Leaving the game on Saturday, and on an almost minute-by-minute basis since, I have been asked one question after another about the Virginia Tech game, this UVa team, and the future of the Virginia program. So this week, perhaps “10 Things …” should be titled “10 Questions …”, with what follows being the best I can do in terms of answers.
Jameel Sewell and this year’s team are a tough bunch of players.
1. Based on the outcome of the Tech game, is this UVa team any different than other recent teams? Yes. One easy question, one easy answer.
Make no mistake about it, this loss was painful. Was Tech a more talented team? Absolutely, no question about it. But despite that almost irrefutable fact, UVa had a shot in this game – a very good shot – well into the fourth quarter. While that may make it all the harder for UVa fans to move on from the game, it also says a lot to me about the 2007 version of the Hoos.
After all, let’s be honest in looking back at Virginia’s recent history. With several of UVa’s recent teams, if they got down 10-0 to the Hokies in the first half, or got down 23-14 in the third quarter, you are certain the game is over, aren’t you? This year, not so much. The Hoos still lost in the end, but they did not quit, they did not hang their heads, and they did not panic. Instead, they battled back, took the lead at one point in the game, and had the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to post a lead on the scoreboard.
Did Virginia Tech make some mistakes that helped UVa get back into the game and that helped keep the game close? Sure. But Tech has made similar mistakes in other recent games and those UVa teams simply lacked whatever they needed – be it talent, execution, confidence, or “want to” – to capitalize on the mistakes. This team was able to capitalize and the game was much closer as a result, despite the talent gap between the two teams.
Different? Yes, I think so. Simply put, I
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