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Not sure why I'm writing these out because they've been covered by so many others (Jamie's musings in particular felt like he was reading my mind), but oh well I'm sure Jamie doesn't mind the hits so here goes...
1. Like I said, it felt like Jamie was in my head because to me, by far, the biggest play of that game was Greer going man to man against Megget and winning the battle. I'll be the first to admit that I've been hard on Greer for a few breakdowns this year but he was a stud on that play. Any give on his part and they score, putting us in a much more fragile state. Just a great play.
2. The QB rotation change was obviously a huge turning point in the season but it's that much more important that it seems he chose the right guy for this time. I have no doubt that Watford can develop into a great QB (by the way, if you're going to play him even occasionally, please at least let him do what comes naturally) but it wasn't his time. Hopefully DW can redshirt next year and provide a little separation.
3. And speaking of backup QBs, I cannot express enough how impressed I am with DW, CM and MS all staying so positive despite not playing. I know that's part of being a team but having to sit while watching someone else distance himself from you has to be tough...and all 3 have handle it perfectly. Whether they all stay for their complete eligibility may be another story but for now it's great to see.
4. HUGE stones on London to go for it on 4th and goal. I didn't like the call at all but I think I'll look back at it as the moment he really changed the "mindset" of this program from the AG years. This team wasn't that far from bowling last year if we had closed out USC, Duke & BC like we could've/should've. I just think the team didn't know how/expect to win..London showed them with that call.
5. REALLY like that the team kept saying that London wasn't focused on being bowl eligible. At some point you have to stop playing to break streaks (November O-fers, no bowl in 3 years, no ACC road wins, etc.) and just play to win simply because it's the next game on the schedule. I hate VT more than anything but that's the mentality they've instilled in that program that I'm most envious about. You take the field expecting to win, no matter what stadium you're in or the jersey on the other side. Think this team is learning that in a hurry and i dig the hell out of it.
6. Best trio of RBs I've seen here in probably forever. Had some great duos, but this group of 3 is really damn good.
7. Smith and Burd are a pretty nice duo themselves.
8. Friedman's catch in traffic late in the 3rd was great. Rocco zipped it and he just snagged it in between 2 guys. Like the TEs being used more.
9. Lazor is finding his groove with these guys now and I look forward to him adding a few more wrinkles as everyone gets more comfortable in their roles.
10. Reid (like Haslett with the Skins) is showing the improvement you can make after a year of changing D schemes. Ironically they've gone the opposite direction scheme wise but both the Skins and UVA have made incredible progress in just one year. Tough to do in just he 1st year.
11. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I'm still concerned with the secondary and ST (you'll get it going Dex) but I'm seeing improvement. Sheppard is great on KO returns. DT needs a good punt return though to loosen up. Tra is improving with each game and just when I'm ready to scream at #s 4 & 7 they go and TOTALLY redeem themselves (Dumb and Dumber voice).
12. You win games when you limit turnovers and penalties...no coincidence that we've done just that over the past 2 weeks. Keep it up.
Overall, loving the improved confidence and efficiency of this team. They're learning to play the game right and doing it with a hint of swagger that is needed. One game at a time, keep getting better and learning. So amped to be going bowling (Chase specifically came back to do so) but hope they aren't satisfied. Feels damn good to see such positive progress.
Good post. Agree on all accounts
If everyone only settled for good enough... would anything ever really be good enough?
On your point #4, I think London changed the mindset when he took over the reins of the program. But, more to your point, the fact that we actually tried to, and succeeded in scoring on that last possession of the 1st half was something we never really saw from Groh. I recall many times where we had one, two, maybe even all three timeouts, and we got the ball back with time winding down in the 1st half, and it was as if we were content to let the clock wind down and go to the locker room rather than go for another score. London is a very aggressive coach. It will bite him in the ass a few times I'm sure. But, I can stomach those, because I think that being aggressive AND smart is how our team needs to play.
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