Can the spread offense save Al Groh’s job at UVA?

By Lee Roberts  |   Thursday, April 16, 2009  |  Comments( 1 )

Virginia Cavaliers
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In 2008, the Virginia Cavaliers started the college football season in ugly fashion, losing 52-7 to Southern Cal, and things didn’t really ever improve much from there. A four-game winning streak in the middle of the season showed some signs of progress, but that optimism quickly dissipated because of a four-game losing skid to close the campaign.

After another disappointing season, many expected Al Groh’s job to be on the line. He stuck around, but changed offensive coordinators in an effort to rejuvenate his program. With a new spread offense in place, can Virginia do enough to save Groh’s job?

The situation is somewhat reminiscent of the switch to the spread offense that Tommy Tuberville attempted at Auburn last season. Tuberville was also looking to jump-start his offense by bringing in Tony Franklin to run the spread attack. It didn’t work. Tuberville fired Franklin midseason and Auburn fired Tuberville as soon as the season ended. Groh hopes his experiment works a little better.

Groh replaced his son, Mike, with Gregg Brandon. Previously, Brandon was the head coach at Bowling Green, where his offense consistently ranked near the top of the MAC. If Brandon can replicate that success at UVA, then the Cavaliers have a shot at being back in the conversation for winning the Coastal Division in the ACC.

One of Brandon’s first objectives must be to find a quarterback. Jameel Sewell, who sat out last year thanks to a suspension, is back in the mix, along with Marc Verica and Vic Hall. Sewell has the most experience after starting two seasons ago. Verica was the starter for most of last year, but after struggling down the stretch, UVA turned to Hall -- who was playing defensive back up until that point. Hall was a quarterback in high school and set Virginia state passing and total offense records.

The key to the spread offense is the quarterback position. Brandon needs to find the guy who can make split-second decisions and make accurate throws at the right time. If he can, Virginia has a chance to be successful next season. If he can’t, Al Groh will start looking for a new job.
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About Lee Roberts

Born in Richmond, Va, I moved south to UNC-Chapel Hill for college and received a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. I currently live in Charlotte, NC and cover Auburn, LSU and the ACC.
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