2009 Virginia Game Analysis: Hokie Talent, Adjustments Conquer Hoos, Groh

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It
was a surreal environment in Scott Stadium on Saturday evening. The game was no
longer in doubt as a close battle early transformed into a little bit of
chippiness and a lot of frustration. By that point, a near 50/50 split in the
stands had become dominated by Hokies – same as the game on the field. As the
clock ticked off its final seconds, my eyes were on UVa’s soon-to-be-ex coach Al
Groh.

Sure it was enjoyable watching the Hokies beat the rival Hoos for the tenth
time in eleven years, but I have to admit that I felt some sympathy for a man
that knew he was about to be fired from the one place he loved the most. Despite
the years of arrogance that irritated so many and the post-game moment of poetic
self-absorption that puzzled all, this was still about a coach coaching his last
game at his alma mater. It’s a harsh business and the reality of that business
was telling as the scoreboard read 42-13 and Al Groh quickly hustled off the
field and out of Scott Stadium for the last time.

A lot has been said about Groh’s nine years in Charlottesville, and the job
search is now underway at UVa. My job is to analyze the game on the field, so
that will be the focus for the rest of this article. When it was all said and
done, the difference on the field was the overall disparity in talent – Tech was
better at the skilled positions, they were faster and they were deeper. It’s
hard for a team to overcome that, but UVa did a great job of that for the first
2-1/2 quarters. That’s not unusual, particularly in a rivalry game. Going in,
many of us felt that the UVa players would be motivated and they would play
extremely hard … and they did.

Between the whistles, there were a lot of interesting aspects to this game....