At approximately 12:05 EST on Saturday, November 29, 2008, in Blacksburg, VA, Vic Hall started at quarterback for the Virginia Cavaliers.
What followed from this columnist’s mouth was neither intelligible nor appropriate. It was a combination of exhilaration, jubilation, relief, anger, and confoundment all thrown into a blender. It sounded like a shriek, a scream, and a sigh uttered at the very same time, and it could be heard blocks away (at least that’s what the neighbors three streets over told me).
Put through the interpreter, it translated as:
“It’s about &/%*# time!”
We’ve only been waiting for that one moment, and Hall’s almost immediate dash to the Hokie end zone, for four years now. You’ll recall that No. 4 was a record-setting – no, make that smashing – quarterback at Gretna High School. He was a can’t-take-your-eyes-off, 13,000 yard schoolboy star ranked second among all Commonwealth preps. Of course, most UVa fans remember that. It’s other people, “important people,” who seemed to have forgotten.
Sadly, as Wahoos are all too accustomed to, especially when Virginia Tech is involved, a “good things come to those who wait” moment was rudely dashed with a nauseous dose of “too good to be true.” As Virginia handed over the lead and Hall gave way to Mark Verica, who again gave away the ball, the Hall-Hoocat phenomenon was reduced to mere symbolism … a symbol of Al Groh’s many missteps as head coach and of the plummeting enthusiasm of the fan base.
Hall should have played quarterback, at least in a change-of-pace role, from day one. Or at minimum, the offense should have been sculpted to get him the rock in some creative fashion. Neither occurred, explaining mine and so many others’ boil-over moment when the unthinkable actually happened on Saturday. When it did, it shined a bright light on the many mistakes made during Groh’s administration, errors of judgment and management that have reduced Cavalier football to middling status in a pedestrian league.
Al Groh is one stubborn dude. Sometimes it takes the form of resiliency and becomes his greatest asset....
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