UVA Backup QB "Phillip Sims." He's changed a lot since this pic was taken.
Once again, gross.
The coaches and players may be giving credence to Saturday's win, but it's all a bunch of lip service. For the second week in a row, TCU won a game that should've been out of reach in the first half, yet was never truly decided until the clock hit 0s. Heck, had UVA inserted backup QB Sims earlier, there might have been a reason for more than 4 spectators to stick it out until the end, although I can see why Mike London waited. Despite putting a TD on the board, Sims DEFINES that erratic gunslinger mentality and had he been allowed to play an entire game it's possible he throws double digit interceptions. In fact, dude should've been picked twice on that one scoring drive, alone. So, I guess I'll retract that - TCU was going to win this game one way or another, but it should've been a lot more convincing. Let's get to it.
- The defense kept points off the board. Despite giving up 353 yards, TCU made enough plays - mostly thanks to Kenny Cain and his 3 forced turnovers - to keep UVA off the scoreboard until the game was all but decided, which I suppose is what matters.
- Casey Pachall performed well despite being all but decapitated on the field. I'll say this for Casey - he sure makes it look easy. After the games were over these past two weeks, had you asked me what Pachall's numbers were I wouldn't have guessed he'd hit 300 yards in both. Maybe I just focus too much on the negatives, like the unnecessary goal line pick and the other near pick that was called back due to pass interference.
- Brandon Carter is good at playing WR. Another week, another 100+ yard performance. 5 catches for 128 yards and one of the most acrobatic scores you'll see this year. Kid can jump. On a day where the TCU ground game didn't make you forget Waymon James, Carter played a huge role in making sure the Frogs weren't going to embarrass themselves on offense.
- Jaden Oberkrom shook off the jitters. After missing his first career attempt last week, Oberkrom is 4/4, with both of this week's kicks coming in the 45-50 yard range. Been a while since we've felt good about those types of situations. Note to the staff: On TV it looked like JO has a natural draw on his kicks, so, uh, let's stick to the right hash when possible.
- 3rd down defense. 3/16 this week. Only allowing 2 per game on average this season, good for second in the country. That's good.
- Ladarius Brown scored his first TD. Hopefully the first of many.
- Josh Boyce broke a school record for reception TDs with his 18th. Also dropped a few, just as he did last week. He's living in Carter's shadow for now, but his lack of touches gives me some optimism because if we can get him and BC going at the same time we may not miss the running game that much.
- The O Line. Last week they could run block, but weren't so great at pass blocking. This week was the opposite situation. Will they put it together this week?
- The run game. Woof. You knew Waymon would be missed, but this badly? Let's put it this way - Trevone Boykin was our best rusher BY FAR Saturday. Tucker had 52 yards Saturday, and it took him 15 tries to get there. BJ Catalon was a non-factor on his 5 attempts, and Aundre Dean didn't even touch the ball. CLEARLY we're going to rely on our passing game and defense to win games, but a little help from the run game will be required if we want to finish better than 4-8.
- The run defense. UVA came into the game with the 109th ranked ground game in the country. That's 109 out of 120ish. TCU allowed them to gain 164 yards on the ground. Yeesh.
- DB play. Our best pass protector was a converted RB linebacker. That's not very good. UVA dropped a couple of would be TDs where their receivers got major separation and the Frogs dropped a couple of would be INTs.
- Red Zone ball protection. The Pachall pick is inexcusable for a player of his caliber, the Dawson fumble even moreso when you consider that GP had just chewed his butt out on a prior punt return for worrying more about gaining an extra yard than he did about ball control. That's SIX red zone turnovers in 2 weeks. I never played football to the level where you actually learned things, so I have no clue how you teach a player NOT to fumble and apparently the team has not figured this out either. Your tips in the comments.
- Casey Pachall almost died. Seriously, you maybe couldn't tell in the stadium, but they harped on it A LOT on ESPN. CP was consistently slow to get up after plays due to hard hits and was seen on the sidelines receiving treatment several times. The question here, though, is whether or not it was his fault or the line's? GP said last week that Casey needs to learn to get rid of the ball much quicker than he does, and it showed Saturday. True, he was never sacked, and you have to admire the guy for standing tall in the pocket and not being afraid to take hits, but there's a difference between playing courageously and playing smart. You can't hit the home run ball every time. Fortunately Casey is 6'5" and 220+ pounds so he has the frame to take some hits, but maybe not so many next go around? If he were to ever miss an extended period of time, we would lose all of our games by double digits.
- Penalties. Not sure how it wasn't more noticeable during the game, but 12 penalties for 103 yards? Let's fix that.
Sorry, guys, I just really don't have the enthusiasm to flesh this out more than I already have here. I'm discouraged. Not because I think our team isn't capable of winning double digit games - they can -, but discouraged because if they play the way they have these past 2 weeks, they won't even get close. It's not even inconsistency, necessarily; if anything, they're a little TOO consistent at fumbling the ball in their opponent's territory. Fortunately, though, they've also been consistent at bending but not breaking on defense and keeping points off the scoreboard with their backs against the wall and consistent at breaking open JUST enough big plays to keep games out of reach. Don't be fooled, though - Kansas and Virginia are not talented football teams. Kansas will miss bowl eligibility by at least 3 games and UVA will struggle to win 6 unless Michael Rocco and Sims, one or the other, figure out how to play the QB position. SMU has been absolute garbage on offense every week, and on defense in weeks 1 and 3, but we have to play them in Dallas AND coming off an off week AND with the knowledge that we are their Super Bowl. Fortunately, the blowout losses to Baylor and aggy will probably make the high school stadium they play in even more Amon Carter east than normal, so we have that. Frogs are over ranked at 15th, but it's not their fault the teams above them lost. Should be 4-0 entering real Conference play, then every single game every week is loseable if we don't play better. I'm afraid.
Around the Assocation:
- Kansas State 24, OU 19. PSSH, winning in Norman? Been there, done that.
- LSU 12, Auburn 10. ???
- Oregon 49, Arizona 0. ???!!!!
- WVU 31, MD 21. Hopefully the Mountaineers were overlooking these Turtles for their B12 opener against Baylor. Go, Wonderful Whites