>> Sunday, June 28, 2009
Charlottesville, Virginia wasn't a happy place last fall. First, they lost their starting quarterback, Jameel Sewell, to academic issues, and then there was the anemic beginning to the season. Al Groh's team was demolished by USC, UCONN and Duke, yes Duke, within its first four games. The Cavaliers attempted to turn their season around, but fell short of bowl eligibility with five wins. The offense was so putrid that Groh was forced to show his own son, Mike Groh, the door. The elder Groh hopes Gregg Brandon can improve the offensive inefficiency.
Brandon will have the luxury of having an experienced quarterback this season. Sewell returns, after getting his academics in order, and will attempt to resurrect some form of an offense. However, Sewell has zero experience to throw the ball to and his leading returning receiver, Jared Green, only amassed twelve receptions last season. Brandon's saving grace may be a talented RB, Mikell Simpson, and a veteran offensive line. Virginia, who has become Lineman U, returns four starters from an offensive line that opened holes all last season. The defensive side of the ball doesn't provide much reason for optimism, either.
Al Groh's defensive unit lost several playmakers, including Clint Stintim and Antonio Appleby. The defense will rely heavily on a veteran defensive line, headlined by Matt Contrath and nose tackle Nate Collins. The defensive backfield appears strong, as well. Ras-I Dowling and Vic Hall are good cover corners and Corey Mosley will be provide some punch at strong safety. The combination of a stout defensive line and strong backfield may help hide the deficiencies at linebacker. Denzel Burrell appears to be the only capable player in that unit, and Groh needs Darren Childs and Aaron Clark to establish themselves within his 3-4 scheme to be successful.
Al Groh has not been successful in his recruiting battles against in-state rival Virginia Tech, but he still brings in his fair share of talent. Groh landed the 33rd ranked class in the country (rivals.com) and has a nice array of players joining his roster. Morgan Moses is a 6'7", 347 pound behemoth of a man at the offensive tackle position. If, and thats a big if, Moses can stay in shape, he has the potential to be an All-American type lineman. Wide Receiver Tim Smith will be forced to make an early impact in Charlottesville. The 6'0", 182 pound wide receiver has sticky hands and is a cunning receiver.
September 5th-William & Mary-Win
September 19th-@Southern Miss-Loss
October 3rd-@North Carolina-Loss
October 24th-Georgia Tech-Loss
November 14th-Boston College-Loss
November 28th-Virginia Tech-Loss
Season Projection: 3-9 (1-7 ACC)