Two days until the first real home game of the 2012 football season, as an actual FBS team makes the trip to Fort Worth- and not just any team, but one of the oldest football teams in the nation, the Cavaliers of the University of Virginia. Brian Schwartz of Virginia's awesome SBNation Blog Streaking the Lawn was kind enough to exchange Q&As with us (you can find my answers to his questions here- though bear in mind this was before we found out Waymon James would be out) and fill us in on the Cavalier football program is and just what Streaking the Lawn is. Make the jump to find out!
HawkeyedFrog: The Cavs pummeled Mike London's old team to start the season, squeaked by Penn State at home and then got blitzed by Georgia Tech on the road. What went wrong for the Cavaliers in Atlanta and will it be fixable for the TCU game/the rest of the ACC season?
Brian: What really went wrong is that our offensive line broke down, and our defense got bamboozled. When Georgia Tech somehow found a way to score on their first play of the game -- on a huge pass play no less -- one of the players said that it really threw them in for a loop. When you prepare for the Yellow Jackets, you prepare for their triple option and their run game. So when the Hoos were hit hard early on in the air, the defense took some time before they settled down. More importantly, though, was that our offensive line just was not there. Can it be fixed in time for Saturday? The dream is yes. There's nothing "unfixable" there, it's just a matter, I think of getting their heads back in the game.
HawkeyedFrog: When last we met you guys the Al Groh era was circling the drain, but now Virginia seems back on the upswing under Mike London. What differences will Frog fans see between this Virginia team and the 2009 one scheme wise?
Brian: For one, Virginia's going back to using their tight ends again, which, by 2009, we had all but abandoned. For another, the Hoos switched back from Groh's 3-4 defense to a more traditional 4-3 defense. To be honest, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what type of Virginia squad we'll see on Saturday. We eked by Penn State and were exposed by Georgia Tech. The team that shows up against the Frogs is going to be fired up and hungry.
HawkeyedFrog: Things were good for Virginia going into the Georgia Tech game, but the Cavaliers come out of Atlanta with a loss and a quarterback controversy. Who is the Wahoo fan favorite, and who do you expect will get the start against the Frogs this week?
Brian: Wahoo Nation is just about as divided as you can get here. On the one hand, Michael Rocco won the quarterback battle last year, and won it once again this year. He led the Hoos to a Chick-Fil-A Bowl appearance last year and showed poise down the stretch, notwithstanding a rough final two games of the season. On the other hand, Phillip Sims is an SEC quarterback that, if hype holds true, is stronger and faster than Rocco. Many fans are screaming for Sims to get the start, so we can see him in action from start to finish, rather than in junk time when it doesn't matter anymore. After all, why fight to get a waiver on the transfer rule if you're not going to put him to full use? Fan favorite? I've got no answer to that, unfortunately. Who's getting the start? It'll be Rocco no doubt, though I expect to see a decent amount of Sims.
HawkeyedFrog: I did some research on Virginia traditions for our Cavalier week this offseason, but "Streaking the Lawn" didn't pop up. To what does your blog name refer?
Brian: All the students know this tradition, even if the school doesn't exactly publish it. UVA's most iconic symbol is the Rotunda. In front of the Rotunda (actually, behind the Rotunda) is Mr. Jefferson's Academical Village (I get paid extra every time I mention Mr. Jefferson in a post) (Ed. If Thomas Jefferson founded my school I'd mention him in every article too), which consists of a 740-feet traverse known as The Lawn and a bunch of residences and academic pavilions. At the other end of the Lawn is a statue of Homer. Greek Homer, not Homer Simpson. As an unspoken prerequisite to graduation, a student must start at the Rotunda, naked, run down the Lawn, naked, kiss the Homer statue, and make the return trip back to the Rotunda, naked. There are obstacles to overcome during this feat. In the spring, ropes are set up across the Lawn to help resod before graduation, which turns streaking into a naked hurdling endeavor. Remember when I mentioned residences lining the Lawn, what I didn't mention is that the residents sometimes enjoy shining a giant spotlight on streakers. Lastly, either carry your clothes with you or hide them well, because, Honor Code notwithstanding, the clothes may at times disappear upon return. It's a very dangerous sport, really.
HawkeyedFrog: I'm actually a pretty big Cavalier fan on weeks when we don't play (which is most of them) and so I'm really hoping that Mike London will be the guy to take the Cavaliers to regular ACC title contention, but with Virginia's high academic standards and unwillingness to cheat (Hi North Carolina!) it always seems just out of reach. What's the feeling around the Virginia fanbase about Mike London and is he the guy to take the Cavaliers to national relevance?
Brian: High academic standards is just an excuse we make up to the public to attempt to explain our shortcomings. Last I checked, Stanford did beat USC, right? Stanford also has a pretty solid basketball team. Oh, and they win the Director's Cup every year. So, let's not hide behind "high academic standards" for why we can't seem to crack the upper echelon. Most Virginia fans are 100% behind London. He came in there, got everyone going back to class again, went around the state and pumped up the Virginia image and recruiting again, and then last year, started producing some results on the field. London is certainly the guy to take Virginia to ACC relevance. As much as I want the Hoos to be of national relevance, I have a hard time just thinking that far in advance. But so far, I haven't seen anything to make me think London wouldn't be the guy.
HawkeyedFrog: Finally, prediction time. What's your prediction for this weeks game at the new Amon Carter Stadium, and what record do you think the Cavs will finish with at the end of the year?
Brian: Virginia will show improvement this weekend over the last, but TCU will ultimately be too much for the Hoos to handle. Virginia falls 28-21, fans will be okay with that, and then Virginia will go on to finish right around 7-5 on the season.
HawkeyedFrog: A close win prediction, but I'll take it. If the line hasn't been adjusted for the Waymon James injury yet, you may want to invest a bit- I think this could be close. Thanks so much to Brian for answering our questions and be sure to check out Streaking the Lawn to keep track of the Cavaliers.