Chris Graham: ‘Young’ UVa. football team? Puh-leeze

Mike London’s first task as the new head football coach at UVa. was to re-recruit the group that had committed to deposed predecessor Al Groh.

mike-london-ndIt wasn’t the most stellar of classes, given the situation – ranked 11th in the ACC and 67th nationally by Rivals, but it was what he had to work on.

So, what did London get out of that 2010 class? Well, he get a couple of starting quarterbacks, right off the top, though Michael Strauss is now starting at Richmond, and Michael Rocco, after leading Virginia to an 8-5 record as a sophomore in 2011, is also at Richmond, sitting out a transfer year.

The highlights of the rest of the class of 2010 aren’t too shabby – highly regarded offensive linemen Morgan Moses and Connor Davis, tailbacks Kevin Parks and Khalek Shepherd, tight ends Jake McGee and Zack Swanson, linebacker Henry Coley.

Only one of the above, Moses, played as a freshman and is a senior in 2013, joining Groh-era holdovers from his class of 2009 (ranked 33rd by Rivals) Brent Urban, Tim Smith and Jake Snyder.

So you’ve got veteran leadership, with the remnants of the classes of ’09 and ’10 joining in with London’s own much more highly rated recruiting classes in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (25th, 27th and 19th, respectively) to form the nucleus of this year’s team.

This year’s 2-8 team. Which is on a seven-game losing streak. And is on the heels of back-to-back blowout losses to Clemson and North Carolina. And also had the doors blown off at home by Ball State.

And yet we hear how “young” these Cavs are. That’s why Virginia is losing. London’s team is so young. So much youth. So many young recruits.

Problem is, the best players on this team are the guys that London had to persuade to sign with Virginia after they’d been recruited to Charlottesville by Groh. His own guys, in those top classes from 2011 and 2012, have done bupkus.

And for the record, they’re not young. They’re sophomores, redshirt sophomores, juniors.

In case you missed it, last year’s Heisman winner was a freshman, and this year’s favorite is a freshman.

And it’s not about changes in the system, either, with new coordinators on offense, defense and special teams. Auburn was so bad last year that its 3-9 finish got Gene Chizik, two years removed from a national championship, outright fired, and with a new coach (Gus Malzahn) and a new staff the Tigers are already back in the Top 10. This year. Not next, not four years from now, once they’re no longer young.

The excuses being made to justify London’s continued failures are beyond tiresome; they’re insulting to those who have even a basic grasp of the facts at hand.


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