Thursday, December 20, 2012
Back to bowl: Virginia
By Heather Dinich
In 2011, Virginia overachieved.
In 2012, Virginia underachieved.
Next year? The Hoos might achieve middle ground.
Virginia is one of the most unpredictable teams heading into the offseason, as there are plenty of questions facing coach Mike London. The Cavaliers still need to hire a defensive coordinator, they’re not sure if offensive tackle Morgan Moses is going to stick around or enter the NFL draft. And the most pressing question -- the one that plagued Virginia in the latter half of this past season -- still remains: Who will be the quarterback?
Following the transfer of former starter Michael Rocco, Phillip Sims is the most obvious choice to start at the top of the depth chart during spring practices, but the staff has also praised the progress of David Watford, and incoming commit Greyson Lambert is a highly touted rookie who just might be the best combination of both. The last thing UVa needs is another two-quarterback system heading into the fall. London needs to give the players time to compete this offseason and name a clear-cut starter by the season opener. The return of Kevin Parks and Clifton Richardson should help the running game, but that was supposed to be a highlight this year. There will be something to prove next fall, especially without offensive tackle Oday Aboushi up front.
Defensively, Virginia should be even better, considering how young the group was last year, having to replace seven starters from 2011. The team will have to learn a new system and terminology, though, under the new coordinator.
Part of the problem at Virginia is London hasn’t had enough time to transition the roster to a group comprised entirely of his recruits. There is still a cross between London’s recruits, and former coach Al Groh’s upperclassmen. The program is still going through somewhat of a transition phase, and in the past two seasons, we’ve seen London run the spectrum of success. The most reasonable guess as to how Virginia will fare next year is somewhere in between – good enough to get back to a bowl, but unlikely to contend for the Coastal Division title.