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Mike London defends his assistants

After two straight wins to open the season, Mike London and Virginia (2-5, 0-3) have dropped the past 5 in a row to teams that are a combined 21-10, including last weekends loss to Maryland (27-20). Through this point last season the Cavaliers were sitting at 4-2 overall.

Earlier this week, London was asked about their struggles, particularly on the offensive side of the ball and special teams. London responded by sticking up for offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and special teams coordinator Anthony Poindexter. 

Against FBS teams, Virginia has only eclipsed the 21 point mark once this season (a 38-44 loss to Louisiana Tech), and have ran for a total of two touchdowns against FBS teams so far this season, and both of those were in one game (at Duke).

In five of their seven games, Virginia has put up over 350 yards of total offense, including the past four games in a row. Turnovers seem to be hurting them the most, as they rank 119th in turnover margin (-1.86 per game). The Cavaliers have thrown at least one interception against every FBS opponent and multiple interceptions in four of those six games.

“I know that the plays that are called are called to be successful. What happens when they’re not successful, then everyone knows it. I think that Bill on a couple of occasions, if he could, maybe he would do it over again. But these guys go into the game with the best plans available, best options, best opportunities. They look great when they work. When they don’t, they’re up for discussion." London explained.

The special teams have also been an area where the team has struggled. After assessing where their special teams personnel is from a talent and execution standpoint, London and Poindexter (who also coaches the safeties) have decided on simplifying things. 

“When you assess your team to see where you are talent-wise, execution-wise, sometimes you got to say, All right, let’s just make it simple. I think that’s to the point of where we are right now, is just making it simple.”

All the remaining games on Virginia's schedule are against teams currently .500 or better, starting this weekend with Wake Forest (3-3, 1-3) at home. The game can be seen on the ACC Network at 12:30pm ET.

 

 

 

Major Applewhite mic'd up at Texas

Good video here from The Longhorn Network profiling co-offensive coordinator / running backs coach Major Applewhite.

Mack Brown and a handful of players weigh in on what makes Coach Applewhite an asset to the Texas program, and how his experiences as a player have helped him become the type of coach that he is today.

This weekend, Texas will look to rebound from their two straight losses (to West Virginia and Oklahoma) and get back on track against Baylor. Kickoff is scheduled for 8pm ET on ABC.

Thursday TV - Two FBS games and a NFL game

We've got a total of five college games on tonight (two FBS games) and a NFL game.

Eastern time listed.

NFL:

Seattle at San Francisco - 8:20 - NFL Network

College:

Hampton at NC Central - 7:30 - ESPNU

North Alabama at West Georgia - 7:30 - CSS

Houston at SMU - 8 - FSN Affiliate

New Haven at Stonehill - 8 - CBSSN

Oregon at Arizona State - 9 - ESPN

High School:

No games

 

Sal Sunseri: Preparing to coach against your son is harder than you can imagine

Tennessee and defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri face the Alabama this weekend in Knoxville. Sal's son Vinnie starts in the secondary for the Crimson Tide and he also has another son, Tino, who starts at quarterback at Pitt. I think it's safe to say those are some solid genes.

Many of the questions that Coach Sunseri fielded after practice today had to do with how he is approaching this week, and his message was emotionally charged, and clear.

"I didn't imagine it would be this hard." he said.

As one reporter points out, it could be worse. They could be playing Pitt and Coach Sunseri would have to scheme against his son, Tino. After the reporter described what would likely be Sal's worst nightmare as a coach, Sal says, "That's probably the greatest thing is that I don't have to scheme against Vinnie, but that would be extremely, extremely tough, and...I'd have to make a decision on that one."

Good stuff from Sunseri here on the uniqueness of the situation and the bond within their family.

Paul Johnson wants players to think less and react more Saturday

As Paul Johnson pointed earlier this month after letting defensive coordinator Al Groh go, part of the reason for the move was due to players having a hard time implementing Groh's schemes, which seemed complex at times.

And as coaches, we all know how hesitation can be a recipe for disaster on the defensive side of the ball.

Coming off of their bye week, Johnson wants to see less emphasis on the play call and more focus put on the effort with secondary coach Charles Kelly in charge of the defense on Saturday.

“We don’t need 80 calls. You don’t need a buzzword on everything. We need guys to learn how to play and play hard.” Johnson explained during his press conference yesterday.

Another area that Johnson said that they need to improve in is their scheme when the offense shifts or goes in motion, stating that their communication needs to get better, and that they need to think less and just react more.

“There’s got to be some communication, but when one guy goes in motion, it doesn’t have to change seven people. I’m not saying that the other way was that complicated, but the way it was, it wasn’t working. I got tired of hearing, ‘Well, I didn’t get a call.’ ‘Well, yeah, you did.’ ‘Well, no, I didn’t.’”

“I think you’ve got to learn how to play defense and you put your eyes on a guy and they’ll tell you where the ball’s going, as opposed to trying to recognize 82 different plays. That’s just me.” Johnson explained.

This weekend Georgia Tech (2-4, 1-3) will take on Boston College (1-5, 0-3) at 3pm ET.

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