It isn't as bad as Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year but the mood in Charlottesville is pretty grim these days. I had a chance to exchange questions with The Good Ol'Blog at the Sabre and it seems the mood on the Virginia sidelines is about as low as in the stands.
1. With Cedric Peerman injured is Mikell Simpson now the primary running back? Do you think Peerman will give it a go this weekend?
The Good Ol'Blog: If Ced is unable to go, Simpson will likely be the primary guy again, though Groh also employed FB Rashawn Jackson last week a good bit against Duke with some success. Right now, Groh is playing Simpson's availability close to the vest (as usual), so it's a tough call on whether he'll go. If I were to guess, I think Peerman is in worse shape then Groh is letting on, and he won't see the field for several more weeks. But that's just a guess.
2. Who is Marc Verica and what kind of quarterback is he?
TGOB:Verica is a great person, piano enthusiast, and average quarterback. He has accuracy issues (especially on the deep ball), but can connect in the short to midrange game when he's on. But when he's off: watch out. He was an interception machine against Duke. He does bring some mobility to the table, an Al Groh has used some designed rushing plays for Verica to get the ball moving.
3. If Chris Turner is going to have a bad day who is going to be causing it in Virginia's secondary?
TGOB:Nobody. Virginia's pass defense is not-so-good. If I had to pick someone, and I guess that's what you asked me to do, then I'd say true sophomore Ras-I Dowling would be the guy. He's shown great promise and snared a pair of interceptions last week against Duke. I know, I know, it's just Duke. But, at this point, us Hoos are looking for positives anywhere.
4. With all the speculation about Al Groh's job security do you think this team might rally to save his skin?
TGOB:You know, you'd think they would've rallied to save his skin last week? I hope they do, but as own of our gurus noted in his Duke wrap-up, there is a serious morale problem on the team right now. Maybe their attitude will change by coming back to Scott Stadium, but it's looking rough right now.
Incidentally, I don't think Groh is going to get canned this year. The UVa administration is far too gun shy about firing coaches -- especially those with draconian buyout clauses. Given that he was named the ACC Coach of the Year last year, the administration will look for any excuse (hello attrition!) to avoid having to trigger that "pay me the whole contract, bitches!" buy out.