Friday, October 28, 2005

Offensive Overhaul

Oh what a month, October was not good to the Cavaliers. They went 1-3. Certainly that one was one for the ages, but that three can never be good for a program. Still there are four games left, and three of them are at home. Virginia's bowl hopes are not dashed even if championship glory seems like an impossibility. Nevertheless, a strong finish will give the Wahoos something they didn't have after last season: Momentum. They can build on all the young players that are admittedly improving. The defense might just work itself out for the big games, the biggest question this bye week and this year is...what can we do about that offense???

26 points against FSU is impressive, but it wasn't the offense that did it for the Cavaliers, it was senior QB Marques Hagans. The big plays were the broken plays. Virginia only amassed twenty rushing yards the entire game, and with three running backs, that's not going to cut it. Virginia will start November with it's offensive line seemingly intact for the first time all year. That's right, you heard me, ALL year. These troubles at the line cost UVA last week's game and they can be a future headache if not taken care of right now. The wide receivers have still not found the ability to make a big play. Hagans was terribly off last week, but there were certainly catchable balls that the Virginia receivers could not hold on to. The pressure is on big players like Deyon Williams and Fontel Mines to find the consistency needed for a strong finish.

Perhaps I am early in saying this. I might just be a frustrated fan but I feel this offensive problem might not be solved by a bye week. I don't know if offensive coordinator Ron Prince can fix it. Fourth years remember Bill Musgrave, their offensive coordinator first year who really revitalized the Virginia offense. He took Schaub, a QB who couldn't beat out Bryson Spinner for a starting point and made him ACC Player of the Year and an NFL talent. Don't for a second think that this was a given. His first two years at UVA, Matt Schaub looked like a rented statue and probably wasn't going to make it all four years here. Musgrave changed him into a star and now Prince has been fighting in that shadow. Now the offense is not bad, but the fans were spoiled. Name one game where a fan didn't stand up and say now wait a second. I understand it's one thing when I or my roomies say something. We think we know something. It's when my friends I drag to a game and know very little about football can see what we're doing that we walk a dangerous line. The opponent is not dumb, and if a non-expert can decipher us so quickly, it does not bode well for us.

Now I honestly don't know who is to blame for the Cavaliers bad October. Prince's play calling, Groh's supervision, injuries, inconsistent offensive line, Hagan's injury, Deyon's drop-a-litis...maybe it's all these things. I do know this, the Cavaliers have lost the jump start FSU was supposed to get them. Which means they need an even bigger jolt and I don't know how that can happen unless heads roll. These games need to be taken seriously, no matter who we play. I admit last year was a bit of a disappointment because we didn't win the big game, but we didn't lose the bad one either. Friends that has never happened in UVA history, and maybe now we're beginning to see how special that was. Making the next step towards glory is the hardest of them all, and maybe some of this personnel won't be there when Virginia finally does.


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