Friday, September 15, 2006
Shorten the games -- but not this way
Limits don’t curtail hoops recruiting
Doug Doughty's College Notebook Plus is exclusive to roanoke.com and is posted by 5 p.m. Fridays.
Find his College Notebook from The Roanoke Times in Thursday's college sports section
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- Linebacker knows Virginia Tech's walk-on tradition
- Hokies, Cavs recruiting ranks 3rd, 4th in ACC, or 6th and 7th
- Green bucks the odds as ACC MVP candidate
- Recruiting updates
I’ve got no problem with the powers that be who felt that college football games needed to be shorter.
What I’ve got a problem with is their solution.
Nobody wants to be sitting in a stadium for four hours, but the problem is not the number of plays. The problem is all the damned TV timeouts.
Even when a game is not on television last week’s Wyoming-Virginia, for instance there are stoppages in play for what are sometimes described as “media” timeouts.
Let me assure you: this member of the media has never needed a timeout, particularly with deadlines approaching.
If you haven’t noticed, speed-up rules are in effect this season. The average UVa football game in 2005 had about 139 plays per game (not counting kicks). An average Virginia Tech game had fewer than 130, a difference that can be attributed to Tech’s tendency to kill the clock when protecting leads.
According to my calculations, there were a total of 117 offensive plays in each of the Hokies’ first two games, including 48 by Tech last week at North Carolina. While it might sound like the Hokies were pitiful on offense last week, generating only 224 yards, consider that Tech last year had the ball on average for more than 69 plays a game.
Project Tech’s 4.7-yard-per-play average last week over 69 snaps and the Hokies would have gained 324 yards not great but considerably more impressive than 224.
I drew the same conclusion after looking at the stats from a game last week involving this week’s Virginia opponent, Western Michigan, which beat Toledo 31-10. Western Michigan had 261 yards in total offense, which was hardly overwhelming, but the Broncos got that yardage in 47 plays.
Did fans want to see less football? I doubt it. What they wanted to see was shorter games and the best way to do that would have been to reduce the number of TV timeouts, which is never going to happen.
Given the choice of less football or the same amount of football, I’ve got to believe that true fans would prefer the latter.
ONE SIGN OF A growing obsession with college football, at least for me, is a decrease in attention given to men’s college basketball recruiting, at least in print.
The online services still cover recruiting and it had occurred to me that while Virginia and Virginia Tech continue to recruit for 2007-2008, both programs had to be close to the 13-scholarship NCAA limit.
The truth is, with the addition of three players who have made oral commitments, all of Virginia’s scholarships for 2007-2008 have been allocated. Add the recruits to the current scholarship underclassmen and UVa is at 13.
Because the Cavaliers are continuing to recruit the likes of 6-8 Charleston, W.Va., big man Patrick Patterson and others, the first inclination is to believe that All-ACC point guard Sean Singletary, who will be a junior this season, will not return for his senior year.
Singletary could pass up his senior year and turn pro, but I don’t think that’s a given. The approach we’re seeing from both Virginia and Virginia Tech is shop-now, pay-later.
“Stuff happens,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “Look at [T.J.] Bannister leaving Virginia. Stuff happens.”
Bannister, who has transferred to Liberty, would have been a senior this year. So, the Cavaliers didn’t run out and get another player when he gave notice of his departure on the eve of classes. What Greenberg was saying is that players are always leaving, whether it’s the result of academics or playing time or injury or illness.
At the present time, Tech has four commitments for 2007-2008 and hasn’t ruled out taking two more players to be at 13. Problem is, Tech also has taken two commitments for 2008-2009 (from J.T. Thompson and Shamarr Bowden) but stands to lose only one scholarship player, Deron Washington.
If Tech took two more commitments for 2007-2008 and all scholarship underclassmen returned in school and Thompson and Bowden honored their commitments, the Hokies would have 14 scholarships spoken for, but history would suggest that’s not going to happen,
The same goes for Virginia, which has a transfer guard from William and Mary, Calvin Baker, who has enrolled without a scholarship. If Singletary turns pro, that might open a spot for Baker, but don’t assume Virginia won’t take another commitment first.
Here’s what I’m showing for the 2007-2008 Tech and UVa scholarship slots:
VIRGINIA TECH Senior Deron Washington; juniors Robert Krabbendam, Cheick Diakite and A.D. Vassallo; sophomores Nigel Munson, Terrance Vinson and Lewis Witcher; freshmen Jeff Allen, Gus Gilchrist, Terrell Bell and Malcom Delaney.
VIRGINIA Seniors Adrian Joseph, Ryan Petinella, Sean Singletary and Tunji Soroye; juniors Mamadi Diane and Lauris Mikalauskas; sophomores Will Harris, Jerome Meyinsse, Solomon Tat and Jamil Tucker, and freshmen Eric Wallace, Jeff Jones and Sam Zeglinski.
While we’re at it, keep in mind that the Hokies are still tracking 6-3 Tyrone Appleton, a 2006 signee who failed to meet NCAA eligibility guidelines and has enrolled at Midland (Texas) Community College.
IN FRIDAY MORNING’S EDITIONS of The Roanoke Times, it was reported that Myrtle Beach, S.C., football player Bruce Taylor, a junior who committed to the Hokies on Thursday, has a broken arm but it is expected to return in time for the playoffs.
Taylor did suffer a broken arm in the first game of the season, but according to the Sun-News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., he could return to action as early as tonight. Taylor earlier had come back from an injured shoulder to play in the opening game.
IN THURSDAY’S UVA INSIDER, a discussion of Virginia’s ninth-ranked 2002 football recruiting class said that Ahmad Brooks was one of four signees who never made it to Charlottesville.
Of course, Brooks did make it to Charlottesville, but not till 2003. The other three players were defensive lineman Keenan Carter, Robert Armstrong and Robert Jenkins. Brooks and Carter were the only ones to reach Charlottesville and only Carter remains.