Elliott emphasizing fundamentals to try to turn underachieving UVA team around

Elliott emphasizing fundamentals to try to turn underachieving UVA team around

Chris Graham
tony elliott
Photo: UVA Athletics

If you were hoping to hear that UVA Football coach Tony Elliott had used the bye week to try to make structural tweaks to the struggling offense, bad news, the answer there is no.

Elliott, at his Monday presser, was asked if he feels the offense is married to the personnel that he has – a nudge from the reporter asking, because the answer is, no, it’s obviously not.

The first-year head coach answered that the offense’s problems are “more just fundamentals and trusting your technique.”

Per my review of the transcript, he had 416 more words to offer on fundamentals and technique and how that’s what the issue is.

That’s a lot of talk about fundamentals and technique for an offense returning the QB and wideouts at the heart of a group that gained 515.8 yards per game last year, and is averaging 356.8 yards per game this year.

(Announcer voice, stage whisper: the password is scheme.)

Elliott said he spent most of his work time during the bye week “just kind of evaluating the big picture, just looking at the staff, make sure that work responsibilities and all those things are continuing to be followed, see if we needed to change anything just structurally from a program standpoint, and then really focusing on just where the guys are mentally, mentally and physically.”

The message to his group with the focus on Georgia Tech, with a short week – the ‘Hoos and Yellow Jackets hook up on Thursday night in Atlanta – is about opportunity.

“You’ve got six opportunities, and you just look at college football, we got an opportunity to win all six of our games,” Elliott said. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to play well on the road. We gotta get our first road victory. We have to focus on getting our first road victory and from there building momentum.”

UVA is a three-point road ‘dog at Georgia Tech, which has won two straight for interim head coach Brent Key, who was named to succeed Geoff Collins, who was fired last month after a 1-3 start.

The Yellow Jackets rebounded well from the self-inflicted turmoil, winning at Pitt and then beating Duke in OT ahead of their bye week.

Georgia Tech is definitely overachieving considering where things were even just a few weeks ago.

Virginia, on its side, is underachieving, at 2-4, the two wins coming over Richmond, an FCS program, and ODU, which was picked to finish last in its division in the Sun Belt, though to their credit, the Monarchs have wins this season over Virginia Tech and Coastal Carolina, the latter a 49-21 beatdown by ODU this past weekend.

The last two losses for the Cavaliers were ugly – 38-17 at Duke on Oct. 1 and 34-17 at home to Louisville on Oct. 8.

Elliott said he’s emphasized to his team the importance of “being honest and realistic with ourselves and owning the fact that we have underachieved based on what our talent is.”

“What’s the gap? The gap is we need to be a team. We’ve got to come together, and we’ve all got to do our job. We can’t put all of the pressure on one side of the ball. It takes all three units,” Elliott said.

“But we’ve got an opportunity. We’ve got four home games. We’ve got two road games, and in my opinion all those are winnable games with the team that we’ve got. We don’t need to focus on too much of what we did other than correct the mistakes from the first half. And then let’s go do something special in the second half, and let’s finish this thing the way we want to.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, youtube.com/chrisgrahamAFP.