Guest Blogger: The Good Ol Blog
The Sabre has a great model for UVA sports. They've got good, active message boards, unique content and they are independent of the major networks like Rivals or Scout. One of the other cool things they have is a blog called the The Good Ol Blog. In preparation for our game in Virginia, I've asked Kris from The Sabre a few questions. His answers are below.
1. You changed offensive coordinators in the offseason to a spread specialist but have been using a variety of looks this year. Do you think scheme has been the reason for the inconsistency or is it a talent issue? What do you think we will see this weekend?
The Good Ol Blog: The offseason hopes of a new, explosive spread offense disappeared in less than a month. After two horrid outings against William & Mary and TCU, the Cavaliers scrapped the spread and went back to more pro-style sets. Is there some spread still sprinkled in? A little, but even then it's been modified from what Gregg Brandon used in the past. Other than an impressive outing at Southern Miss, though, the offense has been awful regardless of the scheme being used.
So that gets to the next part of the question - is it scheme or talent? Honestly, it's probably a little bit of both. The spread scheme didn't suit the personnel since the line can't block in space, the receivers can't get open, and the quarterbacks are inconsistent. Of course, that sounds a lot like talent issues too doesn't it? Ultimately, the offensive line's struggles are the biggest problem because there are times the rest of the players don't even get a chance to do their job. UVa is ranked among the worst teams nationally in Tackles For Loss allowed (112th, 7.5 per game) and sacks allowed (115th, 3.44 per game) - those are some telling stats for the play of the O-Line.
2. After getting things back on track the defense has broken down the past few weeks. What happened?
The Good Ol Blog: The defense can't stop the run consistently and it gives up too many big plays. One quarter, the Hoos will look good and slow teams down. The next, teams march up and down the field with no problems. A lot of UVa fans still blame the offense for the defense's issues; the offense goes three-and-out frequently so the D is on the field way too much. It's the fatigue argument. Late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter, I guess that's an acceptable argument. The problem to me is that the defense struggles at times before the fatigue factor can even set in. Bottom line: poor tackling and inconsistent run defense is killing this group.
3. Is there anything Groh can do to save his job? It is interesting that many of the potential candidates were tossed around for the BC job last year (London, Golden, Holtz) are on the UVA radar. Who do you think will get the job? Who do you want to get the job?
The Good Ol Blog: No. At this point, one more loss locks in the third losing season in four years at Virginia. That will lead to a new coach anywhere really. Winning out won't happen, but even if it did, the fans have already moved on and that lost revenue/support will make the decision easy. As for potential candidates, there are plenty of names thrown around including Mike London and Al Golden as you've mentioned. Guys like Troy Calhoun at Air Force are also on the fans' wish list. I won't pick a favorite candidate at this time, but I will tell you two things I'm hopeful for with the new coach: 1. Media friendly and 2. Wins.
4. What is your prediction for the game?
The Good Ol Blog: Virginia is far too inconsistent on defense and special teams to make up for a putrid offense. So really, this seems pretty simple to me. If the Eagles score 17 or 20 points, they'll probably win. If they score more than that, they'll probably win easily. At least basketball season starts Friday!