10 Things I Learned … Virginia Tech

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1. The Wildcat – The Initial Decision. Late last week, I read a column by one of the reporters who covers UVa in which that reporter stated that he would be surprised if Al Groh ran Vic Hall at quarterback against Tech. His reasoning? He wrote that Groh would not want to risk looking like he was “wrong” not to have played Hall at quarterback from the start. To me, the reporter missed a subtle distinction when it comes to Groh: Al almost never will say that he was wrong but there are only certain people – few if any reporters among them (no disrespect intended) – who would cause Groh to so much as blink if they were to say that he was wrong. In other words, when it comes to a decision that Groh thinks in his mind would help him win a football game, it was hard for me to envision Groh holding back on that decision because he worried about an adverse outside-the-program reaction.

But while that explains why Groh wouldn’t not do something because of certain reactions – I use that grammatically incorrect but contextually perfect double negative with pride – it does not explain why he would make the decision in the first place. Dissecting that thought process, however, is not that complicated. While there are things about Marc Verica and his game that Groh likes a lot, it cannot come as a surprise to anyone that Verica’s recent penchant for throwing interceptions was troubling for Groh and the rest of the staff. Last week’s performance in many ways was the worst of the year for Verica because in that game, Verica made several throws – some intercepted, some that could or should have been – that were difficult to explain away with a missed read or good defensive play or even a tipped pass; he just threw the ball where he could not throw it for whatever reason.

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