Inbounds with Mac McDonald - Nov. 17
Nov. 17, 2004
The University of Virginia’s head football coach made it plain and simple Monday when he addressed the media.
“Our job is to win…your job is to keep the readers interested. Players can’t be fans,” Groh said. “They have to understand the difference.”
The Cavaliers’ football stock dropped a bit after Saturday’s 31-21 setback to Miami. But as Coach Groh prepared for his Monday night call-in show following practice he pointedly made things clear.
“We’re just trying to win games. And every week it’s the same thing. Some people don’t understand that. When you’re in a conference you are in it to win a championship…otherwise you might as well be an independent.”
“Our challenge right now is to keep the team organized and focused. Keep the team going by using the talents you have at hand and move forward. Every team has problems and no one else really wants to hear them. It’s a test every week and we start over every Sunday.”
In a college football season you only have 11 or 12 opportunities. When you enter the national spotlight people begin to throw around words like “landmark”, and “make a statement”. I tend to agree with coach Groh who believes that the only way you make a statement is to win a title. As he told the media on Monday statements during the season can be forgotten.
By December most college football games are ancient history, placed in a file for next year’s media guide. Fans and scribes look at the wins. That’s all you see when you pick up the paper, or log on to one of a million football websites. The wins. Who did you beat, when did you beat them, and how does it feel to be 10-1 or 9-2. Can Wahoo fans recall what happened in our Akron game? How did we beat Syracuse? Certainly the losses can be magnified. Unfortunately for Virginia the two “L’s” to this point stick out like brown shoes with a black suit. Tallahassee, a total debacle…a sitting duck playing in a place when the home team had lost but one conference game. Florida State was the desperate team that night and the Seminoles played like it.
Miami, despite losing two games in a row on the last play, came to Charlottesville with a certain swagger…still believing they were better than most teams in the league. It had been seven years since the Hurricanes had lost three games in a row. The `Canes found a way with speed, kick returns, and the Miami mystique.
Coach Groh made it very clear to his team this past Sunday as the Georgia Tech game week had begun. He told his players they were still in the hunt and to get their expectations up to his.
And when asked about past games in Atlanta with Georgia Tech when the Cavs were beaten 35-0, or had blown 21-point leads, Groh made it clear to the writer who asked the question.
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the people who were there.”
“Winds of negativity can blow in very quickly. It’s our job to prepare and move forward.”
It appears nose tackle Andrew Hoffman will return to the line up for the Georgia Tech game after his bell was rung against Miami. There was some thought that fullback Jason Snelling might get back to the line up but according to Coach Groh his return is, quote, ” not as realistic.”
Virginia fans might notice the number 18, and the initials KK on the Yellowjackets’ helmets. That is to honor Kim King, a former player, long time supporter, and radio analyst with the Georgia Tech radio network. On October 12th at the age of 59 King lost his battle with leukemia. King started three years at quarterback for Bobby Dodd.
UVA’s last win in Atlanta? 1994…24-7.
Since Tech’s arrival to the ACC, UVA and the `Jackets have met 21 times and 12 of the games have been decided by 8 points or less.
Virginia’s record of 12 wins in a row when rushing for more than 200 yards ended last Saturday against Miami. Under Groh, the Cavaliers are 12-2 when topping 200 yards on the ground.
Darryl Blackstock has had 4 sacks in the past two games, and is now tied for second in ACC history with NC State’s Tyler Lawrence. With 24 career dumps…Blackstock is just 3 and1/2 sacks shy of the record set by Georgia Tech’s Marco Coleman. (27 1/2)
For Wahoos traveling to Atlanta, the Virginia Sports Network will broadcast the game on an in-stadium FM frequency, to be determined prior to the game.