Al Groh: Full Disclosure 12 Months Later

Wide Kevin Ogletree once called Virginia HC Al Groh “a real up front guy, very honest.”  During his brief tenure in charge of the NFL’s Jets, The New York Times referred to him as “tight-lipped.”  Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times said “he’s never shown an eagerness to admit, ‘I was wrong.’”


In today’s Daily Progress, Groh aficionado Jerry Ratcliffe relates that according to the head man “plans were in place last spring to add Vic Hall to the offensive mix.”


Ratcliffe goes on speculate about formations that would include both Hall and fellow mobile QB Jameel Sewell in the same backfield.  Groh is typically noncommittal on the idea, answering a question with a question: “Shall we say they are both versatile players?”  That’s normally par for the course when it comes to responses from big Al, who this year has kept all practices closed for the first time in his nine springs in order to “provide maximum opportunity for focus and concentration for the players.”


To be sure, no one expects Groh to be completely open & forthcoming in answering questions from his favorite group of people – the media.  But what of honesty, honor, and at least not contradicting one’s self when a detailed answer is given?  Remember Groh’s comments about Vic Hall last season?


Hall nearly single-handedly led Virginia to a road upset in Blacksburg over eventual ACC & Orange Bowl champion Virginia Tech.  After the game, Groh answered what-if questions about playing Hall earlier with an icy “That’s not the way I live.”


Just days earlier, Norm Wood of the Daily Press noted that Groh “exercised a pretty good poker face” when in the week leading up to the game he offered the following:


“Actually, we first just began to acquaint him with just some rudimentary phases of the offense back before the Connecticut game, when we were only going to have two active quarterbacks [Marc Verica and Scott Deke] for the game.  If there was ever a circumstance in the previous games where we’d been down to the third quarterback, then he probably could’ve gotten in and played two or three plays.”


Certainly, Groh didn’t want to tip off Frank Beamer and the LPD, but did he have to be that specific about details that may not have been 100% factual?  Than again, maybe it was a just a case of mistaken circumstances…



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