The Sunday Sampler 2012 – Duke

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Mike London’s team is in a four-game tailspin.

Fans are frustrated. Losing to Duke, improved and 5-1 or not, does that to people. Ultimately, however, the single loss isn’t what has ruffled feathers so far in 2012. No, the perceived lack of improvement and margin of defeat along with some disturbing patterns six games into this season are what’s truly bugging fans thirsty for sustained football success.

Most people, me included, play armchair quarterback after games. I nitpick all kinds of calls and decisions in this column week after week. That just comes with the territory when it comes to sports. When those single-game moments, however, become problematic patterns … well that’s when fans get restless, critical, and, most of all when it comes to their favorite teams, worried.

That’s where Virginia fans are in 2012. Warned about the potential for a rocky campaign due to recruiting and depth issues during the transition period from one coach to another or not, the trends have become disturbing enough for Cavalier fans to be frustrated, restless, critical, and, yes, worried.

So fairly or unfairly, Mike London and his coaching staff are under scrutiny with a 2-4 record in 2012 and 10-17 record overall against Football Bowl Subdivision teams in 2.5 years on the job. That includes losing 6 of the last 7 games against FBS competition by an average margin of defeat in those six losses of 24 points. No matter how you frame things with context – things like inexperience, roster mismanagement at key positions by the previous staff, and the like – those numbers are eye-catching. And fans have a right to be concerned with those results.

Even so, I think there would be more patience among the fan base if this year’s team was showing more obvious improvement. Instead, some of the troublesome trends from the first two seasons remain and some would argue getting worse. Here’s a look at the most mentioned issues:

  • Points on offense. I’ve been hammering away at this one for weeks, but Bill Lazor’s offense doesn’t score enough points against FBS teams. No ifs, ands, or buts about it …