From the 50 with Mac McDonald
Sept. 10, 2002
FROM THE FIFTY:THE OFF WEEK
Virginia head football coach Al Groh hates the off weeks…at least to a point. Like any college coach, Groh understands the value of an off week. He can give the team a couple days to regroup socially and academically….he can work on fundamentals with shortened sessions, and the assistants have the opportunity to spend a little more time on the telephone to touch base with prospects. However off weeks mean no cheers, no tunnel runs, and no competition.
Coaches live for the competition. That’s why they are in the profession.
After a big win, coaches have to guard against complacency with their players. The kids are going to class, they’re hearing how well they played from everyone, and they are reaping praise from family members back home. Groh mentioned on his weekly call in show, Cavalier Call In, it’s important to bring them ( the players) “back to earth”. Virginia hit the practice field Monday and will work out throughout the week until Friday. The Cavaliers will have three days off, then focus on Akron. The Zips are here Saturday, September 21.
“We are beginning to make progress. I saw that last Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the USC game. Thursday was a good day for us and I could tell we were going to play well,” Groh explained in his weekly press conference.
“We have a young, but talented team that came from very successful backgrounds. They know what it feels like to win and I think they proved that last Saturday. But that was last week.”
With any impressive win comes post game accolades. Game balls were presented to Billy McMullen, Angelo Crowell, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and defensive coordinator Al Golden. Groh touted McMullin as a kid who made several “All-American” plays. Crowell led the team in tackles against the Gamecocks and Musgrave and Golden put together game winning plans. However…one of the smallest kids on the field received his weekly talk show MVP…Muffin Curry.
“I’m not a fan of small players,” Groh quipped. “But I am a fan of highly competitive individuals. That’s why I love Curry and what he did on defense and special teams.”
Curry forced a fumble, made three special team tackles, and pulled off another sack on a corner blitz….that’s four sacks in two seasons from a position that rarely bags one.Okay…so much for the past. Time to move ahead. The next stretch, or phase two of the season, is a six game run that features three home games and three on the road. UVA can win them all, go 5-1, or even split at 3-3. The next six will tell a lot…five of them are in the ACC and could go a long way in determining the league’s upper division.