As a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to think a few minutes today about why we have “Memorial Day”. Many of you won’t be working today because it’s a holiday. Like most, I will spend time with family today. I will visit my parents at Lake Anna, enjoy a boat ride on the lake, chow down on grilled hamburgers, and relax on my final day of a three day weekend.
And while that’s great, it’s not what today is about.
First and foremost, do not thank me for my service today – at least not out of respect for Memorial Day. While I always appreciate consideration for a decade of service, today I am not one that you should be remembering (that’s Veterans Day). While it’s never a bad time to thank or remember those who have served, Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
So today, even for only a few moments, please remember those who have died while fighting for the freedom of our country. And equally important, remember and thank family members and friends of the fallen who share an incredible burden and sacrifice. Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with why today is a holiday.
In recent weeks a lot of dust has been kicked up regarding expansion efforts of major conferences and how that might affect the ACC. Clemson and Florida State have been mentioned as possible ACC defections. But at various social functions this week, Virginia Football Coach Mike London and Athletic Director Craig Littlepage have stated to fans and donors that there’s no truth to any current ACC member school moving out of the conference anytime soon.
I caught up with Craig Littlepage to get his thoughts and he provided me with this.
“There is no momentum I’ve heard or seen for departures by institutions from the ACC.”
For now, that’s good enough for me and hopefully enough to reduce some of the anxiety for Virginia and other ACC fans. So, let’s take a deep breath and get back to discussing more important issues, like UVa’s quarterback controversy or the color of uniforms the team will choose for the home opener against Richmond.
Virginia football coach Mike London announced that senior Steve Greer has been added as a team captain for the upcoming season.
“I was reviewing the voting for the team captains and noticed that Steve Greer was just one vote shy of being selected by his teammates,” London said in a news release. “Steve has meant a lot to our football program over the past four years and I think it is appropriate he serve as one of our team’s captains for his senior season. He and the other captains will do a great job representing our team this fall.”
Greer led the team in tackles last season from his middle linebacker position; he also led the team in tackles in 2009. Last seasons, his efforts earned him second-team All-ACC honors. Greer posted 103 tackles and 2 sacks in 2011 as the Hoos made a run to the Chick-fil-A bowl.
The Afternoon Break includes a daily video. Today’s video features alum Katie Couric and her 2012 Virginia graduation commencement speech. The most recent class of UVa graduates experienced Final Exercises this past weekend.
With conference realignment rumors swirling, the “what if” game is always fun to play. What if this school joined the ACC? What if that school went to the Big 10. Here are some threads playing the hypothetical realignment game of musical chairs: click here and here. There’s also this thread on ACC Commissioner John Swofford.
The men’s tennis team suffered a heartbreaking loss to USC in the National Championship match. The tennis message board is looking back at the match and the season while looking forward to the future. Here’s a great thread comparing USC and UVa. This one is about hosting the NCAA’s Sweet 16.
The Virginia women’s basketball is set to face Minnesota in the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Cavaliers travel to play the Golden Gophers on Thursday, Nov. 29. Other matchups in the event include Ohio State at North Carolina, Iowa at Florida State, Wisconsin at Virginia Tech, Duke at Michigan, Maryland at Nebraska, Georgia Tech at Purdue, Clemson at Indiana, Northwestern at Boston College, Penn State at Miami, Michigan State at NC State, and Wake Forest at Illinois.
The Hoos have a 4-1 record all-time in the Challenge. Virginia and Minnesota have played four times previously with the Golden Gophers holding a 3-1 advantage. The teams last played in 2003. Read more about the matchup in this official VirginiaSports.com news release.
If you missed it, the conferences previously announced the men’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge field as well. UVa travels to face Wisconsin on Wednesday, Nov. 28 in a game that will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. Read more about the other matchups in this release.
Hoo-Tube Video Of The Day
The Afternoon Break includes a daily video. With the Virginia men’s tennis team playing for the National Championship today against USC, this video from our Sabre.com media partners over at the Charlottesville Newsplex and CBS 19 features Cavalier legend Somdev Devvarman. He won the NCAA singles title twice in his career.
Speaking of the tennis team’s quest for a National Championship, you can follow today’s action with your fellow Hoos on the tennis message board. There’s also this article from Jeff White over at VirginiaSports.com if you want to read about the match.
On the basketball front, TheSabre.com’s Mike Ingalls is preparing to interview Hoo hoops standout Jim Miller for an article and he wants fans’ help with questions – just click here to post your question. There’s also this great thread on coach Tony Bennett’s time at the Washington D.C. VAF event.
It’s crowded on UVa’s neighborhood block when it comes to spring sports, but one sport that gets overlooked a lot is golf. Both of Virginia’s programs have registered successful spring seasons again and are about to enter NCAA Tournament play. As the UVa Athletics Department pointed out last week, the Cavaliers are 1 of 9 schools to qualify both the men’s and women’s golf teams to the NCAA Tournament fields.
For the men, returning to NCAA play required a strong final round at the regional level. In order to advance, the Cavaliers needed to finish in the field’s top 5 slots and they entered the final round in fifth place, just one stroke ahead of Notre Dame. So how did they respond? With the day’s best round. The Hoos fired off a 6-under 278 to finish fourth and qualify for the National Championship event. Read about the regional here on VirginiaSports.com.
My favorite part of that article is this quote from UVa coach Bowen Sargent:
“We had a team meeting last night and I wanted to try and alleviate some of the pressure. I told them to look around the room. We had a two-time ACC player of the year (Ben Kohles), the ACC Champion (Ben Rusch), the ACC freshman of the year (Denny McCarthy) and two guys (Bruce Woodall and Ji Soo Park) who had just won U.S. Open qualifying tournaments. I told them to lean on each other. We have five really good players. They went out there today and got it done in what is easily our most pressure-packed round of the year.”
That quote alone shows how successful the program has been recently without much fan fare.
The same could be said of the women’s team. The Cavaliers made the NCAA Tournament field for the fifth straight time, one of just six teams nationally that can make that claim. The other schools are Alabama, Arizona State, Purdue, UCLA and USC.
Like I said. Impressive work from the UVa golf teams! Good luck to the Hoos in the NCAA Tournament events.
Hoo-Tube Video Of The Day
The Afternoon Break includes a daily video. With the golf theme above, this is a great video piece featuring UVa product Steve Marino. PGATour.com named this shot from the 2011 Sony Open in Hawaii the No. 5 shot of 2011. Marino finished second in the event.
With the addition of Alabama transfer Phillip Sims and Virginia’s most recent recruiting commitment, Corwin “Turtle” Cutler, the talk of the town is UVa’s plethora of quarterbacks. Let’s take a look at the resumes of the current group that will practice with the Hoos in 2012. Good Counsel’s Brendan Marshall and Cutler are not included as their high school careers aren’t yet complete.
Mike Rocco (junior)
College: 2 years experience UVa, 19 games, 235-391 passing for 2,814 yards, 14 TDs, 14 INTs. Limited time as true freshman, but saw action in six games. Started last season as a sophomore.
High School: 2009 Virginia Private Schools All-State team defensive back, and honorable mention quarterback. Ranked 109th best QB nationally by Scout.com, and 109th best QB by ESPN.com. Started four years for Liberty Christian. Passed for 2,066 yards and 24 TD’s as a junior. Broken left arm for most of senior year, but returned for last five regular season games. Led team to spot in the 2009 VIS State Championship Game, passing for 235 yards and 3 TDs. Son of LCA head coach Frank Rocco, and nephew of former UVa assistant and current University of Richmond head coach Danny Rocco.
David Watford (sophomore)
College: 1 year experience at UVa, 10 games, 30-74 passing for 346 yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs. Played as true freshman after early January enrollment. Rotated into games during meaningful play.
High School: 1st Team All-Peninsula District and 2nd Team All-Eastern Region as a Virginia high school senior, when he had 3,170 total yards of offense. Ranked 76th best QB nationally by Scout.com, 58th best QB by ESPN.com, and 29th best QB by Rivals.com. Led Hampton to 2010 D5 Eastern Region finals. Cousin of Virginia assistant coach Marques Hagans.
Phillip Sims (sophomore)
College: 2 years experience at Alabama, including a redshirt year, 8 games, 18-28 passing for 163 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. Rotated into games during meaningful play.
High School: 5-star QB by Scout.com and 4-star by ESPNU and Rivals.com. Parade All-American and 1st Team EA Sports All-American. No. 1 QB nationally by ESPNU and SuperPrep magazine. Nation’s No. 13 overall player by SuperPrep. Ranked 32nd in ESPNU Top 150, and 67th nationally by Rivals100 (No. 2 pro-style QB). No. 3 Pro-style QB by Tom Lemming. 2009 Abe Goldblatt All-Tidewater Player of the Year. Ended high school career as Virginia’s career leader in passing yards (10,725) and TD passes (119). 48-4 as a starter for Oscar Smith High School. Led 2008 team to Group AAA D6 State Championship. As a senior, threw for 2,960 yards and 33 TDs. Sims will be able to practice with UVa this season, but the result of a hardship waiver request with the NCAA will determine if he is eligible for action in games.
Greyson Lambert (true freshman)
College: True freshman. Likely will redshirt the 2012 season. January enrollment at UVa.
High School: SuperPrep All-American. Rated No. 10 QB in nation by SuperPrep. 4-star and No. 9 QB by Scout.com. No. 23 QB by Rivals.com. 4,282 career passing yards with 38 TDs. All-region offensive player of the year as senior and 1st Team all-region as junior in Georgia.
Matt Johns (true freshman)
College: True freshman. Likely will redshirt the 2012 season.
High School: As a senior at Central Bucks South in Pennsylvania, passed for 2,098 yards and accounted for 25 TDs (18 passing). 114-214 passing for 1,701 yards and 16 TD’s as a junior. Was offered and committed during UVa one-day camp last June.
Kyle McCartin (senior)
College: 3 years experience, 23 games, 1-1 passing for 2 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs. Played almost entirely on special teams. Redshirted first season as a walk-on.
High School: All-district QB at Fauquier High School in Virginia. Also played safety. Played just one game his senior year due to knee injury. Brother to UVa’s Connor McCartin.
Jerry Ratcliffe over at The Daily Progress wrote an article about the growing quarterback ranks at Virginia, while The Roanoke Times’ Doug Doughty’s weekly UVa Insider column focuses on the same topic.
That’s because another QB recruit committed to the Hoos this week. As Sabre recruiting analyst Chris Horne covered in articles here and here, Ocean Lakes High School (Virginia Beach, VA) quarterback Corwin “Turtle” Cutler gave a verbal commitment to the Cavaliers this week. That gives UVa the following quarterbacks scheduled to be on scholarship in the same year: Michael Rocco, David Watford, Phillip Sims, Greyson Lambert, Matt Johns, Brendan Marshall and Cutler. Of course, Rocco is the returning starter with just two years of eligibility remaining (and a redshirt available). Every other QB on that list has at least three years of eligibility remaining and everyone but Sims has a redshirt option on the table too.
Throughout the week, there have been a lot of message board conversations about Virginia’s quarterback situation. From talent level to depth to “too many”, the opinions – as one expects – vary.There’s new a thread starting here on TheSabre.com’s football board about the QB competition now. So what do fans think? How do you see the battle playing out?
One thing is certain. Quarterback will be an interesting position to track for years to come.
Hoo-Tube Video Of The Day
The Afternoon Break includes a daily video. With all the chatter out there about Florida State and conference shuffling, today’s pick features highlights from the 1995 Florida State vs. Virginia game. UVa won 33-28!
The EDGE subscriber board has two great threads going right now. This one is about Bill Lazor’s offense and its future look, while this one continues the ACC’s future as realignment talk surfaces yet again.
The hoops talk is recruiting focused with threads on Anthony Barber and Matt Thomas, two players the Hoos are recruiting. There’s also this thread on coach Tony Bennett’s two big recruiting classes at UVa.
The ACC announced the scheduled times for Virginia’s first three football contests of 2012 on Thursday. All three of those games are being offered on television.
The Cavaliers open at home on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Richmond. That game is set for 3 p.m. and will be televised by Regional Sports Networks. The Saturday, Sept. 8 Scott Stadium contest with Penn State is set at noon and will be carried by ABC. The Hoos’ game at Georgia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 15 will start at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
These announcements mean that the times and television schedule have been set for 4 of the 12 games in 2012. UVa’s Thursday night home game against North Carolina on Nov. 15 is on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams advanced to the Sweet 16 in the respective NCAA Tournament brackets. Both tourneys finish their run in Athens, Ga. The Cavalier women face Duke at 4 p.m. today (Thursday), while the men take on California at 4 p.m. on Friday.
If you want to prepare for those matches, read the VirginiaSports.com previews. The women’s article is here, while the men’s article is here.
I went out to the NCAA Tournament matches at the Snyder Tennis Center at UVa this past weekend and snapped some photos for Cavalier fans. Click “Read the rest of this entry »” and/or scroll down to check them out; make sure to click on each image for the larger version of the file.
Andrea Adelson over at ESPN.com caught up with Virginia coach Mike London at the annual ACC spring meetings. The topic of the conversation? Expectations. Read Adelson’s blog post here for the full report, but here’s what Coach London had to say about expectations.
“Expectations are always at a point where you want to do well. I always make note that we won four games literally on the last play of the game last year. Look at whatever the record was, it could be four games less, two games less, but you want to attract very good student-athletes, guys that value an education. Virginia is the best of both world opportunities. The school’s academic reputation as well as what’s going on athletically, a chance to win, a chance to play, makes Virginia an attractive choice.”
So what do fans think? What are your expectations for UVa’s 2012 season. Editor Kris Wright started a football board thread here to gather fans’ thoughts.
Hoo-Tube Video Of The Day
The Afternoon Break includes a daily video. Today features UVa and New York Jets offensive lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who recently visited Lynchburg as part of the NFL’s United Way partnership. The clip comes from WSET 13 in Lynchburg and reporter Sally Delta.