10 Things I Learned … UConn

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I said coming into this weekend that I believed the UConn game was a crossroads game for the season. I still believe that … and it appears that the team took a U-turn. Or maybe a sharp left turn. Or maybe the car stalled. Regardless of the analogy, things did not go well … and do not appear to be going well. That leaves a lot of questions to answer.

1. Where Are We? Three games into the season, we have a good sample size to analyze. The team’s record stands at 1-2. In those three games, UVa was blown out at home by USC, held only a 3-0 lead late in the game against Richmond before getting a couple of late scores to lock up a fairly close win, and was embarrassed on the road against UConn. The raw numbers bear out those struggles: out of 119 FBS teams, Virginia currently ranks 118th in total offense, 113th in scoring offense, and 116th in rushing offense. The numbers are little better on the other side of the ball, with UVa ranking 93rd in total defense, 97th in scoring defense (and that with a shutout among its three games), and 104th in rushing defense.

It is impossible to find any comfort in those numbers but as painful as those numbers are, I think most Hoo fans are more disturbed by the intangibles, particularly the way the team looked on the field this past Saturday. So in trying to sort out where the team is at right now, an important question has to be answered: did the team “quit” during this game? My simple answer is no, I don’t think so. I think saying that a team “quit” on a game is a very strong statement to make and I would need to see a lot more evidence of players not trying before I would even entertain that discussion. Where others saw a lack of effort, I saw other things: a lack of confidence, a lack of speed on the front of the defense, a lack of execution, and a whole lot of indecision and confusion. Plus, I know that players like Jon Copper and Byron Glaspy and John Phillips and Marc Verica don’t “quit” … sometimes, they just don’t make the plays they need to make.

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