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.
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.”