Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hoos - Defense

The UVA defense bears an eerie similarity to the UVA offense, areas of concern from last year have had an extra year to develop, and prior strengths have graduated contributors, leaving them weak.

DL - Running a 3-4 scheme, you would be wrong to think the DL would have any real depth. Luckily, the season-ending injury of Chris Canty in 2004 provided experience for some young DEs, so entering 2005 they have snaps under their belt. While the starters going into the fall are stalwarts from the end of last year, the position holds potential as Chris Long and Vince Redd have the ability to develop into beasts. At NT Virginia is extremely shallow, as Keenan Carter recovers from an injury plauged spring, and Kwake Robinson comes after a position shift where he filled in poorly for Canty.

Personal note - DL success is the direct link to how far UVA goes this year. Last year a combination of injuries and poor play resulted in opposing quarterbacks having long pockets and being able to pick on our inexperienced secondary. Secondary support was provided by dropping LBs Blackstock and Brooks into coverage, taking away their innate pass-rushing skills. In order to prevent big plays, UVA had to run more conservative schemes (i.e. no blitzing from the secondary), and the extra time QBs had helped them to advance their offenses. Good DL play pressures QBs and forces mistakes and allows more creativity from the overall defense, as opposed to basic zone coverage.

LB - For a position that has two of the best LBs in the ACC (Parham and Brooks) at ILB, the remaining spots are up for grabs and depth is an issue. Look for SO Jermaine Dias and Clint Stintim to secure starting positions at OLB.

Personal note - I find it ridiculous UVA has been unable to sign LBs from the current crop of recruits. Brooks is gone next year, opening his spot, and the Two Deep is filled with players with no game experience. A stud LB could start from Day One.

Secondary - The most glaring, and gaping hole from 2004 has improved, but only because of a year of experience. I forsee the emergence of younger players (SO - Nate Lyles, SO - Jamaal Jackson, possibly FR - Mike Brown and FR - Chris Cook) to supplant upperclassmen by the middle of the season, based on competition and athletic ability.

What scares me the most about the 2005 UVA team is the wide deviation between their potential and the result of underacheivement. Espically under Groh, in years past you could prognisticate UVA's wins +-1, but a combination of schedule and the emergence of key players makes it difficult to determine. I will address their upcoming season next.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Due to my borderline obsession, and the lurking Turtles on this site, I have been hesitant to make any posts regarding one of my true loves, UVA football, but as the season draws near, I must engage my sentiments, which will serve as an interesting point of reference as the season unfolds.

Membership to the numerous UVA message boards has given me a pretty clear indication of what type of fan posts on a message board (notice I didn't categorize as "roots for UVA"). Message board posters have an inflated sense of team worth and are never satisfied. I find it comical when UVA loses, (no undefeated seasons, to my knowledge) and the boards go into meltdown about wasted opportuities and "what ifs". I find it sad that someone could get emotional about a football game, albeit a damn great football game.

Personally, I am happy with the product that Al Groh produces, which is a consistent 7-8 wins, a bowl berth, and a team with players you can identify with/root for, who play to the best of their ability. What I really appreciate about the Groh tenure is UVA wins the games it is supposed to win. Give me a team that wins against worse teams, and occasionally beats a better team, and I am satisfied.

Going into 2005, I don't know what to make of the UVA squad. Although we return the majority of our starters (including D'brickashaw Ferguson and Ahmad Brooks, likely to both be top 15 picks), we lost 7 draftees and are anemically thin at a number of positions.

Offense - Biggest ? is at WR, where we have a crop of talented freshmen (Woods, Covington, Ogletree) vying for PT against a group of mediocre returnees (Ottawa Anderson, Fontel Mines, Deyon Williams, Bud Davis). I am hoping the competition reveals 2-3 who have a high level of intensity and give UVA the passing option that didn't exist in 2004. 15-20 passes a game is unacceptable, I would like the number to be @ 30, but am realistic with 25.

QB - Marques Hagans is a stud, who just makes people miss. It is a travesty he isn't 6'3" or he would be All-American. Had trouble last year seeing over the massive offensive line, but hopefully experience and being accustomed to shifting the pocket will open more passing lanes. Last year was too dependent on the run when plays broke down, but needs to have established WRs to build confidence in the pocket. Backup QBs are an unspectacular lot, from which I see Kevin McCabe emerging as 2nd string.

RB - Offensive strength. Hard to believe Wali Lundy is due for a "breakout" season, having rushed for nearly 3,000 yards in his first three years at UVA. Man on a mission. Michael Johnson has breakaway speed to complement WLs north-south style. I also envision Cedric Peerman (RF) making an impact. Although never mentioned, fullback Jason Snelling is a beast as a blocker and occasional runner, and I expect repetitions for Kevin Bradley as his backup.

OL - Huge, but not without problems, as the loss of All-American Elton Brown requires a few position shifts. Ian Yates-Cunningham is returning from missing all of last season, so it could take a game for the OL to become familiar with eachother's tendencies.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Movies, Movies, Movies

Had the opportunity to see 'Wedding Crashers' after receiving multiple glowing reviews from degenerate peers. Very funny movie, certainly worth the price of admission. While not giving anything away, Owen Wilson is funny, Vince Vaughn is superstar funny. OW is more suited for the introspective humor of his character in 'The Royal Tennenbaums', but succeeds in his role as the reactive sidekick.

Most likely will be the only movie I see in theatres this year.

I must again make reference to the F&J topic of underrated movies, a limitless topic, which combines everyone's heterogeneous taste in movies, with differing definitions of underrated. However, I think everyone knows what defines an overrated movie. Some movies I have found to be overrated:

Rush Hour
The Birdcage

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Crack Foods

Everyone has a small group of foods that they simply cannot resist, and will entirely finish, regardless of the situation of the circumstances. My top 3:

3. Baja Fresh brown salsa: Aesthetically lacking, yet an amazing taste with a slight bit of bite. I spackle the stuff all over my burrito, not to mention lathering up my chips (professionals always ask for extra). Should a gob happen to fall in my drink, I'm not at all bothered.

2. Subway cookies: Any variety, but mostly oatmeal-raisin or chocolate-chip. Perfect goo quotient in the middle to flaky cookie on the outside. I cannot remember the last time I went to Subway and did not purchase.

1. Combos: Pizza or cheddar. Combos have been my favorite snack since I was 5. I cannot open a bag and not finish. I've seen Combos brought to social gatherings, where they are the center of attention, as no one has seen them in ages, but they are so good. Have single-handedly pushed me to the edge of extreme hypertension.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stupid College $hit

After reading on F&J the incident of walking out of class in college, it reminded me of a worthless story that barely deserves posting.

My entire college career can be summed up in the events that occured in first year Statistics. Our professor, (Something) Tran, spoke barely audible monotone english, never had my attention for more than a few minutes, and resulted in a class I skipped regularly (combination of the awful professor and being a MW 8:00am).

After skipping the class for the majority of the year, we (myself, friend, friend's roommmate from Temple, Texas) decided to attend the last class...after drinking a fifth. Normally, you couldn't roll me out of bed before 11, but I was up/showered/dressed/on the dorm entrance of my friends at 6:30 AM. One fifth of Abxsolut later, and I was drunk. Unfortunately, a few beers (Beast Ice) later, and I was blacked-out.

The three of us stumbled to the 8:00 hammered, sat down in our respective seats (in a class of 15), paid no attention, and felt obliged to read the Cavalier Daily rather than review (fully folded, completely blocking any view of the front of the room). The professor's voice was abruptly broken when Temple,TX cracked a Beast Ice in class. Finally, we were told to get the hell out.

After being kicked out, I treated myself to three omelets from the cafeteria, before passing out at 10 and waking up at 12:30 with the worst hangover ever.

...and we were laughing....

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dinner Party

It would be really sad to reread all of my posts, as I am sure over 50% deal with awful/boring subjects, from which this will not deviate.

On Saturday night, I had to attend a dinner party. At what point did DPs become acceptable, and what did they replace? Personally, I would much rather play four hours of beer pong while watching baseball than having a decent meal.

The couple hosting the party were newlyweds, with the bride being 24 and the husband being 30+. Not that it matters, only that the bride was all jazzed for the dinner party, which I found to be sad, since she'll be hosing them for the next 40 years of her life. What is the hurry?

It was blatantly obvious from the start of the party, that the theme was, "use all the random gifts off our registry", as the night started with fondue. Does anyone actually like fondue, and by "like", I mean think it is a worthwile investment of one's time to melt a Hershey bar for 45 minutes before combining with a graham cracker or a banana slice? Give me a break.

Post fondue, dinner was ravioli from a ravioli cranker (i.e. piece of garbage). Finally, dessert was a 2nd fondue.

Because one fondue wasn't enough.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Completely Useless Knowledge

Just finished a game of Trivial Pursuit, 'The 90's'. I wish I could be proud of winning, but it is somewhat embarassing when you can answer, "what musical artist was arrested for videotaping women in the bathroom of his restaurant", without even having to think.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Top Five Staffordonian Names

The top five last names that should be an alert you are dealing with someone from Stafford:

5.Payne: One of the Payne's went bogging last weekend and got his 1993 Ford Ranger stuck.

4.Bumbrey: The Stafford High School basketball team reached the regional finals due to double figures from Greg Bumbrey, Tyrone Bumbrey, and Romaine Bumbrey.

3.Shackelford: I used to pay to have my garbage picked up by Shackelford's Garbage, now I just take it to the landfill.

2. Shelton: The Sheltons couldn't srping for a babysitter, so they sent their kids outside to play hide-and-seek behind the cars on blocks in the front yard.

1. Shifflett: "We knew she wasn't from our side of the family when I married her, she's got a full set of teeth."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Schools Out for Summer

Excuse me if I excuse myself for the remainder of the afternoon, but word of the Kwame Brown/Caron Butler trade has the entire city exaulting, much like the 'Schools Out for Summer' scene is Dazed and Confused. I am off to chase him down with my 'FAH Q' paddle.

Seriously, can I pack his luggage, or book his flight, to make sure he is gone? I wish him the best of luck in LA, and am sure he and Kobe will establish a nuturing environment, and he will be a great component of the Triangle offense. Being that DC was a 'big' city for him, I am sure he will have no trouble adjusting to LA.

Truthfully, I don't care if he goes 20-10 every night (which would require outplaying a superior qualilty of centers in the West every night), he won't often cross the path of the Wiz, and Butler will fill the Larry Hughes 2-spot capably.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Goodbye Nichole, Hello Katie

Played a round of golf this morning at Westfields in our monthly SAGA tournament.

It is embarassing that traffic on 66E is bumper to bumper at 6:45 am, 20 miles outside of DC. Luckily I was doing 80 going west.

After three fantastic years, and six weeks after purchasing, I finally made the switch from my Mizuno MP-33s to the MP-37s. I have started the process for canonizing the 33s, they were the best set of clubs I will ever own. It is a set I will never get rid of. The 37s are a bit smaller with a slightly thicker topline, but I thought today would be a good introduction, as I haven't played in weeks and had no expectations. After a 7-iron shank on a par 3, I know it will be a while before I am fully comfortable, so I was left to smash driver to have a wedge in, as my Cleveland wedges are consistent.

What clubs do you guys have? My list:

Driver: Titleist 905, Grafalloy still, 2.8' tourque shaft 10.5'
3W: Titleist 983, Fujikara Speeder shaft, stiff, 13.0'
Irons: Mizuno MP-37s, Dynamic Gold stiff shafts
Wedges: Cleveland 56', 60'
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron, Studio Stainless Newport 2

Monday, July 11, 2005

Recipe for a Blackout

Again on the subject of the wedding I attended this weekend, the one thing that stood out (aside from the priest putting his cigar down on the alter during the rehersal, and skipping the reception for his usual Saturday poker game), was the guy in front of me in the bar line during cocktail hour, ordering a double Jim Beam and coke.

I immediately laughed, as the guy unknowingly called out the help for employing the standard watered-down wedding drink , that, and I always commend a rip-start on the festivities.

In a wedding setting, I can never settle on a drink that can be downed in mass quantities, yet remain palatable throughout the entire night. Slugging scotch is awful, and a mixture of cocktails (V&S, G&T, Jim Beam and rubbing alcohol) isn't the best option. I am open to suggestions for a game-plan for wedding imbibing.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Wedding in Baltimore

This weekend, and aside from the repeatedly miserable service at the Wyndham (FYI - if told you have an "exclusive corner room" only means you've got a ton of windows and got shafted on square-footage), the weekend was a blast. Ceremony was a "quick Catholic wedding" (35 minutes!) in Little Italy, followed by a reception on the 22nd floor of the World Trade Center.

Aside from the table of unlimited shrimp cocktail, the reception was punctuated by a Jager shot by the entire assembled party at the end of the night, the perfect way to draw the curtain on the evening. Having misplaced my affinity for the liquid asphalt, I was egged on while downing my shot in stages by an octagenerian who had finished hers.

Sunday was fantastic, gorgeous weather, a lunch on the Inner Harbor (sandwiches from across the street, not getting suckered into a $17 crab cake at Hooters) before walking to Camden and scoring face-value tickets to a 4-1 O's victory. The heat in right-field allowed me to sweat out the remainder of my hangover.

In summation, I was surprisingly impressed with Baltimore.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Shipping and Handling = $86.00

I know my recent posts have been of a pessimistic nature, but it can't go without saying how ridiculous shipping fees have become. I call them "fees" rather than charges, because I don't think I could make a purchase on ebay and pay less than $12, which is most cases is more expensive than the crappy '80s CDs I am purchasing. At what point did it become acceptable to take a cut off the $2.16 it costs to ship something, and jack it up to something audacious.

Many times I pay exorbinant fee for shipping, and get a box with the actual price on the package, which unnerves me to no end.

Sadly, it seems companies have now caught whiff of the phenomena and jumped on the bandwagon. I was on and about to purchase a $99 slipcover when I realized the shipping was $20, and tax was $5. Paying 25% extra to get it delivered is crap.

The real joke is Pottery Barn assesses shipping fees based on price of purchase, not actual product weight. You can buy picture frames from PB for $250, which would be a shipping fee in excess of $25. Essentially, you are over-paying for shipping on an overpriced, poorly made product, for which you can probably buy an overpriced warranty for when the POS inevitably breaks. Eff Pottery Barn.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I had lunch this afternoon at a place I enjoy, 'Noodles & Co.', but it is ironic as the establishment is bordering on the overkill style of TCF/Appleby's/Ruby Tuesday's/TGIF, that I absolutely hate. I noticed:

While the menu consists of mostly noodle dishes, the drinks include sodas, beer, and wine, in addition to the specialty bottled 'Jones' sodas.

The dining area, while being subdued in atmosphere, had 'Push It' pumping over the PAs.

The serving staff is overattentive, asking if I needed my drink refilled when I was 10 steps away from the soda fountain.

The cumulative result was somewhat disorienting, but as long as they keep my $5 Pan Fried Japanese noodles, no complaints.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Someone explain the appeal of Coors Light? It is a beer adored by the masses, most of my friends, but I consider it horrible. When it comes to the Lite beers, I prefer Miller Lite. All Coors Lite tastes skunked and like can, but nothing like beer.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Adam Sandler Movies

My ranking of the top five Adam Sandler movies:

5. 50 First Dates. Barely edged Mr. Deeds and Big Daddy, and only because I picked it out of a hat.

4. The WaterBoy. Moments of laughter (not hilarity). Didn't care for the casting of Henry Winkler and Kathy Bates. Would have preferred Gar Heard and Carnie Wilson.

3. The Wedding Singer. Man the 1980's were tubular.

2. Happy Gilmore. Carl Weathers was perfect for Chubbs Peterson.

1. Billy Madison. Comic genius and a smoking Veronica Vaughn.

At What Point...

...did it become acceptable to wear one's cell-phone on a belt clip? Once cell phones began to proliferate, it was very annoying, after time I was innundated with the site and forgot about it, remembered it yesterday (for no reason) and how truly awful it is.

While on the topic of cell phone's I'll officially throw mine away when they go retro and people start carrying Star-Tacs again.

"Reversal of Fortune"

Is the best term I have heard in ages. I am seriously reconsidering renaming HIAH "Reversal of Fortune", and I fully expect the next Triple Crown winner to be of the same name.