Archive for August, 2008

Virginia Football News: 7/24 – 8/5

August 16, 2008
  • 8/5: In case you missed it, WR Jared Green presented his father Darrell in the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton over the weekend.  He offered an interesting comparison when talking about DG28 being hesitant in letting him play football: “”It’s like if your father were a policeman. Who wants his kid to be a cop?”  Will this guy make an impact is a RS freshman?  As the RTD points out, Jared’s other scholarship offers were from Central Florida, Tulsa and UAB, so don’t get too excited by his pedigree.  In other news, announced walk-ons include “former Cavalier soccer standout Yannick Reyering. The native of Germany, who has completed his
    Must... kick...ball

    "Must... kick...ball"

    soccer eligibility, joins fellow walk-on placekicker Robert Randolph (Naples, Fla.) and returning redshirt freshman Chris Hinkebein in the battle to become the starter.”  The trial for Will Barker and redshirt freshman Dave Roberts is set for Aug. 26.

  • 8/4: The RTD includes “High Expectations“ and Virginia football in the same headline, while also pointing our the media’s preseason pick of 5th place in the Coastal Division.  Puzzling, certainly, especially when also pointing out that Groh had indicated 2-3 QBs may very well take snaps this year (perhaps in game #1?).  Per Jeff White, “Lalich failed to win the job during spring practice” and “the Grohs — Al and son Mike, the offensive coordinator — don’t seem sold on Lalich.”  Meanwhile, in what may be the biggest question mark of the team, White notes that “the new punter is likely to be Jimmy Howell” but PK Chris Hinkebein is “not a lock to handle field goals in the opener against USC.”  PS: Mike Brown is no longer on the roster after being “charged with three felonies — one count each of grand larceny, possession of stolen property with intent to sell, and altering serial numbers. A grand jury will hear his case this month.”  This of course, came two years after Brown “pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor trespassing in connection with a brawl at a U.Va. fraternity.”
  • 8/3: The Daily Press covers the opening of summer practice, noting that “Plenty is uncertain for Cavaliers” while pegging CB Ras-I Dowling as most likely to have a breakout season and fellow CB Vic Hall on whom there is the most pressure entering the USC game.  Bottom line per Norm Wood: “a .500 season might be considered a huge success.”
  • 8/1: The Daily Progress reports that RB Cedric Peerman is now and “ordained as a minister at Charlottesville’s Mt. Zion First African Church.”  Meanwhile, Virginia received 12 votes in the preseason USA Today Top 25 coaches’ poll, ranking the team 38th in the nation, behind “four of their opponents (No. 2 Southern Cal, No. 9 Clemson, No. 15 Virginia Tech and No. 23 Wake Forest). Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia Tech also received votes. It marked the first time the Cavaliers had received votes in the preseason poll since 2005.”
  • 7/31: Jeff White’s UVA Notes includes this quote from Groh on the potential of a third tailback (read: Keith Payne) getting in the mix this year: “Somebody would have to show that it would be a smart thing to take both of those guys out of the game.”  Well put, I must admit.
  • 7/28: Starting RT Will Barker and walk-on G Dave Roberts were arrested on larceny charges Friday night / I thought it was free beer nightSaturday morning at Club 216 for allegedly taking two beers each from behind the establishment’s “back bar.”  Coach Groh had no comment, but one has to wonder what two men (one underage) standing over 6’6” and weighting in the neighborhood of 300 lbs. were doing at West Central Virginia’s biggest and best Gay and Lesbian club after closing time (3:45AM), where they had to at least somewhat stand out.  Then again, maybe not…  The RTD is already talking honor charges for the stolen beers.
  • 7/27: Great line from David Teel’s column on Ron Mexico: ”Vick’s mother, his three children, and their mothers also have traveled to Kansas” to visit their dogfighting ‘boo in prison.
  • 7/26: Virginia’s athletic department succeeded in getting some positive football news out via numerous media outlets, which relayed that “less than 200” season tickets remain for the 2008 season.  Before you get too excited, that’s season tickets… not tickets.  Interestingly enough, this year’s total is about 4k behind last year’s pace, but the available season ticket total (35,500) is also 4k behind last year’s.  Verbal commitment #19 from the class of 2009 – Maury’s Laroy Reynolds – has a pretty unique opinion of the Virginia-VPI rivalry: “I know a lot of players do go to Tech, but a lot of people go to Virginia as well. It is about the same thing — Virginia or Virginia Tech.”  Holler back?
  • 7/25: The RTD devotes 15 sentences to Virginia’s academic advising for football in a hard-hitting feature entitled “A Battle For Grades.”  Groh hopes the recent academic casualties were outliers and insists “we took the circumstance very seriously… We’ve always been diligent with it, but perhaps the [suspensions] got the attention of some players that maybe the adult talking to them [did not].”  Excuses?  Maybe, but at the recent ACC meetings, Groh was able to boast that the spring 2008 football team GPA was the highest “in the last nine years,” despite not disclosing the figure.  Spokesman Rich Murray offered (via email):

 

“[The University does not] feel it’s appropriate to provide the grade-point averages you request, but please be aware the improvement in this area is a result of an increased emphasis within the program supported by the athletics administration.  If [the football program] doesn’t work the way that I want, I take the blame for it. But in the area of academics, I thought our academic-advising people have done a thorough and diligent job. It’s the strongest staff that we’ve had at any point in time.”

 

  • Dont call me a Maryland native7/24: Former Virginia guard / current NFL tackle Branden Albert says its “time to play football” in Kansas City, now that his contract is signed.  Chiefs HC Herm Edwards squashed any potential depth chart suspense by admitting that “he’s going to be a starter for us.”
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Week in Review: July 21-26

August 9, 2008

On the football recruiting front, we learned on July 26 that oral commitment #19 for the incoming football class of 2009 has made his pledge.  Or, as the Daily Progress put it, HC Al Groh added to his “in-state haul.”  #19 is Laroy Reynolds, a S/WR from Norfolk’s Maury High School, who also reportedly received offers from powerhouses UConn and Syracuse (and N.C. State).  His size (6-1.5 / 207) indicates he may have a future on offense, and he also had “interest” from VPI, UT, and ECU.  According to the DP, “he developed a comfortable relationship with lead recruiter Bob Pruett, Virginia’s first-year defensive coordinator,” and has a “3.6 grade point average, [and] hopes to pursue an engineering degree at UVa.”  Note Laroy’s high school is named after the “Pathfinder of the Seas,” who was born in Spotsylvania County, VA.

 

Homebodies listening to their police scanners in the 434 may have heard local law enforcement officials running criminal record checks on some familiar names of late.  On July 24, the news broke of QB Peter Lalich’s two-week-old charge of misdemeanor “alcohol purchase and possession,” which was continued for a year given he stays out of trouble.  As the Roanoke Times reported, Lalich was also found “guilty in absentia” on failure to obey a traffic signal and driving without a license or registration in June.  Earlier in 2008 the QB – who had his redshirt burned in last year’s Wyoming disaster – was found guilty in Albemarle County General District Court of “failure to obey a highway sign.”  Clint Sintim, at the ACC football meetings, commented that Lalich was “eclectic.”  Groh followed chimed in that he thought Sintim and others were “talking about what’s on his Ipod more than his throwing ability.”

 

Meanwhile, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that form PG Sean Singletary averaged 5.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, while shooting 26.7% from the floor in 5 Las Vegas Summer League games.  Former Cav Elton Brown, who spent the past few years in the NBDL and in Israel, averaged 13.4 points and 10 rebounds per game while the Nuggets went 4-1.   

Once arrested on gun charges in FSM parking lot

Once arrested on gun charges in FSM parking lot

 

The RTD also got this quote from Groh on playing multiple QB’s:

 

“If your one quarterback is Tom Brady [or] Peyton Manning, then there’s a great need to have him in the game all the time and a significant comfort level with that. If that’s not the case, the real need is that the quarterback position plays in each game to a standard that’s high enough for us to win, however many quarterbacks it takes to do that. If it takes one, then that’d be great. If it takes two, then that’s what will do.”

 

The Daily Press has a feature on former PK Connor Hughes and an article on the preseason all-ACC picks, of which only OT Eugene Monroe and LB Clint Sintim make first-team.  The RTD’s Bob Lipper makes some good points about the lack of offensive star power – both team and individual (especially on offense) – within ACC football.  The Roanoke Times reports that Groh is “glad to have Trojans as the opener” but he believes that they are ”the most talented college football team I’ve seen since I had to do pre-draft work on the Florida State teams of the mid- to late-1990s… They had the most guys in the country drafted last year and a couple of NFL general managers have told me: ‘They might have more drafted next year.’ They definitely have been in a league of their own in the decade from 2000 on.”  Groh went on to say that “it’s as good a time as any in that we only wanted to play it in the first game, and they only wanted to play it in the first game…  Given who the opponent is and the importance we place on conference play, what would it be like if we had seven conference opponents and then Southern California? It would be distracting, certainly, and perhaps harmful to our intentions within the conference.”  The RT also point out that CB Mike Brown is “not listed on the Cavaliers’ roster but Groh said he is still waiting for information before making a determination on Brown’s status.”

 

On Tuesday, Daily Progress columnist Jerry Ratcliffe pointed out the usual critisicms of ACC football (expansion has netted more money but no poor BCS performance, basketball has suffered, etc.).  Comish John Swofford was quoted as saying “How we as a conference evaluate expansion is not based on the short term competitive aspect of it, but on the longer term positioning and stability aspects of it.”  In other words, don’t judge me until I’ve retired and moved on.  Ratcliffe notes that “the conference has come under fire from some national and regional critics of late because of the league’s failure to put a team in football’s national championship picture and for a perceived drop-off in basketball. When the ACC expanded, it was presumed that Florida State and Miami would continue their national gridiron success, but both teams have slumped. In fact, the last time the ACC produced a national champion came in 1999 when the Seminoles defeated Virginia Tech (then a member of the Big East) in the Sugar Bowl.“  New ACC rules for this year:

 

“The play clock will be set at 40 seconds when the ball becomes dead, however, the 40-second play clock will not be used after any of the following events occur: a penalty is administered; a charged team or media time out; measurement; change of possession; try for point after touchdown; start of each period; start of a possession in overtime; or an instant replay. In those cases, a 25-second play clock will be used. When a ballcarrier goes out of bounds, the clock will now start on the referee’s “ready” signal, except during the last two minutes, when it will start on the snap. Also, there are no more 5-yard facemask penalties — they’re all 15 yards now. And ‘horse-collar’ tackles are now illegal, prohibiting players from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey and immediately pulling the runner down. Those sorts of tackles have caused serious injuries. There is also no more sideline warnings to keep coaches, players, and team personnel in order. The first two violations are 5-yard penalties and 15 yards thereafter.”