Home Not So Sweet Anymore for 'Hoos
Nov. 4, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- It seems like an eternity ago, but during one stretch much earlier in Al Groh's tenure as UVa's football coach, his team won 21 of 23 games at Scott Stadium. In most of those, the Cavaliers played in front of sellout or near-capacity crowds.
"It's our 12th man, that Scott Stadium crowd," tailback Wali Lundy said in November 2005. "They always provide us with energy, and I feel we feed off them and they feed off us, and it's just a good combination."
Fast forward to 2009. The Wahoos are 1-4 at Scott Stadium, which means they'll finish below .500 at home for the first time in Groh's nine seasons as coach at his alma mater.
Moreover, the crowds are shrinking. The announced attendance for the opener at 61,500-seat Scott Stadium this season was 54,587. The figures since then: 48,336 on Sept. 12 (TCU), 45,371 on Oct. 10 (Indiana), 43,016 on Oct. 24 (Georgia Tech), and 41,713 on Halloween (Duke).
UVa has two home games left this fall: Nov. 14 against Boston College and Nov. 28 against Virginia Tech. The latter is a sellout, in part because Tech fans have gobbled up thousands of seats, but tickets remain for BC's visit.
The Cavaliers' home records during the Groh era:
2001 -- 4-3
2002 -- 6-1
2003 -- 5-1
2004 -- 5-1
2005 -- 5-1
2006 -- 4-2
2007 -- 5-1
2008 -- 4-3
2009 -- 1-4*
* Two games remaining.
-- Jeff White
Simpson Struggling to Regain Form
Nov. 4, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Since returning to UVa's lineup Oct. 24, Mikell Simpson hasn't looked like the tailback who rushed for four touchdowns in a 47-7 rout of Indiana. Or the one who ran for 100 yards and a TD in Virginia's win at North Carolina.
That's probably not surprising, Al Groh acknowledged Wednesday afternoon on the ACC coaches' teleconference.
Simpson suffered a neck injury Oct. 10 in the third quarter of the Indiana game. He left the field on a back board and was taken to the UVa Medical Center. Doctors released him that night, and after sitting out Virginia's Oct. 17 game at Maryland, the fifth-year senior was cleared to play again.
In UVa's loss to Georgia Tech, Simpson finished with only four yards on six carries, though he caught four passes for 30 yards. A week later, in a loss to Duke, he ran five times for 21 yards.
"To our knowledge, there's no physical aspect of it," Groh said. "We have had conversations about the fact that, obviously, that'd be a pretty scary circumstance for anybody. For a fan in a car accident, for a player in a football accident, to be put on one of those boards and to think that, you know, 'What's the next time on one of these boards going to be like?'
"It'd be foolish to think that there wasn't the potential for some mental hangover, and we did talk about the fact that it kind of looked on some carries that it wasn't the same Mikell carrying the ball that it's gotta be. We just gotta trust what the doctors say, and if the doctors say it's OK, then we gotta go. We are aware of the possibility of such."
Virgnia (2-2, 3-5) plays at 16th-ranked Miami (3-2, 6-2) on Saturday afternoon. Raycom will televise the noon game between these Coastal Division rivals.
-- Jeff White
Quick hook for ACC coaches
OUR LEAGUE: Quick hook for ACC coaches
The Daily Progress/Megan Lovett
By Jerry Ratcliffe
Published: November 5, 2009
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Scattershooting around the ACC, while finding the coaching turnover in the conference a bit surprising in such a short span ...
Since the 12 ACC schools signed the recruiting class of 2006, players in which are currently seniors or redshirt juniors, there are only five head coaches still at those same 12 schools in only a four-year span: Florida State’s Bobby Bowden, Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer, Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe, Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen and Virginia’s Al Groh.
Since the ’06 signing class, Miami fired Larry Coker and hired Randy Shannon, Georgia Tech fired Chan Gailey and hired Paul Johnson, Duke fired Ted Roof and hired David Cutcliffe, North Carolina fired John Bunting and hired Butch Davis, N.C. State fired Chuck Amato and hired Tom O’Brien away from Boston College — which has gone through two coaches since and is now led by Frank Spaziani — and Clemson has fired Tommy Bowden and replaced him with Dabo Sweeney.
That’s a lot of turnover in four years and there could be more at the end of this season.
Stay tuned ...
You have to feel bad for Tom O’Brien down at N.C. State.
His defense can’t seem to stop anyone these days, and that could prevent the Wolfpack from making a strong finish in November.
The bad news is that State surrendered 45 points last week in a shootout against Florida State, which means the Wolfpack has given up 146 points in the last three games and 176 in the last four games.
The good news is that Maryland is coming to town, which offers O’Brien’s troops a chance to snap the four-game losing streak.
R.J. Mattes — whose dad (Ron) was one of the stars of UVa’s Peach Bowl year (1984) — is a freshman starter for N.C. State at offensive guard, but suffered a sprained knee in that game and his status for this week won’t be known until later today when the ACC puts out each team’s injury report.
UVa coach Al Groh isn’t the only coach with a losing team who has chosen to play a lot of true freshmen.
Groh has played 14 of ’em. Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has played 10, and while he doesn’t plan on using any more, could activate QB Danny O’Brien or corner Dexter McDougle if injuries cause depth problems at those spots.
“This is tough times right now,” Friedgen said of his 2-6 Terps. “We have a young team and obviously they’re disappointed. We’re disappointed, frustrated. We’ve been close in every game but one. We’ve played hard in every game. I think we’d obviously like to look at some kids that we think can help us win and think have a future. To me, if it’s close or even, you have to play the younger guy and try to get better.”
Sound familiar, Wahoo Nation?
Tiger for Heisman?
Clemson is starting to make a push for C.J. Spiller as a legitimate Heisman candidate, and why not?
The Tigers tailback and kick return specialist certainly has the numbers, but his health is an issue. In last Saturday’s win over Coastal Carolina, coaches pulled Spiller early in the second quarter with the Tigers ahead 21-0.
He has been wearing a boot from time to time after recent games, including his 310-yard, all-purpose yardage performance in Clemson’s overtime win against Miami.
Spiller, by the way, needs one more kickoff return for a TD to set the NCAA career record with seven. He has scored in some form in every game this season and now has 40 career TDs and is one of only two players in Clemson history to have scored TDs in five different ways: rushing, receiving, punt return, kickoff return and passing.
Quote of the week
We really couldn’t find anything that interesting from the football coaches this week, so we’ll turn to new UVa basketball coach Tony Bennett, who loves to share this story.
He’s often asked if he has met the legendary singer of the same name and he has met the crooner once.
Back when basketball’s Tony Bennett played in college for Wisconsin-Green Bay, the singer Bennett flew into town for a concert. Well, Green Bay made a big deal out of it and had the basketball player Tony Bennett and a Green Bay Packers player with the same name meet the singer as he got off the plane at the airport. They presented the singer with a basketball, a Packers jersey and other stuff.
When reporters asked the singer Bennett if he had ever met anyone named Tony Bennett before, he didn’t hesitate.
“Yes, I have,” Bennett said. “She was a stripper and spelled her name with an eye.”
That’s Toni with an “i.”
Stat of the week
Miami is the only team from a BCS conference and one of just three teams in the 120-team FBS that boasts three 300-yard rushers (Javarais James, Graig Cooper, and Damien Berry), along with four 200-yard receivers (Leonard Hankerson, Travis Benjamin, LaRon Byrd and Thearon Collier).
Ironically, Virginia has already played one of the other two teams — Texas Christian. Idaho is the other.
Player & coach
Who would you vote for today if you had to pick an ACC player and coach of the year?
My leading three candidates for player of the year as of this moment would be Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt, Clemson back C.J. Spiller and Miami quarterback Jacory Harris, although it’s rare for a sophomore like Harris to win that honor.
My leading three candidates for coach of the year as of right now, would be Boston College rookie head coach Frank “Spaz” Spaziani, whose team is co-leader in the Atlantic Division after being picked to finish last, along with Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson and Duke’s David Cutcliffe, although Miami’s Randy Shannon could prevail if his team keeps winning.
The Daily Progress website (http://www.dailyprogress.com) has a new weekly feature throughout basketball season: the Hootie and Whitey podcast.
Whitey is our basketball beat writer, Whitelaw Reid, and I’m Hootie (nickname, long story).
You can find it on our site under the Cavalier Insider icon and it appears every Monday, giving you the lowdown on Wahoo basketball.
If that doesn’t totally quench your thirst for UVa information, then catch me and Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times every Tuesday on WINA’s (1070-AM) The Best Seat in the House show with Jay James. Our segment, named “The Sports Reporters,” usually airs from 6:30 to 7:05 and has become quite popular among UVa fans.
BP at Champions Dinner
Virginia basketball legend Barry Parkhill will be the featured guest at the annual MS Dinner of Champions on Dec. 2 at John Paul Jones Arena (6 p.m.).
We will update information on this event in the near future, but we’ve heard that a former UVa basketball player, the late Scott McCandlish, will be honored at the event.
For more information, call the MS Society at 971-8011.
Boston College running back Montel Harris took personal responsibility for the Notre Dame loss two weeks ago when he fumbled the ball away twice, once near the goal line.
So, in last Saturday’s game against Central Michigan, he was extra careful with the pigskin.
“I kept thinking about [the Notre Dame] game all week,” Harris said. “I kept thinking about the fumbles. It’s hard to sleep and you don’t want to worry too much about it, but I did. I felt the game was in my hands and I lost it. I just wanted to prove that I can hold on to the ball.”
Harris did just that against Central Michigan, rushing 27 times for 136 yards and making two catches for 37 yards.
Harris and the Eagles will be visiting Charlottesville a week from this Saturday.
Short yardage ...
Miami played 21 true freshmen in the 2008 season opener, but only five in this year’s opener. ... Two Boston College players left the team last week and are expected to transfer: sophomore Josh Haden, a respected running back; and third-team quarterback Justin Tuggle. ... Maryland has the most consecutive games in the country without a defensive touchdown: 41 straight games, dating back to Oct. 14, 2006. There are eight schools that have similar streaks stretching over 24 games or more, the most surprising of which is Wisconsin. The Badgers rank second to the Terps in consecutive games without scoring a defensive TD with 40 in a row. ... Watch out for Clemson a few weeks down the line. The Tigers are tied for third in the nation in interceptions this season with 15. Even more importantly, the Tigers have made some lengthy returns to give their offense a short field to work with after the picks.
Last week: 5-2. To date: 42-21. Tonight: Virginia Tech 27, ECU 17. Saturday: N.C. State 23, Maryland 20; Georgia Tech 30, Wake 17; Duke 33, UNC 27; Clemson 42, FSU 40; Miami 35, Virginia 10.
Attending to the problem
Dan Stalcup, Cavalier Daily Senior Associate Editor
November 5, 2009 0
I’ll begin this column with a caveat: Though I regularly lament the apathy of the average Virginia fan, I understand there is a set of Wahoo faithful as devoted and energetic as can be found at any school.
There is absolutely no doubt, however, that Virginia football spirit has reached a historical low and seems on the brink of diminishing even further. I offer that not as a general observation, nor with anecdotal evidence, but with concrete proof: attendance numbers.
How ugly are the attendance numbers? Profoundly ugly. The average attendance at home football games this season so far is 46,605 and falling. Only 41,713 people attended the Duke game, a number smaller even than the 43,016 who attended the rainy Georgia Tech game, which was obviously affected by the miserable weather.
Only at the William & Mary game have more than 50,000 fans come out this season. Since then, every game has had fewer attendees than the one before it. If this trend continues, it’s possible that fewer than 40,000 will attend the Boston College game Nov. 14.
Certainly, the already-sold out Nov. 28 Virginia Tech game will see a spike in the number of attendees. But that’s a rivalry game, particularly one against a nearby school known for rabid, traveling fans. There will be a lot of Wahoos who venture out to see if Sewell and Co. can muster a prayer against the Hokies. They should, however, also expect to see plenty of maroon in the bleachers during Thanksgiving Break.
To put the bad attendance figures into perspective, the last time Virginia averaged fewer than 50,000 fans per game was in 1999. And that was before an enormous renovation to Scott Stadium that added more than 15,000 seats.
I don’t make these observations to criticize Virginia fans, even though it may sound that way. I’ve been impressed with the thick skin of the hardcore. I also think there’s something to be said for passive rebellion en masse.
(Side note: These numbers, much more than anything related to the game itself, are the reason coach Al Groh will be fired this year. It’s a lot easier to pull the trigger on a mediocre-performing coach when your wallet is suffering, too. President John T. Casteen, III may or may not get mixed up in the employment process, but either he or the next University president will make sure we have a new head coach by the beginning of next season.)
The big question is, then, why is attendance so low? There are a myriad of reasons, big and small, to answer that question. The explanation also varies from absent fan to absent fan. But here are eight reasons I hypothesize fans might be skipping out on Saturdays:
1. It could be the economy. Everybody’s wallets are aching right now. For many almuni, I can see why season tickets for a consistently disappointing Virginia team might be the first expense to go.
2. Perhaps a large group of people are intentionally protesting the team by not attending the games. I know I’ve met several students who claim they are boycotting Scott Stadium as a vote of non-confidence in Groh or Athletics Director Craig Littlepage.
3. I fear the fan experience in Charlottesville leaves a lot to be desired. From the horrendous difficulty of parking, to the umbrella ban, to the abysmal gameday traffic, can you blame anyone for avoiding the headache?
4. The lack of a signature player or style is probably hurting Virginia fan numbers. Sewell is hardly a poster boy, and even first-rate defenders like junior Ras-I Dowling lack the game presence of someone like Chris Long.
5. The ACC’s general woes could be trickling down to Virginia’s attendance numbers. Who wants to watch a bunch of average teams from an average (at best) BCS conference play average football?
6. The plummet in attendance these past two weeks could partly have resulted from heightened concern about the level of safety in Charlottesville. The disappearance of Morgan Dana Harrington Oct. 17 during the Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena has become a high-profile news story.
7. The University might not be fostering an atmosphere of loyalty. Perhaps alumni are turned off by Virginia’s cold shoulder to the Pep Ban(ne)d and the rearrangement of season-ticket seat locations.
8. Probably the most important reason of all, I think Virginia football has started to become stale. Compare football to every other major or mid-major sport on Grounds, all of which are going through some sort of exciting period.
The men’s basketball team has a new, promising coach. The baseball team just went to the College World Series for the first time ever. The women’s basketball team has one of the nation’s best players in Monica Wright and a scintillating showdown against Tennessee looming. The soccer and lacrosse teams are pretty much always ranked, and, in the case of men’s lacrosse, a contender for the national title.
But the football players and coaches have settled for mediocrity. It’s unbefitting of such a caring, competitive student body.
Of course, there are a few people who could bring back some life and polish to this program, and one of them is only an hour southeast of here: Mike London, head coach of the 8-0 Richmond Spiders.
But there’s one other person who would fill the stands even faster in Charlottesville, and he’s not very far away either. He owns a lunch pail and is known for stifling defense and causing turnovers. That’s right, I’m talking about Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster.
Whaddya say, Littlepage? Make this Virginia rivalry thing interesting again?
Paul Montana, Cavalier Daily Columnist
November 5, 2009 0
At various times during my time at U.Va., students and fans have called for the firing of Virginia football coach Al Groh. In my time as a student reporter, though, I have stayed away from the subject. I do not feel it is my place to call for the firing of someone who has coached football for longer than I have been alive.
I am not calling for the firing of Groh. But I am telling you that I think it is safe to say that he is already gone.
With Groh likely on the way out, I think it is important for students to have as accurate of an impression of Groh as possible. Particularly now, when everyone and their mothers are so down on Groh, there are a number of negative qualities of the head football coach at Virginia that are seemingly well-known, but the accuracy of these qualities is open to dispute.
I am in my second year of covering the Virginia football team, and I’m not naïve enough to say that I know Groh the man. But I think I am qualified to clarify the truth of some common criticisms of him as his time at Virginia likely winds down. Here are two such complaints that I have heard the most often in my three-plus years as a student, and how much sense those sentiments really hold.
Al Groh is not a warm person. He is put-offish.
This one can’t be answered as a yes or no. It’s more complex than that.
He’s not particularly connected to students — but no coach at a BCS school is, so that’s an unfair criticism.
He also frames answers to questions from reporters in such a way that often annoys both the media and fans. If he doesn’t like a question, for example, he won’t answer it. He is often vague — his favorite word, “circumstances,” is used so often in part because he wishes to keep what those “circumstances” actually are to himself.
But that’s Groh in the press room — and admittedly, that’s pretty much the Groh I know. But I have gotten a taste of Groh when he’s not bound to being media-savvy, and a much friendlier, generally warm personality emerges. When I first spoke to him in a phone interview in the summer of 2008, he asked me what I was doing over the summer and seemed sincerely interested in my response. When I told him I thought he did a nice job of coaching the year before — this was after the 2007 season, when the Cavs went 9-4 — he answered politely, and elaborated on how much joy he gets out of coaching at Virginia.
Groh knows just about every reporter by name, and addresses them as such when they ask questions. He frequently jokes with reporters — he has a running joke with one reporter about swimming, which I believe stems from a discussion about photos of one or the other in a bathing suit. The week before classes started this semester, I started to ask Groh a question during a teleconference — and before I could finish, he chimed in: “Vacation’s almost over, huh Paul?”
The point I am making is, Groh isn’t such a bad guy. I believe that, if I had the chance to sit down and have dinner with him, he would be quite warm and genuinely interested in listening to what I had to say.
Al Groh’s coaching philosophy is too NFL-based.
Ah yes, the X’s and O’s. First, let’s be clear that this argument can only be made on the offensive side of the ball. As the defensive coordinator this year and the de facto defensive coordinator in years past, Groh’s 3-4 defense — which is not popular on any level, mind you — has been generally effective.
The offense is what merits discussion. Groh runs what many people like to call “pro-style sets” on offense. And frankly, for several years, they haven’t worked. The Cavaliers are on track to finish outside the top 100 teams in total offense for the fourth consecutive season.
But really, what does “pro-style” even mean? To me, pro-style is more about what it doesn’t mean — schemes specific to the college game. The only offenses I’m aware of that are college-specific are the option and the spread.
Groh has never run the option, so the popular conception is on the money in that regard. But he has run elements of the spread even before this year, and he finally tried to fully commit to the spread when he hired Gregg Brandon as the offensive coordinator before this season. Virginia has gone away from the spread of late — but that is because it was pathetic at the beginning of the season. The Cavaliers’ best offensive games this season came after they inserted more of the pro-style sets back into the offense — Southern Mississippi (34 points) and Indiana (37 points).
Overall, of course, nothing’s worked, so the conception that Groh is not a good offensive coach, at least for Virginia’s needs, is right. But screaming, “Go back to the NFL!” is a bit short-sighted.
Is the likely firing of Groh at year’s end a bad thing? From a program standpoint, no — that’s why it’s going to happen. Attendance is setting record low numbers since the stadium expansion in 2000 seemingly every game. The Cavaliers have been too mediocre for too long. The credibility of a school that prides itself on the “student-athlete” was affected when numerous football players were arrested and suspended in 2008.
But will it be a sad day when Groh goes? Of course. Groh is an alum, and no one takes Virginia losing harder than he does. He lives and breathes Virginia football, and he exhausts himself every day trying to figure out how to make his Cavaliers better.
Should Groh be fired at year’s end, I will agree with the decision. But, if given the chance, I will also offer my condolences and wish him well, and I would hope that other University students would do the same.
Tough travels helped Bailey
By Jay Jenkins
Published: November 5, 2009
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Everyone has heard the stories.
It is quite common to have heard an elder describe the pains they encountered to get to school on a daily basis.
Perhaps it was uphill and in the snow.
None of those are funny to Allen Bailey.
For Miami’s most productive defensive lineman, getting to school was quite the venture.
In fact, living in the tiny community of Hog Hammock, a 60-person village that sits on Sapelo Island in Georgia, Bailey was forced to take a ferry 30 minutes and bus another 15 minutes to reach high school.
Returning home, if time allowed as the ferry stopped running at 5:30 p.m., required the same. If not, Bailey was left staying with friends.
The grind taught discipline to one of the nation’s top high school players.
“It was an everyday thing. I have three brothers and sisters, so we would wake up at 6 a.m. and catch the ferry for school,” he said. “We had to get up and do the same thing, and most of the time when the ferry left it was still dark.
“But it really taught me time management, to be honest with you, because if you missed the ferry, you are stuck.”
Living on such a remote island, the recruitment of Bailey was rather interesting. Rated the nation’s seventh-best linebacker, coaches either visited McIntosh County Academy or were relegated to hitting the water.
“When they came to recruit me, they had to catch a boat to get to my house and meet my parents,” Bailey chuckled. “Either that or they could catch a speedboat. Most of them wanted to see me at school, but a couple of them went out of their way to come to the island to see me.”
Now in his junior season at Miami, Bailey’s work ethic is paying off — he enters Saturday’s game with Virginia (3-5, 2-2 ACC) with seven sacks, averaging the second-best mark in the league.
Seeing those that remain in his village struggle in recent years (population declined 40 people in four years) has also intensified Bailey’s desire to perform even beyond his time as a Hurricane.
“It is motivation to do something for the small area that I am from,” Bailey said. “I want to do something with myself.”
Now listed at 6-foot-4 and 288 pounds, Bailey started at Miami as a linebacker and switched to the defensive line as his body grew.
He split time last year at defensive end and defensive tackle, but opened the current season inside. Depth issues forced Bailey back to the outside several weeks ago.
The latest move was well received.
“I am just trying to improve my play defensive end from last year,” Bailey said. “I focused on being good at both defensive end and defensive tackle, but coaches always tell me at defensive end that I can cut the field in half.
“That is an advantage at times.”
It was also a move that was necessary given the injury situation for the Hurricanes — the team has not started the same lineup on defense in back-to-back games all year.
Defensive linemen Marcus Fortson and Adewale Ojomo and reserve linebacker Jordan Futch have been lost for the season. Linebacker Sean Spence did not play last week, as was the case with reserve defensive end Eric Moncur and Ray Ray Armstrong.
“I’ve never seen these many injuries,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said. “We are not the same team we were at the beginning of the season.”
Bailey said the team must move on as they attempt to stay in the mix for the Coastal Division title and a premier bowl game.
“People know that we have nicks and things like that, but we have to keep pushing. Some of the young guys have to step up and play a role here and there. I might have to grind more and be in for more plays, but everybody is going to work.
“If you ain’t ready, we are going to get you ready.”
Although it came in a winning effort, Miami’s undermanned defense struggled mightily last week against Wake Forest. The Hurricanes (6-2, 3-2) allowed 33 first downs, the most given up in the program’s 84-year history.
They also allowed 408 passing yards, something that had been bettered twice by opponents in program history.
Yet the Hurricanes salvaged the win.
“In the end a win is a win, but there are minor things that you have to do to improve for the next game so the same things don’t happen,” Bailey said. “We know we can’t slip up against [Virginia]. It is a must win. It is a one-game season every week now. We just have to focus on who we have now.”
'Canes get on the defensive
By JORGE MILIAN
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
CORAL GABLES — How bad was the University of Miami's defense last Saturday against Wake Forest? Historically bad.
Ponder these numbers:
•Wake Forest's 33 first downs were the most ever permitted by the Hurricanes in the program's 84-year history, surpassing the previous single-game record of 30.
•The 408 passing yards for Wake Forest quarterbacks Riley Skinner and Ryan McManus were the third-most against Miami, behind the 513 yards by UCLA's Cade McNown in 1998 and Boston College's Doug Flutie's 472 yards in the 1984 "Hail Flutie" game.
•UM's media guide only goes three deep in listing the most yards of total offense ever allowed, but Wake Forest's 555 yards last week can't be far from UM's third-worst game, when they gave up 574 yards to Notre Dame in 1973.
"Obviously, there's a lot of things we have to correct," linebacker Colin McCarthy said.
Saturday's noon home game against Virginia may provide the remedy the 16th-ranked Hurricanes (6-2, 3-2 ACC) need. The Cavaliers (3-5, 2-2) rank last in the ACC in scoring and total offense.
Either way, UM's defensive problems didn't begin last week. In their 40-37 overtime loss to Clemson on Oct. 24, the Hurricanes gave up their highest point total of the season and were scorched for 410 yards of total offense. That adds up to 67 points and 965 yards of total offense in two games.
"We can't get into one of those games like we had last game," safety Randy Phillips said. "It was too tiring, too exhausting. A lot of headaches. Great game for the spectators, but 97 plays on defense is too many. We're working on some things to change that."
Most players and coaches blame injuries on the defense's slide and considering that, mainly because of injuries, the defense has not started the same 11 players in any two consecutive games this season.
Last week, starting linebacker Sean Spence was sidelined along with several key reserves - defensive end Eric Moncur and safeties Ray Ray Armstrong and JoJo Nicolas. Defensive linemen Marcus Forston and Adewale Ojomo - both expected to be starters at the beginning of the season - were already out for the year with injuries. Jordan Futch, the top reserve linebacker, was lost for the season after sustaining a knee injury vs. Florida A&M.
Spence, Moncur, Armstrong and Nicolas will be sidelined again Saturday.
"I've never seen these many injuries," coach Randy Shannon said. "We're not the same team we were at the beginning of the season."
While Shannon said the yards his team gave up to Wake is a "concern," he added, "I worry about points."
UM did rally from 17 points down to win, after adjusting in the second half to Wake's short, quick passing game and holding them to one touchdown.
"We don't really have a concern," Phillips said. "Yeah, they did have 500 yards of total offense, but they only had three touchdowns. That's the defense bending, not breaking."
TE Tervaris Johnson makes impact for Hurricanes
By Shandel Richardson
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
6:13 p.m. EST, November 4, 2009
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CORAL GABLES - Tight end Tervaris Johnson continues to be one of the surprise impact players of the season for the Miami Hurricanes.
Johnson, who caught a touchdown last week at Wake Forest, was awarded the game ball. He's caught just three passes for 26 yards, but has drawn praise for his blocking. He had key blocks on Aldarius Johnson's fourth-down catch to keep the winning drive alive and a Damien Berry touchdown run.
"You take his (touchdown) catch, his block and his protection and that got us three touchdowns," UM coach Randy Shannon said. "He did a good job this week. You should see the spirit he had on the football field also."
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Johnson has spent most of his career playing special teams. He was switched from defensive back last spring and been a valuable addition to the offense, especially with the injury to fullback Pat Hill.
"To me, I've finally found a place," Johnson said. "The coaches feel I'm versatile. I'll help the team wherever I can."
--Sophomore cornerback Brandon Harris is one of the 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's best defensive back. Harris is tied second nationally in pass break ups (11) and passes defended (12). He leads the ACC in both categories.
--Running back Javarris James, who missed last week's game with an ankle injury, returned to practice Wednesday. His status for Saturday remains unknown.
--With Matt Bosher handling all three kicking responsibilities _ kickoffs, field goals, punting _ the coaches have advised him to be more careful when making tackles. An injury would leave UM with a major void to fill.
Giving up 555 yards isn't a winning formula No. 16 Miami wants
By Tim Reynolds (CP) – 13 hours ago
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Wake Forest's offence did everything right against Miami. Piled up 555 yards, racked up 33 first downs, had an average of nearly seven yards per play.
And it still wasn't enough.
Chances are, there probably weren't a lot of post-game pats on the back for the Miami defence a week ago, not after giving up more first downs than any Hurricanes team ever before. So this week, when No. 16 Miami (6-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) plays host to Virginia (3-5, 2-2) on Saturday, the Hurricanes' defenders know they'll have to be much better - or else.
"We played badly until the fourth quarter," Miami coach Randy Shannon said. "And then we made some plays on special teams, got an interception on defence. So it started to come for us."
It added up to Miami's great escape.
Forget erasing a 13-point deficit in the final quarter, on the road no less, before beating Wake Forest 28-27 on a touchdown pass from Jacory Harris to Travis Benjamin with about one minute left.
The most surprising part was this: The Hurricanes became just the fifth team this season to give up 555 yards or more and win.
The numbers prove it. Give up that much yardage, you typically lose.
Teams gaining at least 555 yards are 54-5 this season, with three of those five losses coming in games where the other team also put up at least 550 yards.
"We gave up a lot of yards, but we got the 'W,"' Miami cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke said. "That's all that counts."
Van Dyke didn't want to talk much about the Wake Forest game - "it's in the past, we've got to focus on Virginia," he said - but offered credit to Demon Deacons quarterback Riley Skinner and his corps of receivers, acknowledging that they pretty much controlled the game a week ago. Skinner finished with 349 passing yards, the fourth-best total of his Wake Forest career.
But this isn't a one-game problem for the Hurricanes.
Miami has given up at least 27 points in four of its five ACC games so far, has yielded 965 yards in its last two games (losing one, nearly losing the other), and ranks among the middle of the league pack in a slew of defensive categories.
"We just have to do a lot of improvement, just knowing our assignments," Van Dyke said. "We have a long way to go, but we're getting closer every day."
Injuries are a major part of the problem.
Miami lost defensive lineman Adewale Ojomo before the season began, after his jaw was broken in a fight with a walk-on. Defensive end Eric Moncur, whose Hurricanes career will be best remembered by an unbelievable run of injuries, has been in and out of the lineup and won't play again this week because of a foot issue. And defensive lineman Marcus Forston (shoulder) is out for the season.
Linebacker Sean Spence (knee) will miss essentially his third straight game; he played against Clemson on one leg and sat out much of the second half, unable to go. Safety Randy Phillips (who is back in the lineup) has been banged up as well, just like his understudy, Ray Ray Armstrong, still fighting a knee injury.
"I guess we're very fortunate not to see the team that was supposedly out there early, because there's some pretty formidable-looking players on that defence," Virginia coach Al Groh said. "We're pretty impressed with the speed and cover skills of some of those guys. ... We all have our issues, but it looks like they have some real talented guys."
Miami knows what's coming: Virginia will do a lot of the things Wake Forest did effectively against the Hurricanes.
Staying in the ACC race hinges on Miami being able to stop it this time around.
"We'll get it fixed," Van Dyke said. "We'll be OK."
Q&A with Randy Shannon
By University of Miami
Posted Nov 4, 2009
Read on to see what head coach Randy Shannon is saying just a few days after the Wake Forest game and a few days before the Virginia game.
We have a twelve o’clock game this weekend. It’s our Homecoming [game] against Virginia and another conference game. We need to come out and play very well due to the fact that Virginia is a team that plays hard. In the red zone, they are not giving up touchdowns. They’re giving up field goals. We need to capitalize and score touchdowns. Offensively, they have some weapons. Even though they have been banged up at quarterback, I think they do a good enough job to give themselves a chance to stay in games. For us, we have to get better as a whole unit. We have some injuries right now, but it’s a part of the game. We’re not the same team that we were in the first four games of the season. We had a lot of guys then that were healthy like Ryan Hill, Pat Hill, JoJo Nicolas, Eric Moncur, Ray Armstrong, Sean Spence and Jordan Futch and right now those guys are out. We have some guys on the team that need to step up. As coaches, we are going to keep grinding the other guys to step up. We are teachers and need to teach them every day and that is one thing we will do every day to finish out the season strong.
On the practice time changing [from 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday to 3 p.m.]…
For now, we are just going to practice one hour. We’ll keep them fresh and right now it’s all mental. There are only so many things you can see. We are going to run those same things, but we are going to go faster but a shorter practice. We did it in the NFL. Last year at this point, I thought more reps would be better, but now that we are a year older I think it will help us out to be fresher from a mental standpoint going into games.
On the injuries…
We have some guys out with injuries that take a while to come back from. We have five guys out that whenever the body wants to heal. They’ll be back. For now, you don’t know when they’ll be back. We won’t let a young man go out there that is not fully ready to go.
On fullback Pat Hill…
We’d love to have him back, but he is not ready right now.
On Virginia’s starting 0-3 and going 3-2 in the last five games…
They’ve changed their offense from the beginning of the season. Right now, they are back to smash mouth football and some play action … a lot of short passes. That is what you’ll see form them. Defensively, they do a lot of 8-man fronts. Sometimes, they’ll play man coverage the whole game.
On young guys stepping up to play more…
It depends where the injuries are and what position. Everybody is stepping up. We have seen Jeremy Lewis, Curtis Porter and Micanor Regis - a true freshman and two true sophomores. The only way they’ll get better is by playing. They’re not where they’re supposed to be, but we are going to keep coaching them to get them there.
On the linebackers and pass coverage…
We don’t have a lot of linebackers right now. We have three on the roster that are playing. It’s not the linebackers fault. It’s everybody. Depending on the package, we can have more defensive backs in, and I was pleased with how that went Saturday.
On linebacker Ramon Buchanan…
He did okay. He knows he is working to get where he needs to be. He filled in and made some tackles and some plays, but we want a lot more out of him. He knows that and that’s a reason why he came to the University of Miami.
On the tight ends and Tervaris Johnson…
They have been doing a great job. If that tight end [Tervaris Johnson] did not protect the way he did on that fourth down play, we would have lost the game. It isn’t always catching the ball, but what they do to help us win the game. On the rushing touchdown, he hit the defensive end then came off and hit the linebacker. Sometimes they may be catching the ball, but this game it was time to block and they did a great job. Tervaris is a surprise. He’s a big guy that is fast. It took him time to develop and grow. He was probably the MVP of last game. With his catch, his block and his protection that got us 21 points. He has done a great job and also had great spirit on the field.
On the pass protection…
It’s everybody not just the offensive line.
On Virginia’s quarterback situation…
[Jameel Sewell] has been hurt a lot. If he is feeling healthy, he’ll play. He can hurt you with his feet, so you need to know what they want to do scheme wise.
On giving up so many yards…
I’m more concerned about points. Seven points in the second half gives you a chance to win.
On the wide receivers, specifically Thearon Collier…
That is probably the one position that is healthiest and that is also the most productive. Every one of those four or five guys has been making plays. Thearon is making plays when he gets his opportunities.
On running back Damien Berry…
He’s been a good goal-line and short yardage runner for us. When he gets his opportunities, he capitalizes. I’m not surprised by his performance.
Jenkins announces arrival on college stage at ITA regionals
After adapting to collegiate ranks, freshman reaches finals of ITA tournament
Matt Diton, Cavalier Daily Associate Editor
Men's Tennis / Sports
November 5, 2009 0
Freshman Jarmere Jenkins advanced to the ITA Atlantic Regional
singles championship last weekend after a straight-set victory against teammate
senior Houston Barrick. The freshman will play junior Sanam Singh in the finals
at a later date. Photo courtesy Virginia Athletics.
Freshman Jarmere Jenkins advanced to the ITA Atlantic Regional singles championship last weekend after a straight-set victory against teammate senior Houston Barrick. The freshman will play junior Sanam Singh in the finals at a later date. Photo courtesy Virginia Athletics.
Fans are quick to praise the marquee members of championship teams from the four major sports. Acknowledging the quarterback’s ability to read the defense and to make accurate passes, they often fail to recognize the left tackle who gave the quarterback enough time to throw.
In the world of tennis, this lack of recognition often extends to the players outside of the team’s top few spots — that is, until one turns in a stellar performance only the best could achieve.
That’s precisely what Virginia freshman tennis player Jarmere Jenkins did at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Atlantic Regional last weekend when he advanced to the singles final, thus earning the chance to join his Cavalier teammates in the ITA Indoor National Championships in New Haven, Conn., which begins today.
Playing an intercollegiate varsity sport is never a picnic, but the task becomes all the more difficult when the player is a freshman, especially in tennis. Players rarely get the chance to experience the team environment before the college ranks because the youth tennis world is primarily comprised of singles tournaments. This all changes at the collegiate level.
“The transition into college tennis is extremely difficult for any freshman,” coach Brian Boland said. “Jarmere has done a tremendous job of it.”
While adjusting to a team atmosphere can bring its host of challenges, it also presents plenty of opportunities.
“I’m definitely learning a lot [from my teammates],” Jenkins said. “I’m getting a lot of practice with a good solid team and practicing with them everyday. I’m just trying to get better every time I step on the court.”
The best players also learn to make some necessary adjustments on their own, and if the ITA Atlantic Regional Tournament is any sign, Jenkins is well on his way to possibly becoming the next in a long line of great Cavalier players.
Playing on a team with nationally ranked juniors Sanam Singh and Michael Shabaz, it was easy to overlook Jenkins in the tournament draw. After a slow start, however, Jenkins managed to advance all the way to the tournament finals with a semifinal sweep of the tournament’s No. 4 seed, senior teammate Houston Barrick. The freshman will play Singh in the championship match at a later date.
“Going into the regionals, coach and I were working on my serve so the first couple of matches I was really trying to work on those,” Jenkins said. “Then as the rounds progressed, I was able to play my best when I needed to most.”
Jenkins knows he cannot afford to rest if he wishes to continue his rise to the premier levels of collegiate tennis.
“I always want to work on the mental game and become more mentally solid,” Jenkins said.
If the past few weeks are any indication, those hitting the courts in Connecticut should be wary of what an ever-maturing Jenkins is capable of achieving.
White: 'Hoos Peaking at Right Time in Women's Soccer
Courtesy: VirginiaSports.com Release: 11/04/2009
By Jeff White
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Forget the NCAA tournament. After losing to second-ranked North Carolina on Oct. 17, the UVa women's soccer team was in danger of missing the ACC tourney.
Since that loss in Chapel Hill, however, the Cavaliers have gone 3-0-1, and they're almost certainly headed to the NCAAs for the 16th consecutive season.
"I think we're in a good position," Virginia coach Steve Swanson said, "but we'd like to solidify our position."
The ACC tournament represents an opportunity for the Wahoos (4-4-2, 9-5-4) to do so. They're seeded No. 7, and they meet second-seeded Boston College (7-2-1, 15-2-1) at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Cary, N.C.
"Our whole team wants to do well, so we have that pressure," junior midfielder Sinead Farrelly said Tuesday at University Hall, "but I think everyone's more excited than nervous. Everyone knows that we have the potential, so that's our motivation, that we know we can win."
Six days before their loss to UNC, the 'Hoos played BC in Newton, Mass. The Eagles prevailed 1-0 in overtime, but it was not a wasted experience for UVa, according to Farrelly.
"That was when I think we started to play better as a team," she said. "Even though we lost in overtime, we knew we were the better team. So starting from then it was kind of like, 'We know we can beat anyone. We just have to get the result.'"
Virginia defeated Duke on Oct. 22 and then tied fifth-ranked Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The breakthrough came Oct. 30, when the Cavaliers upset fourth-ranked Florida State at Klockner Stadium. Two days later, they whipped Miami 2-0, and they were ACC tournament-bound.
"It was nice for us to break through, and I think we're in a good position," Swanson said, "in that I feel there's a lot of confidence in the team and how we've been playing.
"I still feel our best soccer is in front of us, and that's a good feeling heading into the postseason."
After 10 games, UVa was 6-1-3. Goals weren't coming easily for the 'Hoos, but they were avoiding losses, at least. That trend ended during a brutal stretch in which Virginia went 1-4-1.
"That was the most frustrating part, I guess, out of the three years I've been here," Farrelly said. "But the fact that we're in and we got the job done at the end, it kind of takes all that frustration.
Swanson praised his veterans for holding the team together when the season looked to be slipping away. Those players include Farrelly, who on Tuesday was named to the all-ACC first team for the third time.
Only five other Cavaliers have been so honored: Tracey Kennedy (1987, 89-90), Amanda Cromwell (1988-91), Angela Hucles (1996-99), Lori Lindsey (1999-01) and Sarah Huffman (2003-05).
Farrelly, who's from Havertown, Pa., is tied for first in scoring at UVa this season with 20 points, on seven goals and six assists, all career highs. She also was named ACC player of the week Tuesday.
Against FSU, she scored the game's only goal. She scored the game-winner against Miami, too.
"Everybody that's on the team understands what a talent Sinead is," Swanson said. "I feel she's the best player in the country, and there's nobody else I've seen that can do the things she can do. She has incredible feet, and she's gifted athletically, gifted technically.
"She's a very humble person, and we had to work hard to get her to take more responsibility and look for more responsibility. The great thing about Sinead is, as good a player as she is, she really fits in with the team, and with her it's all about the team.
"I'm just glad she's on our team."
Farrelly said she believes the 'Hoos are stronger for having faced -- and, ultimately, having overcome -- obstacles during the regular season.
"You have to look at the positives," he said, "and as much as we scratched and clawed to get back to where we are, I think now we know more about ourselves going forward."
White: Wright Begins Final Chapter of Illustrious Career
Courtesy: VirginiaSports.com Release: 11/03/2009
By Jeff White
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- She doesn't feel old, exactly. She's only 21, after all, and looks younger.
But Monica Wright is entering her fourth season as a starting guard on the women's basketball team at UVa. Many of the players with whom she's shared the court at John Paul Jones Arena have moved on, and and when she looks around at her 2009-10 teammates, she sees five freshmen and four sophomores.
Paulisha Kellum and Jayna Hartig enrolled at the University in 2006, as did Wright, but they're classified as redshirt juniors. The only senior on Debbie Ryan's roster?
No. 22. Everybody's All-American.
"It definitely does feel weird," Wright said. "I'm just holding myself to a different standard now, because I am the one that everybody's probably going to look to, to set the tone during practice, during games, in the meetings.
"So I do feel -- I don't want to say like an old person -- but just the team leader in general. It's not pressure. It's just a lot more focus on my part, and a lot more commitment ... I don't want to look back and say, 'Oh, I should have done this.' I definitely want to jump on it."
The preseason choice as ACC player of the year, the 5-11 Wright is coming off a season in which she averaged a league-best 20.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.8 steals.
She was the ACC rookie of the year in 2006-07 and has steadily raised her game since that first season. On Tuesday, The Associated Press named Wright to its preseason All-America team.
Wright was a McDonald's All-American as a 12th-grader at Forest Park High in Woodbridge, so it's no surprise that she's blossomed into a college star. Still, UVa coach Debbie Ryan said, Wright has exceeded expectations.
"She's had a great career, basketball-wise, but even more so, she's just such a great person," Wright said.
"She's got the off-the-floor leadership skills, she's got the on-the-floor leadership skills, she's got impeccable character. Kids just come in wanting to follow her, and that makes things a lot easier. Whereas some players will come in thinking they're great, Monica came in like an open book, saying, 'Make me better.' That's what's really made her what she is today."
The assistant coach who led UVa's recruitment of Wright was Tim Taylor, who first saw her play when she was an eighth-grader. This is the first season, however, that Taylor will actually coach her.
He left Ryan's staff after the 2004-05 season and spent the next four years coaching high school basketball in Central Virginia. Taylor returned to UVa in June as Ryan's associate head coach.
From afar, he followed Wright's career closely and "watched her grow as a player and a person," Taylor said. "I've been blessed to come back and coach her at least one year."
Taylor, Wright said, is "like family." She doesn't go back as far with the team's other new assistant -- former UVa great Wendy Palmer -- but they've already formed a strong bond.
"She's been where we've been, and just having her here is amazing," Wright said.
Palmer spent more than a decade in the WNBA after starring for Ryan at UVa, and that's a path Wright plans on following, too.
"So basically I'm just picking her brain right now," Wright said. "I'm just sucking up all the knowledge. Every time I have a question, I go straight to her. And she gives it to me direct. There's no sugar-coating anything. She'll say, 'This is what you're going to need to get to the next level. I'm not going to lie to you.'"
Wright enters her senior season a more complete player after a summer in which she worked long hours to polish her game.
"It's just the small things," he said. "I feel like it's always those 1-percents that can make the biggest change in your game. At this point, being a college athlete, you're not going to make a drastic change. You're not going to be a totally new player in one season, so you definitely have to fine-tune. You have to play to your strengths, but you definitely have to get better at what you know your weaknesses are."
As junior, Wright led the Wahoos with 104 assists, but she also had a team-high 129 turnovers. She made a team-high 37 3-pointers but shot only 28.5 percent from beyond the arc.
"I would say my 3-point range is something that I've definitely focused on," she said, "just to make myself a well-rounded player, and that's something I definitely to need to be able to successful at the next level."
She knows what to expect this season: the undivided attention of every opponent. A season ago, opponents also had to worry about Lyndra Littles (19.9 ppg) and Aisha Mohammed (12.8 points, 10.1 rebounds). Both are gone, replaced by promising but unproven players.
"I think Monica's role will change a little bit," Ryan said, "in that she has to be sure that these young kids develop. In order to help them develop, she's going to have to at times make sure she's putting them in position to score and be somebody who elevates their level of play through her level of play."
Wright said: "You want to definitely be prepared. That's the biggest thing in trying to be a winner: being prepared. And when we play games where other teams are focusing on me, the best thing to do is be prepared for it, get other people involved early, and then play from there."
Wright, whose parents, Garry and Lynette, were in the Air Force, was born in San Antonio, Texas. Her father is a former football player at Lamar University. She has one sibling -- older brother Gerard -- who graduated from Texas A&M and now works in Raleigh, N.C.
After Wright was born, the family moved to New York and then to Germany, where her father was stationed, and then to D.C. before settling in Woodbridge.
She chose UVa over Maryland and North Carolina because, Wright recalled, she "liked the personality of the women's basketball players here, the family aspect of the program. The fact that we were more than just basketball players. We had a community personality. We had something to do with academics. We had involvement in a bunch of different realms, rather than just being basketball players."
Indeed, her coaches say, it's how Wright carries herself off the court that makes her so special.
"She's a better person than she is a player," Taylor said, "and that's saying a lot."
Remembering Will Barrow: Pomper Uses Platform to Raise Money for
Courtesy: VirginiaSports.com Release: 11/04/2009
Max Pomper is using Saturday's flag football tournament to raise money for UVa's student-run crisis center in memory of his friend and former Virginia lacrosse standout, Will Barrow.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - When former Virginia lacrosse standout Will Barrow died in November of 2008, former teammate and close friend Max Pomper (Huntington, N.Y.) started an initiative that will come to fruition Saturday at UVa's Lambeth Field. The fundraising event "Remembering Will Barrow" is a flag football tournament, featuring area college lacrosse teams, with all proceeds going to HELP, UVa's non-profit, student-run crisis hotline. Play is scheduled to start at noon.
HELP Line is an anonymous, confidential telephone service serving the residents of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia. It is affiliated with UVa's Madison House. HELP strives to provide callers with an empathetic ear for any sort of issue they wish to discuss and on finding long-term services in the community for callers, such as counseling services, medical services or drug treatment programs.
The college lacrosse community has rallied around Pomper's initiative. Programs from Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington & Lee will participate in the tournament. Cavalier lacrosse alumni, UVa fraternities and sororities, as well as friends and family of Will Barrow, will be represented in the 20 teams currently scheduled to compete.
"The hotline has been underfunded for 17 years with no sponsorships," said Pomper, a senior on the 2010 Virginia men's lacrosse team. "We want to honor our friend Will Barrow and spread awareness of suicide prevention. With the HELP hotline, there is an outlet for people in need in times of crisis around UVa and the Charlottesville area. This is something we wish Will would have known about."
Pomper cites Barrow, who hailed from Baldwin, N.Y., as a big reason he continued his lacrosse career with the Cavaliers.
"We grew up together in neighboring towns on Long Island," said Pomper. "Our fathers are great friends and would drive to games together. My favorite memories at UVa, whether we were on the field or off, are with Will. That is why I want to do what I can to use Will's passing as a positive in helping others dealing with crisis."
When he died, Barrow was enrolled at the University and taking final courses needed to earn his undergraduate degree in sociology. He completed his athletic eligibility following the 2008 season.
As a fourth-year player in 2008, Barrow was a captain of a squad that advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. He was considered one of the top defensive midfielders in the country throughout his career. During his senior season, he finished with a career-high 28 ground balls, while scoring seven goals and adding three assists. Following the season he was selected in the second round of the Major League Lacrosse draft by the Chicago Machine and appeared in five games during his rookie year. He appeared in 63 games during his UVa career and scored 18 goals with seven assists. Barrow also was a member of the Cavaliers' 2006 NCAA Champion team.
More than 300 people are expected to participate in the event, which includes a barbeque and prize raffle. Former UVa football standout and current Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, a friend of Barrow, has donated signed Dallas Cowboys footballs. The Duke lacrosse team will have basketballs signed by Blue Devils' basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski as raffle gifts.
"As we approach the first anniversary of Will's passing, Max's idea for this tournament and the work of his teammates has helped bring a difficult moment into focus," said Virginia head men's lacrosse coach Dom Starsia. "It is certainly appropriate that the HELP hotline be the beneficiary of this effort. It has been very gratifying to see the larger lacrosse community respond in such an enthusiastic and positive manner. Will is still very close to us all and it is helpful to have some good arise from this situation. In Will's memory, I hope this event will help someone else in crisis."
The tournament costs $150 per team with a roster limit of 10 people per team for the 7-on-7 tournament. All participants will receive an orange and blue bracelet that reads "Remember Will Barrow," with the hotline number, 434-295-TALK, inscribed on the inside.
All inquires can be sent to WBmemorial23@gmail.com. Donations are welcome via checks payable to: Madison House. Please write on the memo line - "HELP - Will Barrow."
All donations can be mailed to:
222 14th St. NW, Apt. 2
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Elstein will gladly get defensive
November 5, 2009 12:36 am
BY STEVE DeSHAZO
They see it. OK, not everyone does, but the right people recognize the right things about Lauren Elstein.
Check out Elstein's personal statistics for her senior field hockey season at the University of Virginia and you won't be impressed.
No goals, no assists. Not even a single shot on goal.
But you don't become a four-year starter for the nation's third-ranked team by accident. You don't get invited to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I Senior All-Star Game by blending in.
And you absolutely don't get chosen to live on the Lawn just for playing field hockey.
So Elstein must be doing something right.
Said her high school coach, Robin Woodie: "Lauren does nothing but strive to be the best. If she knows what needs to be done, she will do it."
That includes playing several positions during her eventful four-year career in Charlottesville. She'll man her normal defensive post this afternoon when Virginia (16-2) hosts Duke in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal game on the Cavaliers' Turf Field.
"I still don't really think of myself as having a position," Elstein said, "but I guess I'm a defender through and through. As long as I'm on the field, I'm happy."
If the Cavs win today--and earn a shot at second-ranked North Carolina in tomorrow's semifinals--Elstein will be overjoyed.
Even if no one notices her contributions.
"That's kind of the life of a defender," Elstein said. "People ask, 'Did you score?' Well, no, that's not my job. When you play the field in a team sport, you have to recognize your role. My job is to keep the ball out of the cage.
"People say that defense wins championships. We don't play for recognition. We play to help the team win."
A FACE IN THE CROWD
Ego suppression has been one of many adjustments for Elstein in college.
She starred at sweeper (a defensive position) for Stafford High School's 2005 state championship team. But whenever the Indians earned a penalty corner, Elstein took the shot. She scored a school-record 23 goals that season.
The valedictorian of her graduating class at Stafford, Elstein was courted heavily by Stanford and Maryland (now the nation's top-ranked team). But she liked Virginia's academics and community.
"One of the reasons I chose Virginia was that if field hockey didn't work out, I still loved the school," she said.
Hockey almost didn't work out, and the first snag came before before Elstein even arrived on Grounds. The coach who recruited her to Virginia, Jessica Wilk, resigned in the fall of 2005 after four straight non-winning seasons.
She was replaced by former Michigan State coach Michelle Madison, who had never seen Elstein play and had no allegiance to her.
Said Elstein: "My first year, I knew I'd have to prove myself."
Soon after arriving in Charlottesville, though, Madison went to see Elstein play in an indoor league and liked what she saw. But there were no guarantees.
"She came in at a good time, because in my first year, they all had to prove themselves," Madison said. "Everybody was on the same playing field."
Elstein started seven games as a freshman in 2006, helping the Cavaliers earn their first NCAA tournament bid in five years.
She broke her hand as a sophomore and missed four games, but was moved up to forward and scored against Duke in her first game back. She also tallied the game-winning goal against Boston College in the first round of the ACC tournament.
Last year, a broken collarbone kept her out of nine games, and the arrival of a heralded class of scorers moved her back to defense. She still managed to score four goals and assist on seven others.
And this season, while she doesn't have any statistics to speak of, Elstein has been a key contributor to the Cavaliers' success.
Madison said her coaching staff has a formula to measure all-around performance. Any player who makes a pass in a sequence that results in a goal receives credit, as does a defender who breaks up an opponent's scoring chance. Madison said Elstein ranks in the team's top 10 in that regard.
"Lauren is definitely a role player on the team," Madison said. "She can play on the forward line or in the backfield. Her strength is her versatility. It's because of her versatility that she's on the field."
A WORLD OF CHOICES
She's fairly eclectic off the field, as well. Besides earning recognition on the NFHCA Academic Team for three straight years, Elstein also has served on Virginia's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and worked with Athletes in Action.
That, more than any specific athletic feat, contributed to her selection to live on the Lawn, an honor bestowed on the school's most accomplished fourth-year students.
"I love being an athlete and giving back to the university," she said. "I wanted to experience all U.Va. had to offer."
And beyond. She spent this past summer interning with Nike's sports marketing division on its campus in Beaverton, Ore., outside Portland, learning first-hand how contracts are negotiated.
"It was a phenomenal experience," she said.
Despite her exposure to a billion-dollar corporation, though, Elstein said she'd like to work for a nonprofit organization after she graduates with an economics degree in the spring.
She plans to retire her hockey stick within the next month. First, though, she'd like to help her team win its first ACC title since 1998--or even better, its first national crown.
Asked what she'll remember most about Elstein, Madison didn't hesitate.
"Her integrity," she said. "She plays everything to the T. She does the right thing right down the line. She wasn't influenced by her peers.
"It was definitely a struggle for her to adjust to the college atmosphere, but she's done very well for herself."
Cavaliers Fall to Boston College in Penalty Kicks
Courtesy: VirginiaSports.com Release: 11/04/2009
CARY, N.C. – The Virginia women’s soccer team had its stay at the ACC Tournament come to an end in penalty kicks for the third consecutive season. The Cavaliers played No. 6 Boston College to a scoreless draw, but fell in the shootout 3-2 in a quarterfinal at WakeMed Soccer Park.
“We had a good performance tonight and it is disappointing that we don’t have anything to show from it,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “This was a game with two good teams going at it and this tournament is showing that you can ignore the seeds because everyone is so evenly matched. Unfortunately we didn’t do enough in regulation and the overtimes to get the victory and then anything can happen in penalty kicks.”
The teams played a scoreless 110 minutes of soccer, but the game was not without its scoring chances. In the first half, Colleen Flanagan (Downingtown, Pa.) rattled the crossbar with a long range shot. Towards the end of the first overtime, Meghan Lenczyk’s (McLean, Va.) shot off a through ball beat the charging keeper, but hit the inside of the post and stayed out. On the other end, Chantel Jones (Midlothian, Va.) needed to make six saves to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard.
In the shootout, Boston College had a 3-2 lead through the first three rounds, but the both goalkeepers made saves in the fourth and fifth rounds as the Eagles advanced 3-2.
The game was the fifth consecutive ACC Tournament game for the Cavaliers to go to overtime, the fourth of which went to penalty kicks. Virginia lost in the semifinals in penalty kicks the last two years, to North Carolina in 2007 and Virginia Tech in 2008.
Boston College outshot Virginia 12-10 and had a 6-1 corner kick edge. Jones posted her fifth consecutive shutout for the Cavaliers, marking the first time a Virginia keeper has posted five consecutive clean sheets against ACC competition. Jillian Mastroianni made five saves for Boston College.
The Cavaliers will now await the NCAA Tournament announcement on Monday.
VIRGINIA 0, BOSTON COLLEGE 0 (BC advances on PKs 3-2)
Boston College (15-2-2) 0 0 0 0 (3) - 0
Virginia (9-5-5) 0 0 0 0 (2) - 0
Shots: UVa 10, BC 12
Corners: UVa 1, BC 6
Saves: UVa 6 (Jones 6), BC 5 (Mastroianni 5)
Fouls: UVa 12, BC 6
Weather: 60 degrees, clear