Posts Tagged ‘virginia’

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!’

DeAngelo Hall Continues to Channel Ahmad Hawkins

October 25, 2010

Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall was just a sophomore in high school in the fall of 1998.  Clearly he was watching when fellow 757-er Ahmad Hawkins beat Anthony Midget for a 47-yard game-winning touchdown on November 28th of that year.  Hawkins’ TD grab from Aaron Brooks with 2 minutes remaining would be enough to beat Hall’s future school in Blacksburg, capping a furious second-half comeback that started from a 29-7 intermission deficit.

After scoring, Hawkins slid to his knees and outstretched both arms.  He soaked in the feeling of victory at Lane Stadium, creating one of the most indelible images in Virginia football history-

12 years later, and Hall is still  using the celebratory move he took from the one-time arena-leaguer Hawkins, who played on both sides of the ball at Virginia…

Al Groh Drinking Game, Revisited

October 16, 2009

It has certainly been an exciting October for all the Al Groh Drinking Game players out there.

A quick recap of the Al Groh Drinking Game rules:

  1. Take two drinks any time Coach Al drop’s his favorite word – ‘circumstance
  2. Finish said drink if the word is used multiple times in a single response
  3. Take a single drink if you hear either his second-favorite (‘resolve’) or third-favorite (‘resilient’) word
  4. Finish two drinks if ‘circumstance’  is used in the same sentence with either ‘resolve’ or ‘resilient
  5. Finish three drinks if the ‘circumstanceresolveresilient‘ verbal trifecta is hit


In Monday’s presser alone, Coach Al spurred AG/DG players to follow rule #1 six times:

  1. In breaking down the math behind college football rosters for the media: “Essentially 25 percent of your team is new every year anyway, so I think it’s a standard thing. It’s part of the life circumstance of college athletics.”
  2. In describing the current state of the offense as part-Mike Groh, part-Gregg Brandon: “I would say there is probably a good blend of the two circumstances right now.”
  3. In explaining the strategy behind PR Chase Minnifield never calling for a fair catch: “It’s not a question of Laissez-faire coaching but it’s not micromanaging the circumstance and allowing a player to use his skills.”
  4. In discussing Stafford native and Maryland standout Torrey Smith: “He’s – regardless of what the circumstance was in the past he’s a superior college football player.”
  5. In dismissing the impact of prior success against the Terps: “I think we feel positive about ourselves in those circumstances [but] I think it’s unlikely that any of us feel that previous games with Maryland have any bearing on how this game is going to go.”
  6. In spinning a yarn about the importance of completion percentage: “We’re in that circumstance and the teams that are scoring in our league are teams that either have high-talent quarterbacks or kids who have been in the system for a long time and have developed their skills and got the reads and know where to go with the ball and they’re proficient in their accuracy and that’s what produces points.”

This comes one week after Groh dropped his favorite word in last week’s presser five times:

  1. In pondering one of the thousands of what-if’s surrounding his favorite player: “You know, Vic — if it weren’t for the few – a couple of circumstances had gone a little differently, Vic would have caught a pass, thrown a pass, run the ball, had a sack and played on special teams. He was – on one of our pressures, he was the first one there, a sack eventually went to Nate Collins. He had a pass called back because of a penalty. He had his catch, I believe, and if one of the passes were thrown better he would have had two.
  2. In explaining the difference between a win and a loss in teaching football: “We now have graphic examples – the players have graphic examples just this season of how the result can be dramatically different as a result of those two circumstances. Do a real good job with it and you have a real good chance of a happy result. Don’t do such a good job with it and no matter how well you run your plays or run your coverages, you get the other result.”
  3. In discussing the psychology of booing: “The interesting thing is the psychology of that, if anybody believes that that helps anybody play any better – now if it makes thousands of people feel good, then I guess that’s good for thousands of people but what they want is for their team to play better, it doesn’t necessarily – I haven’t ever been around a circumstance where players were saying, sounds like they’re getting on us, so let’s play better!”
  4. In relaying how Brandon Woods handled being benched last year: “Very admirably… obviously that’s challenging circumstances for a player.”
  5. In using more words than necessary to avoid saying ‘academic suspension’: “We understand there might be mitigating factors in there that in some cases we would have preferred not to be there but that was the reality of it and one of the things we believe in is reality as opposed to fantasy, it was a reality with some of those circumstances.”

And four weeks after Groh dropped it nine times on the Monday after the TCU loss.  Yes, nine:

  1. In reflecting on previous seasons’ turnarounds: “We have looked back at some of those circumstances… along the way in each particular case, there’s been some circumstances where just strategically and tactically we might have said, look, we are going to reshape things a little bit here at this particular time.  So there’s been elements of all of those.  Certainly not the same percentage to each particular circumstance
  2. In relaying the background behind scheduling TCU: “We were looking at a number of circumstances to fill, because I think as we have detailed, we had made an arrangement with the MAC conference.”
  3. In a long-winded response to a question about distractions facing the team: “Sometimes if you just — in a circumstance where all of the chips get loaded in front of to you start with, you have to shuffle them around a little bit to get things back to the way you want them to be.”
  4. In breaking down the impact of time of possession: “That also resulted in more plays for their team, greater time of possession and the result that we got.  So clearly we can see how one circumstance dramatically affected the conduct of the game.”
  5. In repeating a team mantra: “We have a saying… that it’s all between the white lines.  That’s all that really counts.  Except in a few memorable circumstances, there’s not much history of anybody coming off the sidelines, much less out of the stands, to impact any particular play.”
  6. In explaining 3rd-and-long strategy in FG territory: “We had a third down and eight situation beforehand which doesn’t mean we don’t want to make the first down, but in those circumstances, a lot of times, first time down the field, it’s common for a lot of teams to say, at the very least, we want to protect the field goal.”
  7. In making an excuse (or perhaps not) for Ras-I-Dowling: ”There haven’t been very many balls up the field on him… It’s going to be difficult for any guy to get a lot of picks on that circumstance.  But there have been some plays up the field that you know, I’m sure he would like to change, and then we are working with him to try to do that.”


*Social networking note: The above apply Groh’s actual Twitter feed (“what you can do for our team is react to every circumstance in the game with positive energy”), but not that of any imposter (“This afternoon we’re pracitcing the tip drill. We go to Applebees and I show them how to never leave more than 10% under any circumstances”).