Lalich coming to town early, transferring to Western Albemarle
By Jerry Ratcliffe / email@example.com | 978-7251
January 14, 2007
The “Pistol Pete” era in Charlottesville may begin a little earlier than anyone expected.
Quarterback Peter Lalich, who finished his career at West Springfield High School in Northern Virginia as one of the state’s most prolific passers, said Saturday that he plans to move to the Charlottesville area in the coming weeks and transfer to Western Albemarle High School.
The move primarily would serve as an opportunity for the senior to become closer to the University of Virginia football program this spring. While he cannot work out or practice with the Cavaliers, he is allowed by rules to attend meetings and to observe spring practice.
“They put in a lot of their plays in the spring, so I can be there for that and that will help me a lot,” Lalich said. “I want to be at practice as much as I can.”
Among the elite
Ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the state on The Daily Progress’ Gold List, the All-American is a solid student who has an interest in playing lacrosse for the Warriors.
Lalich is coming off a sterling performance at the East Meets West All-America game at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla. The 6-foot-5 dropback passer completed 9 of 13 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown in the game, splitting time with three other quarterbacks on the East roster.
“The guy from Rivals.com thought I was the best quarterback there,” said Lalich, who played only three series due to the number of quarterbacks on the team. “I got to use my arm strength more than I did in high school because the receivers were faster and I could throw it deep.”
A lot to learn
During his five days at the all-star game, Lalich practiced eight hours a day and learned a new offense under East coach Don Soldinger, who was running backs coach at Miami for 20 years.
“He didn’t simplify anything,” Lalich said. “The playbook was pretty thick.”
However, that was no problem for Lalich, who has a penchant for the mental side of the game. In fact, West Springfield coach Bill Renner, who spent some time in the NFL as a player, raves about his quarterback’s mental strength.
“Peter has the physical and technical talent as a quarterback to be very successful and help UVa win games,” Renner said. “But his best attribute is his mental knowledge about defensive schemes.
“He has a photographic memory that allows him to see where everyone is and be able to attack them. He can remember everyone’s route and where they are, so when things break down he can make a play.
“The mental capacity is what puts him in an elite mode, not his physical talent. There are a lot of guys with his physical talent and cannot understand what the mental part is all about.”
Lalich confirmed Saturday that he does have a photographic memory.
“I see a picture and it’s in my head forever,” said the talented quarterback, who was named after basketball legend “Pistol Pete” Maravich, a friend of Lalich’s father, Todd.
The talented quarterback, who passed for 3,134 yards and 33 touchdowns in only 10 games this season, and for 6,145 yards and 60 touchdowns in barely more than two seasons, made the most of his opportunities in Orlando.
On his last series, Lalich was running a no-huddle offense and calling his own plays.
“They signaled in a screen play and I was like, ‘No, coach,’” Lalich said. “The offensive linemen told me, ‘Pete, call your own play.’ So, I called one of my plays from high school and we scored a touchdown.”
And what was the reaction from the coach?
“He said that if it hadn’t worked, he would have cussed me out,” Lalich said.
The pass was impressive. It was an 18-yard post pass over the head of a linebacker and in between two safeties for a touchdown.
“It was a fun experience,” said Lalich of the week. “I didn’t have a lot of athletic receivers in high school, so it took getting used to different guys running different routes.”
So, what’s next for Lalich? He is scheduled to travel to Atlanta in two weeks for about a 10-day training period when he will work out with college players preparing for the NFL Combine.
“I’ll be working out with them every day,” Lalich said. “I did it last year. I work with the guy that trains with [Chicago Bears All-Pro linebacker] Brian Urlacher. I worked out and talked with some quarterbacks there last year, including Drew Olsen from UCLA and some others.”
Considering Lalich’s planned move and his advanced abilities, one must wonder if he might not be competing for Virginia’s starting quarterback job when training camp begins in August.
Should incumbent Jameel Sewell start again as a sophomore, would that mean the Cavaliers are committed to continue starting him throughout his career? If so, would Lalich be satisfied redshirting this season, then sitting as a backup for the next two years until Sewell graduates?
Questions to ponder. However, if Lalich has the mental command of the game to go along with his passing skills, would it behoove UVa head coach Al Groh and offensive coordinator Mike Groh to let the “Pistol Pete” era to commence?
This should prove to be a very interesting off-season for Virginia football.
Speaking of Groh, he picked up another commitment Saturday when Fork Union Military Academy athlete Danny Aiken accepted an offer from the Cavaliers.
Aiken is a 6-6, 230-pound athlete, who was recruited primarily as a long snapper, but can play various positions.
“This young man is a pro long snapper. He gets it back there below 1.39 seconds, and 1.4 is standard,” said Fork Union post-graduate coach John Shuman. “He reminds me a lot of Zac Yarbrough, who played here at Fork Union. Zac played tight end for us like Danny and then played center at Virginia for like three years.”
Staff writer Jerry Miller contributed to this story.
Same play nets same outcome for Cavaliers
Virginia again done in by turnovers, fouls and failed rebounding in the second half.
By Doug Doughty
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Virginia must have received a mistaken impression when it played top-rated North Carolina to a 10-point game Wednesday in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Cavaliers played essentially the same game Saturday at Conte Forum and the result wasn't different.
Virginia sent Boston College to the free-throw line 45 times and the Eagles didn't waste the opportunity in a 78-73 victory that moved them into sole possession of first place in the ACC.
Just as it had against North Carolina, Virginia grabbed a nine-point, first-half lead, this time to start the game. The Cavaliers were up 33-29 at halftime, the same four-point margin they enjoyed early in the second half at UNC.
A subsequent flurry of turnovers, personal fouls and failed rebounding attempts again proved to be Virginia's undoing.
It looked as if the Eagles (12-5, 4-0 ACC) had the game under control when they took a 62-47 lead on a Sean Williams free throw with 7:30 remaining, but Virginia (9-6, 1-2) still had some life.
The Cavaliers trimmed the deficit to 73-68 before UVa sophomore Mamadi Diane stepped to the free-throw line with 53.4 seconds left.
Diane, shooting nearly 79 percent at the line, made two free throws moments later. But what followed was a nightmare.
First, Diane missed both free throws, but he was able to grab the rebound. Then, he missed the follow, fouled Williams on the rebound and was called for a technical foul when he slammed the ball to the floor.
"It's not [what] I want this team or this program to be about, [when] somebody loses their composure," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "He fouled out, but I was going to take him out. That's frustration. He's not a bad kid. He didn't yell and scream at the ref. He pounded the ball."
Diane's frustration was evident with 1:16 remaining when he felt Boston College's Jared Dudley grabbed him, only to see official Roger Ayers signal Diane for the foul.
When one of the other officials approached with his hand raised, possibly in Diane's favor, Ayers overruled him.
Ayers, from Roanoke, Va., was closer to the play.
"We both were going for the ball and I felt like I was being held," said Diane, who said he couldn't remember ever receiving a technical unless it was for hanging on the rim.
"It wasn't my intention to try and get a technical; in no way was it an act of aggression."
In the last two games, Virginia's opponents have shot 86 free throws, compared to 30 for the Cavaliers. UVa point guard Sean Singletary has shot one free throw -- total -- in the past two games after attempting 34 in the previous three games.
"You've got to stay aggressive," Singletary said. "It's mental. You're conscious of what the refs are going to do. But, to be a good team and to be good players, you can't let the refs dictate what you're going to do. You've got to keep doing the same thing."
For all the disparity at the free-throw line, if the Cavaliers had simply approached their season's percentage (73.0), maybe it would have been a different story.
After making all four of its first-half free throws, UVa was 6-of-15 in the second half.
Diane, Jason Cain and Jamil Tucker both went to the line for two free throws in the second half and missed both shots.
"When you're uncomfortable, you miss open shots [and] you miss free throws," Leitao said. "There was a level of discomfort we played with throughout the game. How many times did we bobble the ball? It happens with rebounding, post defense, every aspect of the game."
Senior guard J.R. Reynolds had a season-high seven assists, but scored 14 points in the final 9:32 and finished with a team-high 21 points.
Boston College shot only 38.5 percent from the field and Dudley, the No. 2 scorer in the ACC, was 3-for-9 from the field, but Dudley personally outscored the Cavaliers from the line, where he was 16-of-19.
Williams, a 51.7-percent free-throw shooter before this season, made nine of 12 free throws and finished with a career-high 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
"We were up 9-0 and I didn't feel comfortable," said Leitao, whose team quickly dropped into a 9-9 tie.
"Unless something was going to change, which it really did not, it was just a stay of execution."
Cavaliers falter at foul line in loss
10-of-19 effort plays a big role in U.Va.'s second ACC setback
BY JEFF WHITE
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Jan 14, 2007
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Its inability to keep top-ranked North Carolina off the backboards doomed the University of Virginia men's basketball team Wednesday night. The Cavaliers' inability to keep Boston College off the free throw line contributed heavily to their latest defeat.
On an afternoon when U.Va. attempted 19 free throws, BC forward Jared Dudley (22 points) BC 78 U.VA. 73shot that many himself yesterday. Dudley, moreover, made 16 of his 19 foul shots; the Cavaliers sank only 10 of theirs.
Overall, the Eagles went 35 for 45 from the line, a huge reason they were able to storm back for a 78-73 victory in an ACC game before 8,606 fans at Conte Forum.
"They attacked us," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said, "and as we have many times this year, we weren't ready for the physical but most important we weren't ready for the mental -- battle they gave us."
Three days after UNC shot 41 free throws to his team's 11 and rallied to beat U.Va., Leitao didn't complain about BC's enormous advantage at the line. The blame lay with his team's defense.
"When we play solid defense," Leitao said, "we play without fouling, we rebound better, we play offense better, we run better, we turn it over less, all those kind of things.
"My disappointment is not the foul shots that they took. My disappointment was our preparedness, or in this case our lack of preparedness, to play the game at the level in which it was going to be played."
Virginia, which scored the game's first nine points and led 33-29 at halftime, fell to 1-2, 9-6. The Eagles (4-0, 12-4) didn't take their first lead until the 14:06 mark of the second half, on a foul-line jump shot by junior center Sean Williams (19 points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots). That made it 43-31 and was part of a 23-6 run by BC.
At some point in every game, Virginia sophomore swingman Madami Diane said, every "team is going to have that moment where they start feeling it, so we really have to play through that. And on the road it's sort of amplified, because the crowd really gets into it and gets loud when they start to go on those runs."
The Cavaliers didn't handle those situations well during Pete Gillen's tenure as coach, and they haven't handled them well in Leitao's two seasons. Virginia is 1-9 in ACC road games under Leitao.
"It's pretty obvious that they play very well at home, and they don't play great on the road," said BC's sophomore point guard, Tyrese Rice.
During his days an All-Metro performer at L.C. Bird High, Rice was known for his scoring, not for his defense. But he distinguished himself yesterday against U.Va. junior Sean Singletary, who entered as the ACC's leading scorer. Singletary finished with 12 points.
"As far as defense, that's one of my better games," said Rice, who also contributed eight points, three assists and a steal.
Down 71-61 with 3 minutes left, U.Va. refused to go quietly. Two free throws by Diane made it 73-68 with 1:14 remaining, and he picked off a Rice pass on BC's next possession.
Diane was fouled and, with 53.4 seconds to play, went to the line for two shots, and a chance to make it a three-point game. He missed both -- not surprising, perhaps, in a half when U.Va. was 6 for 15 from the line.
BC failed to control the rebound, however, and U.Va. retained possession. This time, Diane drove and his shot was blocked by the 6-10 Williams. Diane immediately picked up his fifth personal and then, out of frustration, pounded the ball on the court.
A technical was called on Diane. By the time the Cavaliers got the ball back, they trailed 76-68.
Diane said he hadn't intended the slam the ball so hard and said it probably was his first technical, "other than maybe a hanging-on-the-rim call in high school or something like that."
Leitao said: "That's frustration. He's not a bad kid. He didn't yell and scream at the ref."
U.Va. shot 40.7 percent from 3-point range, but its offensive execution was far from perfect. The Cavaliers totaled 19 turnovers, including a career-high seven by senior guard J.R. Reynolds, who otherwise played well with 21 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Virginia's frontcourt starters, Jason Cain and Laurynas Mikalauskas, combined for 15 points but grabbed only three rebounds between them. Freshman forward Jamil Tucker came off the bench to pull down a career-best nine boards in 23 minutes.
Cavs still road trippin'
Turnovers cause UVa's fortunes to fade vs. BC
By Whitelaw Reid / firstname.lastname@example.org | 978-7247
January 14, 2007
BOSTON - Give it away, give it away, give it away now.
In less than two weeks, those song lyrics will be part of the sweet sounds emanating from Virginia’s home when the Red Hot Chili Peppers play a concert at the John Paul Jones Arena.
On Saturday afternoon at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Virginia paid unique tribute to one of this generation’s most popular bands as it gave a second-straight basketball game away.
After committing 18 turnovers in a loss at UNC on Wednesday night, the Cavaliers coughed up the rock 19 times against Boston College. The Eagles scored a whopping 24 points off of those miscues.
That, coupled with horrendous free-throw shooting and a silly technical foul, was more than enough to send the Cavs back from Beantown with a 78-73 loss.
“We’ve been beating ourselves lately,” said Virginia junior Adrian Joseph. “It all starts in practice. We make a lot of sloppy mistakes in practice, and it results in us doing it in the game.”
The sloppiness reached a crescendo about midway through the second half. After BC (12-4, 4-0) took its first lead of the game, 43-41, Virginia (9-6, 1-2) had four turnovers within a 4-minute stretch.
The Eagles capitalized, stretching the lead to 62-47, their largest of the game.
“How many times during the course of the game did we bobble the ball and it goes out of our hands? How many times did a guy cut this way and the pass went that way?” pondered Virginia coach Dave Leitao, as he sat slumped in a chair with his hands on his head like a patient at a dentist’s office.
“That’s a disconnect that happens when you’re not on top of your game.”
Still, Virginia fought back. After Sean Singletary’s turnover with 8 minutes left, UVa played better. The Cavaliers didn’t commit a turnover the rest of the way.
However, they found other ways to beat themselves.
After Virginia had trimmed the deficit to 73-68 following two Mamadi Diane free throws, Diane stole a pass from Tyrese Rice and was fouled as he raced downcourt.
From the sidelines, the Virginia bench screamed for an intentional foul. That would have given UVa two free throws and the ball with 53 seconds left.
However, no call was made and Diane proceeded to miss both of his foul shots.
Virginia got a break when the rebound caromed out of bounds off a BC player, but on the ensuing play Diane drove baseline and put up a shot that was blocked by Sean Williams.
After Williams corralled the rebound, Diane fouled him in order stop the clock.
As a frustrated Diane walked to the bench for a timeout, he slammed the ball on the floor and was hit with a technical foul.
“It wasn’t my intention to get a technical,” Diane said. “I was just trying to toss the ball back to the ref, but not thinking. I shouldn’t have done it that way.”
Diane said it was the first technical of his life.
“This was the first, other than maybe hanging on the rim [after a dunk] in high school,” he said. “It wasn’t my intention at all. It’s for a reason I’ve never gotten a technical foul.”
Diane’s frustrating sequence of events actually began with 1:16 left when he was called for a questionable foul on Jared Dudley.
“We were both going for the ball and I felt like I was being held,” Diane said.
“One of the refs saw it that way, but the other one overturned it. It was a tough call.”
Leitao’s reaction to Diane’s ‘T’?
“That’s not [what] I want this team or this program to be about - somebody losing their composure,” said Leitao, who earlier this season became the first UVa coach in at least a decade to be kicked out of a game.
“If he hadn’t fouled out, I was going to take him out. [It was] frustration. He’s not a bad kid. He didn’t yell or scream at the ref.”
BC was led by Jared Dudley’s 22 points and 11 rebounds.
“I just knew that the leadership of our team would take over,” said Rice, who drained both technical free throws.
“Jared really carried us in the second half. We just ran the offense through him and he made things happen.”
Rice and Sean Marshall forced Singletary and J.R. Reynolds, Virginia’s starting backcourt, into 11 turnovers.
“Maybe they were careless, but I really think we played good defense,” Rice said. “We held Singletary to 12 [points] and he’s been averaging about 19. Any time you hold another team’s best player down, that’s definitely going to cause turnovers.”
At the game’s outset, Virginia looked like it was on its way to picking up its first road win outside of the commonwealth in the Leitao era. UVa took a 9-0 lead and was up 33-29 at the half.
Joseph had one of his stronger halves of the season. He drained two 3-pointers and also converted a nasty alley-oop dunk off a long pass from Reynolds, who led Virginia with 21 points.
Even though Virginia held the lead for a good portion of the game, Leitao - whose team was 10 of 19 from the free-throw line - said he never felt comfortable.
“In my mind,” Leitao said, “unless something was going to change, which it really
did not, it was just a stay of execution.”
The win by BC was its first-ever over Virginia. UVa had won the first four meetings. … Virginia has now lost three games in a row. UVa had a pair of three-game losing streaks last season. … Freshman Jamil Tucker had a career-high nine rebounds. “That’s what Coach preaches to us every day - defense and rebounding,” said the 6-foot-8 wing player. “[With] my size, I’m supposed to be able to go in there and get rebounds for my team. That’s what I basically tried to do.” … Virginia plays host to Maryland on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Cavs looking for a No. 3 starter
McAnaney heads a group vying for spot on weekend rotation
By Jay Jenkins / email@example.com | 978-7247
January 14, 2007
After starting each of the previous three seasons unranked, Brian O’Connor has learned life exists outside the thoughts of the pollsters.
Sure, the fourth-year coach at Virginia would rather be in than out of the polls - UVa was recently ranked No. 4 by Rivals.com, No. 9 by Baseball America and No. 10 by Collegiate Baseball in preseason polls - but that does little to help answer the O’Connor’s questions.
Who will bat leadoff? Who will man the hot corner? When his ace, Sean Doolittle, is in on the mound, who will play first?
And, of course, there is the million-dollar question: who will join Doolittle and Jacob Thompson in the weekend rotation?
The hot topic, one that the coaching staff monitored closely in the fall, has even fueled conversations on Cavalier-based message boards.
It could be redshirt sophomore Robert Poutier, who is returning from a back injury that sidelined the right-hander last season.
The nod could go to sophomore Andrew Carraway, who struck out nine VMI batters in six scoreless innings in his only start as a rookie.
Three southpaw rookies - Neal Davis, Jeff Lorick and Matt Packer - also figure into the equation.
For now, at least, those five appear to be chasing another pitcher in the battle.
“If you had to ask me right now,” O’Connor said, “I would say Pat McAnaney is going to get the first shot at that role the first weekend.”
McAnaney is the obvious choice to get the first audition. For his career, the former New York Gatorade Player of the Year boasts a 12-1 record and a 2.20 earned run average.
More importantly, McAnaney is coming off an impressive summer.
While playing for the Newport (R.I.) Gulls in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, McAnaney went 7-0 with a 1.74 ERA and started in the league’s all-star game.
“Pat had a great summer and you see that a lot in college baseball,” O’Connor said. “Guys go away after their freshman or sophomore year and they really excel. He had great freshman year, but that summer in the Cape [Cod League], he struggled.”
Thanks to the experience, McAnaney looked like a different hurler during fall workouts.
“When you go away to summer ball and have success like he did, it does something for your confidence level. You saw that this fall,” O’Connor said. “I felt like he was attacking the hitters and he was more in charge out there. He was taking control of the game.
“It seemed like he was more assured about himself, and hopefully that leads to more success in the spring.”
Should McAnaney falter, O’Connor will not hesitate to make a switch.
“I legitimately feel like we have six pitchers, that I have confidence in, that could be starters,” O’Connor said. “That’s a good feeling, because you know you have different options.”
What he is looking for from his No. 3 remains rather simple in theory.
“What we need to find is that third starter that brings us what Jacob Thompson brought us last year,” O’Connor added. “The thing that makes Jacob Thompson great is his consistency. It doesn’t have to be dominating, but you need to know that you have somebody that can go out there and give you five to six strong innings and keep you in the ball game every time out.”
Luckily for O’Connor, the Cavaliers play 17 games, including 13 at Davenport Field, before opening ACC play at Wake Forest on March 9.
“We are going to be able to take a look at some guys in the middle of the week to determine who the guys that are going to be consistent are going to be,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said he has not decided when the No. 3 starter will pitch on weekends. It could be on Saturday or Sunday. “There is something to winning that game on Sunday, but right now it is looking like Doc, Jacob and the third-starter to be named,” he said. ... Virginia, which opens practice next weekend, plays its season opener against Elon on Feb. 9 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Phoenix, coming off a 45-win season and a trip to a Super Regional, were ranked 44th in the country by Baseball America. ... A limited number of tickets are still on sale for the program’s annual Step Up To The Plate! banquet, which will start at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 in Memorial Gymnasium. This year’s guest speaker is former Chicago Cubs second baseman and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. For ticket information call the Virginia Athletic Ticket Office.