During the game, I remember noting in bold letters: NOBODY MADE A BIG PLAY WHEN VIRGINIA NEEDED IT. I found it interesting that coach Al Groh had this to say after the game: “Their stars played like stars – we had no stars.” With that in mind, let’s dive into the grades for Game 1.
Al Groh and company called a decent game, but the Hoos’ poor execution limited the coaches’ options.
While many appear to be questioning the play calling, I think the coaching staff basically did about all they could do with the limitations presented by the offensive line. Virginia could not get off blocks quick enough to run to the perimeter and the middle was stacked with Pitt defenders, which limited the option of running between the tackles. The line could not hold blocks long enough to go deep and removed the ability to attack the Pitt corners that were in man coverage for most of the night.
The most bewildering moment for the offensive coaches came to open the second half. From the Cavalier 20, the offensive play callers got very conservative, electing to open with a slow-developing running play that got immediate penetration from the Pitt defense and produced a 2-yard loss and followed that up on third-and-12 with a draw play that never had a chance. After the Virginia defense held the Panthers on the ensuing series, UVa opted for a sideline pattern to Kevin Ogletree to open the next series from the Cavalier 2-yard line, which we will address in our defining play (it was also part of Kris’ “Turning Point article”).
Defining play: Quarterback Christian Olsen had the deck stacked against him from the play’s outset. I fall into the camp that says the play was not the proper call at that point in the game. The Cavaliers had held the Panthers...
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