The Good Ol' Blog Archive for November, 2009
Monday, November 30th, 2009
Alright, we did it … and we did it fast. The UVa administration took no time to make an announcement on Al Groh’s future, letting the veteran coach of nine years go just 18 hours after the 42-13 home loss to Virginia Tech. And while I certainly don’t want anyone to get fired in this economy, I’m sure the $4.3 mil Groh received for his buyout makes it a lot easier to deal with.
SO, we’re back in a familiar position: looking for a new head coach to guide one of our revenue sports teams out of the basement and back into national prominence. And, given the circumstances of the events that have taken place over the last 24 hours, I decided to toss aside what I surmised from the weekend and instead give you all a look into what I can safely surmise about UVa’s most current coaching search …
- I think Chris Peterson is a fine coach and he is doing great things at Boise St. However, I highly doubt a coach of an undefeated team on the doorstep of a BCS berth would ever consider taking over a “middle of the road” ACC team which just completed a 3-9 season. And, perhaps more importantly, if he would consider such a leap of faith, do we really want him as our coach anyway?
- Also, for those convinced that Peterson is the man, don’t forget that the last two Boise coaches (Dan Hawkins and Dirk Koetter) who got hired to greener pastures never amounted to much after leaving the Smurf-turf.
- As “media gadfly” Jeff White was quick to point out in his blog last week, the last time UVa hired a new coach, none of us were even mentioning the name Tony Bennett until he had already signed his contract. The same could very well be said about our next football coach.
- As far as I can tell (which, granted, isn’t saying much) Al Golden and Mike London are the most obvious choices.
- Speaking of London, the objections most people have about him being a “Groh disciple” are weak. Just because someone worked under you doesn’t automatically make them a disciple of yours. I’ve had plenty of people I’ve worked for that I didn’t agree with and felt that if I was running the show I would do a lot of things differently. Who’s to say London doesn’t feel the same way?
- Charlie Strong would be a great choice, but I’m not sure he has any interest in the job whatsoever.
- I would like to see Randy Edsall getting more consideration than he has so far. I think he could do good things here, plus don’t forget about Casteen’s UConn connections.
- Though I do believe Ken Niumatalolo, Troy Calhoun and Derek Dooley will all be fine FBS coaches one day, I don’t think any of the three are the solution to our problem right now.
- In my opinion, Tommy Tuberville has as much of a chance of being our next football coach as does Bill Belichick.
- In summation, my top three choices are: 1. London 2. Edsall 3. (dream pick) Charlie Strong.
Sunday, November 29th, 2009
Al Groh released this statement Sunday night after news of his release as UVa’s football coach was announced earlier in the day:
I am privileged to have represented this fine University – a school from which my two sons and I have earned degrees. I hope I have represented it well.
I feel very fortunate. I am an ordinary guy who has been lucky to have been around some extraordinary players and coaches who put me in a position to enjoy many fulfilling games and seasons – and that’s the truth. I gave everything I had to the position and to each game.
I have coached Hall of Fame players, worked alongside Hall of Fame coaches, and coached in two Super Bowls, but my time as the Head Coach of the Virginia Cavaliers has been my most memorable coaching experience. What I will remember the most are the players’ faces in the locker room after some of the great wins we had over legendary programs like Penn State, Florida State, and Miami; rivals North Carolina and Maryland; and in bowl games. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of all the coaches and players who have been a part of our program – I am indebted to you. I hope the players feel that one of their most positive college experiences was playing for Al Groh.
My coaching philosophy and method of building teams has trust and teamwork as bedrocks. We were poised to solidify our position as a top team. Instead, as that trust and collaboration deteriorated, I could see this day coming. We arrived with a set of principles that we have tried to remain faithful to and we leave with those principles intact.
Change can make things better or worse. I have every confidence that this will be a positive change for the Groh family and I look forward to my next game.
To all the members of the Virginia football family: I love you and God bless you.
Sunday, November 29th, 2009
Friday, November 27th, 2009
If you’re like me, then you’re probably wondering: where the heck did Will Sherrill come from?
On Virginia coach Tony Bennett’s teleconference today, I asked him this question. In case you missed it, Sherrill had 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and 1 blocked shot in 24 minutes – all career highs. His previous highs were 3 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block and 16 minutes. Interestingly, most of his answer had nothing to do with Sherrill’s shooting, which was lights out: 7-9 shooting, including 4-5 from three.
“Certainly in the fall, he shot the ball well, and he’s got a quick release and is a capable shooter. But why Will was getting time when he came into the game was, you watch him in practice or in games get his hands on a lot of offensive rebounds, he’s really help-conscious defensively,” Bennett said. “He makes up for his maybe lack of quickness or strength with his smarts. He moves the ball, makes the extra pass. He screens well, he stretches the defense with his shot. So he was doing a lot of the hustle things and the little things, that don’t always show up in the stat sheet, to warrant that time. And then, obviously he’s such a threat, he got going, and our guys did a great job of finding him.”
In addition to discussing Sherrill, Bennett discussed the other highs of the trip to Cancun. One positive, he said, was the performance of Sylven Landesberg against Cleveland State – “I thought he just had a complete game and helped his teammates,’” Bennett said. Landesberg’s line: 20 points on 6-13 shooting and 7-9 free throws, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 turnover. The biggest high Bennett mentioned, however was his team’s resiliency in mounting a 10-point second-half comeback against Cleveland State.
“We fought and we scrapped,” Bennett said. “Certainly, you need guys to make shots, but we battled back, and for the most part kept our composure. We caught a nice break with Sammy [Zeglinski] hitting that [prayer] shot that we drew up and we’ve been working on (laughter). But I thought that they fought, and I thought that they needed to do that.”
And, the low point? It’s fairly obvious after watching Stanford’s Landry Fields to break down the Hoos for 25 points and surrendering 20 points off of turnovers one night, and allowing Cleveland State to shoot 55.3 percent from the field the next: defensive breakdowns and turnovers.
“That Stanford game, when we needed to get some stops, we had some breakdowns at the wrong times, and some turnovers that cost us baskets,” Bennett said. “Those are the things you talk about trying to eliminate to give us a chance in games like that.”
More notes: Mustapha Farrakhan started over Jeff Jones against Cleveland State, Bennett said, because “we felt [Farrakhan] was our best match-up for their kid [Norris Cole] who was very quick and used a lot of the ball-screens” … Bennett noted that he has gone to an 8-9 man rotation, but added, “that doesn’t mean it’s locked in there, doesn’t mean those guys are the ones,” mentioning Sherrill as an example of someone new cracking the rotation on a given night … Assane Sene “is still finding himself a little bit, finding his legs,” as he acclimates himself to game minutes following his three-game suspension to start the season, Bennett said. After an efficient night of 8 points, 5 rebounds, and one block in 13 minutes against Oral Roberts, he totaled two points, 3 rebounds and no blocks in 19 minutes in Cancun.
Friday, November 27th, 2009
Here is UVa’s injury report for the VT game:
This report is compiled by the University of Virginia Sports Medicine staff under the direction of Dr. David Diduch.
Isaac Cain (foot)
Raynard Horne (back)
Torrey Mack (ankle)
Darren Childs (ankle)
Jared Green (shoulder)
Mikell Simpson (leg)
Daniel Childress (ankle)
Matt Conrath (ankle)
Connor McCartin (shoulder)
Jameel Sewell (shoulder)
Patrick Slebonick (leg)
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
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
In my breakdown of the Stanford game I decided to look at some offensive and defensive efficiency statistics that came from my stat sheet on the game. This analysis will breakdown “Good Shots” which I defined as: Shots taken within the offense, that are within the goals of the coach and which the defense does not want to give up – I basically view it from the side of the coach of the defense, if he’s upset with the shot then it’s a good shot, and if not it is obviously a bad shot. My numbers won’t match the game statistics because of what are a few small errors on my part (at the half I had one of Stanford’s long 2′s counted as a 3 for example) and the fact that shots taken while being fouled don’t count as a shot attempt, but in this breakdown obviously will.
I also charted defensive breakdowns by player and then factored in their number of minutes to come up with a defensive efficiency ranking for each player. These stats for most of these players are highly skewed towards those guarding Landry Fields, as he was very often able to take advantage of slight mistakes. Often times he made a play and there was no breakdown, or as on his first few shots, he was guarded well (by Sylven Landesberg) only to have the breakdown occur when he wasn’t boxed out. Mustapha Farrakahn got the worst end of this as he only played 11 minutes and guarded Fields almost exclusively.
I defined a breakdown as: A defensive mistake in technique in terms of either fundamentals or responsibilities within the Pack-Line that resulted in a scoring opportunity for the opposing team. More than one player could be given a “breakdown” on a single play, and on poorly played screens often both players played a role in the defensive error – this was most often the case early in the game when Johnny Dawkins ran the player passing the ball off of high back-screens, a tactic UVa hadn’t seen this season and struggled with early.
Monday, November 23rd, 2009
What a weekend in sports! Sure, UVa lost in football, but that’s becoming a Saturday theme in my life. Plus, there were plenty of other things to keep me thoroughly entertained as I lay in bed over a Swine Flu-filled weekend …
- It’s much less exciting to watch SportsCenter and those College Gameday shows when UVa is losing and out of the national picture.
- I loved the primetime Pac-10 match-ups on Saturday night. The Oregon/Arizona and Cal/Stanford games provided some quality entertainment on an otherwise boring day of college football.
- How are the Colts still undefeated? I know they have Peyton and everything, but still, can we start calling them the Cardiac Colts?
- What is Virginia Tech going to do next year when Darren Evans, Ryan Williams and David Wilson all decide they want more carries?
- It’s a minuscule aspect of the game, I know, but for some reason whenever quarterbacks wear the “robot” facemask, like Oregon’s Jeremiah Masoli, it really bothers me. I mean don’t those two vertical bars affect his vision when he looks to throw?
- Whose Cadillac seat warmer is pumping the most heat right now: Charlie Weis or Rich Rodriguez?
- As I watched UNC get beat by Syracuse in the Garden on Friday night, I realized that teams better get their licks in on Carolina early, because come February they’re going to look like a completely different basketball team.
- I know it’s ridiculously early and there are still some 70 games left in the NBA regular season, but let’s give some love to the Atlanta Hawks. Mike Woodson has his club playing good basketball in a city where basketball has taken a back seat to football and baseball for years.
- Dear Les Miles, you are a moron. You would have never won that MNC without the bevy of talent Nick Saban left you with. You’re ineptitude as a head coach will be the sole reason your LSU teams will never win another title so long as you’re there. Sincerely, UVA91 DUKE89
- I think my roommate (a Texans fan) is the only person on the entire eastern seaboard excited for tonight’s Monday Night Football game.
- Did anyone else get the feeling Florida and Alabama were watching the national scoreboard on Saturday and trying to out score one another?
- I said about two months ago that the Cutler to Chicago trade would work out well for all parties involved … I was wrong.
- If my math is correct, two basketball victories in a two-day span successfully cancel out one football loss. So all-in-all, it wasn’t that bad of a weekend for UVa fans.
Saturday, November 21st, 2009
On the men’s basketball board, IkimHoo (and maybe others) asked about the upcoming contest with Stanford in the Cancun Challenge. Here’s what Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton and UVa coach Tony Bennett said about the match-up:
“Well, I think Virginia has a lot more weapons on offense, a lot more athletic, got a little bit more size. That’s one thing. I thought their size hurt us tonight – [Mike ] Scott and then the big fella [Assane Sene] came in and I thought played pretty well for the first time out [this season],” Sutton said.
“All we are worried about right now is Stanford. I’m pretty familiar with Landry Fields. He is terrific. I watched the Stanford game and they were a bit off in that game that I watched but they’re capable. They’ll be solid. They’re used to playing against good teams and hopefully we’ll play a solid brand of basketball,” Bennett said. “It is our fourth, fifth game in as much time so I almost feel like we’re an NBA team with our schedule so we won’t have had a lot rest. We still need to be energized when we come out though and I hope we continue to establish the right kinds of things – some soundness on both sides of the floor. At one point we were moving a little quick so that is when I took those timeouts just to tell the guys ‘Hey, let’s calm down.’ We also took a couple of quick 3′s that hurt us so when we play against bigger teams, we are going to have to bring it from the start. We can’t afford to be soft on the glass. We can’t be sluggish at the start. We’re going to need to play closer to 40 minutes than maybe we have.”
Saturday, November 21st, 2009
In Saturday’s game story about the UVa men’s basketball team’s 76-55 win against Oral Roberts, I wrote that there are “signs of a developing system. There is more screening action making its way on to the floor while the spacing continues to create opportunities. Plus, the Hoos have fed the post consistently.”
After spreading the floor and attacking with four guards frequently against Longwood and South Florida, partially out of necessity with limited post options, the Cavaliers have started to sprinkle in more modified Blocker/Mover style sets. This is creating movement with the guards working through off-ball screens, open shots, and post touches. Statistically, the Hoos shot 51.8% against Rider and 45.5% against Oral Roberts. Certainly, what we’ve seen in the latter games this week is not the full Tony Bennett offensive system from Washington State nor has it been picture perfect with execution and decision-making. One thing it has been, though? Progressing.
“We’re running some 3 out, 2 in. When you’ve got two power players and trying to get some touches [down there] and then we’re running some sets with it,” Bennett said. “It’s not what I’ve done typically in the past with as much motion probably and as much screening and all of that, but we’re just trying to get good spacing on the floor, give guys opportunities to use the dribble, and get some paint touches off the pass or the dribble. That’s sort of what we’re doing with some sets [mixed in]. Sometimes when we get going a little fast or we’re getting sloppy, we try to reel them in and get the right guys shots.”
Friday, November 20th, 2009
Going out this weekend? Have fun. Here’s what the rest of us will be watching on television …
- If you can slip out of work in time and make it to the local pub, you can catch No. 15 Ohio State taking on No. 12 Cal in the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, which is set to tip-off at 5 p.m. and will air on ESPN2.
- Even if you missed the OSU/Cal match-up, you’ll be able to see No. 4 UNC vs. No. 24 Syracuse which directly follows OSU/Cal on ESPN2 at 7 p.m.
- Don’t get all caught up in UNC/Cuse to forget that there is still some other quality programming on; you really need to utilize the “go back” function on your remote control … Seinfeld comes on Fox 19 (CVille) at 7 followed by an episode of The Office, then Tosh.0 comes on Comedy Central at 8 and 8:30.
- If you’re still awake after the UNC/’Cuse game and missed it this past Tuesday, FX is re-airing this week’s Sons Of Anarchy episode.
- On a national scale, this weekend is lousy for college football match-ups with only one game featuring two ranked teams. However, there are plenty of good college football games starting at noon to keep you glued to the couch well before UVa’s game vs. Clemson at 3:30. Ohio State/Michigan, though significantly less exciting than previous years, is always a fun game to watch. UNC/BC and Duke/Miami are also set to kickoff at noon for those following the ACC race.
- If you feel the noon football games really aren’t doing it for you, don’t forget the UVa men’s basketball team hosts Oral Roberts at 2pm in the JPJ, and that might be worth leaving the couch for … at least for an hour or two.
- UVa/Clemson kicks off at 3:30 on ABC, wahoowa!
- The Cal/Stanford game (the only one with two ranked teams) starts at 7:30 and can be found on the Versus channel. If that game is a downer, flip over to Kansas @ No. 3 Texas, which starts at 8 p.m. and airs on ABC.
- Football, FOOTBALL, FUTBOL!! Sunday’s line-up is loaded with football … and even a little “foot-ball”.
- The Redskins travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys at 1 p.m. Colts @ Ravens and Falcons @ Giants also start at 1.
- If it’s European football you prefer, you should head over to Klöckner Stadium at 1 p.m. and watch the UVa men’s soccer team host Bucknell in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
- After you get home from the soccer game, pop on CBS for the start of the Jets/Patriots game which kicks off at 4:15.
- The Eagles travel to Chicago for the Sunday night game, set to kickoff at 8:20 p.m.
- If you’re feeling a little “football’d out” on Sunday night, don’t forget that a new episode of Family Guy comes on Fox at 9 p.m.
If you’ve followed my viewing guide, you will have spent about 70 hours in front of the TV, taken in a UVa men’s basketball and men’s soccer game, and hopefully ingested about 20,000 calories worth of Doritos, Pizza Hut, beer, fried chicken and nachos in the process … nicely done.