Posted: 9:23 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013
Wow...that was bad.
Despite a fantastic effort by a revamped Virginia defense, the Cavaliers fell on the road at Pitt this weekend 14-3. The Virginia offense looked like a bad fraternity flag football team. Quarterback David Watford spent much of the afternoon running for his life as the right side of the offensive line seemingly said "hey, Pitt defenders...go get him!" When Watford was able to get passes off, his receivers dropped them repeatedly. Add it all up, and this was the worst offensive effort I've seen from Virginia since the seven-turnover game against William and Mary that marked the beginning of the end for Al Groh.
So, where does the Virginia offense go from here? The opponents aren't going to get much easier...so something needs to be figured out quickly. And there's a lot of blame to go around.
It looks like Coach London and his staff are considering significant personnel changes after Saturday's debacle. On the offensive line, right tackle Jay Whitmire is moving over to right guard, and true freshman Eric Smith will start at right tackle. Think about that for a minute -- a true freshman is essentially bumping junior Cody Wallace out of his starting job. How does that happen? Who's been coaching Cody Wallace for 3 years? How does offensive line coach Scott Wachenheim sleep at night?
On the wide receiver front, it looks like all jobs are being re-opened. After last week's drop-fest, Tim Smith, Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell no longer have strangleholds on their starting roles. Backups Miles Gooch, Adrian Gamble, Canaan Severin, EJ Scott, and maybe even true freshman Keeon Johnson could get chances for increased playing time.
These are welcome changes, in my opinion. Tim Smith is the fastest player on the team, but when was the last time he met expectations in...you know...an actual game? Jennings and Terrell are former high school quarterbacks. They've adjusted well to becoming receivers, but they've suffered from inconsistency throughout their careers. It might be time to throw some true receivers into the fire in hopes of finding the the next Kris Burd or Dontrelle Inman.
Lastly, one has to wonder what the team is trying to do in regards to its offensive scheme. All offseason we heard about the considerable experience the new assistant coaches would bring to the staff. Larry Lewis, Tom O'Brien and Steve Fairchild were heralded as the three wisemen coming to wake up Virginia from its offensive doldrums. So far...it hasn't happened. The offense looks worse than it has in years, which is saying something.
Big picture, there's still plenty of time to get things done and improve the situation. Remember, Wahoo fans, we're defining a successful season as 6-6 and a trip to a bowl game. Virginia still has a number of winnable ballgames left. I'd consider every game except Clemson, Miami, and maybe Maryland to be within reach. The defense is playing lights out and is good enough to get this team to the postseason. But it needs help from the offense...fast.