Posts Tagged ‘mike london’

Mother Nature

February 7, 2012

During his Signing Day press conference at John Paul Jones Arena officially announcing this year’s football recruiting class, Virginia HC Mike London noted that the list of players included “some height and athleticism. There are some guys where in the end Mother Nature will decide what position they will finally rest at.” 

A historical look at the references to the personification of nature by the last two Cavaliers head men reveals Mother Nature can not only think, work, and control weather, the elements, and human size, but also wreak havoc, talk, and ulatimately, “take over.”

The only question that remains is: can she run a sub-4.4 40?


  • Groh, October 2002: “As that commercial said, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. She’s got a mind of her own. The rehabilitation and healing were not coming along as we originally were told because Mother Nature was going to decide when that leg was ready to play football again.” 
  • Groh, November 2004: “It’s all muscle; it’s all power. Some guys can just take it. There are bigger players that are always hurt. Part of it is just Mother Nature.” 
  • Groh, September 2005: “It’s just a question of Mother Nature right now with all the modern medical help we can give to help Mother Nature along.” 
  • Groh, September 2006: “It’s the outside bone of the foot, which is the farthest away from the blood supply… [It will] be a while yet [and it was really up to] Deyon and Mother Nature to collaborate on this one.” 
  • Groh, October 2007: “Linebacker wasn’t something we were talking about [in recruiting], even though we were pretty sure that Mother Nature would take its course, as it has now.” 
  • Groh, September 2008: “He’s getting multiple treatments a day it’s just a case of how fast is Mother Nature working with him.” 
  • Groh, September 2009: “It’s pretty difficult to do. If we had an appropriate place, we’d probably go inside. But we don’t have that available to us. We have to let Mother Nature do that for us and Mother Nature is not cooperating this week, so we’ll just have to deal with it and adjust to it when we do get there.” 
  • Groh, October 2009: “Most of his high school was at wide receiver and safety, but he was a player with a lot of athletic skill and obviously a lot of height and good versatility that just the way nature usually works we could see was going to grow out of all of those things, Mother Nature lived up to her reputation and fortunately that was the case and he’s gone from being in the lower 200s when we first met him to being in the plus 250s now and obviously bringing that same level of athletic skill.” 
  • London, March 2010: “I don’t think tough at all. I think it’s something he welcomes, because Mother Nature‘s still working on him, and it’s hard sometimes to be a DB and try to keep your weight down when he’s 6-4-plus and you’re starting to lift … I think he welcomes the position. It’s more natural to him being able to run, come off the edge. He’s got safety cover skills as a linebacker, which provides us hopefully with an edge.” 
  • London, July 2010: “The 3-4, if you have the players, the personnel to do it, it is a defense that can work well for you, but in a 4-3 defense you can recruit more linemen and get that big safety in high school who Mother Nature is probably going to put some pounds on and end up being a Will linebacker.” 
  • London, August 2010: “The move with Royal was the fact that Mother Nature was going to say, ‘You know what, you’re not going to be 230 or 245 pounds.’” 
  • London, August 2010: “Mother Nature kind of took over.” 
  • London, December 2010: “If you can recruit some tall, long, athletic guys, that’s what we need. Then Mother Nature will take over. They’ll grow into whatever we need, but you know they’re athletic and can run.” 
  • London, April 2011: “He’s put on a couple of pounds from inactivity. His frame and his size and the way we are lifting [weights] dictates it. We feel that Mother Nature is going to jump on him real, real quick here.” 
  • London, August 2011: “He thought he was a basketball player coming out of Gonzaga, but Mother Nature jumped on him. You take some highlights and splice them together and you’re like, ‘Ooo, whee!’

The End of Spring (Practice)

April 16, 2010

A summary of quotes from players, coaches, and the media in the days leading up to & following Virginia’s spring ‘game’ on April 12th:

HC Mike London

  •  “In December, there were fragile egos, dark cloud hanging over the guys, ‘woe is me’ type of thing. Then change occurs. Sometimes when that happens, [guys] get a new lease on life. You introduce them to new people in their life that say, ‘Look, you can’t do this.’”
  • “There’s a lot of parts we have to work on — that I have to work on. But I know the attitude part has changed.”
  • “[Morgan Moses] blocks out the sun when he walks outside. Cody Wallace is another one. They look good. I saw them today. That’s what we need. We need to recruit players like that, of that caliber, and today we had a good group of prospects out there. Winning breeds success, and we have to taste some winning around here. We’ve got to get back to doing that, and you do that by getting good players. It’s an ongoing process to recruit good players, develop the players that you have, and just stick with the plan.”
  • “The offense is such that when you throw, you throw to spots. It’s timing routes, which goes back to the precision of the routes from the wide receiver… Fall camp, opportunities with two-a-days, just have time to hone in on a few things. I think Marc will get better.”
  • “Defensively, we’ll be fairly representative of putting a good team out there – guys that can rush, guys that can cover.”

Presumed starting QB Marc Verica

  • “When you turn on the film from the first practice, it’s actually pretty amazing to see how far we’ve come. I mean, the first day, we couldn’t even complete passes on air. We were just trying to throw outs and hitches, and we were missing guys and the balls were flying into the stands and out of bounds and stuff like that and hitting people, hitting fans.”
  • “It was different this spring. It was a new chapter… I think guys are playing more confidently, and they’re playing pretty loose, which is something we may not have had always in the past.”
  • “I haven’t thrown many interceptions at all. I’ve thrown none in team drills. It just so happens today I throw two. But that’s alright. We’ve done a really good job this spring. And although it wasn’t that great today, I’m not worried about it.”
  • “I think [Virginia’s defense] could be a special unit. They’re definitely playing much, much faster. I’m lucky that I won’t have to play against them in the fall.”

OC Bill Lazor:

  • “Offensively, we’re on schedule to do just what we want to do and to be just what we want to be.”
  • “From practice 1 to practice 15, we’ve come light years.”
  • “I thought Marc had a good spring. I thought first and foremost, he bought into the system of what we’re trying to do. He showed that he’s physically and mentally capable of running the offense… I thought also that he showed great leadership, and that’s shown by the fact that he was voted a captain by his teammates.”
  • I have a real good sense from going through 15 practices that we’ll be just fine as a running football team.”
  • “The vision of offense is that you should be able to run it when you want to run it and throw it when you want to throw it.”

DC Jim Reid

  • “For a better part of this spring, the offense had moved the ball on the defense. It was just that day, it appeared [the first-team defense dominated]. There were big plays, though, made against us… I thought there were some areas that we have to clean up.”
  • “We’re far, far, far away. But it was perhaps the most fun spring football that I could remember in a long, long time, because of, No. 1, the staff. It’s as close-knit a staff as I think I’ve ever been around. And then of course the players and their attitude and their willingness to accept coaching, hard coaching, and just their lively attitude.”
  • “In the first meeting I said, ‘Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, it will be my fault if you do,’ and I was almost fired after the first practice. Because we had thousands of mistakes, but on the thousands of mistakes we were going a hundred miles an hour, and that’s what you have to do, really.”
  • “At this level, you should be at least two deep at each position with players you feel can go in and win. So we are not there yet. That’s why you recruit, and that’s why we’re recruiting very, very hard.”

TE Colt Phillips

LB-turned-DE Cam Johnson

  • “I’m a lot more comfortable now, now that I know the schemes and where the coaches want me to fit on the plays. But I still got a lot of work to do.”

Early enrollee QB Michael Strauss

  • “[My high school friends are] at home, watching TV, getting ready for the prom. I’m going down for the prom, too, so I’m excited. But they’re definitely living that senior life. I’m thankful I could be here.”

Virginia Coaching Search, Quote-Unquote

December 3, 2009

Mike London

On Monday, the Richmond HC certainly didn’t say he wasn’t interested when asked about the Virginia job:

“It’s an unfortunate situation that just happened up there. It’s a reality of coaching and everything… My focus is on the game [against] Appalachian State. My entire focus is on that. So I’m not going to talk speculations or rumors or anything like that. I’ve got a ballgame to try to prepare for and win. I’d appreciate that any questions or hypothetical scenarios and all that stuff be sensitive to the fact that I’m the head coach of the University of Richmond, and I’m getting ready for Appalachian State.”

He also added, in Groh-like fashion: “The players’ focus, the coaches’ focus and our energies and efforts, that’s what we’re thinking about, and I’ll make sure that happens because I’m the one answering the questions.”

Former Virginia players spoke out on London’s behalf.  One-time QC Kevin McCabe (who didn’t exactly leave Groh’s program on good terms) said “I think the biggest thing that you will see if coach London gets back in there is that his selling point is going to be recruiting… He will go into that house in Florida and pull one or two kids like we used to when I first got here. Like any good coach, you want to surround yourself with good assistants. You want to surround yourself with good people. I think he can do that.”  Now-former DL Nate Collins added “He is a great coach… He has done great things at Richmond… If he does become the coach here, I wish him luck here, and I wish him to carry on his legacy and get it back on track the way that it used to be around here.”

Even Groh-homer and current sideline reporter Chris Slade seemed to be describing London without naming him when he said “I think whoever they bring in is going to be somebody that’s really familiar with the program. I think it’s going to be somebody that’s going to really get out and recruit the Tidewater area. I think that’s an area that Virginia, first of all, needs to become popular in again. You’ll need a guy, I think, that can relate to the players, a guy that’s going to be able to implement his system early, establish discipline and get these guys’ confidence back up. I think because of the lack of success these guys had in the last two years they need to get their confidence back. They need to get somebody in there with a lot of energy that can recruit. That’s the biggest thing right now, because we’ve just been so far behind, particularly in that Tidewater area and then across the state of Virginia.”

In addition, Fork Union HC John Shuman tells the Washington Post “I’m pretty sure if Mike London’s in the loop, [stud OL recruit Morgan Moses will] stay committed. If they pull what they did in basketball [and hire an unknown candidate, Moses might consider other options].”

Jim Grobe

No comments form the Wake HC, but The Daily Press’s David Teel “had no idea Grobe made” $2.17 million, more than all ACC coaches in 2009 not named Bobby Bowden ($2.32 million) or Paul Johnson ($2.3 million).  Across the state, Jerry Ratcliffe pines for Grobe (“a UVa grad, a former football player here, a fraternity guy, Grobe has put together a remarkable resume” & “Grobe is a magical coach and perhaps an even better person”), who he says “ain’t coming.”

Al Golden

A Philadelphia Inquirer piece on Wednesday includes no quotes from the newly-minted MAC COY on Virginia, but says that “Golden didn’t sound like a guy who has his eyes on other opportunities during an interview last week.”  Golden does offer quite the plan for success, however: “I don’t care if you’re GM, Home Depot, IBM, the Flyers, the Phillies, or Temple University, you fight the same battle. You need organization clarity. You need everybody in the organization to know their roles. You need to have motivation to execute those roles. And then you have to do it on a daily basis. That’s the hardest thing to do in the business model, and it’s no different here. Our senior leadership has perpetuated our culture.”

Bob Molinaro of the Virginia-Pilot thinks Golden is “the No. 1 candidate for the job” and at 40, represents “an infusion of youthful exuberance [that] is a must if U.Va. is to break free from its doldrums.”  The younger AG is “considered to be one of the best recruiters in the East” and Molinaro wonders if “maybe a brighter future begins by seizing on a Golden opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Ratcliffe (who admits he was wrong last week: “it appears that the mysterious rumor about UVa luring Chris Petersen away from Boise State was either a pipe dream or just misinformation”) says “some of [Golden’s] closest friends say he’s not looking,” so take that for what it’s worth.

Jimmy Laycock

The William & Mary head man – who beat Virginia earlier this season – was quoted by the Daily Press as saying “you never say never,” which Teel translates as “if Virginia called, he’d listen.”  However, the columnist points out that “at 61, he’s older than the prototypical candidate, and he hasn’t recruited at a major-conference program since 1979, the last of his three seasons as Clemson’s offensive coordinator.”

Derek Dooley

The Louisiana Tech AD & HC seemed to be throwing in the towel when he said on Monday “I don’t know if there is much of a market out there for a three-win coach.  All that stuff is just someone throwing a guy’s name in the paper. I would rather not talk about that.”

Skip Holtz

The ECU HC also appears to be out of the running per Terry Holland, via Doug Doughty.

Al Groh, Miami, and White Lines

November 12, 2009

A great deal has changed since November 10, 2007, when the Virginia embarrassed Miami 48-0 in their final home game at the Orange Bowl.  Two years later, Miami is the ranked team with only two losses after delivering the beat-down in south Florida.  Virginia was the team held to under 100 yards passing on a balmy day in early November.  Chris Long and Nate Lyles replaced Dwayne Johnson, Bernie Kosar, Andre Johnson, Gino Torretta, Michael Irvin as former players on the sidelines. 

One thing that hasn’t changed… the use of football clichés in comments made to the media by HC Al Groh and the men he has surrounded himself with.  Circumstantially speaking, at least.

After thrashing the Hurricanes in their Orange Bowl goodbye, Groh said “It was a very dynamic atmosphere, but we really didn’t pay it much heed.  We knew that the only thing that was going to determine the outcome was what happened in between the white lines.”

It’s a cliché those following Groh and his team have become accustomed to hearing.  Back in 2002, Groh stated “that other business is just conversation. What happens between the white lines is all that matters.”  That same season, DP columnist and noted Groh-apologist Jerry Ratcliffe wrote in a piece entitled “Groh Gets Award, and He Deserves It” that “the only thing that mattered, [Groh] said time and again, is what happens out there between the white lines. All the other stuff is the reason we have sportswriters.”

Back to the present, and this month we’ve heard the cliché from both Groh (“We have a saying… that it’s all between the white lines.  That’s all that really counts… It’s just whatever happens in between the white lines that determines the outcome of the game.”) and LB John-Kevin Dolce (“Our house is in the white lines. We play football inside the white lines. We don’t play for our fans necessarily in the aspect that we’re going out there. They don’t sweat with us, they don’t bleed with us and they don’t cry with us.”).

Just a year ago, QB Marc Verica dropped it twice in the month of October alone:

  • “What it comes down to is what’s going to happen between the white lines on Saturday. It’s a long streak, but [UNC is] a really good football team right now. I think we’re capable of being a really good team.”
  • “Our approach is really that we’re moving the white lines. We’re not thinking that we’re playing at Georgia Tech. It’s really what happens between the white lines that matters.”

In 2004, it was uttered by several players:

  • DE Chris Canty (July): “[Elton Brown] hits people with bad intentions, very bad intentions. He’s a great guy off the field. But all football players have that little switch that clicks on when you step across those white lines.”
  • TE Heath Miller (November): “I think it’s definitely harder to play on the road, but Coach Groh always tells us that what happens between the white lines is all that matters.”
  • QB Marques Hagans (November): “[Maryland] might have [bad feelings] against us, but none of that really matters. You still got to play a game within the white lines for 60 minutes.”

Recent years have not been immune:

  • CB Marcus Hamilton (October 2006): “It’s going to be a tough task. Our mentality is no matter where you play. It’s just football inside the white lines.”
  • LB Jon Copper (September 2007): “I’m not sure there’s a whole lot else you can do. Coach Groh has emphasized that wherever the white lines are, we need to be able to perform.”
  • QB Matt Schaub (September 2007): “You look at the great players and that’s one thing they all have in common, that when they step out between the white lines they become a kid and have a lot of fun.”
  • QB Peter Lalich (September 2007): “Our house is between the white lines.”
  • Copper (November 2007): “Ultimately, what matters is if we block the right guys, run our defenses correctly and execute on special teams. Ultimately, what matters is what goes on inside the white lines.”
  • TE John Phillips (August 2008): “Football is all about Saturday. Anything can happen between the white lines.”
  • Schaub (September 2008): “When we get between these white lines and in those meeting rooms, we just have to focus all we can on what it takes to be successful this week and in this game. And once we leave here, we can start thinking about those other things and what it takes to get our families and everything in order.”

Former LB Clint Sintim used the cliché publicly twice while at Virginia, and has already used it once since:

  • September 2008: “I guess we just have that attitude, ‘Our house is anywhere inside the white lines.’ It doesn’t really matter where you play. It is the same field everywhere you go.”
  • October 2008: “I think we have to come in with the mentality that our house is anywhere inside the white lines.”
  • February 2009: “You come out on the field, you’re a competitor, you step out there between the white lines, and you want to feel as though you’re the best player out there.”

It may have also become a verbal crutch for former DC and current Richmond HC DC Mike London:

  • September 2008: “It will be different, but whether it’s 10,000 or 60,000, if you’re concentrating on the task at hand, all that matters is what goes on between the white lines. We have a 100-yard field at UR Stadium. Elon had a 100-yard field. [Virginia] will have a 100-yard field.”
  • September 2008: “When we first started out we knew we were going to be ranked high. The guys understand what we do between the white lines is what matters.”
  • September 2008: “Our approach is going to be the same way it’s always been and let everything outside the white lines take care of itself.”
  • December 2008: “It is no different as any other game when we are preparing. We need to keep our emotions in check. We don’t want to get distracted with the atmosphere and we want to focus on what is happening between the white lines.”
  • August 2009: “What we talk about all the time is what happens between the white lines, so regardless of girlfriends, parents, noise, quiet, whatever it is, when it’s time to execute the plays on the field, that’s all that matters.”
  • Richmond LB Eric McBride (September 2009): “Like coach London says, ‘It’s what happens between the white lines.’ I think our whole team believes that, buys into that.”

And to bring it full circle, yesday’s Cavalier Daily even includes the cliché in its sports story on BC LB Mark Herzlich, whose fight against Ewing’s sarcoma “serves as a reminder that life extends far beyond a field’s white lines.”

Apologies go out to Grandmater Melle Mel, Duran Duran, and Shooter Jenings