Saturday, December 31, 2005

Cavs Hold Off Pesky Terriers 77-66

After all the positives stemming from a Loyola beatdown, Virginia returned to its expected form in Richmond, a team unable to keep the UMBC Terriers at bay. Whenever Virginia would mount a run, UMBC would respond, making this game far from enjoyable for the sparse crowd in attendance. Nevertheless, Virginia got an important win and are above .500 yet again. The Cavaliers can thank the reemerging game of J.R. Reynolds who had 20 points, 14 in the second half. Even better was his perfect 10 for 10 from the line, a place which had cost the Cavaliers a close decision against Fordham. Jason Cain continued his strong play was well with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Diane and Joseph also were able to hit the double digit mark and help provide enough offense to pull out the 77-66 victory.

The problem for Virginia was number 24 Brian Hodges. Hodges, not even a starter, came up big for the Terriers with 23 points including 6-13 from beyond the arc. Jay Greene was the only other player to reach double digits. The Terriers were able to keep it close with rebounds as well, only losing 34-33. Virginia is still a very young team and will need games like this if they are learn how to put away an opponent. Not every game can be as clean as Loyola, nevertheless, Virginia won even with a subpar performance from Sean Singletary. The star guard only picked up 7 points with 2-5 shooting, but he also had 6 assists.

Next up for the Cavaliers are the Hartford Hawks on Saturday to end the year. Certainly 2005 is a year most Virginia basketball fans would love to forget with all the troubles and player departures. Gillen is gone, and maybe 2006 will usher in a new era of defense and intensity that Dave Leitao seem to embody perfectly. Hartford is 5-5 on the season and the Cavaliers will look to avoid the same mark by winning.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Music to Their Ears, Cavs Rally 34-31

Gophers Buried By Hughes Field Goal with 1:08 to go.

It wasn't easy, or pretty, but it was a big win for Al Groh and company. Following coach attrition, key injuries and suspensions, Virginia looked to be in trouble. After the first 7 minutes, it looked even more dire. Minnesota scored on its first two possessions easily. They ran at will, receivers were WIDE open and Virginia, well they went three and out for one total yard. Marques Hagans refused for the game to end that way however. The senior quarterback for Virginia rallied the troops and responded with a key touchdown drive that (at least for the moment) staved off any blowout. Minnesota continued to control the clock however, and on another secondary breakdown Gopher QB Bryan Cupito connected deep to make it a 21-7 game. Hagans was able to use TE Tom Santi to charge one last drive before the end of the half, getting inside the ten with about 11 seconds to go. Rather than take the timeout or the knee, Hagans tried to scramble and was able to call a timeout with barely a second left on the clock. Senior Connor Hughes came up big with a 32-yard FG, making it a 21-10 deficit at the half, tough but not impossible.

The second half gave Virginia the ball first and the Cavaliers did not disappoint. Senior RB Wali Lundy charged up the middle for a 7 yard run for his first of two touchdowns. The score put the Gophers on their heels, but junior RB Laurence Maroney responded, helping moving Minnesota down the field to set up a 39-yard field goal Joel Monroe taking a 24-17 advantage. Virginia was not done yet, in only two minutes Hagans found junior WR Fontel Mines for the TD and knotted up the score. Things looked even better when Virginia finally stopped the Golden Gopher offense at the end of the third quarter. Virginia looked for a big play and put Hagans back to punt returner, a position he had held earlier in his career. This was Hagans's biggest mistake of the game, he fumbled the catch and Minnesota recovered deep in Wahoo territory. A quick strike gave Minnesota the lead back and plenty of momentum. Virginia showed great determination when they got the ball back, some huge plays by Hagans with his feet and his arm set up another TD by Lundy and gave him the all-time TD record for ACC running backs. More importantly, the Cavaliers tied it up. After the Orange Crush defense responded yet again, Hagans was pinned deep in his own endzone. After a scary scramble that almost gave the Gophers a safety resulted in a Virginia first down. Virginia continued to slowly march down the field and with 1:08 to go in the game Virginia took its first lead of the game when Connor Hughes hit his fourth career game winning field goal. Cupito and the Golden Gophers had one last chance but Marcus Hamilton pulled off a huge interception in the endzone to insure the Cavaliers victory, Al Groh's third in four attempts at UVA.

For UVA it was a stunning victory against a solid Big Ten squad. For Minnesota, it was a depressing loss and puts much more pressure on coach Glen Mason whose on future seems unclear. Virginia has its own coaching problems, with vacancies still abound because of the departure of Ron Prince and Al Golden for head coaching jobs. Houston Texans defensive line coach Mike London seems to be a prime candidate for defensive coordinator. One thing is for sure, however, this bowl victory will only help make Virginia a more attractive candidate as the Cavaliers try to move towards that next level of prominence.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Gift For Wahoos, Cavs Win Big Time

It may have been Loyola, it also may have been a Christmas miracle.

Virginia has shown promise, but the complaints are still around by critics across Grounds. However, this Thursday, critics were silenced and fans had something to smile about. Let's prove it.

COMPLAINT 1: Virginia found a defense but they lost any form of offense.
Virginia scored 60 points in the first half against Loyola. That's a six and a zero, and maybe Loyola won't be winning a national championship but their first three opponents didn't score more than 67 the entire game. Virginia's 98 points was the most points scored by any team against the Greyhounds. Even more shocking than the 60 points was the fact that Sean Singletary, the same man who put up 35 against Gonzaga had ZERO in the first half. None at all. Virginia scored 60 points without their star in one half. The last time Virginia played without Singletary they scored 60 points the entire GAME (and that was against 1-5 Fordham). If that's not reassuring, nothing is.

COMPLAINT 2: Virginia can't hit threes.
Au contraire mon frere. It may be streaky, but Virginia made a deal with the three-point Gods and junior swingman SG J.R. Reynolds and sophomore SF Adrian Joseph were simply incredible behind the arc. Joseph matched his career the first half. Reynolds found his stroke and nailed 5-7 three pointers, bettering his overall FG percentage. Joseph chipped in going 5-8 and overall the team was 13-21 from three point land. If Virginia could get this hot against an ACC team, with their new defense, it could be (in the words of Dickie V) Upset City Ba-by!

COMPLAINT 3: Leitao is being too hard on the players.
Whatever Coach Leitao is doing, it is working. He does yell, scream and scare, but he also has created a defensive-oriented team and an attitude 900 times more positive than last year's debacle. Fans need look no farther than Jason Cain to see that Leitao has really started to have an impact on the players. Cain has gone from school joke to a player actually meriting all this hype. Also, for anyone who truly feels that Leitao's drill sergeant approach is too much, imagine if Elton Brown was still on the team.

COMPLAINT 4: Virginia can't take care of weaker competition.
While UVA has given many teams in the past a chance to stay in, Loyola was done away with relatively early in the game, and never had a chance for a comeback. Virginia's offensive array was matched by a tenacious defense, and kept Loyola's star guard Andre Collins in foul trouble throughout the game. He registered 16 points, 8 points below his average and kept transfer Hassan Fofana from breaking out. The easy victory. It may not be a common occurrence, but it is a welcome one.

Virginia takes its team on the road to Richmond to appease alumni and other fans in the capital city when the Cavaliers take on the UMBC Terriers of the American East conference. It may not be as pretty as this game, but Leitao and crew hope for the exact same result, a win.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Singletary Shines, Cavs Still Lose

Spokane, Washington is used to all star performances. Senior forward Adam Morrison has put the Gonzaga Bulldogs on his shoulders and into the top 10 with over 27 points per game. Last Saturday, the biggest star was none other than sophomore PG Sean Singletary. Having spent the last game against Fordham on the bench with a hip injury, Singletary wasted no time making up for lost time. Throughout the game he made tough shot after tough shot. In what was predicted by everyone to be a blowout was turning into a real brawl thanks to Sean's fireworks.

The problem for Singletary and the Cavaliers was the failure of anyone else to step up. Junior SG J.R. Reynolds struggled yet again going 5-14 from the court with ten points (the only other Cavalier to score in double digits besides Singletary) and while junior C Jason Cain has played well this year his two points and seven rebounds were far less than hoped for. Nevertheless with about four minutes left it was a 64-64 tie, but Gonzaga was able to pull away with help from Morrison's 27 points and the returning PG Derek Raivio. The senior guard nailed 5 three pointers, and two key ones late that helped the Zags pull away to their eventual 80-69 victory. The 16-5 drive to end the game was just another sign that the Cavaliers are a work in progress, still trying to reach that next level of achievement.

Singletary ended the game with 35 points, a career best and a new legion of fans. The problem is he also ended the game with a loss, the third in the row for the Wahoos, dropping them below .500 to 3-4. Head Coach Dave Leitao was not looking for moral victories either.

"Individual performances, when you lose, don't mean a whole lot." Leitao said.

Ouch. Leitao is proving more and more, he is not Pete Gillen and hopefully that dedication to winning will start to bring the Cavaliers to a new level of competitiveness.

Next up for the Cavaliers is Loyola College, at 5-1 on the season they could pose a threat. Virginia could use a victory to bring up their record and their spirits. Until then, Cavalier fans have little recourse but to sit and wait. Games like this prove there is light at the end of the tunnel. The real question is, when will it appear?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bulldogs Loom for Weary Cavaliers

So first you lose on a last second bucket to Fordham.
Then your coach tears into you.
Then you have exams.
What's your reward for all this suffering? Oh yeah, the 6-2 Gonzaga Bulldogs. Gonzaga has already proven to be one of the best teams in America, and to have one of the best players with Adam Morrison. Virginia has already proven it is a work in progress. The 3-3 Cavaliers go on the road this weekend and hope to find some positives in a one and a half week stretch of sorrows. The last time Virginia played Gonzaga was noteworthy, because it was also the last time the Cavaliers made the NCAA tournament. PG Roger Mason was unable to make a last second bucket and Pete Gillen's 5th seeded Cavaliers lost to the 12th (horribly underseeded) Bulldogs. Gonzaga went on to beat the number one seed Michigan State and really show their emergence as an elite basketball program. The close loss really seemed to send both teams in two very different directions. Revenge would be wonderful, but highly doubtful. Gonzaga appears to be a complete team, and already battle tested with games against UConn, Michigan State and Oklahoma State.

The lone ray of hope may be that the break could give Sean Singletary time to recover from a hip injury which kept him out of the Fordham game. Singletary's offense was sorely missed, his energy seems to keep his team focused and with him out there is no question that the entire team suffered. This time off could be what Sean and the entire team need to recharge and try and put forth a solid effort against the Zags.

It will not be an easy task, head coach Mark Few has another great team that will once again reach the NCAA tournament and be a factor to deal with. F Adam Morrison is the second leading scorer in the nation and will be a tough match up for a depleted front line. Gonzaga too will be dealing with a layoff from exams, hopefully some lethargy can prevent this from being a blowout...

but the Cavaliers aren't counting on it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Comments to Lesson Plan

Specifics: The project would be 5 minutes in length (Give or take no more than one minute either way). The 5 page paper is mandatory, but will be graded in connection with the project, that way people with different talents have two forums to show off their abilities. The themes would be presented on a sheet of paper along with instructions and students would group into 2-3 people for this project. The paper could be collectively written but each student must pledge that they helped in writing it. They would get for instance: Segregation, and have to show the different images and somehow concoct a small lesson or takeaway thought for each theme.

I will show an example of what I envision their products to look like, and thus will take 15 minutes instead of the originially planned five.

The textbook for this class period (not all classes) will be used only to gather the terms. Assigned reading can be expected at other times but for now this is more of a non-book oriented unit. I think students will respond to its novelty and really feel like this unit is a treat, though it is much harder than what they may be used to. Internet resources are not always as reliable, but I will have already gone over approved sites by my own investigation and shown them all the differing theories and facets of Reconstruction. I think because this unit is much more ambiguous than others in American history, a variety of sources is essential to understanding. The multimedia work I feel is important because it can be used in the real world. It is a practical lesson and makes history more than just facts or dates. You are selling an idea, a concept...A THESIS. Some people can do that well on paper, but others can do that better with images and sounds. In class we discussed that we are a visual species. Therefore, for this unit to really stick with students, I think visual elements would have the best intended effect.

Ed School in a flash

Thought it'd be easier to find this way.

Non-linear powerpoint
So you ask, what is a non-linear powerpoint?A powerpoint that is nonlinear means that you have some freedom to move about the presentation. Instead of going 1-2-3-4-5 it can go 1-5-3-2-4. Someone likened it to a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story and since I used to love those I happen to agree. It means that you could see this powerpoint 2 or 3 times and it play out differently each time. This helps the teacher out for there is sense of unpredictablity and at the same time, a structure. Maybe the best term to describe this is called: controlled chaos. It is fun for the students too, because they have a choice in the outcome of the powerpoint. This leads to greater interest and probably better learning because of it. That may be a simple, watered down definition but it is still fairly accurate.
History site
For this assignment, I checked out the HSI website or looks like a very promising website. The cases are certainly interesting, the problem was the ones that really interested me had BROKEN LINKS (My dreams were shattered). Those that I did get to explore were fun, and for a history dork like me kind of exciting. I could enjoy them both as a student and a teacher. Exploring primary and secondary documents are important tools that students will need, especially on AP tests, but for their own critical thinking skills as well. These archives are interesting but still need much work. When they get more cases that fill in the gaps of time (from the Civil War to Elvis), and fix their links, this website will prove to be a useful tool for the classroom.

Powerpoint ideas
For my non-linear powerpoint presentation I'd like to deal with my field in secondary Social Studies. Specifically I will focus on post 1877 U.S. history. One SOL i found interesting is a) describing racial segregation, the rise of “Jim Crow,” and other constraints faced by African Americans in the post-Reconstruction South. My instruction will probably be a gameshow after the fact review type of presentation. Also, with these three prongs already given, it could be easy to make categories for this review. It is obviously an important topic, one that has reprecussions even today. Maybe even more important is that this topic goes beyond simple facts to actual concepts and abstract thought. With this type of subject matter, powerpoints usefulness is expanded beyond the simple: fact, fact, picture model. My model can hopefully serve for other types of history SOLs as well. If you feel me, holla back.YAY EDUCATION
Brainstorm on Lesson Plan
I will probably do the same SOL I did my PowerPoint on, dealing with the Jim Crow South. This way I incorporate PowerPoint technology into what would originally be a bland presentation (Plus recycling is fun). In my dream world I will ty to incorporate everything we have discussed and then some. That means students can make their own websites and create multiple presentations about history. As for this design, I think it is very useful but I will need to really investigate some models to fully graps the concept. Words like assessment, objectives are interesting words but they are too ambiguous for little old me. It'll be nice to have some concrete examples.

# posted by Ben G @ 6:18 PM 1 comments

Feedback Exercise
It was nice to get some feedback on my project but I anticipated most of it. I was glad someone noticed one of my cool transition effects, and I realized that timing was an issue. It was a rather ROUGH cut but they helped me out. Offering their advice a little, but more importantly pointing out the good and pointing out the bad. That way I know what to keep and that helped make the refining process much easier. I hope my students will be able to handle such an exercise, I guess only time will tell.

# posted by Ben G @ 1:30 PM 0 comments

I really liked the design of most people's websites. I need to spend more time on my portfolio in terms of the visual as well as description. I will write more later, but he let me go.As for the online discussion, it certainly was interesting. As a teacher I would worry about things quickly going out of control. However, if proper guidelins were set and it was a class I knew well and could trust, then I would see the practicality of such an excursion. After all, as we discussed it helps some people who would not normall speak up during class a chance to say their part. While it certainly has flaws, I would not be shocked if it did not become more and more a part of our lives (though not complete replacement). I remember when I was in late middle/early high school, I thought chat rooms were the greatest thing since sliced bread. I would spend hours after school because I had no life. Therefore, if all kids are like me (God hopes not) then I could see this tool being usd to bring private and school life together.

# posted by Ben G @ 6:39 PM 0 comments

Technology in the Classroom
I think it's easy to say that technology is usually considered a good thing....when used well. Countless times class has been needlessly stalled for a PowerPoint or thrown off by a real media file not working. Which is why this class exists. Teachers need to learn the good, the bad and the ugly of technology. We now have more tools at our disposal than many of us AIM users ever dreamed possible. Blogs, PowerPoints, Tapped In, Flickr, Audacity, Movie Maker and GIMP all give something extra to the classroom. These programs are something new, in a profession that might be the most resistant to change. Nevertheless, it helps make the world of education and the real world one and the same. Without technology, kids will become more and more isolated from school, and more prevalent to say "Why do I have to learn this stuff?" It is not an easy transition, nor a clean one, but it is a necessary one. Technology brings an audio and a visual element into subjects like history and English that are really necessary for comprehension. Why else are history scores so much lower than they should be? Is it that much harder than science, or is it we have yet to adopt a good teaching strategy for history? If history could become real, either through audio or personalized projects using these new and powerful tools, it won't just be this event written on paper. The event will become something of importance, something tangible. Technology is not just there to make things look better, or to hide the fact that we're not teaching what we should. Technology is there because without it education will be mired in a world that has outlived the classroom's usefulness. However, when used properly technology will put education not just current with the new era, but produce individuals ready and willing to take the world into the next era.

Checklist for Project
Record lesson on Tuesday November 8th.Over the weekend get it on my computer, and check it.Following week: Break it down into segments and categorize each one.Before Thanksgiving, burn to CD.After Thanksgiving, fix website and link all projects. Do Tech Bio revisited before Finals and complete resubmitted Midterm before Dec. 1st.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Fordham Loss Spoils Exam Break

A last second loss to a formerly 1-6 team is bad enough, to not play another game for 10 days make it even worse. The Cavaliers are in horrible shape offensively, and with leading scorer Sean Singletary missing his first game with a hip injury, it may not be all that surprising that Virginia could not eke out the much needed victory.

"They had Sean Singletary--a great guard out." Said Fordham coach Dereck Wittenburg. "I just thought WOW. Unfortunate for them, but good for us."

Good is right, with Sean out the star of the game was Fordham's Bryan Dunston. The big man with a soft jumper was able to tear apart Soroye, Cain and Mikalauskas without much trouble. On the other side, Soroye and Lars were not able to step up their game. Jason Cain however reached a level of intensity and focus never ever reached in his career. His moments of brilliance were much longer and much stronger in these past two outings. He may be the most unlikely of candidates, but he is the biggest success story under Leitao and his drill sergeant technique.

Perhaps the biggest casualty so far has been J.R. Reynolds. The junior guard and co-captain has struggled as of late, and though it is early, it seems that things have been getting worse instead of worse. Say what you want about the game, but if Reynolds make all of his free throws, UVA does not lose that game in regulation. As a guard, you have to be expected to shoot a high percentage from the line even when you are having a bad shooting night. It seemed the harder he tried the more mistakes crept in and the more Leitao was on his case. How this relationship works out remains to be seen.

What also remains to be unseen is an offense. Singletary is a great player but his size and now his health could severely limit his opportunities to take over a game. Cain has shown he is ready to contribute but he needs to be given the ball, he can't make his own shot. Soroye and Mikalauskas remain works in progress on offense and Adrian Joseph seems to be unwilling to post up with his superior athleticism and ability. Bannister may be back but he has never been noted for his shooting. Reynolds might not like it but he has to be the guy to make this offense run. If not, Fordham will not be a fluke but a very unfortunate trend.

The road for the 3-3 Cavaliers does not get any easier, Virginia takes on Gonzaga in Spokane next. The Bulldogs are in the top 10 and look to be a Final Four contender with Adam Morrison's size and shooting ability. Virginia knows it could be a very ugly game, especially with their offense at such a lull. Coach Leitao can still make some great progress if this team can somehow compete with a top 10 team. Right now the barrier seems to be mental. The plays are there, the execution is not. Jason Cain has shown moments of breaking through, who will be the next to step up and when?

The season depends on it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

BOBD Part 3

November began with a well placed present...Temple University. Al Golden had an easy time stopping the non-existent Temple offense, a burden he will soon have to deal with as he becomes head coach of the program. For now he accepted holding one of the worst teams in America to three points. The offense took advantage as well, rolling up 51 points and finally getting Wali Lundy to run the ball successfully. The game was just what the doctor ordered, pushing the Cavaliers confidence up as they played three games against ranked opponents, first up GT in Scott Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets came in ranked 24th, but many fans felt this game was still winnable. Georgia Tech was led by junior QB Reggie Ball but it was sophomore WR Calvin Johnson that stole the headlines. Johnson was relatively quiet in this game, the secondary played well holding him to 4 catches for barely over 40 yards. What's more miraculous was that the secondary did without Marcus Hamilton or Nate Lyles. Hamilton, along with three other starters had been suspended for rules violations and Lyles suffered a severe concussion early in the game. Nevertheless with a make shift defense, UVA took a solid 17-0 lead. GT would come storming back to tie it up in the third before Virginia was able to pick up a field goal. Deyon Williams was huge, catching the ball 10 times for over 100 yards. His career day was capped with a touchdown pass that sealed the game, and bowl eligibility. Virginia had beaten its second ranked team of the year and sat pretty at 6-3. The next two games would be huge obstacles, but fans felt after FSU that anything was possible.

Virginia Tech came into Scott Stadium wanting to prove itself as well. A 27-7 debacle against Miami had crushed their national championship hopes and would have to win out just to have a chance at the ACC championship. UVA wished to continue their home game winning streak, but early on proved that it was not going to happen. Virginia did not play badly, it played awful. Nothing went right after holding the Hokies on the first drive to a three and out. Hagans could not make any plays which meant VT could stack the line and take Lundy out of the game. The Orange Crush was plowed over by Cedric Humes and Marcus Vick seemed flawless. The return of sophomore WR Eddie Royal played a big role in the VT offense and a 52-14 drubbing. The loss left Al Groh and company speechless. Now they had to go on the road and the face the team that had just humiliated VT...things were not looking good.

Miami had just blown a crucial home game against Georgia Tech and looked to get back on track against UVA. Virginia had other plans when Emmanuel Byers on a trick play heaved a pass to Deyon Williams who went 90 yards for the first score of the game. Virginia would take a 10-0 lead before Miami woke up and went on a tear. It was 18-10 after some missed extra points by the Canes but obviously Virginia was still in it. Nevertheless, the Cane defense had stepped up and suddenly the Wahoo offense was stalling. A critical 3rd down scramble by Miami QB Kyle Wright all but locked up the game when he reached the 1 yard line and insured a 25-10 lead. Hagans was able to throw a deep one to senior WR Ottawa Anderson and eventually scored to make it 25-17 but when the onside kick failed, so did Virginia's chance for an upset. The Cavaliers played hard, they played smart, but in the end they lost to a superior team.

Now with the 6-5 regular season behind them, Virginia will travel to the Music City Bowl in Nashville, TN to take on Minnesota (7-4). The Gophers run a similar offense to the Cavaliers (run at will, pass when necessary) and have Laurence Maroney at RB. They also have a similar tough defense, beating the Michigan Wolverines 23-20 earlier in the year. Virginia is happy to be in a bowl that's not Boise, and was actually bumped up a few spots from their projected destination in San Francisco. The Cavaliers could really put a new spin on the season if they could beat the Gophers and advance to 7-5. It was not an easy season, it was full of injuries, lost opportunities and offensive inefficiencies. Nevertheless many young players got some experience, the defense looks to be even better next year and hope for a better season is there. The problem for now is how will the team respond to losing three of its top assistants to head coaching jobs. Can Al Golden and Ron Prince win their last game for Al Groh? Time will tell, but Virginia fans sure hope so.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

BOBD Part 2

October began with a trip up to College Park and the Maryland Terrapins. The Twerps had been completely unable to muster much offense so far but with a homecoming game against their rivals and their black jerseys on Maryland completely transformed, and the Cavaliers fell apart. While keeping it close with superior offensive play, Virginia's defense was completely unable to stop one of the worst offenses in the ACC. Running back Lance Ball ran all over defenders on a way to a career day. He would become a solid contributor after this breakout game but it was the porous Virginia D that gave him the confidence to shine. Wide receiver Jojo Walker had a fun day beating the secondary around. The one defensive bright spot was the play of sophomore Nate Lyles. Lyles had a huge hit, one of the biggest in UVA history which made ESPN and took out a Terp helmet some 10 yards. Lyles was emerging as a real talent. Brooks was emerging as a shell of his former superstar self. Brooks recorded 0 tackles in his return, he was sluggish and obviously not in game mode. Virginia would suffer from his inability to play at top speed and lost their first game of the year, 45-33.

The road to glory would not get any easier. Boston College welcomed Virginia to its place and proceeded to dominate the first half. Nevertheless, BC kept making critical penalties and errors like 3 missed field goals to keep the Cavaliers in it. Virginia's first half was full of penalties, dropped balls and missed opportunities. However, they were still in it. They would take the lead shortly after a huge call where OL Brad Butler gored star BC DE Kiwanuka and the personal foul was called on the Eagle instead of the real culprit Butler. The fans were angered but not nearly as much as the team itself. The Eagles played like a team possessed after that moment. Nevertheless, Virginia still had a chance when it drove down the field. Deyon Williams, who had emerged as a solid WR suddenly fell apart in the fourth, dropping ball after ball. On fourth and goal, his collision with his own teammate Fontel Mines symbolized the growing frustration in the program. These teams weren't beating UVA, UVA was beating itself. So the Cavaliers fell to 3-2 after the 28-17 loss, and the undefeated Seminoles came in to push that record back to .500.

10 years ago, Virginia recorded its biggest victory ever, defeating the then number 2 Seminoles 33-28. Virginia would go on to win the ACC championship and the Peach Bowl. This year Virginia did everything it could to resurrect 1995, bringing back the old team, putting it on free towels and it worked. FSU opened the game marching down the field until an interception in the redzone. Virginia capitalized to take an early 7-0 lead. FSU bounced back with a long sweep run to tie the score at 7. A pair of field goals deadlocked the game again at 10. Connor Hughes then added another key field goal. Then with less than two minutes to go and on a critical third down, Marques Hagans did what he had done all game, make plays. Scrambling like a mad man, he let his arm do the talking, firing a dart to Wali Lundy who proceeded to rumble his way into the endzone and give the Cavaliers an improbable 23-10 lead at the half. The second half started with another field goal for UVA but then led to a major game of hold on. FSU came charging back with a touchdown and a 2 point conversion to make it 26-18. They then added a field goal late in the 4th to make it a 5 point game. A key pass interference call gave Virginia a critical first down to keep the clock moving. When they punted, there were only 56 seconds remaining. In 1995, the Cavaliers had to stop the Noles at the goal line to prevent a loss, this time it took only one play as Marcus Hamilton picked off the pass of his career, insuring a huge victory for Virginia. The loss seemed to push the Noles into a tailspin, though they would go on to win the ACC championship over VT, this loss exposed weaknesses and an eventual 3 game losing streak in November. The Cavaliers had hope, at 4-2 there season was not lost. They still had a tough schedule in November, but maybe they could make a run to remember.

These dreams were not to be. In Raleigh, North Carolina had a bye week and they were ready for Virginia. While the Orange Crush defense stood tall after an early touchdown, that proved to be all the Tar Heels needed. Marques Hagans had been brilliant last week, but now he could not do anything right. Passed sailed over his targets, he could not escape the pocket and the running game could not muster up anything. A safety and a field goal were all the Cavaliers could produce. One critical pass to Michael Johnson was the key. Hagans had thrown it just low enough for it to hit the helmet of the UNC player. A few inches more and UVA's season could have been much different. Instead the Cavaliers back up the biggest win with their biggest loss, 7-5 against UNC. Once again Virginia had lost a rivalry game and lots of momentum. They entered November with a 4-3 record. Now many wondered if they would even make a bowl. Temple would be a given, but UVA would have to find a way to beat either GT, VT or Miami. It would not be easy, but Virginia had already doesn't like things simple.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Virginia fans came into this year hopeful. Last year's frustration at the Cavaliers inability to win the big game led to depression after losing in overtime to Fresno State in the humanitarian Bowl. Virginia's heart might not have been in that game, but fans still had hope that returning quarterback Marques Hagans and running back Wali Lundy could put up the offensive firepower UVA displayed when it started the year 5-0. Ahmad Brooks looked to continue his stellar career. Expectations and reality however, would not coincide in 2005.

Virginia began the year against Western Michigan, a team without it's starting quarterback and following a winless season. Right away UVA showed vulnerability on defense. The Broncos constantly were able to use quick, short passes to move down the field and the defense seemed unable to tackle. The absence of Ahmad Brooks was disconcerting but it would be a theme for the entire year as the linebacker could not seem to shake off his offseason surgery. Hagans started out hot, but when Lundy went down on the second play. The injury bug made its first appearance of what would be an extended stay. Some fourth quarter antics helped seal up a victory, but a far from inspiring one. UVA won 31-19, but showed problems on both offense and defense that were not just a fluke.

Virginia's next game took them to the road and take on the Orange of Syracuse. The Cavaliers defense once again seemed unsure of itself, giving up a touchdown on Syracuse's opening possession. The game had several ebbs and flows, even a 70+ yard touchdown run by Johnson to make the score 24-14 was not enough to insure the victory. A tough stretch in the fourth by the Orange tied the game at 24 with a little over 7 minutes to go. Virginia would put together one impressive drive down the field. Even converting a fourth and one to give Connor Hughes a game winning chip shot of a field goal for a 27-24 victory. Cavalier fans were worried, but certainly could see a better performance here than they had in the opening week. They had no idea that this would prove to be their only road win of the season.

The Duke game continued to show the injury virus coursing through the Cavaliers. During the second quarter all star OL D'Brickashaw Ferguson was taken out with an injury. Now with Brooks not even having played one down so far this year and Lundy completely ineffective, Virginia's stars were few and far between. This injury also set the offensive line into a tailspin it would never really recover from. New faces like Marshall Ausberry, Jordan Lipsey and Eugene Monroe were thrust into starting positions and had to respond. In this game they did admirably, as did most of the team. Ferguson's injury woke up a sleeping offense and Hagans was able to exploit his athletic advantage over the porous Duke defense en route to a 38-7 drubbing. Finally Virginia had the decisive victory they had hoped for and a 1-0 record in the ACC.

Therefore, by the end of September things were still okay. The Cavaliers were still 3-0, not winning by as much as they had hoped but not dropping these critical games. These teams would all go on to have losing seasons and perhaps underperformed by their own standards. October loomed large for the Cavaliers with Maryland, Boston College and North Carolina, all on the road as well as a visit from the undefeated Seminoles. Nevertheless, Virginia had improved every week and news came that Brooks would play against the Terps to begin October. Maybe the Coastal Division was going to be a race after all.

Checklist Revised

I have now done the video portion and will transfer to CD tomorrow. Hopefully it will be less problematic than the taping.

Annotation will be done over the weekend.

The following week I will clean up the website as much as possible.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Hoos Fall Short against GT 63-54

It was a game of what if?

What if the Cavaliers hadn't shot 27% from the field and 0-13 from behind the arc?

What if Sean Singletary could have done better than 3-23 shooting for 10 points?

What if the Cavaliers had not committed EIGHTEEN turnovers?

The Cavaliers would have won, that's what. Virginia, despite all these handicaps were in the game until the end. Narrowing a 15-point deficit to four with around four minutes to go in the game. Virginia didn't do it with talent or luck, but pure intensity and defense. I firmly believe teams of yesteryear would have folded after a horrible first half where the Cavaliers managed only 17 points. Instead they held firm. Jason Cain had a career day, with 15 points and 11 rebounds both a personal best. Mamadi Diane made some critical baskets and with Sean Singletary struggling, co-captain J.R. Reynolds became a leader and made many Yellow Jacket fans nervous. Coach Leitao cannot be happy with the loss, but he has to be proud of the way his team played. It will be that kind of intensity that Virginia will need to have any sort of success this year.

The game was also significant because it was the unexpected return of PG T.J. Bannister. Bannister has been rehabing from offseason surgery and was not expected to play again. While only out there for the final two minutes of the first half, he put pressure off of Singletary who had been dogged all game long by Georgia Tech's Mario West. To be able to put Sean in the shooting guard slot even occasionally could really free up a non-existent offense.

Also in guards, walk-on Billy Campbell played one of his greatest games in his hometown of Atlanta going for 4 points in thirteen minutes. The biggest stat for him though, was only one turnover against a tough GT defense. He made a lot of believers yesterday, and will continue to grow as the team does.

Next up for the Cavaliers will be the Fordham Rams on Wednesday December 7, 2005. The Rams are 1-6 on the season, their sole winning coming against Norfolk State. Despite the bad record, Fordham has a great deal of height that may be a potential matchup problem for Virginia's relatively short team. Jermaine Anderson and Bryant Dunston carry the load as far as points and rebounds go. The Cavaliers will look to shut these two down and improve upon their current 3-2 mark. If Virginia can show the same energy and passion to this game that they did last night, they should be able to do just that.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Cavs look to avoid a Ramblin Wreck

The Virginia Cavaliers are 3-1 on the season but the road for Dave Leitao and his new team reach a big mile marker as they play their first ACC game of the year, on the road against Georgia Tech on Sunday. The Yellow Jackets are 2-2 on the season, coming off a heart breaking loss to Michigan State in East Lansing during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Before that they were embarrassed on their home court against Illinois-Chicago 73-51. The Yellow Jackets are of the many teams recovering from NBA attrition and whose success can either raise or lower the national prominence of the ACC. While Georgia Tech struggles to find the answers to success, many teams like Virginia are left wondering just which team will show up on Sunday.

The Yellow Jackets are lead by sophomore Anthony Morrow. He is the team's leading scorer from last year (though with key losses like Jarret Jack, Will Bynum and B.J. Elder that is not saying much) and currently is 12th in the ACC in scoring with 15.3 ppg and had a career night last game against the Spartans. The problem for Georgia Tech is also a problem for the Cavaliers and that is a lack of experience, the Jackets line up consists of four sophomores and a junior. This has led to a great deal of inconsistency for Paul Hewitt's ball club. They have been very streaky shooting, 32.8, 52.9, 32.9 and 52.2% in their four games this year. Virginia hopes this trend continues if they are too have any success in Atlanta.

The Cavaliers come in Atlanta optimistic after a 15 point drubbing of Northwestern, but cautiously optimistic. The Yellow Jackets are certainly the second most talented team they will have faced this year behind Arizona. The Wildcats took it to the Cavaliers, using speed and athleticism, not to mention superior depth to win by 30 in Tucson. Without a doubt Georgia Tech has an advantage in those areas over Virginia as well. Therefore to be successful, Virginia must be able to dictate tempo, limit turnovers and continue to play strong defense. Offensively Virginia must look to their young guns. Sean Singletary has proven just what a great talent he is, and J.R. Reynolds has begun to grow up and become a solid player. In order to win Virginia will need a third option to emerge. Most likely it will be between either sophomore Adrian Joseph or freshman Mamadi Diane. Both had breakout games against Northwestern and are fighting for playing time at small forward. If they can be successful out on the floor, Virginia might just have the ability to hang with the Jackets.

Dave Leitao is looking at an ACC that is down but not out. Many people do not know what to expect of his ball club, but they're not sure how to gauge the other teams as well. Virginia has lost 10 straight ACC openers and 9 out of the last 10 to the Yellow Jackets. We also have discussed many times Virginia's struggles on the road. Even this season Virginia has yet to win outside of their home state. This game will show a lot as to where both of these teams are right now. Which is the real Virginia team, the one that took care of business against Richmond and Northwestern, or the turnover prone, shaky defense, emotional team that were beatdown by Arizona? Which is the real Georgia Tech team, the one that couldn't buy a bucket against Illinois-Chicago at home, or the one that took the a top 15 team down to the wire on the road? These questions might not be answered tomorrow, but we'll definitely have more evidence to draw a conclusion.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Prince leaves for Kansas State

A day after learning Virginia was going to lose one assistant coach, linebackers coach Danny Rocco to Liberty, the Cavaliers received word that offensive coordinator Ron Prince was the next to pack up and leave Charlottesville. Prince will take over for retiring coach Snyder for Kansas State University out in the Big XII. For Prince it will be difficult, following the winningest coach in the school history, and a rather disappointing end to this year's season. For Virginia it means that after their bowl game (presumably in San Francisco), the recruitment process will kick into full gear. Recruiting not just the best players but coaches as well.

The attrition might not end there. Defensive coordinator Al Golden has interviewed for the Temple Head coaching job and it appears that he too may be leaving the program come years end. While Virginia must be proud of the national recognition for their assistant's work, this is getting a little extreme. Golden knows the love perhaps more than anyone. Last year he was offered the role of defensive coordinator at Notre Dame by incoming head coach Charlie Weis. Golden turned it down, but the chance to be head coach seems to be an offer Golden will not refuse.

Candidates to fill these vacancies will not be easy. In a perfect world, Virginia would probably like to pursue former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. Musgrave was offensive coordinator early in Al Groh's tenure at UVA and helped take Matt Schaub from an ineffective pocket passer to the ACC Offensive Player of the Year. That sort of development will be necessary for Christian Olsen or whoever takes the reigns at quarterback next season. The problem is Musgrave remains in the NFL, currently calling the plays just North in D.C. for the Washington Redskins. While he was kicked out of Jacksonville, he probably is not ready for a return trip to Charlottesville just yet. Defense will probably be even more difficult and will not become clearer until most of the hiring and firing of the offseason is complete.

I know that I have been critical of Ron Prince, and yes I think this defection is more a present than a hindrance. However, I do think losing three top assistants the same year is something that will not be easily overcome. Virginia's offense already appears primed for an overhaul with many of its key contributors graduating. Trying to redo a defense might make Virginia very transitional come next September. Nevertheless, this can be seen as a positive in several aspects. First being, we must be doing something right. These coaches are leaving to be HEAD coaches, this upward mobility means the nation likes what Virginia is producing out on the field. Secondly, since many pundits have grown weary of the same old same old, it'll be nice to get some new faces and new energy into the program. Novelty might be just want the Cavaliers need, and leave teams on their heels. It was Al Groh's second year after all, where a new offense surprised many and led to a 2nd place finish in the ACC and a 9-5 season. There is no reason that a similar effect cannot happen with a new regime, with new plays, new systems and a new mentality. It's not abandoning the old, it's reconstructing it. After a 6-5 regular season, a tune up is just what the doctor ordered.