10-Day Hoo Preview ’07: JHoo’s 10 Things

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The 2007 season has a very strange feeling to it already. Hoos fans cannot seem to decide whether to be optimistic or pessimistic, excited or deflated, anxious or nervous … and I can understand why. I am not sure I can remember breaking down a team that had such potential for success while at the same time having so many legitimate question marks.

What are those question marks? What key indicators will I be watching this season? Here are 10 Things To Watch …

1. Whether the “new” offense will click.

Can Al Groh’s team find a spark on offense?

Hoo fans that attended open practices were able to catch a glimpse of quite a lot. How the returners looked after changed conditioning programs and how they appear to be performing. How the new guys look and are fitting in so far. How several former walk-ons are continuing to develop. But one thing that fans did not get to see much of is the offensive system the team will roll out this fall. To date, the system is still largely under wraps.

What system, you ask? Fair question. In fact, a lot of people who closely follow the ACC in general, and UVa in particular, have asked me, “What is UVa’s offensive scheme?” Is UVa a power running team? Is UVa a spread-the-field-and-throw team? Does UVa operate a pro-style attack? Is UVa operating a west coast offense?

In sum, what is UVa’s personality on offense?

I do think that most successful offenses have a distinct personality, a system that they can operate effectively to force the defense to react (and whomever is reacting using is losing). As one informed rival once commented to me, “I know UVa will run the stretch play but other than that, I don’t know what your system is.” In terms of trying to develop an offensive personality, it has not helped that Al Groh has had three different offensive coordinators during his tenure, all of which have their own tendencies and preferences even within the framework of a single playbook. And the current coordinator, Mike