The cupboard is bare, just bare. This year is all about a change in culture for the Cavaliers. New Head Coach Mike London has close ties to former head man Al Groh, having worked for him in the past several times, but it’s unfair to call London a Groh man. On the field, the biggest change will be a shift from Groh’s 3-4 to London’s preferred 4-3. In the short run this will be ugly as the Cavalier roster has been built to support the four linebackers and three line men, and not the other way around. Offensively, London isn’t one of these hip spread option guys that seem to be popping up every where. His teams are about running the ball and doing the little things.
You’ve made it through December. The fields are still frozen. Time to sharpen the plow shear and wait out the spring time floods.
Players to watch
Ras-I Dowling-Corner Back-#19-Senior
2009 First Team All ACC
Dowling is a possible All American in 2010.
Of course an All-American corner back on a team this bad may be the most worthless All-American ever.
Matt Conrath-Defensive Tackle-#94-Junior
2008 Second Team Freshman All-American
Nick Jenkins-Defensive Tackle-#96-Junior
3008 Rivals.com ACC All-Freshman team
Quick history lesson, Ralph Friedgen won ten or more games in his first three seasons as head coach at Maryland. Over the next six seasons he would go a combined 35-38, with four losing campaigns. Coach-in-waiting James Franklin, current offensive coordinator, is scheduled to take over after 2011, but will Friedgen make it that far?
It wasn’t hard to predict that Maryland would struggle in 2009; after all they had graduated forty scholarship athletes. That’s not an excuse for Friedgen, but rather an example of where he’s failed as a head coach despite being a talented offensive coordinator. Maintaining some form of balance between your graduating classes and your recruiting classes is important to a programs stability and continuing development.
This year will possibly be Friedgen’s last, and it will determine largely how his time at Maryland will be remembered. Turning around the team on the field isn’t as important as turning around the program off the field and developing some stability for future head coaches. Friedgen has some talented skill positions coming back this year and a maturing defense to work with.
You wrote a critically acclaimed novel at 27. It was turned into a hit movie making you a talk show regular. While your public profile is second-to-none among writers of your generation, deep down inside you are racked by a fear that you can’t write another book. Your nights are a never ending string of vodka stingers. Dude, you’ve got to pull yourself out of this.
Players to Watch
Torrey Smith-Wide Receiver/Kick Returner-#82-Junior
2009 All ACC Wide Receiver and Kick Returner
Scored two touchdowns on kick returns
Smith is a true star; he will be receiving passes from Jamarr Robinson, a mobile quarterback who looked good in limited action last year
Da’Rel Scott-Running Back-#23-Senior
2008 First team All ACC
Was limited by injuries and a terrible offensive line last year, more experience should make the line better
Mike Wujciak-Line Backer-#33-Senior
2009 First team All ACC
131 tackles in 2009
Two interceptions in 2009
We’ve all forgotten that Jim Grobe is the creator of a quirky, option-based offense. Wake never expected to have a passer the quality of Riley Skinner, nor a quarterback who ran so slowly. To accommodate Skinner’s skills Wake transitioned to emphasize the pass more, but with Skinner gone expect a return to Grobe’s run-based ways. Wake will make use of their solid and deep running back group to power the offense. Of course they’ll be running behind an inexperienced offensive line so they have that to deal with. Defensively the Deacs took a step back last year, a problem that will be compounded by losing both starting defensive tackles this offseason.
Life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Life gives you shit, you make shit sandwiches and feed them to all the cool kids. They may kick your ass later, but they will never underestimate you again.
Players to Watch
Marshal Williams-Wide Receiver-#8-Senior
Led the team in receiving in 2009
2009 All ACC Honorable Mention
Josh Adams-Running Back--#27-Senior
Led the team in rushing in 2009
11th all time among for rushing yards at Wake Forest