ACC: Mike Groh

ACC's lunchtime links

March, 7, 2013
3/07/13
12:00
PM ET
So Virginia got the snowstorm. Here in Maryland we got rain. What a bust.

Clemson penalty Virginia's best offense

November, 21, 2009
11/21/09
6:25
PM ET
This has been Virginia's problem all year -- offense -- and save for the magic tricks the Cavaliers used in the first half -- a 15-yard facemask penalty by Clemson here in the second has been the Cavs best push forward. Virginia has had just two first downs in the second half. Clemson's defense has been everywhere here in the fourth quarter, smothering Virginia. It's unfortunate for Al Groh because he fired his son only to be in this position. Then again, how many of these players are Mike Groh's recruits? It doesn't matter now.

Virginia's not over yet (but it's over)

September, 12, 2009
9/12/09
6:13
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


Virginia's offense is bad. There's no other way to say it.

Is this the payoff for firing your son? Because Gregg Brandon certainly hasn't been able to work much magic in Mike Groh's absence. What started out as a respectable game against TCU has turned into an embarrassment, as Virginia trails 30-0. Virginia can't even get into the red zone, a place TCU might as well set up camp.

The Cavaliers are 2 of 12 on third downs and 0 for 2 on fourth downs. They have 72 yards of total offense. Jameel Sewell has been sacked seven times. Road trips to Southern Miss and UNC loom. It looks like it will get worse before it gets better. Duke won today, officially stepping over Virginia at the bottom of the ACC.

Did you see how empty Virginia's stands were late in the fourth quarter? Doesn't bode well for Al Groh's support group. And if Virginia keeps this up, he's going to need all the help he can get.

Virginia's offense in the works before Brandon

May, 19, 2009
5/19/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Gregg Brandon is Virginia's new offensive coordinator, but the concept of his spread offense isn't exactly new in Charlottesville.

When the Cavaliers were preparing to play Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl two seasons ago, Virginia coach Al Groh and his staff were intrigued by the high-flying offense they were tasked with defending. Last season, Virginia began taking steps in that direction.

"In fact," Groh said, "we were well down that road. We played Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl and in doing all the research and the work necessary to play against them, we knew what we were up against and therefore we put a great deal of study and research into it. We were very intrigued by it and could see the application of a lot of it through the personnel we had on hand. ... We did a lot of installation in that direction and made good progress with it. Unfortunately, some circumstances short circuited that."

Although former offensive coordinator Mike Groh, Groh's son, was fired following a bowl-less 2008 season, Al Groh was still intent on implementing a similar system to what Mike Leach ran against them in 2007. What won't appear this season are some of the two tight end sets, and the two back formations. Despite the loss of Cedric Peerman, the running back position could be the deepest and most versatile position, and diverse skills are what this overhauled staff is looking for.

Mikell Simpson, who excels both as a receiver and a runner, wasn't as productive at either last year and missed the final three games with an injury. Groh said that during the course of the spring, Simpson looked much more like the player he was in 2007 when he ran for 570 yards before dropping to 262 last year.

Senior Rashawn Jackson returns as the primary fullback, and has good ball skills and is a strong blocker. Keith Payne saw time at both tailback and fullback last season in what was an injury-plagued season that saw him miss five games. Speedy redshirt freshman Torrey Mack was one of the top running backs in his recruiting class coming in and was another name Groh mentioned.

While there was progress at wide receiver this spring, Groh said none of them have established themselves yet as a go-to player. And while the offensive line should be solid, there are no freakish NFL prospects like Eugene Monroe or Branden Albert this year. The biggest difference in Virginia's offense should be at quarterback, where Jameel Sewell returns after missing last season for academic reasons, and Marc Verica and former cornerback Vic Hall are also legitimate options. Don't rule out the possibility of all three of them finding a way on the field.

"It's certainly not out of the question," Groh said. "At this time last year we had no quarterbacks who had ever started a college football game. We now have three of them. That puts us in a much more positive position than we had at this time last year.

"They all have a good range of skills and so we plan to make use of what they can all do, so certainly there is the possibility. It's worked out pretty well at some other places, especially when the quarterback brings a different style to the game. How the next 29 practices go will have a greater bearing in that answer."

The offense, though, might not be as big of a question mark as some think.

Spring of second chances at Virginia

April, 16, 2009
4/16/09
4:42
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

In order to get home from the McCue Center, where the Virginia football team practices, quarterback Jameel Sewell must pass Scott Stadium -- a place he hasn't played in since 2007.

"I can look right down into the stadium every time I pass it and I get a chill," he said.

For three Virginia quarterbacks, this spring has been all about second chances.

Sewell, the Cavaliers' 2007 starter who learned a hard lesson from last year's academic suspension, has been given another chance to reassert himself as the leader of the offense. Marc Verica, who was thrust into the role in mid-September after Peter Lalich was dismissed from the team, is looking to redeem himself from a poor finish down the stretch. And senior Vic Hall, who was a standout high school quarterback but spent the past two seasons as a starting corner and is the Cavs' leading returning tackler, has been given the opportunity to play the position he originally thought he would.

All three quarterbacks began the spring on an even playing field in first-year offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon's new scheme, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the spring game, they'll showcase their progress to the public for the first time.

 
  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
  Quarterback Jameel Sewell is happy to be competing for the Cavaliers' starting job after missing the 2008 season.

"Marc Verica did a pretty decent job last year," Sewell said. "He needed some help, he couldn't do everything by himself. He's out here competing like he should, and he's done a great job so far. And you've got Vic Hall, who's got all the state records as a quarterback in high school and it seems like coming back to offense hasn't missed a beat. And me, I'm just trying to keep up. I've been gone for a while, but I'm not at a disadvantage at all. This is a new offense, and things are different now."

That's the hope at least in Charlottesville for a program that finished last season 5-7 overall and won just three games in the ACC. The Cavaliers ended 2008 with four straight losses, resulting in a major staff overhaul that included coach Al Groh firing his son, Mike Groh, as offensive coordinator.

In the years that Groh has been successful, though, he tends to have a dependable, experienced quarterback.

"It's picked up some momentum here in the last few practices as we anticipated might be the case, given it was going to take a while for the quarterbacks to get some continuity in what they were going," Groh said. "... Given that two of the three primary candidates were not full-time quarterbacks last year -- Jameel and Vic -- it's really been a case of those guys getting back in rhythm as quarterbacks per say, plus a new system. Marc obviously had playing time last year, but (is in) a new system. So it's taken a little while, but Monday showed some real signs of it picking up."

Sewell started all 13 games in 2007 and led Virginia to a 9-4 record and an appearance in New Year's Day bowl game. He's a shifty runner who passed for 2,176 yards and ran for 279 more that year. Verica is more of a drop back passer who made his first start last fall in the third game against Connecticut. He went on to start nine of the final 10 games and threw for 2,037 yards while completing 63.8 percent of his attempts. He threw eight touchdown passes, though, and 16 interceptions.

Verica attributed a lot of that to the fact it was the first season he had played, and said this offense requires a lot from the quarterback. It is designed to create space, spread the defense out, and creates better angles for linemen to block, and more space for running backs and wide receivers to operate.

"It's a dynamic offense, so we can attack a defense with the quarterback running the ball, we can attack the defenses with short passes, long passes, screens," he said. "There's a number of things, but I really think he's just looking for a leader to manage the team out there. ... Jameel and Vic are obviously more talented athletes and runners than I am. I am able to do some of that, too. I really think the offense plays to all our strengths."

Sewell said he's more responsible now, and he's learned from his mistakes. He helped coach at Charlottesville High school last season, but kept a close watch on the Cavaliers, some of whom he remained roommates with. When Sewell walked back on the field at Virginia for the first time this spring, he said he was overwhelmed, and didn't want to leave -- not practice, not film sessions, not the weight room.

"I just didn't want it to end, even though I knew it was going to happen again the next day," he said.

Hall, who was a record-setting quarterback at Gretna Senior High School, said he spent this spring readjusting to the technique and fundamentals, and he's had to build the strength in his throwing arm. In his surprise appearance at quarterback against Virginia Tech last year, Hall rushed for 109 yards and had scoring runs of 40 and 16 yards. He only threw one pass, though, and is a bit undersized at 5-foot-9.

Hall said he was told in mid-January that he'd move to quarterback full time for the spring - the position he thought he had originally come to Charlottesville to play. Instead, he developed into a successful corner over the past two seasons. His five forced fumbles last year tied the school record and he had 59 tackles.

"The main thing that I wanted to prove coming to college is that I can work hard and help my team in anyway," Hall said. "It wasn't about proving to people I could do this or that, because whatever you do on the field as far as helping your team and making a contribution, I feel like that's proof in itself. But yeah, I do look at this as a second chance to be what I aspired to be when I came to Virginia -- a quarterback."

Hall's not the only one.

"I've always tried to move on to the next play and forget," Verica said. "When you hang onto those things in your mind, it just wears on you. You're not going to play as well. You have to have a very short memory if you want to play this position. There's going to be some adverse times, and you have to put those behind you and rise above. The challenge for me is to that behind me and move forward."

This spring, all three quarterbacks got a second chance to do that.

ACC's lunchtime links

March, 25, 2009
3/25/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Franklin Street is a fitting place to be reading the ACC papers, don't you think? I met with UNC coach Butch Davis this morning, and have a couple of interviews before heading to practice this afternoon. Until then ... here's what's going on in ACC country:

  • Speaking of UNC, the Tar Heels are putting an emphasis on finding some receivers this spring, but they've already found one in Greg Little.
  • The NCAA is wondering "what gives" when it comes to hiring veteran assistants as graduate assistants, like former Virginia offensive coordinator Mike Groh's new gig at Alabama.
  • Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin will receive $1 million if he's not named the head coach when Ralph Friedgen decides to call it quits. The Terps started spring practice on Tuesday, and they're counting on Adrian Moten to help usher the young linebackers along.
  • The Demon Deacons started practice Tuesday and one of their priorities is filling the holes on defense.
  • Florida State picked up another commitment for the 2010 class.
  • Former Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper is still answering questions about the statement he made last year that former coach Tommy Bowden "got what he deserved," only this time, NFL scouts are asking the questions.
  • NC State halfback Toney Baker can run and fish.

Mike Groh to Alabama?

March, 9, 2009
3/09/09
2:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

A belated lunchtime link for you ...

Jeff White of the Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that former Virginia offensive coordinator Mike Groh has landed a job at Alabama -- as a graduate assistant. Going from offensive coordinator to GA is a humbling move, regardless if Nick Saban is your new boss. As demanding as Saban can be, though, it will probably be easier than working for dear 'ol dad.

What to watch in the ACC this spring

February, 11, 2009
2/11/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With Miami kicking off spring practice on Feb. 24, it's never too early to start thinking about spring football in the ACC. There are plenty of story lines heading into the 2009 season -- like backup quarterbacks and new coordinators.

Here are a few things to watch for each team in the ACC this spring:

ATLANTIC DIVISION

BOSTON COLLEGE
Spring practice starts:
March 17
Spring game: April 25

What to watch

  • Replacing 325-pound defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace will be a large challenge -- literally. Damik Scafe could be a starter, but beyond him it's anybody's guess.
  • Quarterback Dominique Davis only has three games of experience over everyone else, so it's definitely not a given that it's his job to lose. Davis was thrown into the fire at the end of 2008, but former coach Jeff Jagodzinski and former offensive coordinator Steve Logan liked freshman Justin Tuggle, who redshirted this past season. Whether the new staff is as high on Tuggle remains to be seen.
  • Including former defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani, who was promoted to head coach, the Eagles will have six coaches in new positions this spring. With two new coordinators, a new offensive line coach, tight ends coach and a linebackers coach, this spring will be a chance for a few introductions.

(Read full post)

Tags:

Boston College Eagles, Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, North Carolina Tar Heels, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Maryland Terrapins, Virginia Cavaliers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Coastal Division, Atlantic Division, Miami Hurricanes, Jermaine Thomas, Greg Little, Greg Boone, Eron Riley, Paul Johnson, Damian Thornton, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Florida State Seminoles, Toddrick Verdell, Vince Williams, Barquell RIvers, Miami Hurricanes, Justin Tuggle, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Kyle Parker, Brandon tate, Frank Beamer, Trimane Goddard, Aaron Clark, Logan Thomas, Chris turner, Myron Rolle, Cullen Harper, Willy Korn, Demetrius Hartsfield, Brad Lambert, Cannon Smith, Jamarr Robinson, Robert Marve, Mike Glennon, Nigel Carr, Tyrod Taylor, Adrian Moten, David Cutcliffe, Stephen St. John, Butch Davis, Hakeem Nicks, Tavares Pressley, Duke Blue Devils, Lamar Young, Chris DeGeare, Derek Nicholson, Kevin Harrison, Rashad Carmichael, T.J. Barnes, Josh Portis, Sean Renfree, Carlton Jones, Brett Warren, Nigel Bradham, Darren CHilds, Andre Brown, Edwin Williams, Jeremy Gray, Purnell Sturdivant, Dominique Davis, Johnny Williams, MIchael Tauiliili, Brandon Flowers, Jacory Harris, Anthony Allen, Trent Mackey, Virginia Tech Hokies, Cody Grimm, Gregg Brandon, Derrick Morgan, Vincent Rey, Virginia Cavaliers, Toney Baker, Antone Smith, spring primer 0902, Tyler Grisham, Clint Sintim, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Victor 'Macho' Harris, Jonathan Dwyer, Maryland Terrapins, Coastal Division, Clem Johnson, Atlantic Division, Antonio Appleby, Jacoby Ford, Jameel Sewell, Mark Paschal, Frank Spaziani, Tony Carter, Quan Sturdivant, Damik Scafe, Steve Logan, Bruce Johnson, Antone Exum, Taylor Cook, Boston College Eagles, Cam Martin, Brooks Foster, Dabo Swinney, Austin Kelly, Darius McClure, Michael Wade, Mark Richt, Aaron Kelly, Jeff Jagodzinski, Thaddeus Lewis, Clemson Tigers, Anthony Reddick, Aaron Curry, C.J. Spiller, Alphonso Smith, Jon Copper, Stephan Virgil, Tyler Bowen, Ben Anderson, Alex Wujciak, Zack Asack, Justin Lewis, D\'Vontrey Richardson, Da\'Norris Searcy

ACC in the afternoon

January, 27, 2009
1/27/09
5:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here are a couple of things from around the league worth checking out before we call it a day:

  • During his recruiting process, North Carolina native E.J. Abrams-Ward chose Tennessee over UNC. Now that he's been dismissed from the Vols' program, he wants to go to UNC. The question is, does Butch Davis want him?
  • Former Virginia recruit Tyree Watkins has called an audible and is now headed for Duke. This isn't a knock on Virginia, really, it happens all the time. Recruits see a coaching change they're unsure of (offensive coordinator Mike Groh leaves), and they change their mind. Fair enough. What's interesting about this is that Watkins wound up at Duke, which beat Virginia in 2008. If the Blue Devils are going to beat their ACC opponents on the field, the coaching staff knows they have to beat them in recruiting, first, and Duke is quietly doing that.

So long, 2008

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
9:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It was a great season to cover ACC football, with plenty of memorable moments, games, plays, coaches, players and issues -- some good, some not so good. Here are a few things I won't forget from 2008, in no particular order:

The jumbled, exciting race for the ACC title -- It was arguably the most competitive season in ACC football history, as the race to Tampa came down to the final weeks in November, and four teams finished with 5-3 conference records and six teams finished at 4-4.

Tommy Bowden resigns midseason -- On Oct. 13, 2008, Clemson announced that Bowden would no longer be head coach, and wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney took over the program and made immediate, sweeping changes, including the firing of offensive coordinator Rob Spence.

Miami's quarterback controversy -- It all began when starter Robert Marve was suspended for the season opener, and ended with him being suspended for the Emerald Bowl. Jacory Harris or Marve? Following Marve's transfer, there's only one choice.

Myron Rolle wins a Rhodes Scholarship -- There might not have been a more positive story in ACC football this season, as Rolle interviewed for one of the prestigious scholarships on the same day Florida State played a critical Atlantic Division game at Maryland. Rolle won the award, and flew to Maryland in time to contribute to the 37-3 win.

Virginia Tech wins the FedEx Orange Bowl -- The Hokies did the most with the least this season, as Frank Beamer did arguably the best coaching job of his career and led Virginia Tech to its fifth straight 10-win season. The 20-7 win over Cincinnati gave the ACC its first BCS bowl win since 1999.

Jeff Jagodzinski gets fired -- After only his second season and back-to-back appearances in the ACC title game, Jagodzinski decided to interview with the New York Jets, knowing it would cost him his job. A private matter of trust between Jagodzinski and athletic director Gene DeFilippo became public.

Bye-bye coordinators -- Virginia coach Al Groh fired his son, offensive coordinator Mike Groh, Miami coach Randy Shannon fired offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, Clemson coach Swinney fired offensive coordinator Spence, and both Maryland and Clemson's defensive coordinators both bolted for K-State. BC will need a new defensive coordinator now that Frank Spaziani is the new head coach.

Georgia Tech's 45-42 win over Georgia -- The Yellow Jackets earned their first win in the series since 2000, and they did it on the road and in Paul Johnson's first season. Georgia Tech broke a seven-game losing streak to the Dawgs and rushed for 409 yards in the process. It was arguably the ACC's best nonconference win of the season, though the Hokies' win over Cincinnati had a bigger impact.

The poor attendance at the ACC title game in Tampa -- Having seen it first-hand, it will be tough to forget. According to the St. Pete Times, the turnstile count for the game at Raymond James Stadium was 27,360, about half the tickets that were sold and distributed (53,927).

NCAA-record 10 bowl eligible teams -- Heading into the season, it didn't seem as if the ACC would be strong enough to have even a ninth team qualify to play in the inaugural EagleBank Bowl, but the conference became the first to send 10 teams to bowl games in a single season.

Mike Groh out as UVA's offensive coordinator

December, 8, 2008
12/08/08
2:21
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Virginia coach Al Groh has opened up a national search to replace his son, offensive coordinator Mike Groh, as well as defensive line coach Levern Belin and secondary coach Steve Bernstein. Here is the official word from Groh on this situation, as stated in a release from the program:

Since the end of the season, I have done the annual review of every aspect of our program in order to make our plans to move forward to the next season. Part of that moving forward will involve changes in our systems and staff.

The change in systems will be made to utilize the player talent available to us from our current roster and incoming players, and the changes in the staff will be made to accommodate those schemes. Accordingly, Michael Groh, Steve Bernstein and Levern Belin will step down from their positions. Steve will retire and Mike and Levern will pursue career opportunities.

These men have served Virginia football with commitment, integrity and loyalty and I appreciate them and their efforts. There are no scapegoats here, the head coach is responsible for the team.

Bob Pruett will move to the position of assistant head coach/defense with Bob Diaco becoming defensive coordinator. Anthony Poindexter will move from running backs to defensive secondary.

We are excited about the options and opportunities open to our team and the positive energy they will generate.

This is why family members should not go into the sideline business together. Bobby Bowden was put in a similar situation, and there are plenty of Penn State fans who wouldn't cry if Jay Paterno decided to "pursue career opportunities." This had to be a tough conversation for Al Groh, but it was a necessary one. Mike Groh was paid to do a job, and in three seasons as UVA's offensive coordinator, the offense looked uncoordinated:

  • In 2006, the Cavaliers ranked 110th nationally in scoring offense and 113th in total offense.
  • In 2007, they were 81st in scoring offense and 101st in total offense.
  • In 2008, UVA ranked 104th in total offense, 114th in scoring offense and 110th in rushing offense.

Al Groh said the "head coach is responsible for the team," and that's exactly what he was doing in this case.

ACC's lunchtime links: League doesn't handle rankings well

November, 24, 2008
11/24/08
12:15
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The rankings have been a revolving door for ACC teams this season, and this week was no different. Considering the numbers Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times points out, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Florida State should all be a little nervous this weekend.

With his win over rival UNC on Saturday, NC State coach Tom O'Brien is now 4-0 this season against team from within the state and says he has "the best football program in the state. Without question."

Heading into its season finale against Vanderbilt, Wake Forest is still looking for answers on offense. All season, the biggest question has been up front for the Deacs.

Don't ask Virginia coach Al Groh about whether his son, offensive coordinator Mike Groh, will be back in 2009. He has no problem blowing that question off. One thing is for sure, Mike Groh didn't tell his players to surrender the ball to Clemson. Once again, Virginia beat itself, and the Cavaliers have now had more turnovers -- 29 -- than they have had in a single season since 1996.

Clemson's defense took a huge hit with the loss of bandit end Ricky Sapp, who is out for what little is left of the season with a partially torn ACL.

Tuesday ACC Mailblog

October, 7, 2008
10/07/08
5:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

First of all, just to clarify since I've gotten a lot of emails about this, when I said on Monday's chat that I haven't seen UNC play, I said IN PERSON. I have watched every ACC team play at least one game, and have seen nine ACC teams play from my seat in the press box. That's not bad for six weeks.

Speaking of UNC, Shawn, in Hopewell, VA, writes: Hey Heather will UNC finally get some recognition if they beat Notre Dame?

Heather Dinich: Hey Shawn, I think they've gotten their recognition with a top 25 ranking.

Bill, from Providence, writes: Why are the canes afraid to throw the ball? Their number of big plays have decreased consistently since 2002. Granted we had a quarterback issue since Dorsey left. It seems that the two new young guns have arms why not use them?

Heather Dinich: You nailed, it, Bill, Miami has had subpar quarterbacks recently. Robert Marve and Jacory Harris are definite upgrades, but they're both young and still learning. Personally, I'd like to see more of what Harris can do.

Luis, in Rockville, MD, writes: Heather, How can the Terps be this bad?! There is no reason why we should get embarrassed by a team that lost to Duke. We can either win out or lose out this season. This is more frustrating than being a bad team. At least with a bad team you expect a loss. Luis PS Love your blog!

Heather Dinich: Luis, as Ralph Friedgen likes to say, "it is what it is." If the Terps were a really good football team, they wouldn't be inconsistent. Thanks for reading the blog.

Corey, in Port St. Lucie, Fla, writes: Nice work Heather... I have to ask you, should Florida State be worried going into Raleigh this Thursday night?? The Noles could suffer an emotional letdown after the win against Miami...

Heather Dinich: It's next Thursday, and no, I don't think it will be an emotional letdown. But I also don't think anyone can take North Carolina State lightly with Russell Wilson at quarterback. They're still missing key players on defense, but don't count N.C. State out. That said, Florida State is a better team right now and should win that game.

Brian, in NYC, writes: I'm a U.Va. grad and have always been a supporter of Groh. He did win ACC Coach of the Year last year and still has a following of alum that want to ride him out of town like on the Cavalier horse. Do you think the problem is with Mike Groh, his son and offensive coordinator? Or is it just youth, inexperience and losing so many players from off-field problems? I think this group has a bright future after the Maryland win. And at least hoping to pull to 6-6 and bowl eligibility.

Heather Dinich: Brian, I think after that victory over Maryland, the criticism of Al Groh and his staff can be put on hold for week or two, no? Yes, it was an incredible win over the Terps, but I'd hold off on declaring the Cavaliers bowl-eligible just yet.

Virginia deserves credit for not quitting

October, 5, 2008
10/05/08
8:48
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Forget, for a moment, that Maryland completely blew it.

Because Virginia, with so many excuses to fold, did not. The Cavaliers, having been embarrassed at Duke and written off as the worst team in the ACC this season, never quit. And if you look strictly at the win-loss column in the ACC standings, Miami is suddenly in a worse position than the Cavaliers were a week ago.

Funny how things changed in a week. Virginia senior linebacker Clint Sintim pressured Maryland quarterback Chris Turner all night, Vic Hall had a fumble recovery, and quarterback Marc Verica redeemed himself after a poor performance in Durham. They got better blocking up front and it opened holes for Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson. They got 100-yard performances from both Peerman and receiver Kevin Ogletree. Heck, they completed their first touchdown pass of the season.

"It was really a great performance," Sintim said. "A lot of guys put a lot into it. After last week we were demoralized by our performance and we came out this week and had a better effort; a lot of guys made plays and stepped up. We put a zero up on the board and that's big."

Just one week ago, Virginia held the dubious distinction of being the team Duke snapped its 25-game ACC losing streak against. Virginia entered the Maryland game having been outscored 128-36 this season and last in the league at 1-3, 0-1. The future was bleak.

"We took a little step forward here tonight," said coach Al Groh.

"All four phases had a good evening: offense, defense, special teams and coaching staff. We have a ways to go yet and we have a lot of things to improve upon but I think we made some progress tonight."

Agreed.

Now, can they keep it up in one of the most unpredictable leagues this season?

(Read full post)

Virginia quarterback decision near

August, 18, 2008
8/18/08
3:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen isn't the only coach in the conference who's had three quarterbacks to choose from. Al Groh still hasn't name a starter from the trio of Peter Lalich, Scott Deke and Marc Verica, but his son, offensive coordinator Mike Groh, said a decision should come this week.

"I think it's winding down," said the younger Groh, who was available via teleconference today. "We're going to start our preparation on SC ... so certainly he'll be in place by then."

Asked if the No. 1 signal caller would be named by Wednesday, Groh said, "Yes. I would think so."

"They've all had good days and bad days, and fortunately for us more good than bad," he said. "They've all done very well. I'm pleased with their development, their progress, their command of the offense. We scrimmage today, so I'm anxious to see how they do today."

Is it clear who the No. 1 guy is?

"Do I have an opinion on it?" he asked. "Yes, I do."

Guess we'll have to wait to find out what it is.

SPONSORED HEADLINES