Wow. That is my first thought about this game. I actually undersold us. I was supremely confident that we would handle the Tribe with ease. But that was ridiculous. William and Mary never got into the game. They didn't even enter our side of the field until it was 40-0.
We outgained them 496-169. That is complete and utter domination.
Read more after the jump.
For the most part, the game went as I expected. At least offensively. I thought we would dominate on the ground, and we did. I thought we would throw a lot of short, simple passes designed to get the ball quickly into playmakers hands, and we did.
Defensively, the game was a little bit less expected. I thought William & Mary would try to use Jonathon Grimes to establish a ground game. I just didn't expect us to control him as well as we did. Grimes really never got anything going, finishing with just 20 yards on 6 carries. I thought Alex Gottlieb would be able to exploit the middle of our defense. Gottlieb had 2 catches for 36 yards while his backup had 2 catches for 38 yards. Four catches and 74 yards out of TEs isn't too bad, but its not game-changing either.
OK, so the real question is, what does this mean? In truth, not a whole lot. Yes, we looked good. But William & Mary didn't do themselves any favors. Last year, we beat Richmond 34-13, and then went on to finish 4-8. (Richmond would finish 6-4.) It is probably safe to say that we are better than we were last year. That is probably about all.
On the QBs, I thought Michael Rocco was good but I don't want to get carried away. He had easy reads and mostly made easy throws. He also seemed a tad late on some throws and he missed a couple of open guys. He did a solid job of going through his possessions and taking what the defense gave. Frankly, that is all we require from him this season. David Watford looked iffy at times, and strong at times. He seemed to be a little bit jumpy in the pocket, like maybe he was trying too hard to show how athletic he was. He did show off a cannon for an arm. Ross Metheny looked solid as well, in limited chances. Ross still has a funny throwing motion, but the ball gets there.
This will, no doubt, be covered in great detail in various places, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention Kevin Parks. I knew he was good, I knew he was hyped. But he exceeded my expectations. His vision is plain to see. He sees the hole, and he sees the cutback lanes. He has extraordinary balance and he is faster than I thought. I am, right now, predicting big things from Parks in his UVA career. (Bold statement, I know.)
Robert Randolph kicked 4 FGs, including a 48 yarder to end the first half. I admit, I expected to see Hinkebein from that distance. After all, Randolph's long last year was 44. The fact that Randolph was good from 48, and that the kick likely would've been good from 55, makes me smile. Our placekicking is in good hands. For this year anyway, as Randolph (and Hinkebein) are seniors.
The offensive line was tremendous. Yes, they have a big size advantage on the W&M front 4, and yes they will face bigger and better opposition. But, for one night, they were simply amazing. Some of the holes the RBs went through were big enough to drive a truck through. Rocco and the other QBs had tons of time to throw. Anthony Mihota was named OL of the week, and deservedly so. But really it was a team effort. I count 11 offensive linemen who played, and all of them looked solid. Another strength of this team going forward.
Some of my favorite moments, in no particular order:
- Bill Schautz absolutely blowing up Keith McBride on the first play of the Tribe's 2nd series of the 2nd half. This is what we saw from Schautz during the spring game, and I hope to see it all season long.
- Demetrious Nicholson's pick. Nicholson looked good all game. The pick was simply textbook. I was really hoping he would get into the endzone. In Tra and Chase Minnifield, our perimeter coverage is going to be very strong.
Perry Jones' absolute monster of a block on some W&M defender. The play didn't go for much, and I'm not even sure who he blocked, but Perry got a completely legal blindside hit on a Tribe LB and sent him flying.
- Tim Smith's amazing circus catch down the sideline, using B.K. Webb's helmet to help secure the ball. Smith has sorta fallen through the cracks this year, with all the hype about Jennings and Terrell, but let's not forget that Smith was very productive as a first year, and he has as much speed and talent as the first years. I'm starting to think Smith might end up as our leading receiver this year.
Obviously, I was impressed with the game. The result was basically as I expected, if a little bit more than I actually expected. Let's hope next week continues along the same lines against a bad Indiana Hoosiers team that lost to Ball state on saturday.