signalling the plays in down there, then? The Cavalier rode in on Sabre, and managed to stay on this time. Maybe it will be indicative of the 2nd half? 15:00 Kickoff to us. Hurray. Cook fields it at the 6 and makes it out to the 24. 1st and 10. Handoff to Simpson, who gets one yard. 2nd and 9. Sewell still at QB. Throw to Simpson, incomplete. Where’s the flag? 3rd and 9. We need to convert this. I want some momentum. Pass incomplete to Burd. 4th and 9 and punt. Howell gets it away, and the TCU receiver gets away from our defenders. 1st and 10 from the 47. 13:52 Dalton finds Hicks, and he gets the 1st. 1st and 10 from our 42. Dalton in the gun. Christian gets 4 yards on the carry. 2nd and 6. Christian carries again, but gets 3 this time. 3rd and 3. Let’s get a stop! I wish everyone would get on their feet… Their guy fumbles, but an O-lineman falls on it for a 1st. Ridiculous. 1st and 10. Dalton finds a wide open Jimmy Young for a 31 yd TD strike. I’m about to have a stroke. UVa 21 - TCU 21 11:42 Silently losing my sanity up here. Give me the damn clipboard, let me call the plays. There’s no way I could do any worse. Kickoff again. ESPN’s Heather Dinich made a good point in her blog: we are relying too heavily on our defense.Cook fields it again, and gets out to the 35. Not bad, not bad. 1st and 10. Sewell still QB. Handoff to Simpson, TCU read it perfectly, and we lost a yard. 2nd and 11. Why why whyyyyyy? Sewell ducks away from pressure because he can’t find anyone and picks up 3. 3rd and 8. Please don’t call a running play, please don’t call a running play. Sewell tries to through, is forced to scramble and can’t quite get there. 4th and 1. Shoot. Howell back to punt it away. Rugby punts it and gets it down to the 6! Howell is my MVP so far. 9:15 1st and 10 Frogs from their own 6. This is a great opportunity for our defense to force a 3 and out, maybe get some great field position on the next drive. Blegch. Ball carrier gets 7 on the first go. 2nd and 3. Dalton keeps it on a fake and gets to the 20. 1st and 10. Nooo. We need to get tough here. Dalton finds Johnson for 6 yards. 2nd and 4. We read the run well, but we just can’t catch the guy.
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1st and 10 on the 37. Yuck. Look for another run here. Nope, pass outside to Clay, who gets 9. 2nd and 9. Rush for the 1st 1st and 10. Dalton keeps, struggles ahead for 6. 2nd and 4. Why can’t we move the ball like this? Dalton hits Young down at the Cavalier 17. Ugh. 1st and 10. The Frogs are in excellent position, once again. Dalton finds, Clay. Moseley also finds him, but he gets 7. 2nd and 3. Kill me now. Dalton keeps for 2. 3rd and 1. If we can hold them to 3, it will be a miracle. All you old alumni in front of me had better stand up. CHRIS COOK DRAGS WESLEY DOWN FOR A 3 YD LOSS. YEAH! 4th and 4. Frogs to try an 28 yd FG. It’s good. Barf. UVa 0 - TCU 24. 3:09 TCU fans are chanting something, can’t quite make it out. Oh, well. Simpson back to receive kickoff now. He’d better not screw up. Fields it at the 10, drops it, but grabs it again and scoots out to the 25. Whew. 1st and 10. Jack Shields, the center, has a heavily taped hand. What does it mean? Sewellis sacked for a loss after scrambling. 2nd and 15. I’m about to start looking for interesting cloud shapes. It’s less painful. Sewell hits Simpson with a 7 yard pass. 3rd and 8. Eeep. Sewell is sacked again. For a 5 yard loss. Punt time, again. 4th and 13. I feel like all the bad parts are on repeat, again and again and again. Sack sack sack, punt punt punt. Ball fair caught but there’s a flag. On them, haha. Back it uuuuuup. 1:10 1st and 10 on the TCU 36. Hickson brought down from behind after a 4 yard pass play. 2nd and 6. Our D Ends are getting their names called much. Christian the ball carrier, but there’s a flag. Holding again. Stop cheating! 2nd and 16. Muwahaha. FINALLY WE GET A SACK! Matt Conrath, DE, drops Dalton for a 3 yard loss. End 3rd Quarter. UVa 0 - TCU 24.
4th Quarter September 12, 2009 Band plays “Livin on a Prayer” as the fans start to file out. This is a disgrace. I’m cold. I wish I had a sweater. 15:00 Still TCU ball. 3rd and 19 for the Frogs on their own 27. Ball carrier Turner stopped after 5. 4th and 14. Puntastic. Minnifield grabs it and is tackled at the 31. 14:13 1st and 10 from the 31. Spread formation. Sewell in the gun. 5 wideouts. Sacked for a loss. Again. What is going on here? 2nd and 16. No time at all for Sewell on the last play. Sewell sacked again. Pathetic. He tripped, is more like it.
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3rd and 24. I can’t believe this. Where’s the blocking? WE HAND IT OFF??!?! WHY?!?! WHY WOULD WE DO THAT?? 4th and 18. “Groh must Go” is being chanted as Howell punts. Returned to our 46. 11:57 1st and 10 for the Frogs in our territory. TV Timeout. No coffee left, either. This day just gets better and better. Student section is almost empty. 5 yard pickup. 2nd and 5. Handoff to Tucker who shakes off our entire defense and gets the 1st. Are you kidding me? We should have had him for a 2 yard loss! 1st and 10. Tucker again, this time for 6. 2nd and 4. Another TCU first down. This time by Christian. 1st and 10. I’m dying, dying, dying up here. I almost want to cry again. Turner carries it for another 1st. 1st and 10 from our 14. Just get it over with. 2 yard gain. 2nd and 8. Finally Tucker gets stopped for a 1 yard loss. Yay Matt Conrath. 3rd and 9. Absolute silence on this big 3rd down. Christian grabs 5 yards on a quick slant route. 4th and 4. 25 Yard FG is good. UVa 0 - TCU 27. Not happy. 6:59 I will be so upset if we put up a big goose-egg on the scoreboard. Cook back to field the kickoff. Perry Jones fields it at the 28. 1st and 10 from the 30. Yay. Can’t you feel the excitement. At least the band is still cheering. SEWELL IS INTERCEPTED. Great. Put Verica in. Do we want to lose this game? 6:43 1st and 10 from our 20 for the Frogs. Ball carrier picks up 4. 2nd and 6. Backup QB in for TCU. Marcus Jackson, new QB, dropped for a loss. 3rd and 9. TCU picks up 4 on a rush. 4th and 5. Will they go for it? I would. Nope, FG try. It’s good. UVa 0 - TCU 30. 4:39 UVa seats are almost all empty. TCU fan’s still here and cheering loudly. I don’t blame people for leaving. It looks like it;s about to rain in addition to the shower of points TCU has rained on us. Kickoff. Perry Jones and Cook back again. Jones fields it and makes a great return out to the 44. Hurray. 1st and 10. Sewell’s pass to Quintin Hunter incomplete. 2nd and 10. SEWELL HAD A MAN DOWNFIELD AND OVERTHREW HIM. WE THREW IT DOWNFIELD. Screw the press box, I’m clapping. 3rd and 10. AGAIN DOWNFIELD! THIS TIME TO A WIDE OPEN JAVARIS BROWN FOR A UVA TD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY WEREN’T WE DOING THIS EARLIER???? WE GO FOR 2 AND GET IT!!!!!! UVa 8 - TCU 30. NOT A BLOWOUT NOT A BLOWOUT! Everyone still here stood and cheered on the first downfield throw, and lost their minds on the TD
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4:14 Booming kick into the endzone for a touchback. 1st and 10 from the 20 for the Horned Frogs. Handoff to Tucker, but a flag. Holding! 1st and 20. I want a turnover. Now. Ball carrier Smith tackled after 3 yard gain. 2nd and 17. TCU still running, just trying to run out the clock. Tucker picks up 3. 3rd and 14. Tucker carries agai, gets 2. 4th and 12. Punt time for the Froggies. Minnifield fields it, LATERALS TO DOWLING WHO GETS DOWN TO THE 26!!! WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL GAME? 1:54 1st and 10 on the 26. SEWELL TO TIM SMITH! TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP! TIM SMITH AND PERRY JONES REPRESENTING THE 757! 2Pt try is stopped, but a flag! Wait for it, wait for it…After the play ended, drat. UVa 14 - TCU 30. WHAT IS GOING ON??? 1:48 Onside kick fail. Oh well. 1st and 10 Frogs from the- Wait, penalty so we get a re-do. Another kickoff, this time Randolph kicks it short but TCU recovers. At least we made the guy pay for it and knocked him back about 5 yards. 1st and 10 Frogs from the 48. Okay, maybe it wa like 2 yards. Whatever. 2 yard gain for TCU 2nd and 8 from midfield. Dalton throws to Hicks, who can’t get the first. 3rd and 4. Timeout UVa. Maybe we’ve got some sweet defensive trickery we’re going to bust out. Probably not. Turner carries for 3. 4th and 1. Final UVa timeout before the punt. Let’s get itttttttttt. Another long TD throw, perhaps?TCU has a hefty punter. Minnifield fair catches. Sigh. :46.3 1st and 10 from our 10. Sewell just escapes getting a safety. Makes 4 yards. 2nd and 6. Sewell chased out again. 3rd and 5. Throw. Incomplete. 4th nd 5 Incomplete. END.
Postgame- Texas Toast Game September 13, 2009 Another game seen from the press box, another loss. This time I managed to keep the hysterics to a minimum. Mood in the postgame presser was a little lighter, I guess because we lost to a legitimate team. Let’s start on offense, shall we? The offensive line play was atrocious. Simply awful. I’m putting a lot of our offensive woes squarely on their shoulders. TCU rushed three and we couldn’t block them with five. QB Jameel Sewell was under way too much pressure. He had to scramble far too much because he had no time to make throws. Granted our receivers aren’t doing a very good job getting open. Their routes are lackadaisical, and run unenthusiastically. I still haven’t seen any blazing speed. Maybe it’s because WE DON’T THROW DOWNFIELD! More on that later.
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Why don’t we give our running backs the ball? We throw these little swing passes out to Mikell Simpson, who has hands like bricks, and he gets stopped for a loss. When are we going to realize that he’s too small, and not fast enough to offset his size disadvantage? He’s no C.J. Spiller, that’s for sure. Torrey Mack and Rashawn Jackson have some decent size on them. Give them the ball and let them pound it up the middle for POSITIVE YARDAGE! I can’t tell you how many times either Sewell or Simpson would dance around behind the line of scrimmage before they got hit for a loss. This also goes back to the o-line and their inability to block and create space for our backs. Probably my biggest pet peeve was that Will Barker was left on his own against TCU’s Jerry Hughes, a consensus All-American last season who recorded 15 sacks. Why didn’t we move Joe Torchia (the TE) over to help him out? He has no hands either, at least make good use of him as a blocker. On defense, the story was just sad. They were trying, they really were, but our line and linebackers just aren’t fast. At all. TCU’s Andy Dalton had all day to make throws. Their passing game was punctuated by poor tackling on our part; we should have had Dalton and their runners dropped for a loss several times, but we were unable to wrap up. They broke our tackles far too easily. It was simply depressing. The secondary is giving their receivers too much space. Again, I’m pointing out Ras-I Dowling. Whatever he’s doing differently from last season, he needs to stop. Now. Chase Minnifield came in to replace him in the 4th Quarter, thankfully. My MVP for the game was punter Jimmy Howell. He is the only player who executed well the entire game. Congrats, Jimmy. However, we need more than a punter if we want to win any games. Let me get started on the playcalling. Oh, playcalling. We called for a Mikell Simpson rush on 3rd and 18. WHY?!? He got nine, but when you need 18, nine is just a drop in the bucket. That God-awful trick punt is another story. Poorly executed, and the call itself was ridiculous. Joe Torchia received the snap, and faked it through his legs to another punt protector. Ridiculous. Why aren’t we being more tricky on 3rd down? We are far too conservative on our 3rd downs, and for absolutely no reason. The most absurd thing I saw yesterday was the way we were letting the clock run out before every snap. I’m honestly surprised we didn’t get any delay of game penalties. Groh’s explanation was that we were trying to limit TCU’s time of posession (the Horned Frogs led the nation in that category last season). Okay, legit excuse. However, the Frogs were onto us. They would mill around and not set up on D until they looked over and saw our coaches signaling in the play, which they did with 10 seconds to go on the playclock. Why didn’t we get the play in earlier, then wait at the LOS for the clock to run down? We could have caught them off guard several times. Once the game was pretty much sewn up, we should be trying our hardest to spark something. It can’t hurt. Speaking of sparking something, why do we wait until the end of the fourth quarter to start throwing downfield? We threw downfield three times with 6 minutes to go in the 4th. The first was overthrown, and the next two resulted in touchdowns. Are you kidding me? I see the pattern here, doesn’t the coaching staff? We should have been doing this all along! Props to Tim Smith and Javaris Brown, for making athletic plays and doing their damndest to get open. Great individual efforts on the part of both receivers, and I commend them. Those two late touchdowns make me more angry than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we scored. Give the fans who stuck it out to the bitter end something to cheer for. My issue is, WHY DID WE WAIT SO LONG? The game was over when we started trying to go downfield.
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Why not give it a shot when there is still time to possibly make an impact? Groh says, “First of all, quite obviously, the ability of a quarterback to go downfield, or for that matter, the team to go downfield, it’s based significantly on the amount of time the quarterback has to do so. Unfortunately, Jameel [Sewell] was under quite a bit of duress. We need to do a better job of protecting him on those plays.” I wonder whose fault that is? I’m looking at you again, o-line. According to Groh, they started calling in long pass plays earlier (not sure if I believe that, based on what a few WRs said) but they just couldn’t find anyone. Brown and Smith got open. By all means, play them more. I was also impressed with Perry Jones on kick returns. However, Groh said this summer that we would be using Jones at running back. Well then, DO IT! These young guys deserve a shot, since it’s obvious we can’t get it done with our veterans. Speaking of “veterans”, where on earth has Jared Green been these last two games? Can he just not get open? Are they not calling his number for some reason? He has better hands than Burd. Even worse than the playcalling was the poor execution. Again, nobody was doing their job correctly (except for the punter, he gets a gold star). Our quarterback situation is still bothering me. Vic Hall is hurt; he’s probably worse off than they are telling us. He was listed as “doubtful” on the injury report I received late last week. The only action he saw was at holder. Jameel Sewell played the whole game at QB. He did okay. I’m not knocking his performance, although I do wish he would run up the middle rather than try to dance and juke so much. He’s going to get hurt, and then Marc Verica will be our only healthy QB. Verica, Verica, Verica. In my opinion, we need to play him. More. A lot more. He didn’t see any action against TCU. What happens when Sewell gets hurt? Oh, he’ll get hurt. I’m thinking back to 2007 when he had to go out during the late parts of tight games: the Gator Bowl, N.C. State, etc. Inexperienced Peter Lalich had to take over, and the results were disastrous. Sewell just isn’t durable enough, and he’s taking a lot of hits early in the season (7 sacks!!!!) Verica needs time, he’ll be our only returning QB with any experience next season. Also, we found out (albeit too late) that throwing downfield DOES, in fact, work for us. Between Verica and Sewell, Marc has the better arm. He should be throwing downfield for us. Verica is also better at throwing the ball away when he is under pressure, Something Sewell does not do. I would rather our QB throw the ball out of bounds for no gain than take a sack. As I look back on this recap, I realize it is full of questions. This game raised more questions than it answered. I also want to know how the students are reacting to these games. In the press box I can hear strains of chanting coming from the fans. “Groh must go!” is a popular one these days. With 30 seconds left in the game, when we had the ball, the remaining fans (all 6 of them) were chantng “Throw it! Throw it!” On our first downfield toss, which was incomplete, the entire stadium got to it’s feet and cheered. You would think we had just scored or something. Give the fans what they want! I’ll be sitting in the student section for our next home game, October 10 vs. Indiana. It’s Homecoming, and I want to hear what the students and alumni think. I’ll still be hitting up the postgame interviews, but it’s time I experienced a game as a student this season. I also want to scream, and rant, and shout, and cheer my head off before I tear out all of my hair trying to keep silent. Look for an update following Monday’s press conference. I’ll be there. Hopefully the free food is good.
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Depth Chart Changes and Press Conference Recap September 16, 2009 Sadly, my faithful laptop has fallen ill and is getting repaired. I extremely dislike having to rely on my phone for updates from the world of sports. Luckily for me, I can still get email so I was intrigued by the new depth chart that came out yesterday. You can find it here. Tim Smith has cracked the depth chart at WR, rightfully so after his late 4th quarter heroics, but Jared Green is nowhere to be found. Our QB listing now reads “Jameel Sewell OR Marc Verica OR Vic Hall.” Isaac Cain is still listed behind injured B.J. Cabbell at right guard, but now Aaron van Kuiken is on the chart as a third option. I suppose Cabbell’s injury is more serious than we thought. We have a whole host of kick off returners, which now includes Perry Jones, and Chase Minnifield sits above Vic Hall at punt returner. Cam Johnson has jumped Aaron Clark at outside linebacker. Very interesting… At Saturday’s postgame presser, Groh said that Vic Hall would be sitting out this week at Southern Miss, and continuing to get back to full strength during the bye week. We need him for ACC play, so I wish him the best of luck and a full recovery. According to Jameel Sewell, Hall’s roommate, sitting out is, “…just killing him. But he’s being a leader on the sidelines and encouraging guys on every play.” The press conference Monday was once again a learning experience for me. I’m slowly picking up tips on how to talk to Groh from the other journos. He really hates being second-guessed, and you need to phrase your questions just so in order to get a good answer. Too bad I didn’t glean this useful information before I opened my mouth. My best question was, “Coach, you spoke last week about a dual threat QB essentially giving the offense a 12th man. Since Jameel Sewell played the entire game Saturday and (QB-turned-WR) Riko Smalls is working out at QB again, is it safe to say we are leaning away from Marc Verica as an option?’ Groh responded tersely, “No, it wouldn’t be safe to say that. It would be dangerous.” Okay, coach. Nobody was sure if they were supposed to laugh or not. None of the players are really opinionated about going on the road this week. You would think that they might be happy to get away from a hostile home atmostphere, but I like their attitude. Coach Groh preaches that they are supposed to “play within the white lines,” meaning that they block out the fans, the atmosphere, and whatever else is going on off the field. I like it. I like it. One tidbit I have gotten from the interviews with the players is that our lack of success is due to mental errors, rather than errors inherent in the system. A funny moment came when LG Austin Pasztor sheepishly admitted that he was supposed to be on the field during the successful 2-pt conversion. He got carried away with celebrating with Javaris Brown, and left us with only 10 men on the field! Luckily, we still got the points, even though the play was run to his side! Both DE Matt Conrath and RG Isaac Cain said that their goal was to be more physical on the line. Cain got a lot of attention from the press because he was a former member of the marching band at his high school, before taking up football as a junior. He also drove a UTS bus in the offseason his first two years here. Cain even drove a bus to Meet the Team day last season when there was a shortage of drivers! Once again, like Will Barker and art class at ACC Media Days, the journos refused to let the topic die. A big topic of conversation in the Press Work Room at JPJ was the painting of Beta Bridge. Myself and a couple other student journos were trying to explain the tradition. Earlier this week,
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Beta proclaimed “Groh Must Go! Groh Must Go! Get out!” Real original, people. Some important information I really feel like I must relay to you: We have recruits coming to our home games. Please remember that whatever you say, do, yell, and express at the football games or around campus may effect their decision to come here. Whoever our coach may be next season is immaterial; we need good players no matter what. Keeping a positive attitude, sticking around for the whole game, and supporting the team during this down time is important to ensure that Tech doesn’t get all the good people. I know I’m one to talk, after my tirade earlier this week about the TCU game, but I’m going to do my best from now on to try and focus on the positives. Everything that has been said about offense, defense, special teams, playcalling, coaching, etc. has been said. A thousand times over. It’s pointless to reiterate again and again the shortcomings, instead of focusing on what does get better from week to week. Look for a Southern Miss preview tomorrow!
Southern Mississippi Preview September 17, 2009 Virginia is away this weekend, so no tweets from the pressbox or postgame press conference. Tragic, I know, but I’m kind of lookinfg forward to just being a normal fan this Saturday. Sadly, the game isn’t being televised, but you can catch it live on CBS College Sports (that’s online, for those who don’t know). There’s a viewing party at a local hotel here in the ‘Ville, and I plan on hitting it up to score some food, fun, and football. Hot wings, here I come! Hopefully they will be Golden Eagle wings, as I am really gunning for a win out of my Cavaliers. We’ve had two games to work out the kinks on offense and defense, and I’m optimistically hoping for a better performance in all aspects of the game. The team has gone from turnoverhappy, to sack-friendly (on the o-line), all the while struggling with mental errors. I think they’ll have it figured out for this week. Come on, guys! Don’t let me down! One thing that still intrigues me is that Marc Verica, last year’s oft-lambasted starting QB, has become somewhat of a fan favorite here in Charlottesville. Students, fans, my colleagues at the Cavalier Daily, and real, live journalists are all wondering the same thing: Why isn’t Verica getting more time? We had some success late in the 4th Quarter against TCU with throwing long passes downfield, and Verica has got a great arm. Word on the street is that fans are a little sick of the Jameel Sewell Show, and they want Verica. I even heard a few quiet strains of “Ver-i-ca! Ver-ica!” being chanted last game in Scott Stadium. This may be a phenomenon that I will need to explore further, especially after this week’s game. Wait and see, loyal readers, wait and see. Southern Miss has two games under their belt: cupcake Alcorn State, who they shut out 52-0, and Central Florida, who they defeated 26-19 in a closer matchup. The Golden Eagles average 264.5 yards-per-game on the ground, and 243 YPG through the air. They also have only allowed 77 yards rushing total this season. Airing it out may be the Cavaliers best chance to move the ball. I said it in my CavDaily piece for this week, and I’ll say it again here: Virginia needs to score early. Period. We were hanging with TCU until the Horned Frogs got their first touchdown, and then everything kind of fell apart. We would have taken the lead first had it not been for a botched field goal, and then who knows how the rest of the game would have played out? Groh Says: “Well, [Southern Miss] won seven in a row now over the course of two years. Just continuity.
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Larry Fedora is in there and has put in a new system in all three phases — we can kind of relate to him a little bit. We are dealing with him in two out of three phases. We put in a new system in all three phases and just as the season went on in, watching actually in watching their season in different time frames what it looked like early, in the middle and the end and now this year, you can just see increased execution in all the different schemes.” Blair Says: Three things we haven’t done thus far, and three things I think we need to do to see some success: Score early, throw the ball, keep mental errors to a minimum. Southern Miss has a great run defense, so if we keep the ball on the ground it’s up to the o-line to really step up and create some holes. Conversely, our defense needs to tighten up and make quality tackles. The secondary needs to constantly be aware of their receivers, and more physical play is needed from our front three. At this point, Virginia needs to be firing on all cylinders in order to get the first win of the season.
Southern Miss Recap September 21, 2009 No press conference today, since it’s a bye-week. No free food, and that’s sad. Today is my birthday and all I really wanted was a UVa football win. I thought we were going to get it, too, until we threw away a 17-pt. lead in the second half. Focus on the positives, focus on the positives. What We Did Right In the first half, the defense did an excellent job creating turnovers. 2 fumble recoveries led to points for us, which only helped. I’m going to refer back to my preview post, where I said that scoring early would give us the best chance at getting a win. We did score early, and often. Our biggest successes came through the air (passes=touchdowns). The o-line did a much better job making time for Jameel Sewell both on the ground and when he dropped back to pass. Sewell himself really stepped up his game this week. The only really scary moment came when he was banged up a bit in the second half. Sewell came right back in, however, so Verica didn’t make any appearances. I have to say I’m really impressed with Dominique Wallace. We needed a bruiser of a running back, and he seems to have no fear when it comes to rushing hard through defenders. What We Need to Do Better Was it conditioning? Was it better playcalling by the other team? I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with an explanation for how we could have let a 17-pt. lead slip away. We put up more points this game than we did in the first two combined. Our defense was on point, holding SMiss to a field goal when they intercepted Sewell on our 4 yard line. I’m inclined to think that we just don’t have that killer instinct on offense. We stopped answering their scores in the second half. Maybe we were just really surprised at being ahead? With the bye week coming up, it gives our guys a chance to get healthy. Hopefully we will see Vic Hall back in playing form against UNC on Oct 3.
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Back to the daily grind… September 28, 2009 Bye week is officially over. This past weekend was pretty relaxing; no UVa football to stress over. I enjoyed all the football I got to see this weekend, except for Tech beating Miami (boo!), Florida State and everyone’s favorite QB Christian Ponder losing to USF (what?), and everyone’s other favorite QB Tim Tebow getting knocked out (eep!). This weekend is fall break for UVa students, and the football team gets the dubious pleasure of traveling down to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels. I’ll be watching the game from the comfort of the Outer Banks on Saturday, but I’ve got friends from North Cackalacky headed to the game. I’ll be kept updated about any cool stuff going on and so will you. This morning’s press conference, which should be starting in the next 10-15 min, will address the Southern Miss. game and this week’s game against UNC. In case you forgot, there was no press conference last Monday. I know all these journos have a LOT of questions saved up for our coach. As for me, I’m still pretty speechless about the 17pt. lead we ended up giving away. In other news, the new sports information director for football starts today. Michael Colley, the longtime holder of the position, passed away suddenly this summer. He was an awesome guy who always helped me out, even though I was just a student. I hope his replacement is half as knowledgeable and helpful as he was. I haven’t met the new guy yet, but I’ll let you know what he’s like. I guess Jim Daves and Andy Fledderjohan (the interim guys who did an outstanding job) are glad to hand off the responsibility. Al Groh is up first, followed by free food, then player interviews. By now, I’ve been around long enough to know that nobody honestly has no idea which players will show up. When I know, you’ll know.
Link Time! September 28, 2009 Maryland and Virginia: Who’s got hope? - http://tinyurl.com/y9ykhmq ESPN’s Heather Dinich talks Maryland and Virginia. The South’s Oldest Rivalry! September 30, 2009 Fall Break, or should I say “Reading Days”, is quickly approaching and so is the football game down in Chapel Hill. This Saturday I’ll be in another part of North Carolina, but I’ll still be tuned in to the game. What to Watch For: Coach Groh put it himself at this week’s press conference: “I had a very interesting college football weekend. It certainly revealed that there’s probably far too many teams and players that are anointed way too early in the season and far too many teams and players that are condemned too early in the season to see the significant turnarounds that occur in so many games, that the season is to be played out rather than to be seen in microcosm. It also looks like there are an awful lot of teams this year that are essentially the same teams, an awful lot, certainly more than a Top 25 poll would be able to encompass and that there are a few teams that are clearly superior, and that outside of that, it’s a pretty good battle every week to see who comes out with it.”
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It seems like every game lately is “do-or-die” for the Wahoos, but this marks our first ACC game of the season. It’s ALMOST like a clean slate. Plus, the team is coming off of a bye week, and we have been notorious for performing well after the break. Al Groh’s Virginia teams have gone 9-4 coming off the bye, but 2-3 on the road after the bye. Eeep. In terms of ACC openers, UVa has won eight of their last eleven. UNC has a decent team, very defensively driven. However, I think they have been a tad overrated this year, based on what I’ve seen so far. After watching a couple of their games this season, I don’t feel like their offense is much of a threat. T.J. Yates had better not trip over a blade of grass and injure himself, or anything. Shaun Draughn will need to put up huge numbers for the Tar Heels. UVa needs to see more offensive production this game, similar to what we pulled off against Southern Miss. It feels as if we have yet to put together a complete game. Against TCU, our defense did alright, holding the Horned Frogs to 30 points and 308 yards: not insurmountable totals. The offense scored just 14 points in each of the first two games against TCU and William and Mary. However, there was a kind of reversal for the Southern Miss game. Virginia jumped out to a 17 point lead by halftime, and the offense put up 390 yards and 34 points. The defense let it slide in the second half, and the Golden Eagles scored the come-from-behind victory. To sum up, Virginia needs to put together a comprehensive game on offense, defense, and special teams. That include no stupid penalties and no turnovers…Except if our defense causes the turnovers. That’s okay. We’ve been known to surprise North Carolina before; last year was a prime example. I was one of the first on the field after we upset No. 18 at home. There was no better feeling than celebrating down there with the team after a big win. Groh Says: “I look at the team in the big picture, not in any one particular game, so I had watched quite a few games previous to that game. Very impressed with their defensive team. There are a lot of players on that team that are really good. Obviously they showed that to us last year when they were here, and continue to do that during the course of the season. Of the four games this year and the final half of the season last year, thinking back to their Bowl game, the only two games they lost was when the opposing quarterback had a career game. Pat White in the Bowl game last year had a career game which enabled his team to win, and Nesbitt had an outstanding game the other day, probably a career game for him, too, or one of his very best, which enabled his team to win. So usually against a defense of that strength, it takes that, it takes the quarterback to step up and do something spectacular. Each one of those quarterbacks did it in a different way for their team and it’s one of those games where — Miami did the same thing to Indianapolis the week before, but the time of possession, but unfortunately for the Colts they had Peyton Manning and when your team only has the ball 14 or 15 minutes in the game, it’s going to be difficult to get a lot of points in the game. For those circumstances, and the fact that obviously our offense is quite a bit different than the Georgia Tech offense, that we tend to not use that game a lot in terms of our preparation.” Blair Says: OUR quarterbacks need to play well! Surprisingly, I think we can pull this one off. Call me the eternal optimist, but I pick us to win this one. Let’s crush some Tar Heel dreams, shall we?
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Oh. My. God. October 3, 2009 “We’re pretty hard to stick a fork into.” - Al Groh. 16-3. Enjoy this moment, everyone.
Mr. October October 4, 2009 My local newspaper featured a column in which the writer referred to Al Groh as “Mr. October.” I have to say, he’s got a point…Groh does have a stunning October record. Just look at last season: we only won five games, four of which were consecutive W’s in October. I only hope we can keep this up. Yesterday’s game was astounding. Yeah, so the offense still isn’t stellar, but it was a HUGE improvement over what we’ve seen thus far. Whatever adjustments Groh and Brandon made definitely helped, and we need to stick with what works. It looks like we just don’t have the personnel right now to run a “pure” spread offense. Jameel Sewell was much improved, and we even saw a tiny smidgen of Vic Hall on offense, and even some Verica! Sewell is still the guy though. He did well, but there’s one key thing he still needs to grasp; Jameel needs to learn to recognize when a play has broken down, and he needs to know when to throw the ball away. I’ll admit, he can “save” some broken plays, but a lot of the time he ends up taking a sack for a loss as he tries to desperately scramble from left to right. Speaking of scrambling desperately, Mikell Simpson had a great game because he STOPPED DANCING AROUND! If the corner was there, he took it, but otherwise he did a great job hitting the holes and making solid gains. The biggest thing: NO TURNOVERS! I read somewhere where this was the first game in 9 games that we didn’t have a single turnover. No sense in letting them have the ball for free. Jimmy Howell is still my MVP(unter). The guy has been Mr. Consistency all season long. The defense was phenomenal. We held UNC to just a field goal. Epic. Matt Conrath was amazing, and Ras-I Dowling has finally started playing to his potential. We saw Vic Hall on D as well, and he was his usual stellar self. Glad to see his hip isn’t bothering him anymore. On special teams, we were on the mark. I’m so happy we finally found a consistent kicker in Robert Randolph. True frosh Drew Jarrett made his kicking debut. Good for him, representing the 757, even if he did go to F.W. Cox. The one thing about special teams that concerned me was Chase Minnifield on the punt returns. He needs to learn to call for a fair catch. He caught the ball a couple of times with a Tar Heel defender right in his face, and got leveled. Luckily, he held on to the ball each time. No turnovers, remember? It was still a little scary… It was kind of nice watching the game at home, I could yell as much as I wanted! No press conference coverage this week; I’m still on fall break and won’t be in CVille tomorrow. I’ll still get the transcript of Groh’s interview, so I can pass on any cool tidbits. Indiana this week, at home, for Homecomings. I’m being a student this week, so I’ll be enjoying
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the game from the stands with my friends. I’ll be Tweeting updates, and letting you know about all the fun stuff going on for the big weekend. The postgame presser is still a go. “We’re pretty hard to stick a fork in.” - Al Groh
Weekly Rundown October 7, 2009 I’m back on campus after a very relaxing Fall Break/Reading Days (you know U.Va. and our special names for everything…), and it’s safe to say that the mood on campus has improved greatly since our first win. I’ve been keeping up with news in the College Football World, and the mood here is almost mellow compared to schools like, let’s say, Florida State. My 2 cents worth on that issue: I love Bobby Bowden. Almost idolize the man. However, it’s time for him, and the Seminoles’ football program, to move on. This season should be his last, and it probably will be. Anyway, on to happier subject matter. I can’t tell you that Al Groh has been forgiven here in C-Ville, but the prospect of having him coach us for the remainder of the season is a little less sour. We’ve made progress, and we certainly do have talent. 1-0 in the ACC, baby! Three Cavaliers (two current, one former) have been honored this week. DE Matt Conrath was the ACC’s co-defensive lineman of the week after the UNC game in which he knocked down three passes and made four tackles. Placekicker Robert Randolph (he looks so little on TV!) was ACC co-Specialist of the week. Randolph made three field goals in the 16-3 win over North Carolina. Former safety Anthony Poindexter is having his jersey retired on Saturday at the game vs. Indiana. Poindexter is now the team’s defensive backs coach after spending time in the NFL with the Ravens and the Browns. Older fans might recall the 1995 upset of Florida State in which Poindexter, just a freshman at the time, stopped FSU Warrick Dunn just short of the endzone to preserve the victory. Poindexter doesn’t recall the play, since, according to him, “I got hit in the head a lot that year.” Coach Poindexter has been a valuable contributor to the program both as a player and as a coach, and I’m happy he’s being honored this week. Al Groh says, “ Congratulations to Anthony (Poindexter), well deserved. He is one of the all time great players here. I thought they were retiring my jersey once, too, between games 9 and 10 but I found out that somebody stole it so I had to change numbers. That’s about the closest that I came to envisioning something like that.” Coach Groh’s got some jokes, people. As I said in an earlier post, I missed out on the weekly press conference due to fall break. I have no idea which players were there, since they don’t send out transcripts of their interviews. However, here are some choice tidbits from Groh, courtesy of the Media Relations dept. On Vic Hall’s presence all over the field: “You know, if it weren’t for the few a couple of circumstances had gone a little differently, Vic would have caught a pass, thrown a pass, run the ball, had a sack and played on special teams. He was on one of our pressures, he was the first one there, a sack eventually went to Nate Collins. He had a pass called back because of a penalty. He had his catch, I believe, and if one of the passes were thrown better he would have had two. He was in on one of our field goals, so he’s just one of our best players. He’s able to keep it all straight. So he’s I mean this is just a football guy.” On the “keys to the 3rd quarter”: “I’m refusing to talk about the North Carolina game. Third
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quarter is really important. It’s one of the four most important quarters in the game. (Chuckles.)” The team’s attitude following the win: “The players have come out with a positive energetic attitude to start each work week. It doesn’t mean that it’s it’s not a business I guess it is a “business as usual” attitude but it’s a business as usual attitude looking forward to what the challenges are and to what we have to do to get ready. If you do that week after week after week then you give yours the best opportunity not only to be mentally prepared for the game, but to be emotionally prepared for the game and that starts up early in the week. Obviously you’re not as “jacked up” on Sunday evening as you are when you go to bed Friday night or Saturday morning but there has to be an anticipation of what’s going to happen.” On Jameel Sewell: “Yeah, I think I cited last evening a play that was very significant to the game where he really stood in there and passed up any opportunity that might have been there to run with the ball and completed a very vital play to the outcome of the game, but that’s one of the things that players of his style do. If Vince Young had stopped running he probably would have won the Heisman Trophy. We haven’t put out any flyers on that yet have we, Jim? Not quite going down that road but there might be some capacity there.” Say what you want about Groh, but you never exactly know just whhe might come up with at these pressers. I’m a little sad I missed this one.
Indiana Preview! October 7, 2009 This one gets an exclamation point in the title for three reasons: 1) WE WON A GAME! 2) This game doesn’t affect our conference record, so it’s a good chance to see if we are “for real” 3) It’s Homecomings weekend, so there will be plenty of festivities! Indiana is coming to town this week, and I have to say I’m a little nervous. Of course, here in the ‘Ville we are all still riding high after our beatdown of the Tar Heels , but I had previously thought that Indiana would be one of those nonconference “gimme” games. Sadly I was mistaken, and the Hoosiers’ near victory over Michigan has me a little apprehensive. Although, the Wolverines’ defense is nothing special, 33 points is still impressive against a Top-25 team. What am I saying, those rankings are pretty bogus anyway. Virginia Tech moves up to No. 5 after beating DUKE?! Ugh. I think I’m going to be sick. The Hoosiers roll in with a 3-2 record, both losses coming to Big Ten (11) teams. I’ve already covered the Michigan loss, but Indiana also fell 33-14 to No. 9 Ohio State. They posted 3 sacks against the fearsome OSU O-line, so our big men up front have their work cut out for them. Senior DEs Jammie Kerlew and Greg Middleton are on a slew of award watch lists, so they are going to be a big factor in the pass rush. On offense, QB Ben Chappell threw for 210 yards against the Buckeyes, just short of his No. 3 in the Big Ten 230 yards-per-game average. Watch out for WR Mitchell Evans, who can also throw the ball in trick play situations. Since it’s Homecomings Weekend, I expect to see a lot of fans at this game, especially since we are coming off of a big win. We are 42-40-2 all-time for our Homecoming games, and I’m still a little sour over last season’s HC Weekend loss to Miami. I’m really confident in our defense going into this game; last week was simply amazing and we’ve only allowed 16 3rd down conversions out of 61 attempts this season. Not bad for a team
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that has only won one game thus far. new depth chart for this week is below.
Groh Says: “I think our team is very excited about the challenge that we have in playing a Big 10 team. It’s only the third Big 10 team we’ve played; since we have been at Virginia… so it’s a very physical, very competitive game and we expect the same kind of challenge here this week against a team that one thing for the coaches today, it’s pretty clear it’s a different kind of day from other weeks because we don’t have any of that built in information about the team. How they tried to play us in the past, who the personnel is, we don’t know anybody from recruiting and what his natural speed is so it’s taken deeper research. It’s a fun project to be on but it’s very challenging and that makes today a very, very important today because everything that follows from today is based on what is discovered during the course of the day from the coaches. so this is a day of great diligence for us. We are pretty impressed with a physical team like this. they’ll play the most physical style of anybody we’ve played so far this year, so what typically is the longstanding reputation of the Big 10, although clearly that’s changed, the style of the teams, the michigan offense and what purdue has done over recent years, but still known as a smash mouth league, and they clearly play a physical style. they have that kind of players, I’m sure they played that way in high school, too. so it will be a real good challenge for our team.” Blair Says: non-conference game, pressure is off to get the first win, stadium full of excited students, fans, and alumni… I think we’ve got jsut aboutn everything we need, including a team with the skills and mental tenacity to pull out a win at home. as long as our offense does enough to support the defense’s effort, we should be able to walk out with our second win. u.Va 24 - Indiana 14
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Linkasaurus-Rex October 8, 2009 At least we are “low risk.” [EDSBS] http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2009/10/08/dollar-bill-doug-makes-you-dollar-dollarbills/#more-12592 Heather Dinich picks us to win for the second week running. [ESPN] http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/4756/week-6-predictions Congrats to Cavalier safety Brandon Woods on getting married during the bye week! [Daily Progress] http://www2.dailyprogress.com/cdp/sports/cavalier_insider/ci_football/article/married_life_suits_ uvas_woods/46829/
It’s Game Day! October 10, 2009 Homecomings Weekend is always a blast, so I’m going rogue today and being a student. I’ll be tailgating, sitting in the student section, and yelling my head off at the team. No liveblog today, but I’ll be updating you with tweets, and I’ll still be attending the postgame press conference. Be on the lookout for photos later, too, from all my tailgating adventures and misadventures. Also, If you are in town today, make sure you stop by the lawn until 1 for Pancakes for Parkinson’s. The pancakes are delicious, and donations go to Parkinson’s research. It’s an awesome fundraiser and a total blast. Maybe I’ll see you there? Check back later for a recap. GO ‘HOOS!
Change of Plans: Rain Day October 10, 2009 Okay, because I hate getting rained on, I’m sitting in the press box today. I figured I would save my “Student Day” for a day when the weather is a little nicer.
Pregame! October 10, 2009 Minutes until kickoff: 48 Players are running warmups in lines. This is my favorite part; they all get really enthusiastic when it is time to skip. Center Jack Shields is the best skipper. I see some long sleeves on some of our guys. Good to know I’m not the only person in the stadium who is cold. Looks like there are some recruits and their families on the sidelines. I hope they like what they see so far! I have to say, I’m not a fan of the all navy-blue uniforms. We need some other color to mix it up. White pants, maybe? My real question is, why don’t we have more orange in the unis?
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BC-VT is on TV up here. 48-7 Tech. What’s going on, Eagles? In other news, The Chosen One, Mr. Timothy Tebow, has been cleared to play tonight at LSU. Not really ACC related, but if VT wants a National Title they’re going to have to go through the Second Coming to get it. In my opinion, VT has no shot at a chamionship, and that’s not just because I’m a Wahoo. The Saga of Tebow continues… I could really use a hot chocolate. 27 Minutes to Kickoff I got some coffee, one of the best media perks. I knew sitting up here was a good idea today. 1st and Goal BC. Let’s make this a little more respectable, guys. It’s time for Coach Poindexter’s ceremony. He’s getting his jersey retired today. A well-deserved honor for one of my favorite members of the coaching staff. They’re showing some highlights of his career here at the University. He delivered some hard hits back in his day. I hope he’s passing that knowledge on to our guys. Congrats, Coach ‘Dex. Marching Band is getting everyone fired up. CavMan video. Whatever the Indiana IU thing it, it just got beat down. The real Cavalier managed to stay a-horse this time. Yay. Lots of cheers for our players, lots of boos for Indiana. The way it should be.
1st Quarter October 10, 2009 Sylven Landesberg and the Men’s BBall team is raising the flag today. We’re kicking off to IU to start off. 15:00 Kickoff sails out of bounds. Seriously, Hinkebein? IU starts at the 40. 1st and 10 from the 40. Great. Chappell throws for the 1st to Doss. Chappell is a pretty hefty dude, it looks like. 1st and 10 from the UVA 46. Chappell is 6′3′ 235. Run for a 6 yard gain. 2nd and 4. QB is discussing it with his guys. Shotgun snap. Chappell with time, finds a receiver for the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 30. Fantastic. Evans at QB? Okay. He Fumbles the handoff, but IU recovers. 2nd and 11. OMG! Catch, fumble, UVA recovery, returned to the IU 38! LET’s GO HOOS! Rodney McLeod scooped it up! 12:48 1st and 10. Play is under review?!? It’s on the Jumobtron, and Blair says it was a fumble. That should be good enough for the refs. This is taking a while. PLAY STANDS! Sewell at QB, throws to a WIDE OPEN Joe Torchia, who drops it. 2nd and 10. Sewell finds Kris Burd who makes a DIVING catch for a 1st!
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1st and 10 from the 16! FG territory! Handoff to Mikell Simpson, who gets down to the 5! 1st and GOAL CAVALIERS. Simpson dashes into the endzone virtually untouched. TOUCHDOWN!!!!! Drew Jarrett’s extra point is good. 757, represent. UVA 7 - IU 0 12:06 Hinkebein to kick it off again. Doss takes the kick, tackled by Raynard Horne after a 21 yard return. 1st and 10 form the 23. Handoff to McCray, who meets Jenkins. 2nd and 6. Chappell sa-no wait, he throws it away. I thought that would be intentional grounding for sure. Way to go, Steve Greer! 3rd and 6. Crowd is into it! Chappell makes a completion, but the receiver is wrapped up well short of the 1st! 4th and 3. Punt time! Minnifield back to receive. Why doesn’t he ever fair catch it? 10:36 1st and 10 from the 32. Sewell back to throw, FINDS BURD AGAIN! 1st and 10 from the 37 after a 31 yard throw. Torchia makes the catch this time! 1st and 10 from the 23. Handoff to Simpson, 2 yard gain. This hurry up offense makes me type really fast! 2nd and 8. Sewell with time, tries to find Burd, but he was well covered. 3rd and 8. Come on guys, let’s convert. Please don’t do anything dumb. SEWELL FINDS A WIDE OPEN VIC HALL!!!!!!!! HALL RUNS INTO THE ENDZONE FOR A TD! Jarrett’s kick is good with Hall on the hold. UVA 14 - IU 0. 9:21 Hinkebein to kick it away. Returner LEVELED by Horne at the 23. 1st and 10. Handoff to McCray for 4 yards. 2nd and 6. 3 yard pickup for McCray this time. 3rd and 3. Let’s hold them! Defense is hungry. Chappell in the gun, pass is well defended by Chris Cook. Flag on the play, holding. We decline. 4th and 3. Puntastic! Ball downed at the 23 after a bouncing punt. 7:43 1st and 10 from the 23. Sewell quick out to Hall, 2 yard gain. 2nd and 8. Sewell to Tim Smith, who fights for the 1st! 1st and 10 from the 34. Sewell becomes the lead blocker for Simpson, who picks up 6. 2nd and 4. Pass to Vic Hall who gets the 1st. 1st and 10 from the Virginia 47. Long pass to Smith is just too far. That’s okay. Make them fear the deep ball.
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2nd and 10. Sewell is tripped up by an IU defender for a loss of yards, flag on the play. Tripping on us. Will Barker, shame on you. 3rd and 17 now. Eeep. Complete to Simpson, who gets 7. Not enough, though. 4th and 10. Jimmy Howell, my MVP(unter). Beautiful punt, but we can’t get to it before it bounces into the endzone. 4:28 In other news, way to blow it, Auburn. I picked you, too. 1st and 10 from the IU 20. Chappell from the shotgun, hands off to Davis Walker, 2 yards. 2nd and 8. Again IU tries to run straight ahead. Another 2 yard pickup 3rd and 6. Stop them here! GREAT OPEN FIELD TACKLE by McLeod! 4th and 3. Minnifield back to receive again. Make good decisions. WE ALMOST BLOCK IT, aaaaaand Minnifield fields it dangerously close to an IU defender, again. 2:29 1st and 10 from the 27. Sewell keeps it for a loss of 1. Let’s stick with what works. He has enough time to throw. 2nd and 11. Throws JUST out of the reach of Tim Smith. He’s not that tall, Jameel! 3rd and 11. Small IU cheering section this game. Mikell Simpson catches the short pass, but can’t get enough YACs. 4th and 1. Aw, man. Go for it? No, guess not. Howell to punt. Fake it? Rugby punt down to the 11. Great job, Jimmy. :51.8 1st and 10 at the 11 for the Losers- I mean Hoosiers. Pass complete to Doss, 7 yard gain. 2nd and 3. McCray runs ahead, needs a measurement. 1st and 10 from the 21. End 1st Quarter. UVA 14 - IU 0
2nd Quarter October 10, 2009 15:00 1st and 10 from the 21. Chappell hads off to McCray who picks up a nice chunk of yards before meeting Ras-I Dowling. 1st and 10 from the 33. Mitchell Evans at QB, keeps for a 2 yard gain. Nice, Greer, nice! 2nd and 8. WOW. Cam Johnson gets AIRBORNE at knocks down the pass! 3rd and 8. Chappell back at QB. Jenkins and Burrell put the pressure on and Chappel throws it away. Flag on the play. Uh oh. I hope it’s not roughing the passer…Illegal receiver downfield on them. Penalty declined. 4th and 8. Puntpuntpunt. Minnifield, the fair catch exists to protect you so you DON’T get hit
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like that. Ughhhhhhhh. 13:51 Loss of 2 on the “return.” 1st and 10 from the 16. TV timeout. I should have gone to get more coffee. Game on. Sewell passes to Vic Hall, who gets the 1st and then some. 1st and 10 from the 40. Handoff to Torrey Mack who gets 7. 2nd and 3. Mack powers ahead for the 1st down. 1st and 10 from the 49. I like Mack as the power back. Nice complement to Simpson’s speed. Sewell keeps after he finds no open guys, picks up 7. HOLDING CALL? No way! 1st and 20 from the 41. Great. Sewell with 3 wide 2 in the backfield. Keeps it, and gets 13. 2nd and 7. Manageable. Sewell throws too far for Hall. 3rd and 7. Convertconvertconvert. Sewell overthrows Tim Smith again. 4th and 7. Howell punt. Ball bounces inside the 5 into the endzone. 11:24 1st and 10 Hoosiers from their own 20. Hefty Man Chappell in at QB. Finds Terrence Turner for the 1st down. 1st and 10 from the 32. Handoff to Burgess, flag on the play. It’s on them. Holding. 1st and 20 from the 22 now bwahahahaha. Pass complete for 5 yards. 2nd and 15. Let’s get them! Wide open Dedmond is tackled in the open field. 3rd and 6. Get loud everyone, because I can’t! Chappell with 4 wide. INTERCEPTED BY DOWLING!!!!!!!!! 9:05 1st and 10 from the IU 42. Sewell finds a wide open Simpson, who JUKES HIS WAY DOWN TO THE 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1st and GOAL CAVALIERS! Simpson into the endzone!!!!!!!! Jarrett to kick Hall to hold. It’s perfect! UVA 21 - IU 0 8:41 Another out of bounds kick sets IU up at the 40. 2nd and 9. Pass to Dedmond. 3rd and 4 from the 46. Chappell with time finds Doss for the 1st. Flag on the play. Uh oh… Moseley on the tackle. No foul on the play. Thank God. 1st and 10 from the UVA 39. 1st 3rd down conv. of the day for IU. McCray carries for 2. 2nd and 8. Chappell in the gun, hits Doss for 4 yards. 3rd and 4. Come on, defense! Let’s shut them out 1st half! No gain no gain no gain. DOWLING LEVELS HIM FOR THE SACK! Chappell didn’t even see him coming. 4th and 10. Timeout. Are they really discussing going for it? THEY ARE!!!!!! Wow. Come on defense! CHAPPELL SACKED AGAIN! KILL KILL KILL!
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5:03 After the loss of 8, we take over. 1st and 10 from our 46. Sewell throws to Rashawn Jackson who manages to hold on despite being facemasked. 1st and 10 from the IU 33 after the catch and penalty. Pass complete to Tim Smith, finally. 2nd and 3. Simpson runs ahead for the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 22. Love itttttttt. Oh we’re going to score again. I can feeeeeel it! AND WE DO! Whoops, nope, incomplete. I thought Smith had it. 2nd an- Wait, it’s under review. I swear that’s a catch. Officials taking a long time to decide. Gimme that TD! Awwwwwww 2nd down. 2nd and 10. That’s okay. We’ll get one. Before the ball is even snapped, flag on the play. 2nd and 15 after an illegal substitution call. Pass complete to Vic Hall for the 1st down! 1st and 10 from the 12. Simpson scurries ahead for 5. 2nd and 5. Clock is under 3 minutes. Hall at QB! Keeps it, dives for the endzoneeeeeeeee, nope out of bounds. 3rd and 1 from the 3! Let’s get one here, guys. Simpson for his 3rd TD of the game. LOVE IT! We go for 2 and don’t get it. UVA 27 - IU 0 2:34 Randolph to kick it off this time. Thanks. Low bouncing kick fielded around the 3 and returned to the 38. 1st and 10 IU from the 38. I guess we don’t want to give them a good return… Chappell in the shotgun, hands off to McCray who gets 7 before Conrath takes him down. 2nd and 3. 3rd and 1. Chris Cook knocks Doss out of the air before he can posses the ball. 4th and 1. Boom! I love our defense. Minnifield deep. Pleasepleaseplease fields it with room this time, but can’t do anything with it. 1:42 I want another score before halftime! 1st and 10 from the 17. 2 minute drill, boys. Let’s go! Sewell hands off to Jackson for 5 tough yards. 2nd and 5. Jackson gets the ball again and the 1st. 1st and 10. Are we running out the clock, here? Jackson gets the pass and RUMBLES FOR 34 Yards!!! 1st and 1o from the 37. Sewell under pressure throws it away. I’ll take it; good decision. 2nd and 10. 25 seconds left. Sewell keeps, breaks tackles all the way down to the 15!!!!!!!! 1st and 10 at the 15. I can taste another TD. Aaaaaaand Sewell gets sacked. 2nd and 15. Timeout UVa. Let’s get our feet set here and make something happen before time runs out. 7 seconds left. Field goal try for Robert Randolph. 37 yarder is good.
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UVA 30 - IU 0. :04.0 Enough time to kick it away. Randolph to kick it away. I got away with a little victory dance because all the media people are busy. Onside kick? Okay… 1st and 10 Indiana from our 42. Clock reads 0.00. Flag on the field? Offsides on us. Reset the clock to 4 seconds. Chappell LAUNCHES it towards the endzone, DOWLING picks it off and jukes, jukes, jukes, jukes again until he gets out to the 40. Hahahahahahaaaaaa too funny. PASS INTERFERENCE??!?!?!?!?!! NO WAY! Still Indiana ball at our 37. Clock reads 0.00 again. Timeout us. Get the defense set, I guess. Chappell with too much time, over throws everyone. END OF HALF. UVA - 30 Indiana - 0.
Halftime Observations. October 10, 2009 1st of all, HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY for 30-0 halftime score. AND THE MARCHING BAND DOING A DISNEY HALFTIME SHOW!!!! Okay, back to football. Offense is doing great. Period. Defense = Spectacular. Special teams, why did we go for 2 needlessly? Oh well. No harm done, today. Glad we replaced Hinkebein with Randolph for the kickoffs. Jarrett covering PATs well. Chase Minnifield, as happy as I am that you are holding onto the ball, PLEASE call for a fair catch if there is a defender right in your face. Okay, the band has got some guy singing all the songs. Craziness. Every college kid loves Disney songs. No question.
3rd Quarter October 10, 2009 IT’S THE CIIIIIIIIIIRCLE OF LIIIIIIIIIIIIFE!!!!!! Okay, seriously, who doesn’t love the Lion King? 15:00 Perry Jones returns the kickoff to the 36. 757 baby! Something in the water down there! 1st and 10. Jameel throws to Jackson for 5. 2nd and 5. Mikell Simpson runs for daylight, he was one player away from 6 points. 1st and 10 from the IU 42. Simpson smothered after 1 yard gain. 2nd and 9. Mikell finds some running room for the 1st down. 1st and 10 at the IU 26. Simpson again. 1 yard pickup. I guess we are trying to up our time of possession.
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2nd and 9. Incomplete to Simpson. 3rd and 9. Are we going for another 100 yard game for No. 5? Sewell throws to Simpson who dives down to the 13 for a 1st down! 1st and 10. Flagalag. Facemask on them. 1/2 the distance to the goal. 1st and GOAL from the 7. Hehehehehe. Simpson is JUST SHORT of the goal! 2nd and Goal from the 1! TOUCHDOWN MIKELL SIMPSON! EXTRA POINT IS GOOD. THE JUICE IS LOOSE. UVA - 37 IU - 0 11:32 Simpson’s 4 TD’s are the most by ANY ACC player this season!!!!!! Randolph to kick it away. Doss is brought down at the 28. 1st and 10. McCray is brought down by Woods after a 4 yard carry. 2nd and 6. Chappell hands off to McCray who gets NOTHING! Steve Greer leads the charge! 3rd and 8. NO WAY WAS THAT A CATCH! 1st and 10 on the 49 after Chappell’s lofty pass. Handoff to McCray. Flag on the play. Holding on them. Stop cheating. 1st and 20 at the 39. Davis-Walker carries for 6 yards. 2nd and 14. Chappell keeps, with time, pass intended for Doss but way overthrown. Flag again. Holding again. Cheaters. 3rd and 14 after we decline. Fans on their feet. I can smell a turnover. Nevermind, Chappell’s pass complete to Evans for the 1st down. 1st and 10 on the UVa 28. I need my olfactory senses checked. Doss carries for a loss of 2. 2nd and 12. Steve Greer on the tackle again on that last play. Chappell in the gun, throws to Doss, complete for 7. 3rd and 5. Hold them here, guys. Get in his head. Chappell throws it up, up, and away for an incompletion. 4th and 5. FG unit on for a 40 yarder. NO GOOD. GET THAT WEAK MESS OUT OF HERE! 6:56 We take over on downs after the missed FG. 1st and 10 on the 23. Handoff goes to Simpson, 2 yard gain. 2nd and 8. Injured UVa player on the field. Can’t see who it is. Hope it’s not Mikell. Whoever it is, they’re not getting up. I think a trainer ran to get the cart. This doesn’t look good. Cart is coming out. Stadium is silent. Still don’t know who it is. Backboard comes off the cart, looks to be a head/neck injury for whoever it is. I still haven’t seen Simpson in the huddle of players. Claps from the crowd as the injured player is loaded onto the cart. STILL don’t know who. Bad news. Mikell Simpson’s day is over. 1st and 10. Sewell to Hall for the 1st down. 1st and 10 from the 41. Sewell hands off to Jackson who surges forward for 5.
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2nd and 5. Sewell keeps and gets the 1st. 1st and 10 from the IU 47. I hope we can keep the momentum up without Simpson. Jackson carries for 9. 2nd and 1. Jackson again, measurement needed. He got it. 1st and 10. Still waiting for an update on Mikell Simpson. Sewell is under center, ball to Mack, who finds the corner, but is hit. Penalty flags on the play. Holding during the play, personal foul on the d after the play. 1st and 10 from the 32 after penalties. Whatever. Sewell under pressure, throws away. Torchia in the area. 2nd and 10. Quick toss to Mack, who can’t quite get to the corner for the 1st. 3rd and 4. Sewell dodges 2 would be tacklers, finds Inman who JUKES TO THE 4! 1st and GOAL! YAY! THE OFFENSE LIVES! Mack carries, but loses 2 yards trying to find the corner. Straight ahead, guys! 2nd and goal. Sewell in the gun quick handoff to Mack, who can’t quite make the endzone. Push him forward, team! 3rd and Goal from the 1. Eeep. SEWELL JUKES OUTSIDE FOR THE TD! Jarrett’s PAT is good. UVA 44 - IU 0 2:32 By the transitive property of football, we would beat Michigan. Randolph sends one deep, returned out to the 25. 1st and 10. Pass out to Doss, 5 yard gain. 2nd and 5. Chappell hit as he throws. Incomplete. 3rd and 5. 3 wide. 1 in the backfield with Chappell. HIT HIM!!!!!! Pass complete for a 1st down. 1st and 10 on the 36. KILL KILL KILL! McCray carries, meets Greer and Jenkins after 5. 2nd and 5. 3rd Q winding down. Chappell throws for the 1st. Yuck. End 3rd Quarter. UVA 44 - IU 0
4th Quarter October 10, 2009 Bring it home, boys. I’m so proud of all of you. 15:00 1st and 10. Pass complete for 4. 2nd and 6 on the UVA 49. Pass tipped. Steve Greer is an animal. 3rd and 6. Chappell drops back with time, hit as he throws, incompete. 4th and 6. Me gusta mucho. Why is everyone leaving? Minnifield lets it bounce into the endzone.
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14:05 Timeout. 1st and 10 UVa from their own 20 after the touchback. Where you goin’, Indiana fans? Enjoy the show! THE PEOPLE’S QUARTERBACK, MARC VERICA, HAS ENTERED THE GAME. GET SET, PEOPLE. Verica hands off to Jackson. 7 yard pickup. 2nd and 3. Handoff again. 1 yard gain. 3rd and 2. Okay we got it, Jackson carries. Marc Verica officially achieved a 1st down! 1st and 10 from the 32. Jackson carries for a TON OF YARDS. 1st and 10 from the IU 34. 33 yard pickup. 500 yard mark has been achieved. Marc carries for 1 yard. Yay. One Whole Yard! 2nd and 9. Throw a TD, Marky Marc! Torrey Mack receives the BEST HANDOFF EVER from MARC VERICA and gets down to the 11. 1st and 10, almost goal. Torrey Mack loses a yard. I want Marc to throw. 2nd and 11. Handoff again to Mack. 3rd and 9. All the more spectacular when Verica throws for the score. Which he should do. Right now. Marc Verica is under pressure, dumps off to Torrey Mack, but we lose 5 yards. Shoot. 4th and 14. Randolph to kick FG. 31 yards good. UVA 47 - IU 0 9:20 Protests will be staged if this is the only MV6 drive we see all day today. MV6, see what I did there? Randolph, all-purpose kicker, to send it downfield. NO NO NO NO RETURNER BREAKS FREE TO OUR 36!!!!!! BLECGHHHHHHH 1st and 10. Oh well. Hold them here. I want a shutout. Le handoff goes to Davis-Walker. He gets four. 2nd and 6. Get your game face on, defense. I want a turnover. Pass is good for 1st down, but a flag. Nooooo. Personal foul on us. The ref is giving them a redzone trip to make them feel better. 1st and 10 from the 12. GET LOUD PEOPLE! Touchdown Losers. UVA 47 - IU 7. 8:18 PA system is playing “Let’s See How Far We’ve Come.” You never spoke a truer word… Perry Jones deep to receive. Short kick, fielded by LoVante Battle. Wait, who? 1st and 10 FOR THE PEOPLE’S QB!!!!!!! Snap hit’s Verica’s hands, and pops up. He Heroically falls on it for a loss of 10. 2nd and 20. Verica in the gun, makes a safe handoff to Max Millen (who?) 3rd string guys in. 3rd and 13. Handoff loss of 2. LET MARC THROW! LET MARC THROW! 4th and 5. Punterriffic Jimmy Howell. Wait, no. Backup punter! Whoever that was knocked it
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down to the 11. GO YOU! GO- NATHAN RATHJEN! 5:53 Backup QB for Hoosiers. Handoff to Davis-Walker. 2nd and 1 from the 12. Run is stuffed 3rd and 7. Gets the 1st. McLeod makes a tackle. 1st and 10 from the 27. Fans are headed home. Run clock run! 2nd and 7. Ball carrier gets squished by John-Kevin Dolce. 3rd and 3. Timeout Indiana. Gimme the ball!!! Quit stalling! 3 minutes left in the game. Turnover time! Or not… 1st and 10 on the 38. Handoff for 3 yards. 2nd and 7. Random IU player carries for 6. 3rd and 1. Incomplete pass. 4th and 1. Might as well go for it here. Or not… IU punt team on to kick it away. Vic Hall and Minnifield back to get it. Minnifield jukes all the way to the 50! 1:12 Flag on the play. Back that nice return up a bit. Okay. Where’s the PEOPLE’S QUARTERBACK? 1st and 10 from the 23. Ugh. MV6 hands it off. Under a minute to play. GO FOR IT ALL, VERICA!!! 2nd and 5. Under 30 to play. Another handoff to end the game. UVA 47- IU 7.
Indiana Recapitulation October 12, 2009 47-7, hello offense. I really think the referee was giving Indiana that redzone trip which led to their only score of the game. All sarcasm aside, the team played great. It’s like we are seeing a different group of guys out there this month. I’m bringing up October once again, since our incredible streak continues. “It was a tremendous thing,” Rashawn Jackson said. “It was great to see all the guys buy in to the program and get this win. This is a tough Big-10 team and we knew we had to show up and compete. We did, and I’m proud of this team.” The o-line has made the difference for this team. Jameel Sewell has time to find receives, Mikell Simpson has space to run, and 536 yards of total offense is nothing to laugh at. “My eyes were good today. The line did a great job of pass protecting and being physical up front and I was able to keep my head and my eyes downfield,” Sewell said. “On most plays I was able to go where I wanted with the football, but the amount of protection I had let me come off a primary receiver and hit the secondary receiver just as often.” Our receivers, our YOUNG receivers, are getting open and playing smarter. Speaking of receivers, whatcha think about Vic Hall at WR? He caught a TD pass this Saturday,
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which was a bit overshadowed by Mikell’s 4 TD’s. “I think today we made great strides in defining what I can do on offense,” Hall said. The defense was phenomenal. Line, linebackers, and secondary. No complaints. Steve Greer is an animal. I’m calling it right here: U.Va.’s next defensive superstar.” Our defense has a mentality that we play for each other,” Ras-I Dowling, who recorded his first career sack this weekend, said. “Every individual play is on behalf of the whole defense. There were some mistakes, but we will look at some film, and correct those things.” Special teams just gets it done. It’s safe to say we have on of the most consistent punters in the ACC. For a while, he was the only bright spot. I guess I will just hold my tongue on Chase Minnifield’s scary punt return tactics. Sooner or later they are going to violate the halo or something, but I still fear for his safety and the security of the football. Second straight game with no turnovers. See what a difference it makes? THE PEOPLE’S QUARTERBACK, is not so much anymore. Sewell has a history of slow starts, but he has been able to pick it up and lead. The calls for Marc have stopped, for now. At least Verica saw some time at the end of the game, just in case. “Our team has clearly taken another step down the road of progress,” Groh said after the game. “There’s a long way to go yet. We haven’t gotten to the halfway mark so the challenge is to keep the progress moving forward. But good progress [Saturday]. So many people stepped up.” In case you didn’t know, Mikell Simpson was checked out at the UVA Hospital Saturday night after the game, and was released. There should be more information today at the press conference. I’ll keep you updated!
FYI… October 12, 2009 ESPN’s Heather Dinich has Virginia ranked 6th in her ACC power rankings. This puts my Wahoos ahead of Clemson, UNC, Duke, NCState, Maryland, and Florida State.
Another FYI October 12, 2009 Mikell Simpson was at practice yesterday, but didn’t participate.
Turtle Preview October 16, 2009 Turtles?!??! I LOVE TURTLES! I had a turtle once; this box turtle lived in my yard and my dog would bark at him. That was until he wandered into the road and someone ran him over. That is how I envision this game is going to go on Saturday: Maryland, the witless, slow turtle will wander into the path of the U.Va. Football Juggernaut. It seems that just when the team has everyone’s support back after their slow start, we have to go on the road to play one of our biggest rivals. Of course, stinky Virginia Tech is our ultimate rival, but I consider Maryland and UNC tied for our second biggest rivalry. Probably one of my favorite games as a student at Virginia was the 2007 Maryland game at College Park. We won on
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a last second TD dive by Mikell Simpson. Speaking of Simpson, he is listed as “doubtful” for this Saturday. I know that if he’s able, he will play since this is such a huge game both for him and for the team. Maryland is struggling this season; it’s no secret. They’ve been decimated by injuries. CB Nolan Carroll, a friend from Greensboro, had his season ended in the second game. However, OT Bruce Campbell returns for the Terrapins to give Chris Turner some more protection. He really needs it, too. He has been sacked an insane number of times, which puts the wear and tear on the QB and makes scoring points pretty difficult. RB Da’Rel Scott is out for at least another two weeks, but Davin Megget has been filling in. The real offensive threat for the Terps is WR/PR Torrey Smith. Smith is simply electrifying, leading the nation in all-purpose yards per game. He was named the ACC Specialist of the Week last week. It will be pretty cool to see him go up against Ras-I Dowling, who was the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Week. The past two games= no turnovers for Virginia. The past two games= wins for Virginia. I UNDERSTAND NOW! In other news, I asked Al Groh about Chase Minnifield not calling for a fair catch. This is what the coach had to say: “There is no official halo violation anymore, player has to be given a reasonable opportunity to catch the ball which you can see that “reasonable” means that the defender can get quite close to him, it’s really the one call that doesn’t occur, which is actual kick interference. He’s got a lot of confidence in his ability to catch it, he’s got a good level of courage to deal with whatever is impending so we just – it’s one of those things we kinda leave it up to him and we talk about what makes good decisions. It’s not a question of Laissez-faire coaching but it’s not micromanaging the circumstance and allowing a player to use his skills.” And there you have it. I’ll get off Minnifield’s back now, unless he makes a serious tactical error. If we can keep up this new offensive production, and the defense stays alert and tough, there is no reason why we shouldn’t win this game. My only question is the health of Mikell Simpson. We haven’t seen the depth yet at RB, aside from Rashawn Jackson. Not to say it isn’t there, but we just haven’t seen it. Jameel Sewell is on point right now, and if he keeps tossing TD passes to Vic Hall, we should be okay. Groh Says: “ You know, the players are pretty smart, they’ve got eyes and ears and they can see – they don’t always need the coach to tell ‘em. When a player can see that he can do things better than he could do them before, sure, that makes everybody feel better, whatever we’re doing, so I think we feel positive about ourselves in those circumstances. I think it’s unlikely that any of us feel that previous games with Maryland have any bearing on how this game is going to go. This one is about the level of preparation that we have, how everybody understands and embraces the plan and most particularly how we execute on Saturday” Blair Says: Make me proud, boys. Virginia 33 - Maryland 10.
Maryland Recaptastic October 20, 2009 I waited to write this one because, while I know what I saw during the game, I wanted to hear what Groh and Co. had to say at yesterday’s press conference. Let’s start with what I know. Yeah, it was pretty ugly. Gross weather, not so wonderful play, but a
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win is a win. I’ll take it. Maryland had everything to play for and nothing to lose, so they went out their with everything they had. Kudos to them, but it wasn’t enough to stop us. I can’t really pick out a single unit in which we absolutely failed to perform; everything was a little lackluster all around. Mikell Simpson was a no-show, so Rashawn Jackson had to pick up the slack in the backfield. I was impressed with his effort. He ran hard, hitting the holes and staying in motion rather than a whole lot of stutter-stepping. His style was particularly effective in the nasty field conditions that had players getting their nice, clean unis muddy. Jameel Sewell made a couple of iffy decisions, but the defense was able to contain the Terps’ O so we didn’t pay for them. Our offense, on the other hand, failed to capitalize on a gift from Maryland in the redzone. We came away with 3, but it should have been 7. Injuries, injuries, injuries. Jameel Sewell left the game, as did Matt Conrath. Sewell was rumored to be on crutches after the game with a sprained ankle, but this is just something I heard. I have no idea as to Sewell’s status, and we won’t know anything until the Thursday evening injury report. If Conrath is out for the next game, that will be huge. His backup, Zane Parr, is a decent player, but Conrath is one of the defense’s leaders. As for THE PEOPLE’S QUARTERBACK, the coaching staff seemed really reluctant to let him throw, even on a third and long. Hopefully they will get him plenty of reps this week in practice. According to Coach Groh, “We would be very comfortable with Marc, we are very comfortable with him in any circumstance.” The coach has spoken. The highlight of the game was definitely “Rumblin’ Tumblin’” Nate Collins’ interception return for a TD. His score proved to be the game winner. See, our defense can score when the offense isn’t getting it done. The last TD was just icing on the cake. I loved how the announcers were referring to Vic Hall as “Do-It-All Vic Hall.” He definitely did do anything and everything that was asked of him. Groh says, “When he played corner, and he saw every pass as his responsibility to get his guy covered, not just to run the coverage. He did that on a couple of occasions the other night where when he played, he made a couple real good plays for us at safety or made a couple good match-ups that kept the ball from going in the first place. Vic is not – when he’s playing safety on the dime, he’s not over there as his other job and dictates his responsibility that that’s the most important job that he could have when he goes over and plays and does that. Vic has held on extra points and field goals, he thinks that’s the most important job that he’s got. That’s why he’s so respected.” Virginia is now atop the Coastal Division after remaining undefeated in ACC play. HUGE matchup against GT this week. Stay tuned for LOTS of updates on this game!
BEEEEEEES!11!!!!!! October 21, 2009 AHHHH THEY’RE EVERYWHERE! Okay, so maybe not everywhere. We’ve got some bees coming into Charlottesville this weekend, as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets come to town to try to mess up our OctGROHberfest party. Nice try, winged insects. I’ve never liked Georgia Tech, ever. I don’t like their silly car, their silly mascot, or their silly song that sounds remarkably like our song “Rugby Road.” I bet they stole it from us; those engineers were never very creative. Most importantly, a certain GT running back who shall remain nameless
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said at Media Days that the girls at GT just aren’t very attractive. Clearly, this is important to the outcome of the game. This game is going to be huge. Simply ridiculous. Who would have ever thought that U.Va. would be atop the Coastal with a perfect conference record after the disastrous start to the 2009 season? Not me. This week, Virginia Football 2.0 will have their first real test since the mindblowing turnaround that is the month of October. Speaking of Mr. October, that’s not what Groh’s players call him. According to LB Denzel Burrell, the players call him “Jeezy.” As in “Young Jeezy.” As in the rapper. Al Groh is nicknamed after a rapper. He also likes Kanye West and makes hip-hop references. I’ve mentioned this before, but I just can’t get over it. This should be a pretty exciting game. I’ve had friends asking me about it all week long. “Are we going to win this weekend?” What do I look like, a deck of Tarot cards? My college football pick ‘em record is less than stellar this season (I picked FSU to win the Atlantic Division *wah wah waaaaaaaaahhh*), so I have zero faith in my prediction abilities at this point. I will say that I think we CAN win this game. Say what you want about Al Groh as a coach, but the man is a defensive genius. If anyone can stop this whacked out offense, he can. I’m not saying we WILL win, because there are just too many intangibles, but I think we can, I think we can, I think we can. On the subject of intangibles (or tangibles, whatever), I’ll let you know as soon as I can tomorrow about the injury report. FYI, they don’t release it until 90 min after Thursday practice ends. We are waiting on updates on Jameel Sewell, Mikell Simpson, and Matt Conrath. Yesterday’s depth chart lists true freshman Will Hill in the starting DE spot, so we may not have Conrath for the game. Again, this is pure speculation on my part; tomorrow we get the official word. You have all heard by now about GT and Paul Johnson’s triple-option-wishbone-spreadmacarena-grey poupon-fried-turkey whatever by now. I don’t need to tell you it’s dangerous. Even the oh-so-high-and-mighty Virginia Tech (is my contempt plain enough, here?) fell before the onslaught of the Bumblebees. However, we beat them last year, and we can do it again at home. Marc Verica, if he is indeed our quarterback (he’s always THE PEOPLE’S QUARTERBACK), beat GT last season. Our defense has proved week in and week out that it can hang with the best of them. This is within our reach. “Well, certainly it is a smoother week than it was last year. At least we have a set of ideas going into the week, whereas last year it was really well into the week before, one, we had to just go to the practice field and see it,” Groh said. “Well, now we can watch the game video and see things that worked, and we can also see things that were really an issue. It wasn’t all perfect. We had a lot of issues during the course of the game.” The biggest improvement Georgia Tech has seen has been in the play of its QB Josh Nesbitt. He has made the triple threat credible, and ‘08 ACC POY Jonathan Dwyer hasn’t had to carry the load himself. The one thing that made me smile while watching the GT-VT game last weekend was the number of botched pitches the Jackets had. Our front three guys are going to gobble those up, om nom nom. Tech hasn’t won in CVille since 1990, and I don’t intend to give them that satisfaction. What am I going to do, you ask? Well, I’m taking time out from the press box this week (I know, I’ve said this before) to sit in the stands and cheer the team on. I figure the team needs one more voice in the stands, rather than one more journo in the box mooching off all the free coffee (you know who you are). It’s my sorority’s parents weekend, so I’m headed to a fun tailgate before the game. I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos to share with you all later. Be on the lookout for tweets from the game. I’ll be heading to the postgame press conference as well, so watch for
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updates from that. Most importantly, I’ll be making a sign for this week’s game. See if you can spot me on TV! Coach Jeezy says: “About as good as challenge as we could look for this week in an opponent. Sure could make a pretty strong argument, the hottest team in the ACC with a unique system of play in two of the three elements of their team. Much is made of the uniqueness of the Georgia Tech offense, but they do some very, very creative things with their special teams that makes their special teams amongst the very most effective and the most difficult to prepare for any particular year. We had the same issue last year, and they were really kind of ahead of the curve on a lot of things that they’re doing with their special teams, and as a result they frequently gain a big field position advantage in each one of the turnarounds, which then puts this groundeating offense in a very advantageous position to start with.” Blair Says: I’m not giving a score, because it’s too close to call. Keys to a win are : 1) Win the turnover battle. 2) Contain GT’s running game. 3) PUT SOME POINTS ON THE BOARD! Remember, 44 points still wasn’t enough for Everyone’s Favorite QB Christian Ponder to beat the Jackets. Wahoowah!
Injury Update October 22, 2009 This came in about an hour ago. University of Virginia Football Injury Report Game 7 vs. Georgia Tech Issued: Thursday, Oct 22 This report is compiled by the University of Virginia Sports Medicine staff under the direction of Dr. David Diduch. Out Matt Conrath (ankle) Doubtful none Questionable Oday Aboushi (knee) Joe Torchia (shoulder) Probable Javaris Brown (ankle) Cam Johnson (knee) Corey Mosley (shoulder) Mike Parker (knee) LaRoy Reynolds (knee) Jameel Sewell (ankle) Brandon Woods (shoulder) All remaining players on the Virginia roster are available to participate. Please note the status of
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an injured student-athlete¹s ability to participate can increase or decrease between the time this report is issued and game time. Key: Probable = Virtual certainty will be available for normal duty Questionable = 50-50 chance will not play Doubtful = At least 75% chance will not playOut = Definitely will not play Matt Conrath out. Eeep.
Now that I’ve finally dried off… October 25, 2009 …I can talk about this game. I definitely picked the wrong weekend to sit in the student section. We all got drenched, but I thoroughly enjoyed yelling, cheering, and just being a fan for once! My sorority hosted a tailgate for Parents’ Weekend, so free Bodo’s was enjoyed by all. I spent most of the first half explaining football and different game components to my friends’ mothers. They told me that they would feel dumb asking guys all their questions. My sorority sisters and their parents left at halftime to watch the rest of the game on TV. Normally, this would bother me, but the weather was AWFUL. My parents and I stuck it out until nearly the end, when I slipped down to the press room for postgame interviews. What can I say about the game? We were outplayed on offense, and the defense simply got worn down. I was shocked to get the postgame stats- GT had 43 minutes of possession compared to Virginia’s 17. The Jackets put together an 11 minute drive in the third quarter. Ridiculous. The weather came into play on both UVA’s turnover and GT’s 3 fumbles (they only lost 1). We couldn’t stop the run. Plain and simple. Dwyer and Allen both had 100+ yard days. Nesbitt had 84 yards on the ground and 85 through the air. We also couldn’t get our run game going. Mikell Simpson netted 4 yards on the day. Rashawn Jackson had 1 rush for 0 yards. I really think we aren’t using him properly. He’s a big back, and he should be running it up the middle in short yardage situations. In the red zone, we tried to send him around the outside, rather than up the middle. I think we might have come away with seven instead of 3. On that note, I really respect Paul Johnson’s guts in going for it on fourth down. I felt like we lost the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when we decided to take the FG instead of going for it on 4th down. After the FG, we still needed 2 touchdowns. Considering GT’s propensity for holding the ball, Virginia shot themselves in the foot by settling for the FG instead of going for the endzone. Speaking of field goals, I had a small moment of joy when Robert Randolph’s 49-yard FG bounced in over the crossbar. As one reporter said, “His range is about 48 1/2 yards.” “Very disappointed in the result, obviously. The players put a lot into the week. We knew we had to enhance the performance we turned in last week because we were playing the best team we¹ve played. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that today.” - Al Groh “Play action was able to open some things up for us. We had some success early on in the rain, but in the end, we didn’t make enough plays to win the game.”- Jameel Sewell
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“Coach [Groh] has stressed it all year. After a disappointing loss it’s very important to put it behind you because the season keeps moving. This week in practice, we have to play harder, execute better, and hopefully right the ship next week.”- Robert Randolph “It’s tough to see an opponent marching down the field, and time of possession is critical, especially in the second half. That made it tough for the offense to put drives together and get down the field to score. It also taxes the defense both mentally and physically, so it made things tough and we just couldn’t piece 60 full minutes together.” - Denzel Burrell “You win games and you lose games. We would rather win, but sometimes you lose and have to pick it up from there and get better.” - Vic Hall The fun didn’t stop for me, however. After the presser, I headed home to take a nap, get dried off, and meet friends and family for dinner. If you’ve ever been to Mellow Mushroom Pizza, you know that there’s no better place for pizza, beer, and football. Apparently the referees thought so, too. Ron Cherry and the ACC crew from the game were also enjoying some R and R at Mellow, and were seated a table away from us. My friend’s father knew the back judge, so my table got introduced to Mr. Cherry and the other refs. I got a photo with him, which will go up later! The rest of the evening was spend enjoying amazing food, and watching Clemson upset Miami. Press conference tomorrow; hopefully I’ll get some news on Aaron Clark’s injury!
A Case of the Mondays… October 26, 2009 Monday press conference coming up in about an hour. Should be pretty interesting. Let me just throw something out there: no matter what might happen at the end of the season, Al Groh is our head coach NOW. No matter what you might think about him, his staff, his coaching policies, his personal hygiene, etc., he’s leading our team through the rest of this season. You can either be bitter and angry, or suck it up and support the team. I was a little sickened at the postgame presser when all the journos were speculating as to when he will get the axe and who will replace him. What good does that do for anybody right now? The team, and the Wahoo Nation, need to be focused on next week’s game against Duke. Speaking of next week’s game, it’s on Halloween! I’ll be back in the box, but I want to know if you - my loyal readers - think I should go in costume. Let me know what you think. Sadly my poster, which my friends and I stupidly colored in washable marker (crayola!!) bit the dust at the GT game. RIP, Mr. Fumbles the Pumpkin. No idea who we’ll get this week at the presser, aside from Coach Jeezy. I still haven’t given up on the nickname, either. Tell everyone you know, por favor.
Best. Day. Ever. October 30, 2009 I love Halloween because anything can happen. Last night North Carolina upset Virginia Tech in Lane Stadium on a Thursday. Oh my God, alert everyone because Hell has frozen over!!!!! Wasn’t that their big claim to fame? They had never lost on a Thursday at Lane? Oh well, I guess all things must come to an end. Now their program
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doesn’t have much to stand on, since they have never won a National Championship. Maybe next year, Chokies. I also had a really strange dream last night in which Michael Vick and I both played for Lane Kiffin at Tennessee. I don’t like Michael Vick, Lane Kiffin, OR Tennessee, so I’m a little confused. The only play I made in the game was an eight-yard dash to the endzone where the refs marked me out of bounds at the .5 yard line. I swear I stretched the ball over the piling, and they didn’t even review it! Oh well, our fictional Tennessee team ended up winning. This week the real, live Virginia team is taking on Duke. This game is a must-win and our most likely shot at getting a win out of the remainder of our games. The scariest part? Duke isn’t the cupcake they once were. QB Thaddeus Lewis is in his fourth season as Duke’s QB, and is only 28 yards away from reaching his fourth consecutive 2,000 passing-yard season. The Blue Devil aerial assault is the only one of its kind in the ACC, and it will be quite a switch for our defense after Georgia Tech’s groundbased game. Our secondary needs to be on point, while it falls to the front line to pressure Lewis into making decisions. Hopefully these will be poor decisions. Another scary Halloween tidbit is that for the second week in a row we will be without DE Matt Conrath. Zane Parr is stepping up to fill that role this week, with true freshman Will Hill backing him up. The defense will also be missing LB and captain Aaron Clark due to a knee injury. A few people on the injury report are “probable” but that’s about it for the MASH unit. The defense has been pretty solid this year. However, Coach Jeezy says that you have to win two out of three phases of the game to get a victory (offense, defense, special teams). The offense has got to do their part to win. We need points, plain and simple. Coach Jeezy Says: “The statistics on the Maryland Duke game are pretty interesting in that the two teams combined for less than 100 yards rushing. So good defense, more passes, whatever. Certainly the passing game was a major component of that particular game, obviously, to go 40-or-50 in their previous game against N.C. State was the same thing. So they can’t afford to let that one go, obviously. It’s more of a distraction than it is an issue. The big issue is finding what we can do to slow down this on target, precision passing game.” Blair Says: KILL KILL KILL! Virginia 24 - Duke 13
Duke Pregame! October 31, 2009 Okay, so I’m not pregaming in the party sense, but it’s fun to check out all the fun costumes for today’s Halloween game. I’m going as Erin Andrews, but I’ve seen an entire set of Tetris pieces, a few kids dressed as CavMan, and more than a few pumpkins. I think I missed the skipping, but the punters are punting it back and forth to each other on the sidelines. Cute. It looks like Florida State and NC State are keeping it close. Eeep. I hope the band plays Halloween stuff at halftime. Bahaha someone in the front row tried to feed Sabre some popcorn.
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1st Quarter October 31, 2009 We win the coin toss, then decide to defer. That’s okay. Women’s Basketball raised the Power of Orange flag. They are true ballers. Thunderstruck is playing, all the fans are pumped. 15:00 Our coverage team stops Duke short of their 15 yard line. 1st and 10 from the 14. Thaddeus Lewis rolls out, and carries for the 1st down. That was surprising. 1st and 10 from the 27. Handoff to Hollingsworth gets 3. 2nd and 7. Lewis throws to Williams for the 1st down. 1st and 10 from the 40. Duke moving the ball well, sadly. Lewis’ pass to Varner, who gets taken down by Minnifield. 2nd and 7. Lewis from the gun. No one open, he keeps. 3rd and 1. Big stop here, Defense. Or not… Lewis keeps. 1st and 10 from the UVA 48. Lewis drops back to throw completes, but a flag. Minnifield was holding. Great. 1st and 10 from the 38 now. Play smart, guys. Lewis has plenty of time, finds a receiver for the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 27. Hey, we all got Halloween candy!!!! TRICK PLAY IT’S A REVERSE! RAS-I DOWLING DEFENDS IT WELL. 2nd and 10. Rush for 3. 3rd and 7. GET LOUD!!! LEWIS IS SACKED!!!!!! 4th and 9. Duke to try a 44 yard FG. It’s good. UVA 0 - Duke 3. 9:27 Kickoff fielded by Minnifield at the 10, out to the 25. 1st and 10. Sewell in the gun. Pass to Hall, broken up. 2nd and 10. Handoff to SImpson, who gets maybe 2 if he’s lucky. 3rd and 10. So I guess he got nothing. Eeep. Pass intended for Torchia, incomplete. 4th and 10. Nathan Rathjen on to punt. Where’s Howell? Rathjen gets a good punt off, fielded at the 23, but is dragged back to the 14. Whooocha!!! 8:22 Once again, offense drops the ball but special teams has their back. 1st and 10. Lewis is forced to scramble and slide. 2nd and 7. Pass complete. 3rd and 3. Let’s go defense! Get our sorry O some good field position. Or not. Pass complete with a ton of YACs. 1st and 10 Duke on the UVA 46. 1st and 10. Lewis scrambles, runs into his own guy. 2nd and 5. Lewis passes to Scott. 3rd and 1. Sneaky sneaky! Handoff to Scott, who picks up the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 33. This is sad. Scott again for 7.
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2nd and 3. Can we stop anything? Finally, Scott is stopped short of the 1st. 3rd and 1. Duke changing it up at the LOS. Fakes out the defense. Hollingsworth down to the 13. 1st and 10. Quick toss out to Hollingsworth. We can’t tackle. 2nd and 8. I could have sworn that was intentional grounding! 3rd and 8. Big stop here, boys. Lewis in the gun he wants the endzone. GREAT PASS D BY DOWLING! 4th and 8. Another FG try. Good from 28 yards. UVA 0 - Duke 6 2:56 Duke’s kicker is named Will Snyderwine. What a mouthful. MINNIFIELD ALMOST OUT TO MIDFIELD! ONE MORE BLOCK AND HE WOULD HAVE BEEN GONE!! 1st and 10 form our 47. Sewell JUST overthrows Jared Green downfield!!! 2nd and 10. Sewell makes a poor toss to Quentin Hunter. 3rd and 10. Sewell picked off. Great. Will Barker makes a TD saving tackle. 2:27 1st and 10 from our 21. Lewis to his TE, but it is dropped. A friend made an interesting observation: Maybe Sewell is Right Handed and he doesn’t know it? 2nd and 10. Hollingsworth carries for 2. 3rd and 8. Let’s stop the bleeding, shall we? Lewis overthrows his guy, but a flag. Looks like roughing the passer. Wonderful. 1st and 10 from the 10. This is so painful. Runner straight up the middle for 4. 2nd and 6. LEWIS IS SQUISHED BY NATE COLLINS! 3rd and 15. Time is running down in the 1st Quarter. ZANE PARR BRINGS LEWIS DOWN FROM BEHIND!! End of 1st Quarter. UVA 0 - Duke 6
2nd Quarter October 31, 2009 15:00 Duke is set up on 4th and 16 to try a field goal. 24 yarder is good. UVA 0 - Duke 9 14:55 Snyderwine to kick it away. Minnifield out to the 28. 1st and 10. Sewell handoff to Jackson up the middle for a 1st down!!!! 1st and 10 from the 40. That was our 1st 1st down on the day. Sewell throws to Tim Smith who AIRS IT OUT!!! 2nd and 5. PASS INTERFERENCE!!!!!!! LEAVE VIC HALL ALONE! OH NO. It looks like Sewell is down. LOOK WHO’S WARMING UP ON THE SIDELINES! IT’S VERICA TIME!!!!! 1st and 10 from the Duke 41! Uh oh, false start.
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1st and 15. Verica pass complete to Torrey Mack, who fumbles it out of bounds behind the LOS. 2nd and 15. Okay it was incomplete. Whatevs. VERICA HANDS OFF TO RASHAWN JACKSON. 1st and 10 from the 31. Best. Handoff. Ever. Another handoff to Jackson who gets 1. 2nd and 9. We’re throwing, Shotgun 4 wideouts. Pass tipped. Where’s the roughing the passer call? 3rd and 9. VERICA THREADS THE NEEDLE TO KRIS BURD. 1st and 10 from the 16. Verica throws up a jump ball, and Vic Hall has to use his corner skills to knock it away. 2nd and 10. Verica throws it away under pressure. Smart decision. 3rd and 10. Where is the pass interference call? 4th and 10. Robert Randolph to try a 33 yarder. Kick is good! UVA 3 - Duke 9 11:51 THE PEOPLE’S QUARTERBACK leads us to 3 points, despite being cheated due to the referees refusing to call penalties on Duke. I thought this was a football game, not basketball! Maybe Coach K passed his ref whispering skills on to Coach Cutcliffe. Hinkebein to kick it off. Pooch kick is dragged down at the 32. 1st and 10. Pass to Varner, who is dragged out at the LOS. 2nd and 10. Get out, Duke. Lewis in the gun, pass is well defended by Minnifield. 3rd and 10. Get fired up!!!!!!! Lewis is pressured by big bad Nick Jenkins. Pass incomplete. 4th and 10. Gimme that ball! Minnifield picks it up at the 35, out to the 39. 10:52 1st and 10. Incomplete pass. 2nd and 10. Ver-i-ca! Ver-i-ca! 2 in the backfield. Handoff to Simpson who gets 5. 3rd and 5. I hope Sewell is okay. Marc has to throw it away under pressure.. 4th and 5. Great. Rathjen in to punt. What happened to Jimmy Howell? He wasn’t on the injury report. Rathjen booms one down to the 10 yard line. 9:58 At least special teams is holding down the fort. 1st and 10 from the 10. Come on defense. Runner is dragged down from behind. 2nd and 6. Desmond Scott picks up the 1st on a toss from Lewis. 1st and 10 from the 26. Pass to Vernon for a 1st. 1st and 10 from the 39. Let’s go!!!!!! Incomplete. 2nd and 10. Interception. Now. Please. A SACK WORKS JUST AS WELL!!!!! 3rd and 16 after the JKD and Zane Parr sack. Muwahahaha. Almost another sack, but probably a 1st due to terrible tackling by the secondary. 4th and 2. Not a total loss. Duke to punt. Minnifield runs backwards. 6:49 1st and 10 from the 20. Handoff to Jackson. 2nd and 6. Verica should throw here. Let’s make the deep ball a legit threat. TE Colter Phillips makes a catch.
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3rd and 2. TE Torchia makes a catch for the 1st! 1st and 10 from the 32 after Torchia steps out. Jackson rumbles ahead for 8! 2nd and 2. Handoff to Simpson who get the 1st down. 1st and 10 from the 48. Verica gives to Jackson, who can’t get outside. he should run up the middle. 2nd and 8. Verica high snap tosses to Simpson. 3rd and 7. Don’t stall out now! Simpson makes a catch and loses yards. 4th and 8. Rathjen to punt again. Not a good one this time. Out of bounds at the Duke 32. 2:24 “Thriller” is playing over the PA. 1st and 10. Hollingsworth for 1. 2nd and 9. Complete to Vernon. 3rd and 2. Let’s get some momentum before halftime. Lewis in the gun, 5 wide. Finds a receiver for the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 50. Lewis is dragged down by Nate Collins! 2nd and 17. Duke timeout with 47.8 left in the half. I love seeing the costumes on the jumbotron. Quick toss out to Hollingsworth, who gets 9. 3rd and 8. Lewis is DRILLED as he throws. Incompelte. 4th and 8. Give me that ball back. House house house. Or fair catch. That works. 33.6 Sewell back at QB. It was fun while it lasted, Marc. They put Sewell in so he could take a knee. Great. End 1st Half. UVA 3 - Duke 9
Halftime Observations October 31, 2009 At least I get a Michael Jackson halftime show. That’s about the only show going on here at Scott Stadium. Can I get some offense, please?
3rd Quarter October 31, 2009
15:00 At least we get the ball back after taking a knee. HOLY CRAP IT’S HOT DOG NIGHT WHEN WOMEN’S BBALL PLAYS TENNESSEE! Snyderwine kicks it to Perry Jones, who gest out to the 34. 1st and 10. Sewell in the game, makes a weak toss to Colter Phillips. 2nd and 10. Good effort from Tim Smith to get upfield. 3rd and 4. Sewell hit as he throws to Green, who gets the first! Roughing the passer too! 1st and 10 from the Duke 31. Yay. Sewell hands off to Jackson, who rumbles ahead for 3. 2nd and 7. Sewell to Jackson again, who gets down to the 12!
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1st and 10. Jackson is hit hard at the LOS, but moves his legs for 1. 2nd and 9. Complete to Vic Hall down to the 1!!!!!!!!! 1st and Goal from the 1! TOUCHDOWN SEWELL ON THE KEEPER! Jarrett’s extra point is good. UVA 10 - Duke 9. GIMME THAT LEAD! 11:38 Hinkebein to kick it away. Regular kick this time. Into the endzone for a touchback. 1st and 10 Duke from their own 20. Lewis hands off to Scott. 2nd and 6. Lewis keeps for 4. 3rd and 2. Players on the sidelines getting people pumped. Lewis in the gun, drops back, complete to Vernon but a flag. Eh, declined b/c it was on us. 1st and 10 from the Duke 40. Straight up the middle for 2 by Scott. 2nd and 8. TE has got some hands. Woods drags him out. 3rd and 1. Looks like Lewis got it on the keeper. 1st and 10 from midfield. Handoff to Scott. 2nd and 7. From the gun, LEWIS IS SACKED! by JKD!!!!!! (John-Kevin Dolce) 3rd and 12!!!! Duke burns a timeout because it is sooooo loud. Now Lewis in the gun, 3 wide, 1 TE, 1 in the backfield. ALMOST PICKED OFFFFFFF!!!!! NOO DOM JOSEPH HOLD ON TO IT! 4th and 12. Puntpuntpunt. Minnifield calls for fair catch at the 19. 7:26 1st and 10. Jackson up the middle for 4. 2nd and 6. Darth Vader’s Imperial March is playing. We will march down the field, I know it. Sewell to Jackson, who rumbles forward for the 1st down. 1st and 10 from the 30. Sewell gives to Simpson, who gest 3. 2nd and 7. Jackson again, this time for 4. 3rd and 3. I hate these short-yardage 3rd downs. We never get it right. Sewell is sacked. What did I tell you? Vince Oghobaase smacks his ankles and he falls down. 4th and 9. Rathjen to punt. Returner brought down at the 30. 4:19 I’m falling asleep here, offense. Hopefully next drive you will get something going. 1st and 10 Duke from their own 30. Lewis to Vernon, who makes a spectacular catch and loses his helmet. Hope he’s okay. Flag down. Unsportsmanlike on Duke. Get out. 1st and 10 from the Duke 27 now. Lewis keeps, gets nothing. 2nd and 8. Okay, so he got two. Whatever. Lewis fro the gun, pass tipped and NEARLY picked. 3rd and 8. Whooocha!!!! Lewis on the run from Zane Parr, throw it awa- A Duke Receiver comes out of nowhere, but DROPS IT! 4th and 8. Punt to Minnifield who GETS LEVELED. 2:59 1st and 10 from the 30. SEWELL GOES DEEP FOR GREEN! Incomplete but flags ALL over the place. Holding on us. Great. 1st and 20. Will Barker has been doing that a lot this season. Sewell hands off to Simpson, who gets 3.
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2nd and 17. Ughhhh. HEYYYYYY!!!! PASS INTERFERENCE!!! WHERE’S THE CALL?!?!?!? 3rd and 17. After that blantant bit of cheating, we need something big here. Go deep again, Sewell. Maybe they’ll call it this time. Or you could just throw it into the knees of a Duke defener. 4th and 17. Rathjen to punt, once again. He’s doing well, but I want to know where Howell is today. 1:45 1st and 10 from Duke’s 38. This stinks. Lewis keeps, gets 3. 2nd and 7. Lewis finds a wide open guy in our territory. 1st and 10 Duke on the UVA 27. I am sad. 2nd and 5. Hopefully we can hold them to a field goal. Flag on the play. False start on Duke. 2nd and 10. Penalties doing the job for us. Clock winding down. End 3rd Quarter. UVA 10 - Duke 9
4th Quarter October 31, 2009 15:00 Still 2nd and 10 on our 27 for Duke. Lewis finds a guy at the 10. 1st and goal from the 10 :(. Lewis hands off to Boyette to the 7. 2nd and goal. Denzel Burrell in Lewis’ face as he throws. Incomplete. 3rd and goal. Hold them here, boys. Lewis HIT BY ZANE PARR as he throws. INCOMPLETE! 4th and goal. FG try coming up. blockblockblock…..go away Snyderwine. UVA 10 - Duke 12 13:50 Minnifield deep. KICK IS OUT OF BOUNDS. 1st and 10 from the 40. Hahahahaha. Sewell under center. Handoff to Jackson. He fights for 3. 2nd and 7. Don’t stall out on this drive, offense. Sewell fakes handoff, rolls, complete to TE Freedman. 3rd and 1. Rashawn jackson carries for the 1st. 1st and 10 from the Duke 48. REVERSE, DOUBLE REVERSE to VIC HALL. He only gets 3. Boo. 2nd and 7. Almost picked off. Stop it!!!! 3rd and 8. Jackson catches a pass for NOT ENOUGH?!??! 4th and 1? Measurement time! Okay. 4th and INCHES!! GO FOR ITTTTTT!!!!!!! Let’s go!!! Aaaaaaaaanddddd PASS TO TORCHIA DOWN TO THE 19!!!!!!!!!!! 1st and 10 from the 19. Yeahhhhhhh buddy! Timeout as playclock runs to 1. Little baby in a cow costume with a sign reading “Eat Mor Hokies” just won the costume contest. 100 dollar prize! Okay football time. TORCHIA CATCH FOR A TD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jarrett’s extra point is good! UVA 17 - Duke 12 11:17 Duke’s returner is stopped at the 23.
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1st and 10 Blue Devils. Defense! Defense! Lewis to Vernon. 2nd and 3. Pass is well defended by Steve Greer, of all people. 3rd and 3. Complete to Williams for the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 42. Lewis keeps. Gets 2 2nd and 8. Lewis to Kelly, who jukes for the 1st. 1st and 10 form the Cavalier 43. Lewis finds Varner. Vic Hall brings him down after some shoddy tackling at the 3. 1st and goal. Yay. Not. Scott is BOYETTE IS DRAGGED DOWN BY CHILDS FOR A LOSS OF 4. 2nd and goal from the 7. Virginia burns a timeout here. Get things set. Lewis under pressure, throws it away. HAHAHA 3rd and goallllllllll. INTERCEPTED IN THE ENDZONE! THE RED ZONE DEFENSE DOES IT AGAIN!!!! CHASE MINNIFIELD! 8:01 1st and 10 from the- UNDER REVIEW??!?!?! NO WAY. Okay, play stands. Thank youuuuuuuuu. Sewell to Jackson. 2nd and 8. Jackson outside for no gain. 3rd and 8. Sewell holds, runs about 30 yards only to get 2. 4th and 6. Punt time. Rathjen hits a short one down to the 33. 5:36 1st and 10 Duke from their own 33. Handoff to Hollingsworth, who gets 2. 2nd and 8. Lewis finds a wide open guy downfield. 1st and 10 from the UVA 43. Handoff for 1 yard. 2nd and 9. Lewis hit by Parr as he throws, ALMOST PICKED OFF! 3rd and 9. Lewis finds a wide open guy in the middle of the field. 42 yard TD. Crap. Going for 2 here. NO GOOD. UVA 17 - Duke 18 3:45 Minnifield out to about the 35. Flag. Illegal block in the back. Wonderful. 1st and 10 from the 13. Yay. Sewell throws it away before he can get sacked. 2nd and 10. Eeep. Pass to Smith broken up. 3rd and 10. We need to convert. AND INSTEAD SEWELL FUMBLES AND DUKE RETURNS IT FOR A TD. Under review, but Iâ€™m already dead inside. Extra point is good. UVA 17 - Duke 25. 3:22 If we can get a TD and a 2pt conversion we can tie it.
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Minnifield gets out to the 39. Okay. Deep breath. 1st and 1o. JARED GREEN ALMOST CATCHES A BOMB! 2nd and 10. AGAIN JARED? That was two in a row hitting you in the hands. 3rd and 10. Incomplete. I don’t know why we were going for it all those two times. We have time, just desperation kicking in. 4th and 10. Going for it here. Sewell sacked. Great. 2:55 Duke 1st and 10 on our 29. I’m shutting down now. I can’t take it any more.
Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP! November 1, 2009 I said it best myself yesterday as we all waited by the tunnel for the game to end: “The knife is already in. That was just the universe giving it another twist.” I don’t know what else to say about that game. My team just rolled over and died. There is no fight left in this dog. No toughness, no grit. My hat goes off to players like Zane Parr and Nate Collins. Those two played hard all game. They did their jobs, but it wasn’t enough to pull the team through. Dropped passes, missed tackles, missed reads, poor blocking… the FUNDAMENTAL mistakes just add up and up and up. That was probably our best chance to get a win during the last stretch of the season, and we failed miserably. We only got 17 against Duke’s shoddy defense, and we’ve got a couple of tough road games ahead of us before the big showdown on the 28th against VPI (Virginia Tech for those not in the know). I can’t even be mad anymore. I can’t pretend I didn’t see this coming after the loss to W&M. The three-game ministreak pulled me back in, heart and soul, after I had all but given up. I thought I saw something there, but it was a mirage. The o-line never got better, the defense can’t shoulder the whole load, and the offense is a sham. Special teams is decent, but that’s not going to win us a game. Another journo made an interesting comment yesterday. “They find ways to be inconsistent. They find ways to lose.” It certainly seems that way. We are given opportunities, and we squander them. One guy makes a standout play, and we can’t capitalize. I’m dead inside. Absolutely dead. I can’t even find the spark to be angry, be incensed. It’s simply over. The question (and you all know which one) is no longer “if…” but “when…” I honestly can’t answer that one. However, something’s gotta give. You could say I’m giving up, cashing in my chips, being a fair weather fan, whatever you want. I beg to differ. I’ve put a lot of myself into this season. I’ve followed the team faithfully, tried to be positive when things got rough, clapped for the too-little-too-late attempts we make at the end of the game. There’s just nothing left to give. The team has to give me something back. All they’ve given me thus far has been a lack of toughness and plenty of ineptitude. I’m a student, a fan, an ardent supporter of this school and this team. I can’t be like those other people in the press box, making jokes about the succession after the games and conjectures about who the next coach will be. I care too much. You don’t know how much this hurts me,
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day in and day out as I have to listen to the excuses, the explanations, and the speculation. This would be so much easier if I didn’t care. Sundays are the best days of the week now because there IS no college football. No games on TV to remind me of how poorly my team is playing, no conferences, no interviews. There is only the shining promise that a new week brings. I like to imagine the team in the film room, pointing out mistakes and finding solutions. I want to visualize them seeing things they haven’t seen before, and figuring out what went wrong on Saturday. Then Monday rolls around and it all begins again: the speculation, the whispers, the talk of what the next opponent brings to the table, the injuries, the conjectures, the criticism… Nevertheless, for right now, for another hour, I want to believe that anything is possible next Saturday against Miami.
South Beach Saturday November 5, 2009 It’s cold here in Charlottesville. Temps in the 50s, and the attitude towards our football team can best be described as “Meh…” Don’t get me wrong: people care about this team. However, the fans have had just about enough of this dog and pony show. We want to win, but we know it’s just not going to happen this season under these circumstances. On the bright side, it’s almost basketball season! Let’s see what new head coach Tony Bennett can do with Sylven “Learning Center” Landesberg and Co. Anyway, the football team is headed south this weekend to take on the Miami Hurricanes in a much warmer climate. Being boo’ed in your opponent’s stadium is to be expected. Here’s what we know about the state of the program: something big is going to have to change after this season. Everyone knows there is a ton of speculation as to who the coach will be next season, but what about our quarterback? Jameel Sewell and sometimes-QB Vic Hall will both be graduating. That leaves us with Marc “THE PEOPLE’S QUARTERBACK” Verica as our only experienced option. You all know how I feel about Verica;t it’s really sad the coaching staff has no faith in him. A little faith could go a long way, in Verica’s case. There is a lot of buzz about freshman signal caller Ross Metheny. Riko Smalls apparently can’t throw. Either way, it looks like Virginia is setting itself up for another QB controversy next season. Another big change occurring is the retirement of President John T. Casteen III from the University. You may be saying, “But Blair, what does this have to do with the football team?!?!” My friends, it has everything to do with the football team. Casteen’s replacement has the opportunity to take a big step in improving the state of the program: the addition of another/ more 5 year programs. In case you didn’t know, UVa mandates that you graduate within 4 years. Of course, there is some leeway in that for football players who stick around for 1 extra semester and take 1 class to finish out their eligibility. However, not all the guys can do that. Virginia only has 1 undergraduate 5 year program, and that’s in the Curry School of Education. The Curry program is by application only. So, to sum up, Virginia pretty much expects to get high profile recruits who will graduate in 4 years and then go on to grad school here if they have that extra year of eligibility due to a redshirt year. Two words: Get. Real. You want to know why we can’t get high profile guys? This is a big part of the problem. UVa recruits just as many dumb guys as geniuses. Our football team
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isn’t a bunch of rocket scientists, but nor are they stupid. However, if we want to be competitive in recruiting, we need to provide a 5 year option (one that doesn’t involve applications or graduate school) for athletes. We’ve spent millions and millions of dollars upgrading our facilities over the past few years. JPJ is amazing, Scott Stadium is great for a stadium of its size, and we have some of the best facilities around. I’ve been down by the locker room areas in JPJ and Scott Stadium; we have some pretty sweet digs. However, unless we are willing to make some changes to our academic expectations for our athletes, we aren’t going to get the butts to fill those seats, or the high caliber guys we need to win some games. I’m not saying we should lower our academic expectations for our athletes. We should hold them to a high standard and push them to graduate and do well. There just needs to be an option for the players who want to use all their eligibility without attending grad school. Okay, on to this weekend’s game. Land Shark Stadium, named after Jimmy Buffett’s beer, is a pretty sweet stadium. Oh, remember the Orange Bowl? Yeah, we shut Miami out 48-0 in their last game in the historic stadium. They won’t forget that in a hurry. This is our first trip back there since the blowout, and I’m pretty sure the Hurricanes haven’t forgotten either. Here’s what we know: Miami is fast. State of Florida fast. They have vertical speed like you wouldn’t believe. This one is going to be tough. Lucky for me I can watch it in my pajamas and yell at the TV. Jacory Harris is a pretty good QB. In another couple of years he will be excellent. I just think it’s a little soon to anoint him the Second Coming. Best QB in the Sunshine State right now? Christian Ponder. The Miami D is fast too. Safety Randy Phillips is a beast on the field. However, he is a total teddy bear and I’m not scared of him. Then again, he’s never tried to tackle me because I had a football. Hopefully the entire Virginia team was beaten with a pillowcase full of soap this week in an attempt to toughen them up. We can’t beat Miami with speed. We need to out-hit them in every phase of the game. If we play strong, and stand strong, we will be better off. You know what that means? RUNNING RASHAWN JACKSON UP THE MIDDLE. We are not, I repeat, we are not going to be able to run around the outside on Miami. We need to push up the middle. Our receivers aren’t going to get that step on Miami’s secondary, so a punishing ground game will be the offense’s best shot. I hope Jackson, Mikell Simpson, and anyone else who is going to be running with the football (I’m looking at you, Jameel) was taking notes when we played Georgia Tech. Dwyer and Co. just never stopped moving. They delivered the hits instead of stopping at the point of contact. There was none of this namby-pamby, dancing around behind the line of scrimmage trying to find a big hole so you can bust it loose for 60 yards. None of you are CJ Spiller. Just give it up and start playing smart football instead of I’m-astar-ball. Coach Jeezy Says: “[The speed is] all across 22 positions. The most obvious are the wide receivers and guys who can get vertically up the field. It shows in kick coverage, it shows in pass rushes off the edge, it certainly shows in defensive backs closing on the ball. So they are impressive in that.” Blair Says: Play smart, Virginia. Jeezy, just coach the team.
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Injury Madness!!!!!! November 5, 2009 Out None Doubtful Jameel Sewell (shoulder) Questionable Aaron Clark (knee) Matt Conrath (ankle) Probable Nate Collins (hip) Steve Greer (shoulder) Rashawn Jackson (arm) Zane Parr (knee) Brandon Woods (shoulder) All remaining players on the Virginia roster are available to participate. Please note the status of an injured student-athlete¹s ability to participate can increase or decrease between the time this report is issued and game time. Key: Probable = Virtual certainty will be available for normal duty Questionable = 50-50 chance will not play Doubtful = At least 75% chance will not play Out = Definitely will not play Okay, so having Clark and Conrath as 50/50 is pretty good news, but is Jameel Sewell really not going to play? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!?!?! WILL MARC VERICA BE THE QB AGAINST MIAMI? HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD? Stay tuned this Saturday as the drama unfolds at Land Shark Stadium.
Monday Morning, Funday Morning November 9, 2009 Presser in about an hour. I saw the game, you saw the game… Now it’s time to get some answers. I thought I would get the lowdown on the throwdown from Coach/ some players before I give you my take.
“It would be really great to see a full stadium on Saturday.” November 9, 2009 - Aaron Clark. Let’s make it happen, guys.
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What More Can I Say? November 10, 2009 I really don’t know what else to say about Saturday’s debacle. No pass protection, no defense, no victory. We find ways to be inconsistent, and continue to fail at the fundamentals of the game. I’d like to address the Miami punt return for a touchdown. That play pretty much epitomized the whole game. We had a chance to bring him down, and failed to execute. Poor tackling, desperation… We had so many chances to tackle the returner, so many chances to keep the game close, but we failed. At the press conference yesterday, Groh was asked about the tackling situation. He mentioned that what you SHOULDN’T DO is: ”Don’t head down and rocket guys, that is called block tackling and we don’t teach block tackling.” Okay, so why do all our tacklers try to put their head forward and lay the BIG HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME HIT on a player rather than bring him down? QUESTION: Are they going off instinct? COACH GROH: There are four fundamental elements of tackling, keep your head up, have a good base underneath you, club with your arms and fight to stay on your feet. That’s good fundamental tackling, flying like a rocket is not good fundamental tackling. We see lots of players in football do that these days but that’s — I’m sure there are no defensive coaches in the country that are running a drill that does that. So why do the players do it? Marc Verica didn’t do so awful at QB. I doubt whether Jameel Sewell could have done better. No quarterback will have any kind of success in our system with the poor coverage provided by the o-line and the WRs inability to get open. Most of the time, we only had 2 WRs on the play. I think we would have benefitted from utilizing more receivers on the pass plays. 2nd to last home game against Boston College this weekend. More on that later. I’m trying to figure out what else can and should be done with regards to this team. I’m giving myself a headache. Good News: If we win our last three games, we will be bowl eligible. /note sarcasm
Limping Toward the Finish Line November 13, 2009 Crawling is more like it… Before I get to Boston College, there have been some pretty interesting depth chart/injury related updates. First BOTH Jameel Sewell and Marc Verica are listed as “questionable” for Saturday. RFr. Riko Smalls has replaced Vic Hall as the third QB on the depth chart. What does this mean? We may be getting a look at Virginia’s next QB a little sooner than anticipated. This game has a pretty significant bearing on the outcome of the ACC’s Atlantic Division (Virginia’s in the Coastal, remember?). Boston College and Clemson are vying for the top spot and a trip to Tampa Bay. If BC loses to us tomorrow and the Tigers beat NC State, Clemson has officially punched their ticket for the championship game. If Clemson loses and BC wins,
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it complicates things. Clemson wins the head to head battle, but things just get confusing. I, for one, would love to see a GT-Clemson rematch for the title. Both teams have found their identities since the beginning of the season, and, as of this moment, are the most deserving teams in the conference. Notice how I didn’t mention Virginia Tech? Yeah, I still don’t like them. Go Hoos. Boston College’s Coach Spaziani was an assistant under George Welsh at Virginia in the 80’s. He had the same sweet mustache back then as he does now. We know what BC is capable of. Led by super ancient true freshman David Shinskie, the Eagles’ offense has a pretty decent ground game. Okay, so I guess that would make the running back the leader, but whatever. The defense, even though they are missing last year’s defensive POY, is still formidable. LBs Luke Kuechly and Mike McLaughlin have stepped up to fill in for Mark Herzlich. Speaking of Herzich, our captains will be presenting him with a donation check for Uplifting Athletes. No word yet on the final donation total. Predictions are somewhat silly at this point. It’s kind of hard to be exciting and upbeat when it will take a miracle for your team to finish with 6 wins. I’ll be in the box tomorrow, liveblogging away. Jeezy Says: “Well, we talk all the time and you heard me talk about getting focused on the next game and not to get too happy about the previous one, not to get too down about the previous one, the hangover results either way can have an impact on your focus and what we see on all levels of football now that there is a pretty high degree of parity and if a team doesn’t feel it has something to prove every week that might have ‘em pretty close to where they need to be but not there, you know, it’s like — the picture in my mind is, look, you know, you could fill it up to there but that means you don’t have it all the way up there.” Blair Says: I can’t look! BC 34 - UVA 10
Pregame! November 14, 2009 Minutes until gametime: 50:00 I can see Al Groh chatting with Mark Herzlich out on the field. Herzlich was heavily recruited here, and signed a letter of intent before deciding to attend Boston College. Our captains will be presenting Herzlich with a giant check before the coin toss. Herzlich has partnered this season with Uplifting Athletes to raise money for rare disease research. I certainly hope I didn’t miss the skipping this time! Oh here we go! Colter Phillips is also a gifted skipper. The million dollar question: Who is our QB? Aaron Clark is down there pumping everyone up. The team’s helmets are off and they are yelling and clapping. I hope the energy stays positive. It must be high school band day. There are a bunch of HS bands setting up in the stands behind where the Virginia band sits. 40:00 Receivers running routes. Put some stick-em on those gloves, boys!
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If UVa pulls the win out today, Clemson will clinch their division (assuming they continue to dominate N.C. State). Shout out to Brent Capps, who is cheering for Virginia today on behalf of his Tigers. Some light trash talking down on the field. The refs are right there, so I don’t think its going to get out of hand. Is Coach Spaz wearing a visor? I can’t tell if it’s him, because I can’t see his ridiculous white sneakers. Herzlich is doing some serious coaching of his fellow linebackers. I can’t wait to see him back next season, even though we have to make the trip up there to play him. 30:00 I actually think its colder in the box than outside, due to the shade. A ton of recruits are on the sidelines, checking things out. The hill is empty. EMPTY. I really hope people show up. It’s such a nice day, why not come out and cheer the team on? Oh man, the Chil-Fil-A Bowl rep just gave me a coupon for a free milkshake. Guess who is going to CFA after the game? Just saw the closing seconds of the GT-Duke game. The Yellow Jackets have punched their ticket to Tampa Bay. The outcome of our game could decide the Atlantic Division race. Verica isn’t dressed out for the game. I guess our choices are Jameel Sewell and RFr. Riko Smalls. Team is bringing it in down by the endzone. 20:00 Holy crap! Someone actually won all 1,000 of Kroger gift cards in the contest! Never seen that before. The guy made a diving catch to get the last one. Get him a uniform. WOW. Some guy sitting next to me is IGNORANT. He’s calling Virginia fans the worst in the ACC because, and I quote, “They would rather be sitting at home watching on their fancy flatscreen TVs.” Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Jimmy Howell is once again our punter. I guess punter roulette is over. According to the “Starting Lineup” announcement, Sewell is our starter 13:00 Band time. I love it when they spell words. It’s sad that clapping for the National Anthem is the only clapping I’m allowed to do. 5:00 CavMan is up. Some guys next to me were like “CavMan is undefeated!” True story. CavMan stole a plane from the airport. Lofty. Even though I’m not in the student section, I still get hyped up when the team runs out onto the field. A resounding chorus of boos for the BC team.
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1st Quarter November 14, 2009 Coin toss time! $8,194.94 to Uplifting Athletes! Power of Orange Flag time. 15:00 Kickoff time. We deferred to the second half. Randolph to kick it away today instead of Hinkebein.BC out to the 27. 1st and 10. Handoff gets 3. 2nd and 7. Shinskie hits a wide open guy. Great. 1st and 10 from the 48 now. We can’t leave Rich Gunnell that wide open! Handoff to Harris. 2nd and 6. Harris gets 9 before he meets Steve Greer. 1st and 10 from the UVa 39. Again to Harris, again with the poor tackling. 1st and 10 from the 28. BC is moving the ball well. Eeep. 2nd and 7. What was it Aaron Clark called them? “Wooooo hits?” We need to stop going for those. Shinskie’s pass complete to Pantale the TE. 1st and 10 from the 13. More bad tackling. ‘This is Virginia Football. We don’t tackle.” 2nd and 5. Harris gets 3. 3rd and 2. If we can hold them to a FG, I won’t freak out completely. SHINSKIE PICKED OFF IN THE ENDZONE BY RAS-I DOWLING!!!!!!! 10:02 1st and 10 from the 14. Sewell at QB. Handoff to Jackson, who gets 2. 2nd and 8. Sewell to Hall, who dashes for the 1st down! 1st and 10. Jackson gets the carry. Push him forward, O-Line! 2nd and 8. Sewell TAKES OFF on the most authoritative run I’ve seen from him all season. He almost makes the 1st down marker. 3rd and 1. Injured player on the sideline where Sewell went out of bounds. Can’t see who it is. It’s an official. Ouch. Aaaaaand somehow the chain got broken over on the sideline. Hahahahaha, there’s something you don’t see everyday. Okay, it wasn’t the chain, it was one of the sticks. Whatever. Still 3rd and 1 after the equipment malfunction. Sewell keeps and gets the 1st! 1st and 10 from the 36. Rashawn Jackson BREAKS FREE! 1st and 10 from the BC 36 now. Wait no, there was a penalty. Great. 1st and 1 (yes 1) from the UVa 45 after the holding call. 1st and 10 from the BC 48. Sewell gives to Jackson, who gets smothered. 2nd and 11. Kris Burd scoops up a Jameel Sewell pass intended for the ground. Nevermind, he didn’t catch it. 3rd and 11. Sewell, under pressure, looks for Hall, but doesn’t get it there.
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4th and 11. Howell on to punt. IT JUUUUUUST BOUNCES INTO THE ENDZONE. 6:19 1st and 10 from the 20 after the touchback. Pizza timeout, yay! 2nd and 7 after the Harris run. Shinskie with ALL kinds of time, but no one gets open. 3rd and 7. Stands are getting loud. I smell blood. I SMELL BLOOD! Shinksie, under pressure, throws it away. 4th and 7. Punt time! Minnifield back to receive. Fair catch. HEY THAT GUY HIT HIM! NO FLAG? 5:25 Strong showing from the defense gives offense decent field position. 1st and 1o from our own 45. Perry Jones gets the handoff, ALMOST GETS DROPPED, but only loses 2. 2nd and 12. Sewell makes it OBVIOUS he’s looking for Hall, but ends up throwing it away. 3rd and 12. After the defense worked so hard, the o is letting it slip away. Aaaaaand SEWELL THROWS A BOMB TOWARDS JARED GREEN! WHAT!!!! HOW IS THAT NOT PASS INTERFERENCE??!? 4th and 12. Howell just gets it away, ball rolls down to the 15. 4:22 1st and 10 BC. Harris struggles forward for 5. 2nd and 5. Hopefully the D can do it again. 3rd and 2. EEeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! Pass is well defended by Corey Mosely. At least when Shinskie has 21834792835 years he still can’t find an open receiver. 4th and 2. BC to punt to Vic Hall. Hall calls for a fair catch and GETS LEVELLED! Glad he’s okay, and I’m really glad we got the huge penalty. 2:46 1st and 10 from the BC 45 after the penalty. Sewell gives to Jackson, who runs into a BC defender. 2nd and 7. Sewell, quick toss out to Jackson, who picks up 5. 3rd and 2. Let’s convert. Free timeout so they can repair the chains, again. Oh no! Vic Hall is being taken to the locker room after that HUGE hit. Take note: That was a “wooooooo” hit. Okay, 3rd and 2 for real this time. Sewell throws to Burd, who makes the grab. 1st and 1o from the 31. We need puntos. Muchos puntos. Jackson loses a PILE of yards. Crap. 2nd and 21. Really? REALLY? Time winds down as Sewell finds Inman at the original line of scrimmage. 3rd and 9. Last play of the quarter. Sewell throws the ball away under heavy pressure from BC’s Jarick Walker. 4th and 9. Okay, Randolph’s 47 yard attempt is the last play. WIDE RIGHT. UVa 0 - BC 0
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:06.9 1st and 10 BC from the 30. Rodney McLeod makes the tackle on Rich Gunnell.
2nd Quarter November 14, 2009 15:00 2nd and 7. Shinksie’s pass complete for 2. 3rd and 5. Big 3rd down coming up. LET’S GO!!!! Shinskie finds McCluskey on the run. 1st and 10 from the 41. SHINSKIE GOES DEEP. OH MY GOD. Larmon drops a SURE TD. 2nd and 10. Wow. That was scary. Respect the deep ball, defense. Handoff to Harris gets 4. 3rd and 6. Shinskie gets drilled as he releases, still finds Gunnell. 1st and 10 from the UVa 21. Eeeep. Harris gets the handoff, and 1 yard. 2nd and 9. NO WAY. Minnifield definitely interfered on that one. Look back for the ball, Chase! 1st and Goal from the 5 now. Ughhhhhh. Harris gets nothing. Darren Childs and Matt Conrath were there. 2nd and Goal. Shinskie…Wait, BC was offsides. Hahahahaaaa 2nd and Goal from the 10. This time, BC calls a timeout. 2nd and Goal from the 10, really. BC huddles. Shinskie from the gun, finds an open guy for a TD. Aponavicius’ kick good. UVa 0 - BC 7 10:44 BC to kick off. Minnifield and Jones back to receive. Minnifield gets out to the 26. 1st and 10 Virginia. Sewell keeps. 2nd and 6. Offsides. 2nd and 11. Jones the ball carrier. He is not strong at all. Give him an extra helping of alligator meat. 3rd and 10. Sewell’s pass intended for Green. I swear that was a pass interference. 4th and 10. Howell back to make some magic. Gunnell to receive. Gunnell gets back to the 40 after a few missed tackles. Typical. 8:45 1st and 10- penalty on BC. Block in the back. Ball on the 28 now. Shinskiekins gives to Harris. 2nd and 4. Pass. Complete. 1st and 10 from the 47. 1 yard for Harris. 2nd and 9. Shinskie’s pass to Gunnell is incomplete. Dowling DECKS GUNNELL. 3rd and 9. BC calls timeout as the play clock expires. 3rd and 9, take two. PASS ALMOST PICKED OFF!!
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4th and 9. PUNTTTTTTTT. Hall fair catches and is left alone this time. Glad to see him back. 6:47 I could use a coffee at halftime. Sewell from the 13, gives to Jackson! 2nd and 2 after Jackson’s rush. Again to Jackson, who gets the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 26. Jackson is carrying this anemic offense. On that note, Sewell to Torchia, who powers forward for a 1st down! 1st and 10 from the 36. Jackson for 6 yards. 2nd and 4. Jackson gets the first! 1st and 10 from the 47. Hot cha cha! Call us Georgia Tech, because we are running the ball! Aaaaaand, timeout just before the play clock expires. Okay, Sewell finds Torchia again! 1st and 10 on the BC 42! Work it! Sewell fumbles the snap, but falls on it. 2nd and 13. Hope that wasn’t our momentum Sewell just dropped. Pump fake pump fake, finds Tim Smith. 3rd and 11. Uh oh. Sewell to Green for the 1st! 1st and 10 from the 23. That was a facemask! Oh well, we got the 1st anyway. Doing some hand signals, picking a play…and Sewell’s pass is knocked down at the LOS. 2nd and 10. I want a TD on this drive. We need a TD on this drive. Sewell scrambles, overthrows a wide open Joe Torchia, and gets picked off. Great. 1:36 BC takes over. Sewell definitely could have run for the 1st on that one. No need to throw. 1st and 10 from their own 7. Harris breaks free. 1st and 10 from the 24 now. Harris out to the 33. 2nd and 1. Time winds down as Shinskie throws, and it is knocked away by Chris Cook. 3rd and 1. RUN IS STUFFED. AARON CLARK SAYS GET OUT. 4th and 5. Punt to Chase Minnifield. Take it to the house. Punt sails out of bounds at the 29. :31.7 1st and 10. Sewell panics and can’t find Rashawn Jackson, who was wide open. 2nd and 10. Nevermind. Jim Ramella stops the run. End 1st Half. UVa 0 - BC 7
Halftime Observations November 14, 2009 If the defense can hold, which I think it will, we have no reason NOT to win this game. However, it seems as if the offense is determined to find ways to be inconsistent. In other news, a source “close to the program” Predicts we will win today, lose to Clemson, then beat Virginia Tech at home to still finish 5-7 and out of the bowl picture.
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3rd Quarter November 14, 2009 15:00 Gimme that ball! Minnifield out to the 28! 1st and 10. SEWELL HITS A WIDE OPEN KRIS BURD DOWN THE MIDDLE! 1st and 10 from the BC 44. Jackson gets 2. 2nd and 8. Jameel Sewell succumbs to those ankle tackles that always get him 3rd and 20. Ew. Pass complete to Smith. 4th and 8. Howell to punt. Drop this one inside the 5, Jimmy. Fair catch at the 11. 12:19 1st and 10. 44,324 here today. Montel Harris is dragged down at the 16. 2nd and 5. Shinskie gives to Gunnell. 3rd and 3. Come on, defense! Shinskie passes, but not enough! 4th and 2. Punt it! Hall back to receive. BC JUMPS! FALSE START! 4th and 7. Backitup backitup. HALL SPRINGS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh no. Flags on the play. Uh oh. BLOCK IN THE BACK. NO. FREAKIN’. WAY. 9:40 1st and 10 from the Cavalier 26. Are you kidding me? Sewell is Jackson’s lead blocker, and Rashawn gets out to the 41! 1st and 10. Okay, we’ll just have to score the old-fashioned way. Jackson trips. Groooooaaaannnnnnn. 2nd and 13. Sewell scrambles. I hate the way he carries the ball way out in front of him. He’s just begging to get it stripped. 3rd and 13. Sewell to Inman, who pulls it in despite the ball being 2 inches off the ground. 4th and 1. Play is under review. NO WAY. RULED INCOMPLETE. 4th and 13 instead. I was hoping we would go for it on 4th and 1, but definitely not now. Howell to punt to Gunnell. WOW. Howell drops one at the 13. 8:09 It looks like shaking things up last week with the punter situation really jumpstarted Howell. He’s been on fire tonight. 1st and 10 from the 13. Come on defense!!!!! Shinskie’s pass is too high for Jarvis. 2nd and 10. Shinskie hits a wide open Gunnell, but thankfully he drops it. Wow. Talk about busted coverage. 3rd and 10. COME ON! COME ON! Flag on that play was well deserved. AWFUL coverage by Dom Joseph. Once again, we will find a way to lose this game. 1st and 10 from the 28. Shinskie is forced to throw it away under pressure. We’ve been in his
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face all game, but he hasn’t been sacked yet. Smart play by him, or bad play by our pass rush? Hahahahaa ineligible receiver downfield. Back it up. 1st and 15 from the 23. Pass is tipped. Incomplete. Shinskie looked desperate to get rid of that one. 2nd and 15. Once again, pressure forces Shinskie to throw the ball away. 3rd and 15. Don’t mess this one up. FINALLY A SACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BILL SCHAUTZ! 4th and 15. ALMOST GOT TO IT! Minnifield shakes off a few tacklers but is brought down at theROUGHING THE KICKER?!?!?!! 1st and 10 BC after the penalty. Another great defensive stop blown by poor decision making. Harris 2 yard gain. 2nd and 8. RESERVATIONS FOR 6!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHRIS COOK INTERCEPTION FOR A TD!!!!!!!!! Jarrett hits the extra point!!!! UVa 7 - BC 7 5:41 Randolph to kick it off. BC return man brought down at the 27. 1st and 1o. Harris is STUFFED at the line. 2nd and 11. Crowd is chanting “D-fence! D-fence!” Shinskie throws ALMOST PICKED OFF AGAIN!!!!! 3rd and 11. I thought he was over the LOS on that one. Oh well. There is so much energy in Scott Stadium right now. I would be on my feet if I could. OFFSIDES!!!! 3rd and 16. Get it. McCluskey the ball carrier. 4th and 4. Hall back to receive. Get another one, Vic. BC plays it safe and punts out of bounds. FLAG DOWN?!?! NOT AGAIN. HOLDING. 3:46 1st and 10 from the 19 after the penalty. Perry Jones gets the ball, and gets nowhere. 2nd and 9. Sewell hits Inman for the 1st down! 1st and 10 from the 33. Ramella hurt on the play. 2nd and 10. I met Jim Ramella at media days. He was really nice. I hope he’s okay. Sewell to Hall. 3rd and 4. Eeep. Sewell fires a bullet to Joe Torchia. 1st and 10 from the 45. Sewell hits Torchia again. Flag down where Torchia was downed. Helmet to helmet!!!!!!! Gimme those yards! 1st and 10 from the BC 26. That’s one way to move the ball. Sewell gives to Jones, who fights for 1 yard. I guess he’s just spelling Jackson. 2nd and 9. Time winds down in the quarter. 3rd and 5. Sewell looks for Hall in the endzone. Can’t find him. 4th and 5. Randolph to try a 38 yard FG attempt. ITS GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UVa 10 - BC 7 End 3rd Quarter.
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4th Quarter November 14, 2009 15:00 Randolph to kick it away after seizing the lead. Return man brought down at the 31. 1st and 10. Shinskie to Harris who crosses the 50. Eeep. 1st and 10 from the Virginia 49. Don’t fall apart on me now defense! This is the home stretch. Harris gets 9. 2nd and 1. Another INT perhaps? Harris gets the first. 1st and 10 from the 36. Stop them here, please. STEVE GREER ALMOST GETS TO SHINSKIE! BC’s QB forced to throw it away. Flag? BLOCK IN THE BACK!!! 1st and 20 from the 46 now. I’ll take it. Flags again. False start on BC! 1st and 25 now. Shinskie’s almost dropped, but finds Gunnell. 2nd and 14. Wonderful. Complete to the TE. 3rd and 2. Just like that, BC looks alive again. Come on defense! Don’t give up now! Harris stopped by Zane Parr. 4th and 1! BC IS GOING FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Harris shoots forward and picks up the 1st. 1st and 10. Great. Shinskie gives to Harris, who meet resistance at the LOS. 2nd and 8. KILL KILL KILL!!!!!! Shinskie goes for the endzone, defended by Cook, flag down. NO WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. NOT A PASS INTERFERENCE! IF ANYTHING, GUNNELL PUSHED OFF!!!!!!!!! 1st and Goal from the 7. Harris is stopped at the 5. 2nd and Goal. Harris struggles forward, down to the 2. 3rd and Goal. Red zone defense, we need you know. Harris over the top aaaaaand… STOPPED SHORT! 4th and Goal from the 1. BC is going for it. Touchdown. Crap. Extra po- under review!!!! Thank you. Ruling stands. Great. Extra point is good. UVa 10 - BC 14. Boos all around, but not aimed at the Virginia team for once. 7:53 Field goals won’t cut it here, offense. We need a touchdown. Perry Jones LATERALS TO MINNIFIELD! HE HURDLES A DEFENDER! Brought down at the 29. 1st and 10. That was interesting. Risky move. Pass tipped at the line. 2nd and 10. SEWELL RIFLES A PASS TO HALL ACROSS THE 50!!!! 1st and 10 from the BC 48. Drive it, boys, drive it. Sewell to Hall again. Hall drops it. 2nd and 10. Pass to Torchia, who had a defender ALL OVER HIM. Where’s the flag?!??! 3rd and 10. This is some of the worst officiating I’ve ever seen. Call it both ways, ref. TO HALL AGAIN WHO DROPS.
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4th and 10. Wow. Where are your heads? Punt. Fair catch at the 13. 7:00 1st and 10. Wow. Shortest. Drive. Ever. We need a stop and then a touchdown. Come on!!!! Harris pushed out at the LOS. 2nd and 10. Harris the ball carrier. 3rd and 3. STOP THEM HERE. Pass complete. Darn. 1st and 10 from the 24. Okay, new set of downs. Let’s hold it here. Shinskiecakes hands off, but play is blown dead. Uh oh. Reset the game clock? WHY?!?!?! Okay, for real this time. Shinskie to Harris WHO IS BROUGHT DOWN BEHIND THE LOS. STEVE GREER SMASH!!!!! 2nd and 15. KIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLL. Or we could let Shinskie complete a huge pass to Gunnell. Great. 1st and 10 from the 42. Why do we do this, why do we always do this? Handoff to Harris, gets 3. 2nd and 7. Eeep. Harris should have been brought down in the backfield, but instead he gets 4 yards. 3rd and 3. Big third down here. We need a stop so we can get the ball back and score. But instead, we let Harris pick up the first. 1st and 10. INT here maybe? Fumble? Anything? Under 3 minutes to play. Shinskiekins hands off to Harris. THAT WAS A HOLD!!!!!! 2nd and 7. Wow. How did they miss that hold? AAAAAIIIEEEEEEEE KILL KILL KILL!!!!!!! Harris is stuffed at the LOS. Get. Out. 3rd and 8. Timeout UVa. Get your heads straight. Harris gets nothing. MUWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!!! 4th and 8. GIVE ME THAT BALL! 2:22 left to play. UVa uses their last timeout. WHY? We might need it on the last drive of the game! Hall spins away from one defender, but can’t get past the 21. 2:12 1st and 10 from the 21. Sewell gets ready to lead the 2 minute drill. Completes a pass to Inman, who gets out of bounds AND GETS HIT! WHAT!!?!?! NO FOUL??? 2nd and 2. Sewell to Hall for the 1st down! 1st and 10 from the 38. Sewell hits a wide open Green in the hands, and he drops it. Wow. 2nd and 10. Sewell is forced to take off, gets a block from Green and the 1st. 1st and 10 from the 50. Pass to Burd, clock continues to roll. 2nd and 2. TOO HIGH FOR JACKSON. Dangerous play. If the defender had gone for the INT instead of the tackle that wold have been the game. 3rd and 2. Jackson makes the catch this time, and gets extra yards. 1st and 10 from the 32 now. Sewell finds Jackson again, who gets another 1st! 1st and 10 from the 21. Sewell just overthrows Inman. I don’t know if I’m shaking from cold or excitement.
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2nd and 10. Sewell throws a dangerous ball; it’s tipped. 3rd and 10. This. Is. So. Scary. JACKSON IS SO CLOSE TO THE FIRST. CLOCK ROLLS. BC player is down. Clock stops. 4th and 1. PLEASE STAND UP. PLEASE STAND UP BECAUSE I CAN’T. SEWELL CARRIES TO THE LINE, GIVE US THE SPOT. PLEASE. Short. Inches short. Game. WAIT!!!!!!! SPOT IS UNDER REVIEW!!!!!! Confirmed. Game is over.
Bye bye, Bowl Game November 17, 2009 With Saturday’s loss to Boston College, my Cavaliers are officially out of the running for a bowl game. Even if we win our last two contests (doubtful) we still won’t reach that magical six-win threshold that might put us in the EagleBank Bowl. Once again, I’ll be home for the holidays. Sigh. What else can really be said? When the defense is on point, the offense can’t make it happen. We held the Eagles to a measly fourteen points, but the offense had ZERO points. Special teams and defense scored all ten points. Chris Cook gets a gold star for his pick six, and even if Robert Randolph had made that forty-some yarder, it wouldn’t have won the game. He should ask Bobby Bowden about “wide right” some time. According to Coach Jeezy: “We left 10 special teams points out there today that we could have had. Clearly that would have been the difference in the game. Those kind of points get forgotten but they are the kind of points that change scoreboards. Leaving those points out there had more effect on the game than the final few plays did. ” Um, okay Coach. What about the offense? What about the fact that the offense can’t put a single point on the board? Le offense was simply sad. Sad, sad, sad. From dropped passes, to silly mistakes, to poor decision making, we continually found ways to shoot ourselves in the foot. Dropped passes this late in the season? UNCONTESTED dropped passes? Seriously? Each WR should be required to catch 1,000 balls every day in practice before they are allowed to go eat dinner. Best way to motivate college guys: withhold food. Speaking of food, someone needs to feed Perry Jones some alligator meat. Fast. If he is going to be playing RB, he needs to toughen up. He may be quick, but he is also small. If he wants to break through, he needs to run harder. Are we starting to see why he wasn’t as heavily recruited out of high school? I will say that Jameel Sewell did well this weekend. His first day of practice in the last TWO WEEKS was Thursday. Maybe he should take time off every week? My one gripe is that he still makes questionable decisions under pressure. On his lone interception, he was flushed from the pocket. He had about 10 yards of daylight in front of him AND a wide-open Joe Torchia. Instead of finding his TE or just running for the first down, Sewell looked desperately for Vic Hall, and underthrew him for an INT. If only his brain worked better under fire… All in all, this was one of the more questionably officiated games I’ve seen this season. Our
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defense was close to QB David Shinskie all game, but with all of the illegal holding going on we only sacked him once. Some of the pass-interference calls on us were a little iffy as well. Finally, to top it all off, we were given a questionable spot at the end of the game on that 4th an 1. The ball was spotted, and then an official ran out and moved it back. Really? Isn’t that what replay is for? Speaking of replay, our game was on ESPN 360 rather than a televised station, which makes a huge difference when it comes to reviewing plays. 360 only has two cameras, whereas even Raycom has 6, including a camera on the goal line. There wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call. However, if the ball hadn’t been moved back by the official, there wouldn’t have been enough evidence to overturn that either. Football is a game of inches, and we came up inches short. The lesson learned from all of this: DON’T EVER PUT THE GAME IN THE HANDS OF THE OFFICIALS. Robert Randolph said it best: “We are going to have to rally here for the last two games, but we can count on the fact that everyone in that locker room desperately wants to win. We still have pride to play for, but more than that, it’s about playing for your teammates.” I was immensely proud of our fans on Saturday. It was only a crowd of 44,000 and change, but they were behind the team the whole way. The stadium sounded much louder than that. Mostly everyone stayed until the very end. We want our team to do well. We care about them, but there is only so much we can take as a fanbase before something has to give. Hopefully we will have a ton of support two weeks from now for the last home game against Tech. I dislike them a lot. Clemson this week: a Heisman hopeful and a super loud stadium full of crazy fans. Make sure you all vote for CJ Spiller for Heisman. We all want an ACC player to bring the trophy home!
Playing for Pizza November 20, 2009 My Cavaliers are playing for pride and not much else this weekend. We’re out of bowl contention, and right now we are just trying to play spoiler to Clemson’s ACC title game hopes. I actually kind of WANT Clemson to get to the title. We would ALL like to see an ACC player as a serious Heisman contender and CJ Spiller is among the best players out there right now. If the Tigers have a shot at getting to the Orange Bowl, the BCS exposure will benefit Spiller’s campaign. Something you all should know about Death Valley: It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen or experienced before. I love Virginia Football with all of my heart, but I was raised a Tiger fan. I can’t count the number of Clemson home games I attended growing up. The atmosphere just doesn’t compare. It will be loud. So loud that it’s hard for the O-line to hear the signal call. Great. Just what we need. It’s Senior Day in Clemson, and Spiller’s last home game. The orange and purple fanatics will be louder than ever. UVa is constantly complemented on the behavior of their fans by visiting fans. Don’t expect any niceties from the Tiger faithful. Southern Hospitality is all well and good, but not when there’s a trip to the ACCCG on the line. They may buy you a drink after all is said and done, but be prepared for taunts and heckling before the game. These people take their football seriously. I doubt whether there will be many Virginia fans in attendance; Clemson is something of a trek. I was considering going to the game, but then I realized, “Do I really want to shell out $50 (not
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counting gas money, food, etc.) to watch us get run over?” This is probably the attitude of most fans towards the team at this point. Yeah, you heard right. I think we are probably going to get run over. Run over by CJ Spiller, that is. Wait, what am I saying? The entire Clemson team (offense, defense and special teams) is fast. Virginia just doesn’t have the speed to keep up. On defense, Ras-I Dowling and Chris Cook will have their work cut out for them covering Clemson’s talented receiving corps. Jacoby Ford is the national CHAMPION at the 60m sprint, so there’s no one faster. Our corners need to challenge him at the line and STAY CLOSE. If he gets an inch of separation, he’s gone. Nate Collins and the d-line have to close, and close quickly. Last year we held Spiller to something like 1.8 yards per carry. Like with Ford, we can’t let Spiller get free. On offense, I’m completely stumped as to what to do. Clemson’s defense is fast as well, so they will be putting pressure on our already-embattled offensive line. Jameel Sewell won’t have time to make throws. It’s up to Rashawn Jackson to carry the ball up the middle. Maybe we can spring him? This week’s injury report is as follows: Out Raynard Horne (back) Torey Mack (ankle) Tim Smith (back) Marc Verica (head) Doubtful None Questionable Vic Hall (hip) Probable Kris Burd (shoulder) Darren Childs (neck) Matt Conrath (ankle) Colter Phillips (leg) Jameel Sewell (shoulder) All remaining players on the Virginia roster are available to participate. Please note the status of an injured student-athlete’s ability to participate can increase or decrease between the time this report is issued and game time. Key: Probable = Virtual certainty will be available for normal duty Questionable = 50-50 chance will not play Doubtful = At least 75% chance will not play Out = Definitely will not play I’m a little nervous about Vic Hall’s hip and Jameel’s shoulder. Obviously, Sewell will still start, but I hope he doesn’t hurt himself. With Verica out, I really don’t want to rely on RFr. Riko Smalls, who has never taken a snap in a game. Coach Jeezy Says: When you go down there awe know a couple of things. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be challenging, and it’s going to be fun. It’s a great atmosphere in which to play in.
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In their energy it’s right up there at the very top of the ACC sites that we go to. There’s a real football fever. It’s not just a Saturday afternoon activity. There is a real passion and a real fever for Clemson football. So I’ve always enjoyed going in there. It’s very challenging to go in, like I said. It’s challenging. They always have a very talented team. I mean, I can’t remember when Clemson wasn’t talented. They’ve always had a very talented team. Football is really important not only to the players, but to the fans. And there is a very lively electric atmosphere. We haven’t been down there since they expanded the stadium or the renovations that went into it. But it was pretty imposing before it was renovated. So kind of looking forward to seeing it. Blair Says: Eeep. Clemson 37 - Virginia 10
Smoke and Mirrors November 28, 2009 That’s what we had last weekend against Clemson. Virginia’s entire offensive production relied on trick plays. Can we come up with about 100 more for the Tech game? Speaking of the Tech game, holy crap it’s tomorrow! The entire season comes down to this game. It’s our bowl game, our last shot. For some of our seniors, it’s their last chance to play in a Virginia uniform. For some, it’s their last chance to play ever. That game is going to mean so much to a lot of people. For Al Groh, it’s a swan song. For our seniors, it’s about going out on a high note. For the team, it’s about ending the season right. For everyone involved, including myself, it’s about giving those stupid turkeys everything they deserve. Mere words can’t even come close to describing the burning, intense hatred I feel for Virginia Tech. I’m a journalist, but on this blog I’m a student so I can talk about my own personal feelings towards their idiotic program. I hate their mascot, their stupid stadium, their horrible color scheme, those awful Nike Pro Combat uniforms, and especially their mindless zombie fans who revere Frank Beamer as some sort of god. I’m sure they are all making sacrifices to him as I type this. I hate how their fan base gets all hopped up every season about how, “This year we’re gonna win that championship!!11!!!!1!!!!” Puh-Lease. As if Virginia Tech is in the same LEAGUE as teams like Florida, Alabama, Texas, even USC and Oregon. Alabama already proved that you don’t belong once this season. Even more than that, I hate how their fans always say, “Well, we have better athletics than you, you stuck-up, chardonnay-sipping snobs! WOOO LUNCH PAIL BEAMER BALL DEFENSE WOOOO!” Guess what, your football team may be better than ours, but Virginia Tech has never won a national championship in ANY SPORT. When you win a football national title, then you are free to brag about your team. When you win a title in ANYTHING, then you can open your mouth. The closest you ever came to a national football championship was ten years ago; then good old Bobby Bowden came in and wiped the floor with you. As far as the snobbishness taunts go, well, I won’t deny that we are classier than you in almost every respect. In the words of the esteemed Coach Lou Holtz, “I’d rather be me and lose than be you and win.” Enough of that. I won’t pollute my page any more with more mentions of those insipid Virginia Tech fans. What I am going to talk about now is our team. They’ve been through the ringer this season. However, if there’s anything to fight for, it’s this game. It would mean the world to the players (none of whom have ever beaten VT), the coaches (who may be in very different places
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this time next season), and the fans (who desperately need something to cheer about). Only the most loyal fans are going to be there tomorrow. The people who come back early from Thanksgiving break are the ones who have been there all season, through the good and the bad. The team, for all of their ineptitude and mistakes, has played hard. I won’t say I’ve been pleased with the result, but I can’t fault the effort. Not once did they ever give up; they proved it last week at Clemson, in a game that didn’t mean anything to either team in the long run other than a check in the win column. I only hope that this time, this one time, their effort and their heart is rewarded. I want this win. We, as a university NEED this win. At this point, the head coaching situation (whatever it might be) is all sewn up regardless of the outcome of the game. You should cheer your hardest for this one. I know it’s been tempting to hope for things to get so bad that the AD is forced to make a change. This time, we need a win. We need to all remember what it feels like to come out on top. We need to remember that no matter how bad things are, there is still something to fight for. We need to recapture that spirit that makes Virginia Football so special. We’ve lost it this season; it’s easy to understand why. Hopefully next season will be different. Nevertheless, all we can do with the last game of this season is be loud and vocal for our seniors, so that most of them can leave their football careers behind having left Scott Stadium to a resounding roar of approval from the crowd. Their last memory of a game in a Virginia uniform should be one of pride. They should leave tomorrow with their heads held high, and the last strains of the ‘Good Ol’ Song’ still ringing in their ears. Coach Jeezy Says: “Just like a number of our coaches said before last Saturday’s game, just in speaking with them at the pregame meal or on the bus to the stadium, they were like - “I love games like this. I love going against the best players and going against the best teams in games that really count for something in this type of environment.” - I think we certainly feel that. The better the opponent, the bigger the game, the more juice. And then when you add a natural rivalry to that, that certainly makes it one of the most exciting games of the year.” Blair Says: ONE MORE TIME, BOYS. VIRGINIA 17 - VIRGINIA TECH 10. I CAN’T EVER IN GOOD CONSCIENCE PICK THE HOKIES TO WIN.
Pregame! November 28, 2009 Turkeyyyyyyysssssssssssss 53:00 I’ve been demoted to the second row of the press box. Grrrrrr… A little under an hour to game time and I can already feel my blood boiling. God, we had better win. Way too much maroon up here in the box. I may or may not have to do something about this. Looks like Tech brought their whole band. Their team is now on the field. Good to see our boos are drowning out the visitor section’s cheers. 48:00
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The Virginia boys are getting pumped up. Tech is wearing those goofy uniforms. Skipping time! Helmets are off for stretching, and the roars of the team are intimidating. 36:00 Receivers catching some passes. Hope they can hold on when it really counts. The Groh is still wearing his famous sweatshirt. He went to the Bill Belichick School of Sideline Fashion. 29:00 Not happy to see Clemson imploding on ESPN360. I’m secretly making rude gestures at the Tech players under the table. Don’t tell anyone! Starting lineups! Sewell at QB, Hall at WR. 23:00 Senior ceremony is about to start. Thanks guys. It’s been a wild ride. 12:00 Band time! Ours is better than Tech’s. It’s going to be hard to keep my mouth shut today, I can feel it. CAV MAN!!! YAY!!!!!!! TURKEY GOT PUNCHED ALL THE WAY TO THE PROCESSING PLANT.
1st Quarter November 28, 2009 VT wins the toss. Defers to second half. 15:00 It hasn’t been this loud here all season. Javanti Sparrow to receive. Corey Mosely fields it. Out to the 27. 1st and 10. Rashawn Jackson rushes for 2. 2nd and 8. Vic Hall carries for 7! 3rd and 1. Big third down here. Let’s convert and make a statement. Aaaaaand Sewell refuses to get hit and costs us the- wait, they’re marking him enough! 1st and 10! SEWELL TAKES OFF DOWN THE SIDELINE! 1st and 10 from the VT 36! GET IT! Hall carries this time for 2 yards. 2nd and 8. Are we ever going to air it out? RASHAWN JACKSON FOR THE FIRST. Or not. 3rd and 1. We’ll get there. Jackson gets enough on the second effort. 1st and 10. Good pass play. Out to Inman for 8. 2nd and 2. Rashawn Jackson gets stopped at the line. 3rd and 1. Come on, red zone offense. Let’s come away with seven. JAMEEL SEWELL GETS IN
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THE ENDZONE UNTOUCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jarrett’s kick is perfect. UVA 7 - VT 0. 9:27 Randolph to kick it away. Return out to the 16. 1st and 10. HOW DID HE CATCH THAT? 1st and 10 from the UVa 43 after Ras-I Dowling blows the coverage. Ryan Williams is stopped by Nate Collins. 2nd and 9. Get out. Another great stop by the defense. 3rd and 7. That was a HOLD! Back them up. 3rd and 17. If they get this… RAS-I TURN AROUND!!!!!!!!!!! 1st and 10 from the 14 now. Flag. False start. Bwahahahahaaaaa 1st and 15 this time. Ryan Williams gets squashed by Nate Collins. 2nd and 13. Tyrod hits Greg Boone. Grrrrrr… 3rd and 1. Hold them here, defense. Let’s force a field goal. Williams in for the TD. UVA 7 - VT 7. Barf. 4:48 Sparrow out to the 29. 1st and 10. Mikell Simpson for 2. 2nd and 8. Come on, guys. Mikell again, this time he picks up 5. 3rd and 3. SEWELL FOR THE FIRST AND MORE! 1st and 10 from the Hokie 48. Flag??!??!! PERSONAL FOUL ON US? WHAT? Back it up. 1st and 10 from the UVa 37 now. SEWELL AGAIN! 1st and 10 from the Hokie 37. Hall down to the 30! 2nd and 3! Sewell misfires, and can’t get it to Kris Burd. 3rd and 3. Sewell dumps it off to Simpson! 1st and 10 from the 21. Wildcat! 2nd and 10 after no gain. Sewell runs into his own man short of the first. 3rd and 5. We need this one. Keep the momentum up. BURD STUMBLES AND CAN’T GET TO THE PASS. 4th an 5. Randolph on to try the 33 yarder. IT’S GOOD! UVA 10 - VT 7. 0:15.2 Randolph back to kick off. Sewell has 91 rushing yards so far. Dyrell Roberts is brought down at the 42 after he manages to get away from everyone. Damn.
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1st and 10. Tyrod scrambles, then slides like a pansy. End 1st Quarter. UVA 10 - VT 7.
2nd Quarter November 28, 2009 15:00 1st and 10 Chokies from the UVA 45. Tyrod gives to Williams, who is stopped by Collins. 2nd and 1. ALMOST PICKED OFF. 3rd and 1. WILLIAMS IS STUFFED AT THE LINE! 4th and 3! Tech to punt. I’d watch for a fake here. Punt sails into the endzone. 13:18 After a great defensive stand, we take over at the 20. Jackson gets out to the 21. 2nd and 9. Jackson again, for another 1 yard gain. 3rd and 8. If those two fools in front of me don’t stop jangling their keys… Incomplete pass. 4th and 8. Jimmy Howell on for the first time today. Nice punt. Jayron Hosley gets ou to the UVa 46. Slebonick stops him. 11:41 1st and 10 turkeys. Williams gets 4. 2nd and 6. D-Fence! Where was Ras-I Dowling? AGAIN? 1st and 10 from the 26. Williams gets 6. 2nd and 4. I don’t like this. Can we hold them to 3? Please? Or not. Williams dives into the endzone. UVA 10 - VT 14. Vomit. 9:43 Sparrow to receive. Moseley gets it instead. 1st and 10 from the 25. Sewell dances and gets nowhere. 2nd and 11. Yay. TIM SMITH!!!!!! INCOMPLETE?!?!?! WHAT? NO WAY! HOW WASN’T THAT AN INTERFERENCE? WHAT? 3rd and 11. We need some magic here. Get psyched up. Jameel overthrows Inman. 4th and 11. This is garbage. Jimmy to punt again. Meep. Punt is away from the returner. VT will take over at their own 39. 8:38 1st and 1o. Die, Turkeys, Die. HOW IS THAT A CATCH AND OURS WASN’T? Okay, under review. I can breathe again. No way. NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY. 1st and 10 from the UVa 23 after a questionable long pass play. Williams gets 1 yard.
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2nd and 9. Can we get tough here, defense? They are burning us. Tyrod gets planted for a 1 yard loss. Hahahahaaaaa 3rd and 10. Matt Conrath is a wall. KILL KILL KILL. INCOMPLETE! 4th and 10. Kick that field goal, you pieces of- calm calm, I’ve got to stay calm. NO GOOD! THE KICK IS NO GOOD! UVA 10 - VT 14 6:24 1st and 10 from the 23. Simpson straight ahead for 3 yards. 2nd and 7. Direct snap to Hall who gets the first down! 1st and 10 from the 35. SEWELL’S PASS COMPLETE TO BURD! 1st and 10 from the Turkey 46. Sewell keeps for 1. 2nd and 9. Move it move it move it! Pass to Burd, who is shaken up. 3rd and 2. I thought they had his facemask. Horrible spot too. Jameel spins down to the 32! 1st and 10. GO HOOS GO! Simpson gets the handoff, and gets nowhere. 2nd and 10. Tim Smith was open on that last play. Sewell hits Hall for 7. 3rd and 3. 1 yard gain. 4th and 2. Randolph to attempt and 41 yarder as the clock winds down. Timeout first. Okay, for real this time. IT’S GOOD! We’re coming back! UVA 13 - VT 14. 0:38.4 Randolph to kick it away. GET ON THE GROUND, FOOL! 1st and 10 from the 26. Taylor is stopped by Chris Cook. 2nd and 6. Time back on the clock?! Why? Stop cheating! PENATLYYYYYYYYY. Holding on VT. Back. It. Up. 2nd and 16. Let’s gets a big defensive stop just before the half. Williams spins outside, gets dangerously close to a first. 3rd and 1. What. The. Hell. Defense. Timeout. INCOMPLETE PASS. Wait, what? Clock reads 0:00, but there was a personal foul on the end of the last play. What is going on? Are they going to give Tech one more play? I guess so. Tyrod lobs one to the endzone, but it’s incomplete. End Half.
3rd Quarter November 28, 2009 15:00 There is a guy up here who just turned 100 YEARS OLD, who played in the first ever game at
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Scott Stadium. He said Washington and Lee were the big rivals back then. Mind. Blown. Randolph to kick off to stat the second half. I still hate the Hokies. DYRELL ROBERTS GETS DROPPED. 1st and 10 Hokies from the VT 20. SMASH! Williams is brought down at the line. 2nd and 10. Nice energy from defense and special teams to start the second half. Taylor can’t get away from Aaron Clark, and throws it away. 3rd and 10. KEY PLAY!!11!!! I hate Tech fans. Chris Cook was being held, but the pass was still incomplete. 4th and 10. Nice, a three and out on the opening drive. Brent Bowden’s punt is huge. 13:49 54 yarder. Wow. 1st and 10 on the 25. Sewell IS OUT ACROSS THE 50!!!!!!!!!! 1st and 10 from the VT 46! Sewell is forced out for a loss of 1. 2nd and 11. Sewell is sacked for a huge loss. Wow. 3rd and 22 now. Eeep. WHY ARE WE RUNNING IT ON 3rd and 22? 4th and 26. Puntpuntpunt. Jimmy Howell pins VT inside their own 20. 11:29 1st and 10 from the 19. TAYLOR DRAGGED DOWN BEHIND THE LINE! 2nd and 10. Marcus Davis gets squished by Matt Conrath. 3rd and 5. BIG STOP HERE!!!!!! Aaaaaaand, Danny Coale is open again. Crap. 1st and 10. Tyrod pitches to Williams. Ew. 1st and 10 from the UVA 48. KILL KILL KILL! OR LEAVE COALE OPEN AGAIN. 1st and 1o from the 28. Wow, Ras-I. You have GOT to play him closer. Williams gets thrown down by Aaron Clark. 2nd and 9. Get out. Gain of 2. 3rd and 7. This is huge. CHRIS COOK PICKS OFF TYROD TAYLOR IN THE ENDZONE!!!!!!!!!!! 7:09 The red zone defense holds again! 1st and 10 Cavaliers from the 20. Sewell hands off to Simpson, who gets 6 yards then gets squashed. 2nd and 4. We try to pitch it, and fail. Fumble. Recovered by VT at our 10. Damn damn damn. 6:22 1st and Goal VT after we fail. Come on defense. Williams is forced out at the 4. Eeek. 2nd and Goal. Williams. Endzone. Touchdown. UVA 13 - VT 21. Puke. 5:51 DIE DIE DIE TURKEYS! That was not a smart play on our part, to try to GT pitch. That deep in our own end? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Moseley and Sparrow back to receive. Come on, boys. Give
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us good field position. Sparrow gets out to the 26. 1st and 10. Okay, offense. March us down the field. We need a TD on this drive. Sewell gives to Jackson. 4 yard gain. 2nd and 6. Quick strike to Burd, who drops it. 3rd and 6. Convert, convert, convert. I’m not just talking about Tim Tebow on spring break. Hall carries, is it enough? YES! 1st and 10 from the 38. Do-It-All Vic Hall! FOR ANOTHER FIRST! 1st and 10 from the- wait flag. Holding. Drat. That was a late flag for a hold. 1st and 17 from the 32 now. Crap crap crap. Sewell is stopped on the run. 2nd and 16. We’re going to have to throw at some point. Pass to Burd back at the original line of scrimmage. 3rd and 10. Please. Get. This. Sewell forced to throw it away under pressure. 4th and 10. Jimmy Howell is back. Tell a friend. He punts it out at around the Tech 38. Great. 2:42 Defense needs a stop after Howell’s short punt. 1st and 10. Williams for 5. 2nd and 5. Williams again, for 4. 3rd and 1. Hold. Them. Here. Williams gets it. Tragic. 1st and 10. KILL KILL KILL! Greg Boone got undercut pretty badly on that dropped pass. He gets up and walks off. 2nd and 10. Let’s get some sacks/int. Tyrod takes off, beats some of our guys. 1st and 10 from the 33. What is going on with our defense? Williams fights forward for a huge chunk. 2nd and 3. Clock winding down. End of 3rd Quarter.
Last Quarter of the Season. November 28, 2009 Bring it home, Virginia. 15:00 2nd and 3 Hokies on the UVA 26. Do it. Williams shreds us again. 1st and 10 from the 22. STOP THEM!!!!!!!!!!!! Williams again, he meets Chris Cook. 2nd and 8. Danny Coale again. Way to cover him. Review this please. It won’t get overturned, but I want everyone to see the replay and know what a bunch of biased refs we have. Coale didn’t have control of that ball. Play stands. I’m about to lose my mind.
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1st and GOAL from the 9. Please, please bust some heads on this. Or let Williams get down to the 2. 2nd and goal. Forget this. Williams in for the TD. Has he scored all their TDs? UVA 13 - VT 28. Crap. 12:50 LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO! Hall back to return, kick goes to him. He gets out to the 23. 1st and 10. TD TD TD. PASS COMPLETE TO JACKSON ACROSS THE 50. 1st and 10 on the VT 48. Bwahahahahaaaaaa. Sewell under pressure, finds Torchia. 2nd and 2. Drive drive drive! 12 minutes left! Sewell keeps, loses 2 yards. Wonderful. 3rd and 7. If we can get a score, 2 pt conv, a stop, then another TD with the xtra point, it’s a tie game. Sewell overthrows Tim Smith. 4th and 7. Howell to punt. We need a miracle here. Please please please. Awful bounce. 10:34 Tech ball, flag thrown. I hope it’s on them. Roughing the kicker? WHAT WAS THE PENALTY? Ball at the 39 yard line. I’m going to be sick. DAMN DAMN DAMN. WILLIAMS BUSTS LOOSE FUMBLES INTO THE ENDZONE, A TECH FATASS FALLS ON IT FOR A TD. Under review, but it will stand because the refs wouldn’t want to disappoint dear Frankie. UVA 13 - VT 35. FML. 10:21 The way our offense is playing, that’s probably the game. Sparrow gets to the 21. Who is this joker? 1st and 10. Torchia drops. 1st and 20. Penalty on us. Blah blah blah. Pass complete to Tim Smith. 2nd and 9. Can we get another score to at least make this respectable? Once again, we are just playing for pride. Colt Phillips for 1 yard. 3rd and 8. Pass to Hall broken up. Good pass defense. Learn a lesson, UVA. 4th and 8. Give them the ball. Watch this get returned for a TD. Kill me now. 8:29 1st and 10 Hokies at the 27. Can it just be over already? Rush for 5. 2nd and 5. Oglesby for the first. 1st and 10 from the 38. 4 yards. 2nd and 6. David Wilson gets down to the 34. 1st and 10. Yay. Oglesby down to the 20. 1st and 10. Hokie Hokie FML. 2nd and 8. Wilson down to the 8.
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1st and Goal. dropped back due to a penalty. 1st and goal from the 13. 2nd and 7. Oglesby pushed back to the 10. 3rd and 10. Touchdown. UVA 13 - VT 42. I’m done. Look for my tweets from the presser.
Swan Song/Goose Egg November 29, 2009 By now you all know that Al Groh’s tenure as Virginia Head Coach is over. The way it ended was a football travesty. Let me start with the atmostphere. The Wahoo fans in attendance were loud and positive, but were DROWNED OUT by the Hokie fans. Virginia Tech usually brings a large contingent to this game, but this year I’m going to put it at a 50-50 split between Tech and UVa fans. My parents were in attendance, and they were shocked by the number of Tech fans (including adults!) sitting in the Virginia student section. Don’t even let me get going on the rude bunch of Hokies sitting directly in front of the press box. That’s not what this is all about. Virginia kept the game close for the entire first half, an into the third quarter. However, a serious miscue sent the momentum swinging back toward the visiting team. Jameel Sewell, who finished the day with a career high 104 rushing yards, tried to pitch the ball to Mikell Simpson. It was a poor pitch, and the ball was mishandled, resulting in a fumble. We are not Georgia Tech. We haven’t tried that all year, and that was not the time to do it. Sadly, this error occurred in our own end, so Tech was able to recover the ball and return it to the 10. Ryan Williams, who had a career day (hat’s off to you, sir), went in for the score a few plays later. The Tech fumble into the endzone was just a sad misfortune. The game was still winnable at that point. I am proud of my team, however, for never giving up. I am proud of each and every one of my guys, and I won’t call out those who didn’t play to their potential on Saturday in this blog. Our seniors showed themselves to be excellent leaders and men, no matter what the final score reflected. During the waning moments of the game, the other journos and I filed down to the field to count down the end of the 2009 season. I was standing feet away from the players, and the emotion on each face was just heartbreaking.
A Blair’s-eye-view of the final moments of the 2009 season.
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The press room was a somber place. Absent were the usual jibes about when the coaching search would begin. We were all waiting with bated breath for the arrival of Al Groh. He didn’t keep us waiting long. Groh answered a few questions about the game, and then the inevitable happened: someone asked him about his job situation. Instead of answering directly, Groh pulled out a piece of paper and read us a poem entitled “The Man in the Glass.” “The Man in the Glass” When you get what you want in your struggle for self And the world makes you king for a day, Then go to a mirror and look at yourself And see what that guy has to say. For it isn’t your father or mother or wife Whose judgment upon you must pass, The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life Is the guy staring back from the glass. He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest For he’s with you clear to the end And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test If the guy in the glass is your friend. You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum, And think you’re a wonderful guy, But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum, If you can’t look him straight in the eye. You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years And get pats on the back as you pass But your final reward will be heartache and tears If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.” After he was done, there was dead silence. Then Groh said, “When I visited the guy in the glass, I saw that he’s a guy of commitment, of integrity, of dependability and accountability. He’s loyal. His spirit is indomitable. And he is caring and loving. I’m sure I will always call the guy in the glass a friend. Thank you.” With that, Groh got up, left the dais, and walked out. I’d like to congratulate the Wahoo senior players on excellent careers here at UVa. We were glad to have you. Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication. You held the team together during a season on the brink of collapse, and it shows exactly the caliber of people you are. Your coaches, your families, and your fans should be proud of you. I can only speak for one fan when I say that we are. To the rest of the team: Look back on this season. Learn from it, and then move on. You have at least one more season ahead of you, so be prepared to make the best of it. Keep your heads up. You have nothing to be ashamed of; you left it all on the field on Saturday. For the other Cavalier Faithful: A new era is about to begin. Make sure you stay positive for your team. I’ll see you next season!
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That good old song of Wah-hoo-wah–we’ll sing it o’er and o’er It cheers our hearts and warms our blood to hear them shout and roar We come from old Virginia, where all is bright and gay Let’s all join hands and give a yell for dear old UVa.
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