10 Things I Learned 2010 … Richmond

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Fans – including a packed student section – and players had much to celebrate on Saturday.

One game down, one win. Admittedly, that was against an FCS team … but that did not matter last year, did it? So unlike last year … and the year before … and the year before that … and the year before that and that … UVa comes out of the gates with a win.

After the win, there are about 2,651 storylines available to discuss. New schemes, new plays, new plays, new results, new enthusiasm … there was a lot of “new” and that certainly was a good thing. For now, however, we will stick to 10 Things and hope that we have more “new” to discuss down the road.

1. Progress. In this season, perhaps more than any other in recent UVa history, I refuse to judge progress on the field solely by wins and losses.

Still, I much prefer judging progress after a win. And there was a lot of progress evident.

On offense, for example, I saw a lot of evidence of the new schemes taking hold, perhaps a little earlier in some cases than I might have thought. There was no question that Mike London wanted to re-establish the downhill run game and off of that, more play action. In support of that game plan, Ron Mattes was looking to establish a more physical and technically proficient style of play, one based less on positioning and scheme and more on hat-on-hat, leverage, and winning the hand battle right from the start. In both cases, progress was notable, especially as the game rolled into the second half and you could see a little hop in the step of the offensive linemen as they broke the huddle and headed to the line.

On defense, the staff was somewhat limited by the loss this week of Ras-I Dowling and Rodney McLeod , two defensive backs that give Jim Reid and the defensive staff a lot more options with the front seven. With a somewhat depleted secondary, I think it was clear that Reid was going to play around with his front four a lot less, and