I arose at 0415 yesterday to drive to Charlottesville to meet with the other members of the 25th Reunion Giving Committee for planning/discussions. Got home after the game last night at 2330--sorry for no blogging in between.
What did happen in between was ridiculous. Virginia's football team lost to the University of Southern Misssissippi, 30-24. We were pretty much outplayed, out-athleted, and out-coached from wire to wire. A couple of real concerns manifested themselves:
1. Tackling. Like most UVA teams, this one tackles poorly. I wish I knew why that is, but it is a perennial problem there.
2. Defensive backfield. We have a freshman starting at cornerback, and he's been targeted successfully by our last two opponents. They picked him apart yesterday. If he's the best we have, than he needs help. If someone is sitting on the bench who doesn't give up the big play like he does, that guy ought to be on the field.
3. Big plays. We gave up 3rd and longs with startling regularity--including a back-breaking 3rd and 24 when the score was 27-24 in the fourth quarter.
4. Special teams. Two huge gaffes yesterday. USM pulled off a ballsy fake punt deep in their own side of the field--not a single guy on our team paid any real attention. Additionally, when we scored a touchdown/2pt conversion deep in the 4th--momentum was on our side--you could feel it. At kickoff? Our kicker kicked it out of bounds, giving USM great field position. You've got a field 50 yards wide to kick into--why OOB?
5. Offensive line. Really poor blocking for the run game.
Bottom line? We're better than last year, but we're not good.