Before we fully move on to #BeatOregon, the STL team engaged in a roundtable discussion: What is the biggest positive you take from the BYU game, and what is the biggest negative? (Spoiler alert: There isn't much disagreement here).
Caroline Darney: Biggest positive for me was the play of Ant Harris. Talk about a show stopper. He finished the day with eleven tackles, a sack, a blocked punt, an interception, and THAT LATERAL. As a defensive player, he directly influenced both touchdown plays with the blocked punt and the interception grab. While I think I suffered mild heart palpitations when Harris lateraled to Coley, that quick thinking basically ensured the victory, putting the Wahoos within striking distance. He lateraled it. And Coley snagged it. No drops. Wow.
Ant's play earned him the title of Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and a helmet sticker from the one and only Lou Holtz on Gameday wrapup (although apparently not enough for the discerning tastes of the ACC Blog folks..makes sense...oh wait). He was the brightest spot of a phenomenal defensive day.
Second vote goes for special teams...especially Frye's 53 yarder. Game changing play, and a helluva kick from the kid.
Paul Wiley: Biggest positive was Eli Harold. Reading Jeff White's piece this week, it's clear how much he and Morgan Moses have made each other better, both physically and mentally. The reports of Harold adding weight but not losing a step look to be true. That guy is gonna eat QBs for lunch this year.
I don't know where to start with my offensive concerns. The running game was anemic. Watford never tried to stretch the defense downfield. I don't know if it was play-calling or execution or both, but 19 points isn't going to get it done all year.
Darney (again): Ah yes, concerns. I got too wrapped up in the dulcet tones of Lou Holtz awarding Harris a helmet sticker in his "my gosh, you're so old I just want to take you to a Cracker Barrel early bird dinner" voice.
Receivers. Making catches. How many balls went through the hands of our receivers? Watford had some struggles, sure, but the receivers were not helping him at all. What eases my concern, however, is the fact that I know they are better than that (see touchdown number one). Get it together.
Matt Trogdon:Virginia scored on a safety, a 53-yard field goal, a touchdown off a blocked punt and a touchdown off an interception return (and lateral). Those types of plays usually go against us. The fact that we were the ones wreaking the havoc is the big positive for me. Hopefully it foreshadows a more disruptive defense and special teams effort for the whole year.
The passing game still has a ways to go. I didn't think Watford looked as shaky as some. I actually thought he looked rather poised for the circumstances. But there were still a few too many missed connections for me to feel comfortable with where the passing game is at currently. We've been waiting for the Tim Smith breakout. With two early drops against BYU -- we're still waiting.
Paul "Tiki" Guttman: Biggest positive is that there were few, if any, missed assignments by the defense. Considering the new scheme, considering how aggressive it is, a single missed assignment or blown coverage could mean six for the offense. In a game we won by 3, that's a big deal.
Biggest concern is the lack of any real consistent offense. The Hoos had 1 drive that produced points, and that was in the 2 minute drill, and culminated in a 53 yard FG. Eight of the Hoos 18 drives ended without a single first down.
Brian Schwartz: My biggest positive is, obviously, defense. Specifically, I was impressed that the secondary looks to be a dominant unit. We knew that Tra Nicholson was a stud, and he showed that he will likely be a shutdown corner this year. Add Maurice Canady to that formula, and even DreQuan Hoskey, who played a nicely thrown deep ball perfectly, and the secondary is legit. Comfort with cornerbacks in man coverage is important to a blitzing defense, and it looks like we will have the ingredients to make that style work.
And the concern I have is obviously, offense. Specifically, how long will it take for the offense to find any sense of identity? After just 1 game, it's already becoming apparent that the half-pro style, half-option game is a work in progress. With all the weapons available to him, Steve Fairchild has to find the formula to make the offense go. I'm not sure what it is, but it wasn't what we brought to the field on Saturday.
What's your take fans? After one week of UVA football, what excites you about the rest of the season? What are you worried about?