TheSabre.com is joining Wes McElroy on Sports Radio 910 in Richmond each week to bring you “4 Downs” of Virginia football. You can listen to the segment each Wednesday during the 3-6 p.m. show or via podcast the next day. In week one, Sabre Editor Kris Wright answers:
How well does Michael Rocco have to perform to stay ahead of Phillip Sims at No. 2 quarterback?
What is UVa’s biggest question mark or weakness on offense?
What is UVa’s biggest question mark or weakness on defense?
What game on the schedule could be a swing game for the Cavaliers and what is your prediction for the Hoos’ record this season?
To hear the answers, listen to the podcast: click here. Want to know Wes McElroy’s swing game and UVa prediction? Read his blog here.
And what about you Cavalier fans? What’s your swing game – the game that you find hardest to predict and the game that could go a long way in determining UVa’s final record – for the 2012 season? Vote in the poll below through noon on Friday!
The Falcons opened the 2012 season with a 27-22 loss to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV) in the ESPN High School Kickoff.
The 6’5″ Marshall started off hot, going 6-6 while guiding Good Counsel to a score on its opening drive. The Falcons took an 8-7 lead following a 2-point conversion. Bishop Gorman took control from then on, scoring 20 straight. A late Good Counsel rally fell short.
Marshall finished with 16 completions in 27 attempts for 182 yards and one interception. He added 10 yards rushing on six carries. Garner, who will play cornerback at Virginia, contributed five catches for 60 yards as one of Marshall’s primary receiving targets.
Levrone Jr. dropped the first pass thrown his way. The 6’2″, 190-pound senior did not have a catch on the night.
The Falcons look to rebound this Friday night when they take on Gilman, which features another Virginia-bound prospect in linebacker Micah Kiser.
The defending Group AAA, Division 6 champion Tigers had a tough start to the 2012 season, falling to a sharp Byrnes (S.C.) team by a score of 35-14. Jones, who battled cramps for a good part of the game, had two catches for 92 yards.
Gilman tried to rally but couldn’t overcome a 28-0 halftime score, ultimately falling to highly regarded Moeller (OH), 35-14. Kiser looked good, finishing with 9.5 tackles and a forced fumble for the Greyhounds (0-1). The UVa-bound linebacker has a good feel for the game, and he is a strong tackler.
The Marlins defeated First Colonial, 28-3, in their season opener last week. Smoke finished with 21 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Beach District rival Salem, which features Virginia Tech-bound signal caller Bucky Hodges, awaits the Marlins on Friday night.
Smith missed the final few games of last season with a foot injury. The injury bug has bitten the promising athlete once again this year, as he is out for at least six games after suffering a broken fibula in South Iredell’s (1-1) season opener. Playing without its star in last week’s contest against rival Statesville, South Iredell lost 30-20.
Virginia football fans should be sure to check out the ESPN family of networks the next few days for the ESPN High School Kick-Off. The action begins tonight, when Good Counsel (Olney, MD) opens its 2012 season against Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV) at 9:00 EST on ESPN2. Good Counsel’s Falcons feature three UVa-bound prospects, including quarterback Brendan “Whitey” Marshall, wide receiver Andre Levrone Jr., and cornerback/wide receiver Kirk Garner. All three players are members of the Cavaliers’ class of 2013.
On Saturday, Fork Union Military Academy (VA) takes on Hermitage (Richmond, VA) at 3:00 EST on ESPNU. FUMA boasts two high major rising seniors in Malcolm Cook, a Virginia-bound safety/athlete that transferred in after three years at Armstrong High School in Richmond, and Penn State-bound quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Hermitage, a school UVa has had success in recruiting the past years, will look to rising senior running back Derrick Green for much of its offense. UVa offered but is no longer in contention with the 6’0″, 230-pound back.
Saturday night at 7:00 p.m., ESPN will televise Byrnes (S.C.) at Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, VA). Wide receiver Zack Jones, a Virginia commit, is looking to continue the success he enjoyed last season for state champion Oscar Smith. Zack is the younger brother of Perry Jones, UVa’s productive senior running back. Coach Rich Morgan’s squad also features one of the top class of 2014 talents in the country in defensive end Andrew Brown. The 6’4″, 285-pound Brown has been offered by the Hoos along with many other major FBS football programs.
The action closes out on Sunday at 7:00 p.m., when Gilman (Baltimore, MD) takes on Moeller (Cincinnati, OH). ESPNU will televise the contest, which will give Cavalier fans a chance to see Gilman rising senior linebacker Micah Kiser. Kiser committed to UVa back in April.
Liberty (Bealeton, VA) 4-star defensive lineman Wyatt Telleris expected to make a verbal commitment this afternoon. The decision is expected to come down to Virginia and Virginia Tech, with the Hokies generating the most buzz as the likely pick.
The 6’5″, 272-pound rising senior boasts double-digit offers from all across the country, including Clemson, Michigan, Oregon, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and more. He is a player with potential at several positions on the college level, including defensive end, defensive tackle and offensive tackle. He started at defensive end and offensive tackle last season as a junior.
Teller, who carries a 4.0 GPA, is hoping to enroll early at whichever school he chooses.
UPDATED: Teller has committed to Virginia Tech. UVa fans now turn their attention to Tuesday, August 21, when Bayside (Va Beach, VA) 4-star RB Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell plans to announce his college choice. UVa is the favorite followed by UNC and WVU.
Auburn, Duke, Memphis, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia are the finalists for Briarcrest (Memphis, TN) power forward Austin Nichols, who is considered one of the top overall recruits in the class of 2013.
“We were a little late cutting the list, but we had to get it done and we were confident in each school,” Nichols told John Martin of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. Read Martin’s entire articlehere.
Nichols plans to take official visits before making his college choice. UVa could be his first stop, and Nichols tells Evan Daniels of Scout.com that he is eyeing the weekend of September 8 for a possible trip to Charlottesville. (Read the entire Scout piece here(subscription required)).
The 6’8″, 205-pound Nichols averaged 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a junior in 2011/2012. Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee last season, Nichols has drawn the praise of national recruiting networks ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com. ESPN, in fact, ranks him as a 5-star recruit and the no. 10 rising senior in the nation. Rivals and Scout rank Nichols as a 4-star prospect, and both sites have him in the top 50 nationally.
Cape Henry Collegiate (Virginia Beach, VA) point guard Devon Hall is the Cavaliers’ lone commitment in the class of 2013. At this point, the Cavaliers only have one scholarship remaining in the class.
South County (Lorton, VA) rising senior Oren Burks will announce his college choice tomorrow, August 11, at 4:30 p.m. The press conference will take place at South County High School.
Burks, a 6’4″, 195-pound outside linebacker/safety prospect, is considering offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Maryland, Miami, Nebraska, N.C. State, Penn State, Purdue, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He is rated the no. 25 overall prospect in the state in TheSabre.com’s Preseason In-State Top 40.
Burks enjoyed a stellar junior season, finishing 2011 with 128 tackles including 22 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. South County made it to the Group AAA Division 5 state title game before falling to Phoebus.
The Virginia football team held its preseason Media Day on Friday. While this is normally a time for coaches to be upbeat and optimistic about the upcoming season, or perhaps show restraint or reservation, it almost always brings spirited or lively discussion from the coaches and reporters. And why not? The coaches and players have zero losses with a clean slate headed into fall training. And the media is thankful for something to be happening they can report about. Aside from the Olympics and the occasional football or basketball commitment, there hasn’t been much ado about UVa this summer.
But what made this press conference extra special is that coach Jim Reid was present and answering questions. Wait, check that. I think Coach Reid answered two or three questions, but then went on rants for several minutes often answering questions that haven’t been asked yet – but he made sure to jovially attribute them to various reporters as if he, a Swami, had read their minds. Reid did this on a number of occasions and got more than a few laughs from the media (and a chuckle from Doug Doughty – he only laughs on the inside). It’s hard to walk away from an interview session with Reid and not think, “Wow, that was a lot of fun.” Friday was just that.
But you’re probably thinking, “Hey BoardHost, we’d like in on this little gem.’ Or maybe you’re on a mobile device and need to LOL, or even ROTFL. With that in mind, I’ve compiled the entire audio of Reid from Friday’s presser. And to help provide some visual context, I’ve compiled a number of photos with the audio to show the many faces (and hand gestures) of Coach Reid. Hope you enjoy hearing this man speak as much as I do. Note to Mike London, please don’t ever replace this guy. By the way, it was TheSabre.com’s own Kris Wright that got Reid going. Priceless.
Former Boston University standout Jake O’Brien completed his official visit to the University of Virginia yesterday. All that is left is for Tony Bennett and company to wait for a decision from the 6’9″ power forward, who is also considering Boston College, Providence, and Temple as potential transfer destinations.
Barring a change, the trip to Charlottesville is the final one O’Brien will make before a decision comes.
Attempts to reach O’Brien have been unsuccessful so far, but the consensus seems to be that he will likely choose Boston College, Temple or Virginia. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports Network tweeted on Wednesday that a “decision could come as early as this weekend.”
As a freshman at BU, O’Brien averaged 12.5 points per game en route to earning America East Rookie of the Year. He averaged 13.8 points per game his sophomore sesaon. As a junior, he averaged 11.6 points per contest through 14 games before suffering a fractured navicular bone (foot). The injury required surgery and forced O’Brien to miss the remainder of his junior season. He would miss his entire senior season and ended up taking a red-shirt.
O’Brien has one year of eligibility remaining. Because he is a graduate student, he will be eligible to play this season.
UVa certainly could use added depth and experience in the low post, and O’Brien would fit the bill nicely. A decision could come very soon, so stay tuned.
(***Update: O’Brien has decided to transfer to Temple)
Virginia senior captain Perry Jones is included on the Paul Hornung Award Watch List for 2012. The award honors the most versatile player in major college football; it is presented by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend Paul Hornung.
Other ACC players on the list include Wake Forest’s Michael Campanaro, Georgia Tech’s Orwin Smith, and Clemson’s Sammy Watkins. UVa faces Wake (Oct. 20) and GT (Sept 15.) this season, meaning Jones will play head-to-head with Campanaro and Smith.
Jones piled up nearly 1,500 yards on offense last season with 915 rushing yards and 506 receiving yards. He scored 8 TDs (5 rushing, 3 receiving) and threw a touchdown pass on the halfback option at Miami as well. He earned All-ACC honorable mention honors.
Some fans had asked about the open practice times for the Virginia football team. UVa announced the information on Tuesday.
The Cavaliers will hold practices open to the general public for six consecutive days beginning with the first fall practice on Monday, Aug. 6. The team added a Saturday practice as well, giving fans a chance to see the team Monday-Saturday next week. Admission is free. Times and locations are subject to change due to weather conditions. Each practice lasts approximately 2 hours.
Here’s the schedule with practice locations:
Monday, August 6 – The Park, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, August 7 – The Park, 3:45 p.m.
Wednesday, August 8 – The Park, 3:45 p.m.
Thursday, August 9 – The Park, 3:45 p.m.
Friday, August 10 – The Park,3:45 p.m.
Saturday, August 11 – Scott Stadium, 4 p.m.
The Park is located at 1015 Massie Road. For practices held at The Park, fans may park for free in the facility’s main parking lot. Additional parking for these practices is located in the D-3 parking lot in front of the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) School off Massie Road. For the practice at Scott Stadium, fans can park for free in the venue’s west parking lot and enter the facility through the west gate.