One game in the books, and what did we really learn? Yes the 43-19 win on paper was exactly what the Hoos needed to do against an FCS program that went 3-8 last year and has a new coach at the helm. But you have to dig deep into stats to find the good and the bad of our contest with Richmond. So lets get to the wrap up, and remember, take it all with a grain of salt as (1) this was the first game of the year and (2) it was Richmond.
- So thank you Weather Channel for that 20% chance of rain on Saturday. Driving from the 757, it rained from Richmond at 10am until about an hour before kickoff. Oh and the 90 degree overcast day with 140% humidity afterwards was really fun as well.
- Big props to Camp Wahoo. If you haven’t stopped by before a game, you really need too. On top of plenty of food, drinks, and Cavaliers, they do some great things for the community as well. Check them out here and maybe we will see you out there sometime this season as well.
- First game miscues don’t start at kickoff. Nothing like getting the band in formation, Sabre rolling down the field, and the football team...well...not getting the message to come out of the tunnel. We were already into the pregame countdown before the team hit the field. Sigh.
- The uni combination for the game was a nice twist. The orange helmets worked well with the orange shirts and white pants. I don’t know how much more we will see the orange helmets, but it was nice to see them win with them on...as opposed to that Auburn game.
- Congrats to D’Brick and Shaub for getting inducted into the UVa Hall of Fame. Very well deserved.
- We have a new camera this season over at LF. Check out the pics from the game at our Facebook page, and while you're there, like us as well.
The Good: Last year the offense averaged just under 400 yards a game. The Hoos put up 545 total yards against Richmond, including 184 on the ground and 361 in the air. Very balanced all game long.
The Bad: Finishing drives was an issue last year, and we saw 3 possessions in a row that went for more than 8 plays and 40 yards, end up with only 2 field goals. Yeah we were up 16-0 at that point, but we should have been able to produce a little more.
The Good: Rocco (25/37, 311 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) was efficient as always and spread the ball around to a host of players. Rocco looked like he was in mid-season form and executed the offense well.
The Bad: While Rocco was efficient, he still looked like Rocco. Outside of the 51 yard TD to Jennings where he hit Darius on a quick out and took it to the house and the amazing catch by McGee in the 2nd, it was all intermediate to short passing once more for Virginia. Opponents should now be keying in on the run and short passing game, daring Mike to throw it down the field on man coverage.
The Good: With Richardson out, Jones (14 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD), Parks (14, 49 yards, 2 TD), and Shepherd (10, 52, 1 TD) all had decent days and were relatively interchangeable, which is great to know as the season wears on.
The Bad: The offensive line did not do the backs many favors. While Aboushi and Moses held the corners in check, the interior line lost the battle up front all day long. Most times the defensive tackles were already a yard into the backfield before the RBs even had the ball. And while Virginia loves to run outside, they need that middle push, especially in goal line stands.
The Good: Smith (6 catches, 96 yards), Jennings (5, 84), and Scott (3, 54) lead the way catching the ball for the wide receivers. On top of that, I only noticed one dropped ball in the game, which was a concern last year.
The Bad: Whether it was Lazor only working out the 2-deep remains to be seen, but none of the rookies really played or made a catch all game long, showing that Rocco (and Sims) will need to rely on the TEs and RBs in the passing game as well.
The Good: 7 catches by the tight ends + fullbacks, which is about as much as all of last season (not really, but it seemed like that). And we called Jake McGee’s name twice, who looks like a great option in the passing game.
The Bad: Not much bad to take away from this group, other than the fullbacks will need to help out that interior line more and open some holes up if we are going to run inside.
The Good: Virginia only gave up 266 yards of offense all day, and actually came out of the 1st quarter with a -24 yards, which was about as good as you can ask for.
The Bad: Hoos gave up 19 points, which could have been 21 if Richmond could kick or convert a 2-point try. Last year’s average was 23.8 points per game, which was not to far off. And while the Cavs had 5 3-and-outs, they gave up 3 drives of more than 9 plays and 75 yards each, all resulting in touchdowns. Not good.
The Good: Credit the front 7 for holding Richmond to only 28 yards rushing against a group that had Gaskins in it that burned Virginia two years ago. Henry Coley (6 total tackles, .5 TFL) and Steve Greer (4 TT, 1 TFL) lead the way from the linebacking core.
The Bad: Most concerning was the fact that not only did the Hoos not record a sack, but did not even pressure Laub all game long, even when we knew they were going to the air. And while the backers were in on a lot of plays, the defensive line was ‘meh’ at best
The Good: Eli Harold will be one to watch in the future. 5 tackles and .5 TFL was a nice way to start a very long career at Virginia.
The Bad: Mike Moore got on the field, but didn’t show up on the stat sheet. And while it was cool to see him and Harold in on some series together, he still looked like he needed a lot more game time experience. At that went for Harold as well. On one play in the 1st quarter, Harold overcommitted to the running back on an option give and wasn’t able to seal the corner. So Laub took off and had plenty of running room. Film room time should be interesting this week
The Good: Deep breath. The secondary was okay. They hit their 2011 average right on the head (238 yards) using all sophomores and freshmen. Hoskey (6 tackles), Harris (6 tackles), and Nicholson (5 tackles) played well, with Walker and Canady contributing also.
The Bad: Too many times they forgot about the tight ends. Finney for Richmond had 4 catches for 50 yards. When they accounted for him, they left the other receivers open. And while they weren’t ‘burned’ deep, they allowed 4 receivers 20+ yard catches each. Need to see them against FBS teams to really see what needs improvement.
The Good: Pleasantly surprised. Like really, really surprised. All aspects did extremely well. Vozenilek had a very good average (41.3 ypp) while dropping 2 within the 20. Jarrett was good from 45 and 23 and showed plenty of leg on the long kick. Frye was good on kickoffs, even with the lines moved up 5 yards. But the thing that put the smile on my face was Khalek Shepherd who fielded the punts beautifully and had 90 yards returning 2 kickoffs. If this trend continues, what was a weakness for Virginia last year could be a strength this year.
The Bad: Not a darn thing. See above.
So what did we learn? Virginia will be able to move the ball this year with Rocco under center, and probably better than last year if they can figure out the interior line. But they might need to if we can get pressure on the quarterback. We know the secondary is going to give up some yardage, but the front 7 are going to have to make up for it, and they did not do that this game. Yes the run defense is going to be great, but they have to be equally as great in the passing game as well. Now Virginia gets a wounded Penn State team this week, which should put up more of a challenge for this young team.