Cavalier Call-In Highlights ’08, Show 3

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Al Groh on the weekly radio show. Koehn and the coach took the opportunity to reflect on the 16-0 win over Richmond and to also preview the upcoming opponent in the University of Connecticut Huskies. In between the analysis on those topics were several calls from fans on several different topics.

Koehn opened the show by congratulating the coach and team on their first win of the season; he asked Coach Groh how it felt to get his first win of the season under his belt. Groh said it was nice to get the first win out of the way and that it gives the players some “affirmation” that all of their work in the offseason and during the week is beginning to pay off. Koehn alluded to the toughness of the Richmond Spider football team and that as tough as the game was, that the Cavs came up with the big plays when they had to. Groh agreed and said that “it was very much the game that they had anticipated” from the neighbors to the east.

Groh also said that he was pleased to see our team come up big in the fourth quarter, “most notably the final five minutes.” Groh mentioned that the last nine plays in the final offensive touchdown drives were all runs, and that the defense was able to achieve three take-aways in the final four minutes, and gave kudos to the two sacks late in the game and the interception return for a touchdown.

Koehn commented that the team was now undefeated in the orange throwback jerseys and asked Groh if we might see those again this season. Groh said most all of the orange jerseys and white helmets had been auctioned off, and that there were no more of those types of jerseys in the closet.

The phone calls started next. First up was long time call-in show veteran Ginger from Roanoke. She wanted to know about Peter Lalich ‘s work ethic and whether or not he was a team player. Groh said that Peter was a “pretty quiet kid” who spent a lot of late nights inside the coaches’ office watching film and likes to be around football and football people. He used Lalich’s own words in saying that Peter just “wanted to play football and be a college kid.”

Koehn asked Groh about the importance of the quarterback position more so than any other position in studying game film. Groh said that quarterbacks “have so much more to look at, and so many more decisions to make … and they play so much more of a different game than anybody else on the field. Their preparation and skill set have to be much more different than anyone else.” Koehn then asked Groh to assess Lalich’s performance on Saturday. Groh said that Peter got off to a good start going 12 for 17 and “hit some big throws to get us down the field on that first drive.” He said that they have yet to determine what kind of quarterback Lalich will be, whether he’ll be streaky or consistent or erratic, but that for only his second start, he did a pretty decent job.

Next up was Rick from Richmond. Rick wanted to hear from Coach Groh about Keith Payne and his lack of playing time other than on special teams. Groh stated that Keith’s problem was that he had some great talent ahead of him on the depth chart, most notably Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson . Groh said that if Keith’s in the game, then that means that neither Cedric nor Mikell are on the field. Groh said “Keith was in the mix” for playing time, but that it’s hard to keep the other two off the field. He did praise Payne’s intensity and tenacity on the special teams side of the ball.

Bruce from Richmond referenced Coach Groh’s postgame quote praising the offensive line Saturday, then proceeded to comment that the Hoos couldn’t punch it into the end zone from the one-yard line nor get one yard when it was 4th-and-one. He then questioned Groh’s motive as to why he went for it on 4th-and-one deep in our own territory when the offense seemed to be struggling yet wouldn’t go for it against USC late in the first half. Groh then said that “he never said the offensive line was perfect. He just said he was pleased with their progress.” Groh then said “every game’s different” and that each situation is different and calls for quick decisions at certain times in order to move the ball and that there is an uncertainty in both the punting and field goal units that may or may not cause him to go for it on fourth down.

Vic Hall to quarterback? It’s not in the plans according to Coach Groh.

Steve from Roanoke wanted to know if Groh had any intentions of moving Vic Hall to quarterback. Groh pretty much shot that notion down. He praised Hall’s athletic ability but said that Vic “practiced at right cornerback today and that’s where he’s staying.” Steve also asked Groh how bad Cedric Peerman ‘s hip was. Groh then stated that the injury report wasn’t due out yet, but if Cedric’s injured, it’s certainly not because of his hip.

Being a long-time loyal caller of the call-in show, I’ve been in a quandary as to whether or not I should call in seeing as how I’ve been asked to write these summaries. However, after all of the reporting done on Peter Lalich last week and then seeing Peter on the field for the whole game Saturday, I had to ask Groh to clarify the status of Lalich and whether or not the team was in jeopardy of losing him at some point. Groh said he thought Peter had been the victim of some “tabloid reporting that lacks facts and reality. That’s a shame.” He said Lalich is “entitled to a private life like other 19- and 20-year-old students are.” He said he is “satisfied how Peter is conducting his circumstances.” He said he really didn’t want to elaborate more but sounded as though Lalich would be alright.

Cathy from Charlottesville commented on the good play of the special teams unit and wanted to know what adjustments, if any, the staff had made in that area. Groh extended Cathy’s praises by giving accolades to the unit himself and went on to describe the new punt formation called a “shield punt” that they’ve used since the bowl game last year.

Tim from Waynesboro wanted to know if Coach Groh was in favor of a playoff to determine a National Champion for college football. Groh alluded to his NFL days (I know shocker right?) and that nothing was more exciting than participating in a playoff to determine a champion. However, he said nobody would probably give merit to his opinion on anything. Koehn then asked Groh if he thought there would ever be a playoff system. Groh in a round-a-bout way said he didn’t think it would be during his coaching years and that he still planned on coaching here for quite some time.

The Advanced Auto Scouting Report focused on the upcoming match with UConn. Groh called the Huskies a “veteran team.” He said the game last year in Charlottesville was a “sticky game” when the Hoos won 17-16. He said that game was as evenly played as the score would indicate. He said “they have a lot more of their team coming back than we do.” He said they impose a real big challenge for our football team at this time especially on the road.

That’s pretty much a wrap for this week’s installment of Cavalier Call-in. The Hoos next set their sights on the Connecticut Huskies this Saturday night at 7:30 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

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