Monday, September 29, 1997

My perspective on things was a little more "global" this week, because I spent the weekend in Charlottesville and missed the Tech/Arkansas State game in the process, a good one to miss. I watched the Dopey Scissors get dismantled by the UNC Tarheels, and then I was able to catch a little bit of the Miami/WVU game before leaving for a night-time wedding that Mrs. HokieCentral was involved in. So I thought I would open things up this week by talking about the other Big East games and giving you my impressions of Virginia.

As usual, I'll post a game report on Monday night/Tuesday morning. Even when I miss the game, I like to put together a report. Till then ....

Another Rough Week for the Big East

This weekend was another bad one for the Big East football conference. While the marquee matchup, WVU vs. Miami, went unmentioned by the ABC/ESPN crews, Temple and Boston College dropped out-of-conference games that Big East fans were hoping would produce wins. Temple lost to Maryland, 24-21, while Boston College was downed 24-6 by the Cincinnati (don't schedule us if you're in the Big East) Bearcats.

Cincinnati 24, Boston College 6

BC had a rash of big injuries on Saturday, as they lost their starting quarterback (Matt Hasselbeck) and their best receiver (Anthony DiCosmo), as well as running back Mike Cloud, who was already subbing for the injured Omari Walker. Cloud's injury was a shoulder, while DiCosmo's was a hamstring, and I'm not sure what Hasselbeck's injury was. I'm also not sure about the extent of the injuries and whether the players will be available for the Tech game in two weeks.

The BC/Cincinnati game was actually tighter than the final score. The Bearcats returned two BC interceptions, one by Hasselbeck and one by his backup, Scott Mutryn, for touchdowns in the fourth quarter. After Hasselbeck was injured in the fourth quarter, Mutryn threw two quick INT's that helped Cincinnati blow it open.

Cincinnati is now 3-1 with wins over Tulsa, Kansas, and BC, while their loss came against Tulane. Cincinnati is not a national power, but as we discovered in 1995, they're also not a pushover. And here's something to remember - the last 1998 schedule I saw for the Hokies had us slated to play the Bearcats on the road.

Maryland 24, Temple 21

Meanwhile, Temple turned the ball over five times in the first half against Maryland, and then coughed it up on the Maryland one-yard line with less than five minutes to go in the game and the Owls positioned for the go-ahead score. If Temple could hold onto the football, they would be a pretty good football team with wins the last two weeks, but instead, they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

But hey, if you're looking to Temple to provide some much-needed respect for the Big East, then it's tough times indeed for this conference.

West Virginia 28, Miami 17

After Miami's latest Orange Bowl loss, the 5th loss in the last 6 home games for the Canes, the talk of "this team will be back" and "we can still run the table and have a good season" was finally gone from the Hurricanes' locker room and press conference. Miami is now facing up to the fact that this is going to be a bad year for them, especially now that they're 1-3, 0-2 in the Big East, facing a road game against F$U next week, a road game against VT in November, and a season-ending matchup with Syracuse.

Excuse me while I dab my eyes with a tissue. I'm real broken up about this.

Hey, but from what I hear, the Hurricanes have put together three straight top-5 recruiting classes, and Butch Davis is the best coach in the Big East (insert derisive laughter here).

As for West Virginia, I was emailed by a HokieCentral member last week who said, "If you stop Amos Zereoue and (receiver) Shawn Foreman, you can shut down WVU's offense." Against Miami, Zereoue had 206 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries, while Foreman had 6 catches for 64 yards and a TD.

Um, okay. We'll just shut those two guys down when we meet them in late October. In Morgantown. Gulp.

One last thing. If I hear that tired joke "Hurricanes downgraded to tropical depression," which was the headline in the Roanoke Times article, one more time, I'm going to scream. Right after I'm done screaming about ESPN not even showing the score of our rout over Arkansas State.

My Take on the Dopey Scissors

I watched the UVa/North Carolina game with my brother, a UVa grad, so I got a good look at the Scissors and can give you the lowdown. UVa led 20-3 at one point and then surrendered 45 straight points to suck up a 48-20 loss in Chapel Hill.

First of all, I have to tell you about one of the conversations I had with my brother. He was telling me about how inexperienced the Cavs are, and he told me that UVa (along with Ball State) lost the most starters of any Division 1 team. I'm 90% certain that he got that stat from the Charlottesville "newspaper," The Daily Progress. That's a Daily Progress spin-master stat if I've ever heard one.

I said, "Well, how many was that?" To which he replied, "14 or 15."

I said, "Really? We lost 13."

End of conversation. I guess that extra player or two will really kill you.

Back to the game. UVa has two big problems (outside of George Welsh) that will make it a long season for them. Problem number one is a lack of experience. They've still got some talent. Antwoine Womack (yes, that's the correct spelling of "Antwoine") in particular looked impressive, especially for a freshman running back. But the linebackers aren't filling the holes nearly like Farrior and Sharper used to, although replacing F&S is a pretty tall order for any linebacker tandem. The Hoos also make critical mistakes at critical times. These problems will go away with time.

The biggest problem, just like last year, remains at quarterback. Let's put it this way: if Aaron Brooks was any good, Tim Sherman would have pulled major pine time last year. Brooks is capable of making nice throws and runs, but he has exactly zero pocket presence, and his instincts in the pocket are non-existent. He doesn't seem to know when the pocket is collapsing, and he has no idea how to get rid of the ball when it does. His decision making is poor, and he's not doing the Hoos any favors back there, much like the Brooks/Sherman duo was a hindrance last year.

We're spoiled, Hokie fans. For a first-time starter, Al Clark is a hell of a quarterback.


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