With the first day of training camp coming up tomorrow, the start of the London Era is on everybody's minds. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the fellas over at Dear Old U.Va. to chat about the upcoming season and what our thoughts were on a whole slew of questions, including our outlook on the season, some concerns we might have, and an early passing of judgment on Coach London.
The full Fall Training Camp 2010 Roundtable is over at Dear Old U.Va., but I thought I'd go ahead and post my comments here as well. Tim and Tiki posed the questions. Yours truly just spewed out some answers.
The ACC media picked us to finish 6th in the Coastal Division. Do you agree with this? What is your prediction?
Call me biased, but I think the ACC media is underestimating Virginia. Perhaps more precisely, I think they're overestimating Duke. Last year, Duke's sole saving grace was really Thaddeus Lewis, and with him out of the picture, I think Duke will return to its rightful spot in the ACC cellar. Listen, I'm not saying that we're winning Coastal this year, but I do think that we have a decent group of guys on the gridiron who can run a few plays. If you want me to make an ACC prediction on the season right now, here's what I'm going with (and I reserve the right to change this any time prior to the start of the season, and maybe even in the middle of this paragraph): at least 3-5 in the conference. I know you're thinking that we only got 2-6 last season and personnel wise, we're not looking any better, really. But I'm predicting wins over Duke (see above), North Carolina (in Charlottesville and a true rivalry game), and Maryland (on account of their major suckage). Victories might come elsewhere, but FSU and Miami at home, and GT, VT, and BC on the road don't really lend themselves to easy victories. Unfun fact, did you know we haven't beaten BC since they joined the conference?What position is the biggest concern entering the 2010 season?
I'm most worried about the wide receiver position. Last year we were 105th nationally in passing yards, and with the loss of Riko Smalls and Javaris Brown, who transferred out earlier this summer, and Quintin Hunter, who surprisingly decided to leave Virginia Football, I'm wondering which WR will make the catches this year. The depth chart shows Kris Burd and Dontrelle Inman. Burd, a junior who started all 12 games last season, is our best man, as he led the team last season with 413 yards in 41 passes. I don't know where that falls in terms of national rankings, but it's not great. The 100th ranked player gets an average of 56 yards per game. Burd was at 34. Inman's resume isn't much more impressive. The senior played in only nine games last year and caught 10 passes for 10 yards. Simply put, we lack depth and great experience in this position, and I'm curious to see how London will compensate.
Which player are you most excited to see this season?
Senior cornerback Ras-I Dowling is getting a lot of press this year, what with being a preseason All-American and on multiple watch lists. But isn't it time for Joe Torchia to have a breakout season? The senior tight end started 11 of 12 games last year, catching 15 passes for 150 yards. He was both a SuperPrep and PrepStar All-American coming out of high school as tight end. With London's promise that we return to Virginia's game, fully utilizing tight ends, I'm looking forward to seeing what this co-captain can put forward this year.We are 7 months into the Mike London era. What do you think of the job he has done so far?
Even Frank Beamer recognizes that there's been a shift in the Virginia Football program. With 20 commitments in the bag already, Virginia Recruiting has certainly started off on the right foot. Scout has our recruiting class ranked in the top 25 right now (behind UNC, Clemson, and FSU in the ACC), and we have taken many of Virginia's top recruits, an unexpected feat for this 3-9 team. I also really like the PR job that he's been doing, including the practice at Old Dominion in the 757 and the television series. I don't know how helpful the television series really is, but I like the effort being placed there. Reading players' messages on Twitter, it really does seem like there's been a complete shift in attitude by our boys, and that alone is enough to get me excited about the 2010 season.What is your preseason prediction for the ACC Championship game participants?
Virginia and the team that Virginia will beat. That's what I'm saying on the record. Off the record, though, I'm going to say Virginia Tech and Florida State. I know, I know. It's nothing exciting and it's certainly not bold, but I think it'll happen, despite the fact that the ACC media gets it wrong every year (in large part because it keeps picking FSU). FSU's Christian Ponder might be the next coming, or at least that's what their Heisman campaign makes it out to be. The only other feasible option in the Atlantic is Clemson, but FSU's schedule simply lends itself more readily for the Atlantic title. From the Coastal, FSU goes to Virginia and Miami, and hosts UNC. Clemson, though, has to host Miami and Georgia Tech (each with a legitimate shot at the Coastal title), and has to travel to North Carolina (also with a legitimate shot, if they're actually able to play a whole season rather than collapse following game 4). As far as Coastal goes, you guys know I hate picking Virginia Tech for anything, and I don't think they're getting the perfect season (or even the 11-win season) that many of their fans have allowed themselves to believe, but I do think that they have enough talent to win the entire ACC this year.
Thanks for inviting me to participate, boys. It's been fun.