Virginia football returns home on Saturday in hopes of getting back to winning ways. The Cavaliers host Georgia Tech, a team that overwhelmed the Cavs last season in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets rolled UVA 35-10, after going up to a 14-0 lead in just five minutes. The 'Hoos hope the start on Saturday will not be deja vu.
The 'Hoos are 2-5 on the season and according to UVA offensive lineman Ross Burbank "it's frustrating" to lose so many close games.
"'Yeah, we're that close.' If you look at it from the flip side of it, it's like, 'Man, if we fix one thing, we're going to punch it in, we're going to be a really good team,'" said Burbank. "We just have to take that and kind of build on it.
"I think you can look at it negatively and get upset, get frustrated, but that doesn't help anyone, so you really just have to see the positives in it and kind of build off those."
With the ACC Coastal all over the place, the 'Hoos know that this game is a must win game.
FACING THE TRIPLE OPTION
The Cavs can't afford to get frustrated on Saturday against Georgia Tech. In the last few years, the triple option as not been kind to the UVA defense. This weekend it will be a huge challenge for the Cavs, especially with such a young linebacker group.
“You always worry about the issue of taking your assignment and doing your job in this particular manner,” said UVA Head Coach Mike London on Monday. “You’re closing to the dive, then making sure you take the dive. Don’t all of a sudden think the quarterback wasn’t going to give the fullback the ball, and all of a sudden you pop up and take the quarterback, but the ball has been handed off.”
"I don't feel that you can truly simulate their offense, just because they're so good at it," said Virginia defensive tackle David Dean, "and when you get into the game, the game speed is just entirely different. The dive is a lot faster, the pitch comes faster."
"It's a huge challenge, because one mistake and the running back can go for six," Dean added. "So it's critical that everyone knows their responsibility and play after play they take their responsibility."
The Yellow Jackets are coming into the game with some momentum after beating top ranked Florida State in walk off fashionm- blocking a FSU field goal and running it back for a touchdown.
Virginia linebacker Zach Bradshaw watched the highlights of the game on the bus ride back from North Carolina, and had one word to describe that last play "ridiculous." However, UVA senior full back Vincent Croce used that play as a lesson to the team. The Special Teams captain says this college football season just proves how much special teams can help or hurt you.
"That's special teams, summed up,"said Croce. "Michigan-Michigan State the other week, Georgia Tech-Florida State, it's one-play football. That's why special teams are so critical. You think you can maybe relax for a play, you know, 'Oh, it's just a punt, nothing's going to go wrong', or 'If we just get this field goal off, even if we miss we're going to overtime.'
"You have to be ready for anything to happen. Georgia Tech, Michigan State they made plays and were ready to step up. Some of it was being in the right place at the right time, just scoop the ball up easily, no issues. That comes with being prepared and being ready for anything."
FOCUS ON KISER
The focus will be on Micah Kiser as the 'Hoos deal wih the triple option. In his first season starting for the 'Hoos (he played behind Henry Coley last year), the redshirt sophomore taken over the role and leads the ACC in tackles with 71.
96 800x600 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE "His ability to be a smart player and recall and having now played the games that he has, has given him an opportunity to help us defensively," said London. "So it's a credit to him, but it's a credit to people before him and having a guy like [UVA grad assistant and former UVA linebacker] Daquan [Romero] in the locker room and in the meeting rooms, because he just played last year himself."
"Micah has been very impressive. I don't think a lot of people were expecting him to be this good. Although he's made his mistakes, he's been a huge help to our defense," added Dean. "We may not be as successful without him. No, he's not the most vocal leader like Henry. But at the time he's very physical, and he has potential to be what Henry was when he left. He's growing into that slowly but surely, and as long as he continues to play physical and fast and play with his mind, I think he can be a very successful linebacker in the ACC."
MATT JOHNS TOUGH TO SHAKE
It has not been a good couple of weeks for Virginia quarterback Matt Johns. The signal caller leads all FBS teams with 12 picks.
"He is an incredibly hard kid to shake," Croce said. "The dude is confident in what he's doing. He knows what he's doing, and he prepares well. Four interceptions and a lost fumble in the game [against North Carolina], that's hard to combat, but Sunday is our day to put the game, win or loss, to bed and to get back on track."
“He has to have that kind of long-haul memory or long-haul trajectory of, ‘Listen, I can play better; I can do better.’ This is not a complete picture of who he is as a player," added London. "Matt's a guy that has a lot of confidence. But we always talk about playing within yourself and making throws when the throws are there. Don't try to hurry things. For his development, it's critical that he do that in order for us to be successful."
“I think as long as the team stays behind him — offense, defense, everyone stays behind him — then he’s going to do his thing.” added Burbank.
MEDICAL REPORT GETS LONGER
The injury list keeps getting longer for London. On Monday the Cavalier head coach announced two more players to have season-ending surgery.
UVA cornerback Tim Harris is doubtful for Saturday after a shoulder injury against UNC. London says he is very unlikely to play.