Things I Learned 2013 … VMI

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Tim Smith hauls in a long touchdown pass vs. VMI.

So UVa wins 49-0 over VMI and we all feel better, right? Right? Umm, right? Well, better than after the Oregon game? Yes, definitely better than that. Better generally? That’s a harder question to answer. Let’s get into that in this week’s Things I Learned.

A Game Thing

Offensively, that was a painful first quarter. Really painful. Let me see … drop the first pass of the game? Check. Three and out on the first offensive series? Check. Four straight runs are not enough to gain 10 yards? Check. Throw into coverage near the goal line, resulting in an interception? Check. Throw into triple coverage for another interception? Check, check. No points against VMI? Check, check, check, check, check …

Ouch.

Fortunately, the second quarter was a little better. Not great, mind you, but better.

Look, the game never was in doubt. Really. I know the whole “any given day” adage … but Saturday was not going to be the day. The gap between the teams – whether in terms of size, speed, or just pure-and-simple talent – was just too great. So this game never was just about “getting the W.” It was about improving. It was about being better. It was about preparing for the Pitt game and for the rest of the season.

So how did Virginia do against that standard?

Not great, but not bad.

The biggest plus to me, by a mile, was that the defense looked like it was starting to get the feel for the timing of Jon Tenuta’s defense. To be fair, the defense really hasn’t looked terrible this year, the Oregon game notwithstanding, and the defensive line generally has looked very good. But for Tenuta’s defense to go from good to great, timing is huge. This week, timing was better, and that bodes well for the future. You would like to see some more turnovers forced by the defense, of course, but at least this week was another step in the right direction.

The offense? Well, they scored plenty this week, but I cannot really say that I was encouraged by what I saw against VMI. Discouraged?

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