College football is back. Thank goodness.
But uh... maybe a little less rain next time?
Walking into Scott Stadium on Saturday, I paused at the top of the stairs above my section and just took in the view. At that point it was still a nice day. I was glad to be back in Scott, glad to be watching college football and glad to have all those Hoo fans around me.
While the weather didn't stay nice - more than a mild understatement - the overall experience was as enjoyable as a fan could have hoped. We won. That hasn't happened a lot in the last few years. So I'll take it. Even if it did come with a monsoon.
At this point, I think everyone knows about the weather, so while that may have actually been the most obvious storyline of the game from a fan's perspective, I'm not going to dwell on it. Though I reserve the right to cynically mention the rain repeatedly. My shirt and pants are still wet, so I think I earned that right.
Immediately following Anthony Harris's interception (and subsequent lateral to Henry Coley) I turned to the student fans sitting behind me and told them to enjoy the moment. Opportune moments like that were few and far between as a Cavalier fan recently. Of course, I'm fairly certain the students were just wondering why an old man was sitting in the student section and talking to them. But hopefully they will remember my words of wisdom later in the season.
Harris ended up being named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for everything that he did - and he did a lot. But the overall defense deserves a lot of praise. Eli Harold looked every bit of the star we knew he had the potential to be. Maurice Canady has his name called early and often. Daquan Romero, Henry Coley, David Dean. The list goes on. Was it a perfect performance? Certainly not. But the collection of individual performances came together as an impressive team performance on defense. With an offense that's still a question mark, it was a relief to see the defense perform at the level we had hoped.
As always, some random musings:
- When was the last time we blocked a punt? When was the last time we blocked a punt and got a safety in the same game? And this was against a good FBS team. Not Nicholls State. If this is an example of what it's like having Larry Lewis and Jon Tenuta on staff... bring it on.
- In 2012, Virginia had four interceptions. After one game this year, we're a quarter of the way to that total already. We can't guarantee that we'll get an interception every game. But you have to start somewhere, right? The aggressive style of the defensive front is going to lead to opportunities. Let's hope we keep capitalizing on them.
- There were lots of examples of "want to" on Saturday, but Kevin Parks's fourth-quarter touchdown had "want-to" written all over it. He looked like he should have been down two or three times before he burst through into the end zone for what ended up being the game winning score.
- Speaking of running backs, you can just tell that Taquan Mizzell has "it." His numbers were not stellar, but even a marginally trained eye like mine can see the tools he's working with. Smoke is going to be special.
- David Watford didn't have the best day, but you have to be happy with the rapport he has developed with Darius Jennings. The touchdown pass was a perfect example of that. Jennings knew that Watford would scramble, so he broke away from his defender to the sideline. Watford made the pass as perfectly as he had to. That will pay dividends later this year.
- Some of Watford's passes didn't look nearly as good as the one to Jennings. He had some high passes. He had one into the dirt. But for some reason, his bad passes just didn't seem that... bad. Let me explain. Not to pick on a former Wahoo - they're all family - but I recall watching Jameel Sewell throw the ball into the dirt on several occasions. This seems different. This looked more like nerves and soaked balls rather than an intrinsic problem. I'm hoping this is something that JHoo covers over on TheSabre. Does anyone else have comments on that? Agree or disagree?
- I would, of course, be remiss if I did not mention the Streaking the Lawn/St. Maarten Cafe tailgate. I had a fantastic time meeting the readers of this site and members of the BYU fanbase that traveled to Charlottesville for the game. I hope you all had a great time and enjoyed the food!
- I watched the game on ESPN3 to see what I might have missed live. Apparently not much. But what I did miss was the announcers just absolutely murdering the names of our players. I'm positive that the University provides pronunciation guides for the media. Perhaps they should at least glance at them before going on air.
- Speaking of information that the University gives out to media (or, in this case, fans), make sure you read the Oregon pre-game notes on VirginiaSports.com. Particularly the section on Chris and Kyle Long. I wonder how many game notes include sandwich references?