10 Things I Learned Against WMU

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Marcus Hamilton couldn’t help his team Saturday.

So much for Homecoming.

Western Michigan came into Charlottesville off a good victory over Toledo, and rolled out with another solid win. Coach Bill Cubit played a conservative game, not giving his QB the chance to lose the game, and hoped to capitalize on UVa mistakes. Coach Al Groh, on the other hand, went with the fan favorite at QB, and put him in a position where he did have the chance to win or lose the game. On Saturday, Kevin McCabe was not up to the task, as his interceptions were almost all the offense WMU could muster against another impressive showing by UVa’s defense.

That, of course, leads to the first of 10 Things I learned from Western Michigan and the inevitable question:

1. Have we hit rock bottom? “Rock bottom” were words heard all over the stadium on Saturday (other words, which cannot be repeated, also were frequently heard). That really is a difficult question to answer but, at the very least, it sure feels like rock bottom today. By early in the second half, many fans had the sense that, unless the defense figured out a
way to get into the end zone, UVa was not going to visit that sacred ground. And that is exactly the way it panned out.

Still, I would take the position that we have not hit rock bottom. The offense, perhaps. In fact, probably. But the team, no. There simply were too many positives in this game for me to consider it “rock bottom.” The defense, in particular, played too well. Too many young players are looking solid on the field. Too many long-term trends remain encouraging. This simply was a tough loss and a hard game to watch, but we have had those before (last year’s UNC game, anyone?).

Plus, the problems right now remain specific and obvious. At this point, we are losing games because of shaky OL play and shaky QB play, both of which could have been predicted – and were – coming into this season. Simply put, we have two units that have to