Posted on: October 15, 2011 6:46 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 6:51 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
VIRGINIA WON. With one week to prepare, Virginia's defense played their best game at the right time to lead the Cavaliers to the 24-21 upset over the No. 12 Georgia Tech. The Homecoming crowd was on their feet all afternoon as Georgia Tech's offense was held to converting only 6 of 14 third downs and just 296 total yard of offense - well below their average of 553.5.
HOW VIRIGNIA WON: The Cavaliers dominated the Yellow Jackets in the trenches on both sides of the ball, winning the battle at the line of scrimmage and causing all kinds of problems for Al Groh's defense. Perry Jones and Kevin Parks combined for 235 yards rushing on 35 attempts, and Virginia nearly out gained Georgia Tech in team rushing yards. The defensive line was able to get penetration and frustrate Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, forcing him to miss pitch opportunities and rush passes in his few attempts. Washington completed four of his eight pass attempts, but two of them were caught by Virginia receivers.
WHEN VIRGINIA WON: Georgia Tech took over midway through the fourth quarter with great field position and an opportunity to march down the field for a game-tying or game-winning score. Three unsuccessful Tevin Washington rush attempts later, Sean Poole punted away the last possession the Yellow Jackets offense would see. Virginia pounded the ball with Parks and Jones, picking up seven first downs and burning the clock down to 0:00. Secon-year head coach Mike London looked to the crowd with his hands in the air, and the students charged the field to celebrate the Cavs' biggest win of the season.
WHAT VIRGINIA WON: Rejuvenation. Headed into their off week, the Cavaliers had not put together a complete performance yet this season. From the fast 14-point start to pounding the ball late in the fourth quarter to milk the clock, the Cavaliers can use this game to turn around their season. This surge in confidence could come in handy as the Cavaliers will have a chance to face N.C. State next week back in front of the home crowd.
WHAT GEORGIA TECH LOST: The driver's seat in the ACC Coastal Division. With Virginia Tech turning things around in Blacksburg and Miami picking up the win in Chapel Hill, the Yellow Jackets are no longer the cream of the crop in the division. They probably would have liked a game or two lead headed into their next three conference games - facing Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech on a Thursday night in Atlanta.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Virginia has been working a two-quarterback system and Georgia Tech is definitely a rush-first team, but both teams struggled mightily moving the ball through the air. The three quarterbacks' combined numbers were 11 for 27, with one touchdown and three interceptions. Any talk of Georgia Tech finding a passing game (including mentions from this writer) is clearly crazy.
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Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 4:34 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Dennis Dodd unveiled his 2011 Hot Seat Ratings for college football, and for the most part the ACC coaching picture appears to be somewhat stable heading into the fall. Obviously any new developments in North Carolina's NCAA case would change the hot seat rating of Butch Davis.
The ACC has some fresh faces (Maryland's Randy Edsall, Miami's Al Golden, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Virginia's Mike London), and some deeply rooted coaches like Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, and Wake Forest's Jim Grobe. But in between the newbies and the veterans are four coaches who could feel the seat heating up in the near future.
BUTCH DAVIS: North Carolina, hired before 2007 season - Well after the resignation of John Blake, Davis announced his regret for hiring his long-time friend and now-revealed runner. Many people believe that Davis' time at North Carolina should come to a close for allowing all of the well-documented wrongdoing to take place under his watch. But the fact is that the school has stood behind Davis, and as of right now the NCAA is not holding him personally responsible. However, should further information indict Davis things could be different. Additionally, if the Committee on Infractions hits the program with serious sanctions it will become more difficult for supporters to stand behind Davis. Coming off of his first bowl win since arriving in Chapel Hill, Davis needs to make sure the on-field successes are overshadowing the off-field chatter in order to keep some sort of job security.
TOM O'BRIEN: N.C. State, hired before 2007 season - After choosing to join the Colorado Rockies' organization instead of spending his spring with the N.C. State football team, Russell Wilson was told by head coach Tom O'Brien that the starting quarterback role was a 365 day/year type job. O'Brien believed that if Wilson was going to be the starting quarterback in the fall, he needed to participate in spring practice - something Wilson had missed every season due to Wolfpack baseball. So when Wilson returned to O'Brien, the former Marine stood by his word, declaring junior Mike Glennon as the starting quarterback for 2011. Wilson thanked his fans, was released from his scholarship, and is currently deciding if (and where) he wants to play football in the fall.
O'Brien's future at N.C. State from a hot seat perspective is not reliant entirely upon whether Glennon turns out to be a premier quarterback, but it is certainly a contributing factor. 2010 marked O'Brien's first winning season at N.C. State, and Wilson was a big part the Wolfpack's success. If Wilson succeeds in the national spotlight somewhere like Wisconsin, the fans in Raleigh will grow frustrated with O'Brien if Glennon is less than satisfactory. At Boston College it took O'Brien a few seasons to get things going in the right direction (six straight bowl victories), but that waiting period will expire soon for many N.C. State fans.
DABO SWINNEY: Clemson, promoted during 2008 season - Of all the coaches grouped into this category, Swinney has had the least amount of time as the head of the program. But, Swinney's midseason promotion to interim head coach in the 2008 season will always serve as a disadvantage in the eyes of the Clemson faithful. Don't get me wrong, the Tigers love them some Dabo. He carries a great reputation as a recruiter, and he has continued that trend delivering nationally ranked classes since being promoted. But especially after Clemson's 6-7 performance in 2010, there is beginning to be some doubt if Swinney is the right man for the job. He acted quickly after the season ended, shaking up the assistant coaches and bringing in Tulsa offensive coordinator Chad Morris to improve a struggling unit. If the change to the other positions on the staff don't lead to an improvement in the "wins" column, fans will turn their attention to Swinney. With Tommy Bowden's resignation, the Tigers never got a chance to really hold a coaching search or pick "their guy." Swinney will be "Bowden's guy," unless he takes these top ranked recruiting classes and turns them into top ranked teams in the near future.
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Duke, hired before 2008 season - With 12 victories in his first three seasons, Cutcliffe has already doubled the amount of wins that prior head coach Ted Roof collected in more than four years. Bringing in the man known for mentoring some of the game's best quarterbacks was a big-time move with hopes to bring the Blue Devils at least to a point of mediocrity. In 2009, Cutcliffe got Duke within two games of bowl eligibility - which would basically be Duke's version of the Super Bowl.
Cutcliffe has brought some excitement back to football in Durham, but his seat could get much hotter in the coming seasons if Duke continues to fall short of breaking through. I realize that is a difficult expectation for a program that hasn't seen the postseason since 1995, but there is only so much losing a fan base can sit through these days without demanding a change.
Here is the full breakdown of ACC coaches from Dennis Dodd's Hot Seat Ratings:
KEY: Ratings go from 0-5, with 0 being "can't be touched" and 5 being "on the hot seat, time to win now"
Posted on: April 26, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 3:04 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
With all six spring games completed, we wrap up spring practice in the ACC Coastal Division.
DUKE: Head coach David Cutcliffe exits his fourth spring practice with the Blue Devils with as much optimism as ever, but knows that the 2011 Blue Devils have some work to do before kicking off the season against Richmond on Sept. 3.
"A successful day," Cutcliffe said after the spring game. "But I told them this is just the beginning. In college football now, [you have] the remainder of the spring term to work on weights and conditioning. And a summer that's going to very important to a young team."
Almost two-thirds of the Blue Devils roster is made up of freshman and sophomores. While youth can easily breed optimism, there is also a realistic expectation that this group needs to put in more work on the fundamentals this summer. Duke does have the benefit of returning both pieces of their quarterback rotation from 2010. Junior Sean Renfree will remain the starting quarterback, coming off a pleasantly surprising 3,131 yard, 14 touchdown season. Sophomore Brandon Connette will continue in his role as a run-first quarterback in rotation with Renfree, but the spring has shown some improvement in Connette's passing game. Defensively, we didn't learn much about Duke this spring due to widespread injuries across the unit. If anything the injuries made a talented Blue Devils offense look spectacular at times. Duke will likely not be able to escape a similar bowl-less fate in 2011, but at least now they have the athletes on the roster to remain competitive.
GEORGIA TECH: Georgia Tech set out to improve defensively this spring and try to focus on special teams. The good news is that the Yellow Jackets defense finished spring practice looking much better than the offense. Which might actually reveal more issues with the offense than it does compliment the defensive improvement. At different times this spring, both Tevin Washington and Synjyn Days have struggled in scrimmage situations against the first-team defense. Both quarterbacks have struggled to find a rhythm, and as head coach Paul Johnson said, they have been "running for their lives" on the field.
The defense was highlighted this spring by players like defensive end Jason Peters and inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy, who entered spring practice as a backup. Nealy, a redshirt freshman, has seen time with the first-string this spring due to injuries to Julian Burnett and Daniel Drummond. He has made the most of the opportunity, capping off his spring by leading the Yellow Jackets in tackles during their annual T-Day game. Paul Johnson also wanted to increase the mistakes in the special teams after last season. Unfortunately that is not completely solved as Georgia Tech's kickers combined for misses from 28, 47, and 49 yards in the T-Day game.
MIAMI: Miami's spring has been much publicized due to the arrival of new head coach Al Golden . Therefore it should come as no surprise that we learned just as much (if not more) about Golden's vision for the Miami football program this spring than we did about the actual players on the roster. In following the Hurricanes this spring one word stands out to describe Golden's brief time at Miami: demand.
Golden demands that Miami play, practice, and think at a fast pace. He demanded that the Hurricanes get in better shape, and instituted a rigorous winter conditioning program. He demanded that players need to earn starting positions, and that is obvious with the unusually fluid final spring depth chart.
But will all these demands and the implementation of a new attitude around Miami catch on in time for the 2011 season? There are still plenty of question marks on the field, most notably the ongoing quarterback battle between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. The Hurricanes have a stable of running backs and a solid offensive line that should provide stability to the offense, and take some pressure of whichever signal-caller ends up as the starter. If nothing else, Golden has brought hype back to "The U." More than 300 former players showed up for the Hurricanes' spring game in Ft. Lauderdale, a who's who of active and retired NFL players.
Something else I learned from Miami this spring? I really need to get a Michael Irvin alarm clock.
NORTH CAROLINA: - While several former North Carolina defenders are preparing to hear their name called this weekend in the NFL draft, many of the stars from 2010's defense are still in Chapel Hill preparing for next fall. If anything, the spring showed us that the heart of of the Tar Heels' defense will be on the defensive line. The Tar Heels will be able to rotate 8-9 defensive lineman, highlighted by Quinton Coples, Jared MacAdoo, and Donte Paige-Moss. Much of the depth and added experience on the defensive line is due to the suspensions of Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn forcing players into positions unexpectedly before the season started. One of the things that makes North Carolina's line especially dangerous is the ability of several players to play multiple positions. Both Coples and MacAdoo are able to play inside or out, and that versatility can benefit a team when injuries hit during the long season. One of the biggest surprises on the already deep defensive line has been the play of junior college transfer Sylvester Williams. Williams has been building buzz since he arrived in Chapel Hill, and could end up challenging Jordan Nix for a starting defensive tackle job by next fall. North Carolina's secondary is a concern once again, making it even more important for the defensive line to put pressure on the quarterback to prevent opposing wide receivers from getting space down the field.
Offensively much of the focus will be on quarterback Bryn Renner, who is taking over for four-year starter T.J. Yates. Renner showed promise at times this spring, but he is still getting accustomed to his new role as leader of the offense. Thankfully he'll have Dwight Jones and Erik Highsmith to throw to, and an experienced offensive line to give him time to operate. Ryan Houston was a touchdown machine in 2009, but after redshirting last season and undergoing shoulder blade surgery this summer the depth at running back will be a concern heading into the fall.
VIRGINIA: Earlier this year, head coach Mike London made headlines by pulling in yet another unexpectedly strong class on National Signing Day. Unfortunately, these small victories will take some time before they translate into more marks in the "W" column for the Cavaliers. This spring did not answer many of the questions that existed near the end of last year's four-win season. Defensively, the Cavaliers return seven starters from a unit that finished only better than Duke and Wake Forest in both scoring and total defense. Improvement from those numbers will be necessary considering the lack of offensive firepower.
Virginia rotated through four different quarterbacks during their spring game (Michael Rocco, Ross Metheny, Michael Strauss, and David Watford), but no candidate stood out among the group. The offensive line has been porous, and the Cavaliers still lack an answer at running back as well. What did I learn about Virginia? Greener pastures may lie in their future, but unless someone steps up to make the Cavaliers a threat on offense they will have a difficult time keeping up with opponents in 2011.
VIRGINIA TECH: Not to drone on about new quarterbacks, but when a sophomore takes over for the ACC Player of the Year it is going to turn some heads. Logan Thomas has looked impressive this spring, grabbing most of the positive notes out of Blacksburg across the last several weeks. He finished spring practice as the star of the spring game, throwing for 131 yards and two touchdowns while also leading the Hokies in rushing with 46 yards on just five carries. However, Thomas' impressive performance did showcase some depth issues for the Hokies on offense. With starting running back David Wilson away with the track team, backup running backs Daniel Dyer, Josh Oglesby, and James Hopper struggled against the Hokies' defense in the spring game. Last season head coach Frank Beamer had the benefit of three NFL-caliber running backs to choose from, right now it looks like Wilson is the only competent option. The backup quarterbacks did not fair well either, with second-string Ju-Ju Clayton completing just three of his ten passes, and tossing two interceptions.
Defensively, Virginia Tech's returning talent seems charged up by the 40-12 lashing they took from Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Orange Bowl. The competition on the field has been aggressive, and defensive coordinator Bud Foster has not backed down from calling his team's performance in that game "unacceptable." Players to keep an eye on heading into the fall include linebacker Tariq Edwards and defensive end James Gayle, who was voted the spring defensive MVP. For those still curious, wide receiver Danny Coale did punt in the spring game and is still considered in the running for the job come fall.
Tags: ACC, ACC Coastal, Al Golden, Brandon Connette, Bryn Renner, Bud Foster, Butch Davis, David Cutcliffe, David Wilson, Duke, Erik Highsmith, Frank Beamer, Georgia Tech, Jacory Harris, James MacAdoo, Lamar Miller, Logan Thomas, Miami, Michael Irvin, Mike London, North Carolina, Paul Johnson, Quinton Coples, Ryan Houston, Sean Renfree, Stephen Morris, Synjyn Days, Tevin Washington, Virginia, Virginia Tech, What I Learned, What I Learned Spring Edition
Posted on: February 9, 2011 3:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The suspension of three Virginia players -- Ausar Walcott, Devin Wallace, and Mike Price -- is a mystery no longer. While head coach Mike London declined to provide any details on the players' punishment yesterday, the Harrisonburg Police dutifully stepped in to fill the gaps this afternoon, announcing that the trio was arrested on several assault charges:
The litany of charges netted Virginia 18 points in the EDSBS Fulmer Cup, which "rewards" teams for their off-season legal woes; most teams don't get to 18 points for the entire off-season, so even in the context of "other college football teams have players arrested too," this is a major embarrassment for Virginia and its athletic department.
Now, there's probably more to this story, as three football players don't just run off to a nearby campus, break into a random apartment, and beat up three strangers for fun. That's just not a thing that happens. What's extremely unlikely to come out of this is a valid excuse for the players' behavior, however, and their ability to rejoin the team is probably in serious jeopardy at the moment.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:30 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
These are not good days to be a Cavalier, no matter the sport. In the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers have lost every game they've played since roughly 2008, and the Virginia Cavaliers football team is losing players at an alarming rate. On Tuesday head coach Mike London suspended three of his players for conduct detrimental to the team, and on Wednesday word comes that running back Torrey Mack has left the school.
The news was first reported by the school's newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, and a school spokesman confirmed it to the Washington Post as well. Mack is not enrolled in classes this semester, and therefore no longer a member of the team. Academic troubles seem to be the reason behind his absence, though not going to class anymore isn't the best way to help those troubles.
Mack did not contribute much in 2010, carrying the ball only 13 times for 79 yards, but he had been expected to compete for a more prominent role in 2011. With the team's leading rusher Keith Payne graduating this spring, Mack was going be competing for a chance to earn the starting job. Now it seems that Perry Jones, who rushed for 646 yards as a sophomore, has the inside track on the starting job.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 6:06 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
With Signing Day having come and gone, college football fans can revel in the avalanche of good headlines for their chosen team: Player X to this team, Player Y to that team. It's fun. There's always one guy, however, who also starts showing up on various teams around this time of year, and his presence is much less welcome: Conduct Detrimental. Oh, he's a bad one, and he never runs out of eligibility. And unfortunately for Virginia fans, Conduct Detrimental just showed up in Charlottesville, and he's got a few friends on the team already:
If there's one good aspect of this suspension for the players, it's that it came in early February: suspensions generally don't last anywhere near seven months at a time, so odds are pretty good that all three players will be back in good standing well before the season kicks off. However, every day spent suspended is a day that someone else gets that player's role, and although most suspended starters work their way back atop the two-deeps, some don't, and it's way too early to tell if Walcott or Wallace can get back in London's good graces by the start of the 2011 season.
All because of Conduct Detrimental. That old scoundrel.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's still something of a mystery why Vanderbilt ever removed the "interim" tag from recently ousted (or "resigned," if you believe the press releases) Robbie Caldwell if the Commodores were just going to go coach-shopping again after just one season with college football's most famous turkey inseminator , but at least the Vandy brass appears to be going about that shopping the right way. As in, according to the Tennesseean , taking a look at one of the hottest properties on the coaching market in Temple 's Al Golden .
Golden's overall record of 27-34 may not look overly impressive, and this year's 8-4 mark has actually been something of a disappointment for an Owls team that was expected to win the MAC and instead finished a surprising third in the conference's East division. But that a program as punishingly downtrodden as Temple ever had those kinds of expectations to begin with is a minor miracle; the Owls had gone 3-31 the three years prior to Golden's arrival. And this season hasn't exactly been a disaster, especially by typical Temple standards, not with accomplishments like a win over potential Big East champion UConn , eight wins, and back-to-back bowl berths for the first time in the program's history.
With a resume like that and the rampant similarities between Vandy and Temple -- both academics-first afterthoughts in major metropolitan centers with zero tradition of winning football -- Golden would appear to be the best-case scenario for the Commodores. The bigger question is if their interest is reciprocated; Golden has been rumored for jobs at places like his alma mater Penn State (assuming Joe Paterno isn't immortal, a dangerous assumption at this stage) and Virginia before they hired Mike London . Like fellow alleged Vandy target Gus Malzahn , he may be able to land a better (and certainly easier ) gig down the road even if one doesn't come available this offseason.
But if the 'Dores can get Golden to listen, the Caldwell fiasco might start to make a little sense after all.