Not really doing a preview per say this week, but here is a Q&A I did with Hokie blog 'The Key Play'. I think the points about the game are pretty clear (and known throughout Charlottesville). So enjoy your Thanksgiving and stay safe!
TKP: Okay, before we get into game related stuff I want to talk about Mike London. What is the general Wahoo consensus on him? Do you think he gets any slack from fans and facility even though for underperforming (especially this season) simply because he's not Al Groh?
Lambeth Field: Overall, there is a very, very minimal voice of opposition for London right now. I would absolutely agree this season has not turned out the way a lot have wanted, but in year 3 of his tenure, we have all learned how bare the cupboard really was when Groh left. Notwithstanding, there does need to be some decisions made about some assistant coaches, but London will get another full season before anyone seriously brings up the issue.
TKP: That being said, if this game goes as badly as the last two have do you think he'll feel a little bit of heat on his coaching seat?
Lambeth Field: I don't think so. It might make for a good story for local media, but like I said above, he will need another bad season before anyone at UVa will start churning up the question.
TKP: Looking at the team, obviously this is not the season that the Cavaliers or their fans were hoping for. How much of this performance has to do with the rotation between quarterbacks Mike Rocco and Phillip Sims? If not, what do you think has been the team's primary problem?
Lambeth Field: I wish you could point to a few things and say that was the problem, but they have been all over the board this year. They have 2 wins with just Rocco and 2 wins with the rotation. The bigger issues really came from the inability to run block on the O-Line. When we were able to run the ball, Rocco seemed to have a great day. When we don't, it didn't matter who was in the game. Defensively, while run stop was fine, we just couldn't get to the QB all season. The secondary is talented, but all freshmen and sophomores. Again, games like NC State worked in our favor because we got to Glennon and when we weren't sacking him, the pressure forced bad passes that were picked by our DBs. Lastly, special teams have been abysmal this year. Every phase. I would go as far as saying two games were directly lost to special teams play. Getting back to the first questions, if those games broke different on STs, we are 6-5 and bowling with zero talk about canning London.
TKP: So coming into Saturday, what will the Cavaliers need to do to have a good day?
Lambeth Field: Alluding to my previous points, it comes down to running the ball and getting to the quarterback. Both the O and D are built on those to teams playing well. And if we don't screw up on special teams, it could be a close game.
TKP: How should the Hokies go about attacking this Virginia defense to find success?
Lambeth Field: The Hoos don't blitz a ton, so if you can pass block 4/5 rushers and give Logan some time, the openings should be there down the field. I wouldn't be surprised if they give QB Spy duties to All-ACC LB Steve Greer, so making him move around in the middle and covering crossing routes should open up some running lanes for Thomas up the middle. Lastly, UNC tore up the Hoos last week with the screen pass. That takes the front 7 out of the game and puts the pressure on the young DBs.
TKP: How confident are you -- on a scale of 1 to 10 -- in the Wahoo's chances on Saturday, and why?
Lambeth Field: 5. I think there is a chance, but not keeping our hopes up. I am well aware of the streak and that the game is in Blacksburg, but I think that it is obvious to everyone that this is not the same Tech team in years past. 5-6 isn't exactly daunting and you can see over the past few years that relying on just the hidden gems from VA and not the top players won't get it done. I think both of us are probably kicking ourselves looking at the ACC Coastal with UNC and Miami ineligible and saw the opportunity for a trip to Charlotte. At this point, I would just hope for a good game, but I'm not very optimistic.
TKP: What is your score prediction for the game?
Lambeth Field: Tech 35, UVa 21. Sure. Why not.
TKP: Okay, usually that is the last question I ask a rival blogger but since I have the chance, I wanted to ask you this: how would you define the rivalry from the UVA side? Personally I think that it is a little more friendlier than other rivalries across the country, but still a bit salty. Competitive, but respectful (with the jokes on both sides in good fun). Do you agree with that? If not, how do you see the rivalry?
Lambeth Field: I was travelling in Florida a few years ago, and someone asked where I went to school, I responded 'UVa' and they said 'Oh so your one of those Turkey's right?' Point is that in Virginia, it is the big rivalry, but it is pretty much contained to the Commonwealth. As far as it being civil, at the end of the day, it is far beter than other rivalries. My girlfriend is from Ohio. If I even scroll by a game with any team from Michigan on it, I don't hear the end of it. One day a year, it might get ugly between us, but that's about it. Other than that, it's fine.