Scattershooting: Swinney thinks Virginia is 'very close' - The Daily Progress: Sports

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Scattershooting: Swinney thinks Virginia is 'very close'

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 6:00 am

Scattershooting around the ACC, while noting that Clemson coach Dabo Swinney believes Virginia’s best football lies ahead …

So, you don’t buy into Mike London’s or Craig Littlepage’s faith that Cavalier football will be dramatically better next year? How about a rival coach’s perspective?

Clemson’s Swinney, not known as a guy who blows a lot of sunshine, said Wednesday that he thinks Virginia is going to be a good program in the future because of the talented younger players on the roster.

“They’re very close,” Swinney said. “Sometimes you’ve got to look beyond. Everybody just says, ‘Oh, well, they’re 2 and whatever (6), and all of a sudden they’re not a good team, and that’s just not reality.”

In fact, Swinney says this UVa team reminds him somewhat of his 2010 Tigers squad that lost several close games.

“I see a lot of similarities,” Swinney said. “They’ve played a very difficult schedule. A lot of people rate their schedule as the toughest in the country at this point. They’ve got 13 or 14 freshmen on defense, they’ve got a young quarterback who is really, really talented and getting better. But I think their future is very bright. Nobody wants to hear that, but I think with a little patience this team is going to step up and be one of the surprise teams in the next year or so … they’ll be a real force in that side of the conference.”

Swinney said he was particularly impressed with sophomore quarterback David Watford, whom the Clemson coach had really not scouted before on tape.

“Man, he is a very talented young player that I think has a very bright future,” Swinney said. “This time next year he’s going to be a lot better than he is now and a lot of the people around him are going to be better. I think he’s one of those guys that everybody in this conference is going to take note of over the next couple of years.”

Swinney said when scouting the Virginia film from last week’s 35-25 loss to Georgia Tech, in which Watford set a school record for pass attempts (62), completions (43), and threw for the fourth-highest total (376 yards) in Wahoo history.

“I just kind of stopped the film and ran it back a couple times,” Swinney said of some of Watford’s throws. “He made a couple throws from the pocket, some deep comebacks from far hash to the field that were on time, were accurate, and had great velocity. I mean, that is a big-time play, a couple of those throws that he’s made. And then you see him take off and run, he can definitely do some things with the ball in his hand.”

Just saying, but all the UVa coaches and administration were talking last spring about how good they felt the Cavaliers would be in 2014. No one expected them to be that good this year.

Another game of the century

Florida State made its last Clash of the Titans a laugher in the way the Seminoles manhandled Clemson. This week, it’s another national spotlight game between two more Top 10 ACC teams.

Can Miami put up a stronger fight against FSU than Clemson managed to do?

One thing is for sure, the emergence of those three teams has brought back respect to the ACC, which could boast two BCS teams this season. So, what’s it like having the nation’s eye on one of college football’s greatest rivalries again, FSU and Miami?

“It’s good for both schools, it’s good for the state of Florida, it’s good for the ACC and it’s good for college football,” said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher. “It was at that time, the epitome of college football and arguably the top two programs in the country consistently. Every year you watched it. No matter who won, it was always very similar games.”

Miami coach Al Golden, who said his program received a rebirth of sorts last week when there was no postseason ban placed upon his program by the NCAA, said it’s exciting for the Hurricanes to have the opportunity to play in such a big regular season rivalry game again.

“It’s the passion, the tradition, how much the games meant in terms of the national spotlight or the repercussions in terms of postseason,” Golden said of the game’s tradition.

Sounds like a commercial

Duke coach David Cutcliffe was asked if he’s going to catch the Florida State-Miami game this Saturday. Cutcliffe said he has a speaking engagement Saturday night (his Blue Devils are in a bye week), but that he hopes to see part of the game.

“You know what’s great about cell phones is that I can get some TV on it, so I’m going to sneak in some looks there,” Cutcliffe said.

We can see him now, peeking at his phone under the table between bites. Some cell phone company is bound to make a commercial out of that.

Stat of the Week

When Tajh Boyd is involved in Clemson’s next offensive touchdown, he will own the ACC’s career record for TD responsibility.

The Virginia native has been responsible for 112 scores in his career, 90 TD passes, and has rushed for 22 more. The next will break former N.C. State quarterback Philip Rivers’ ACC record.

Quote of the Week

Boston College coach Steve Addazio was asked if any of his players were growing beards, following the trend of the Red Sox: “I mean, we probably have some coaches losing some hair. But actually Sean Sylvia, one of our safeties, has one of those beards going right now. He’s a huge Red Sox fan. I tease him every day. It’s hilarious. He looks like the guys on the team.” 

Red Zone woes

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer’s team is struggling in the Red Zone. In fact, the Hokies are dead last in the ACC in Red Zone efficiency, scoring only 65.4 percent. Even Virginia is much better in that department at 80.6 percent, 10th in the conference.

Beamer thinks he knows what’s wrong.

“I think you really can go back to just lack of execution,” he said. “I mean, I told our people, ‘Are we asking you to do something you’re not capable of doing? If we are, tell us. Are we asking you to do something physically you can’t do? Tell us.’”

Beamer said he didn’t think that was the case, but rather a matter of concentrating, being consistent.

Hoos in the pros?

This note is especially for Stan “Wahoo” White, who is on his annual pilgrimage from Buckeyes country to see his Cavaliers.

UVa has 22 former players presently listed on NFL rosters: Oday Aboushi (Jets); Danny Aiken (Patriots); Branden Albert (Chiefs); Ahmad Brooks (49ers); Chris Canty (Ravens); Nate Collins (Bears); Matt Conrath (Rams); Chris Cook (Vikings); D’Brickashaw Ferguson (Jets); Cam Johnson (Colts); Chris Long (Rams); Rodney McLeod (Rams); Heath Miller (Steelers); Chase Minnifield (Redskins); Eugene Monroe (Ravens); Kevin Ogletree (Lions); Austin Pasztor (Jaguars); Cedric Peerman (Bengals); John Phillips (Chargers); La’Roy Reynolds (Jaguars); Matt Schaub (Texans); Jason Snelling (Falcons).

Short yardage …

…Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said that Wake wide receiver Michael Campanaro reminds him of NFL receiver Wes Welker and has better speed than given credit for. Campanaro accounts for 32 percent of Wake’s offense and 44 percent of the receiving end of the passing game. …Duke coach David Cutcliffe said he had eight starters out this week, unable to practice, so it was great timing for a bye week. He expects all of them to be back for the next game against N.C. State.

The picks

Last week: 7-2. To date: 71-18. This week: Syracuse 24, Wake Forest 21; Notre Dame 44, Navy 21; North Carolina 38, N.C. State 12; Georgia Tech 42, Pitt 29; Florida State 33, Miami 19; Clemson 40, Virginia 24; UPSET SPECIAL: Boston College 24, Virginia Tech 20.

Hootie’s power rankings

Rank, team, record, previous week’s ranking, comment:

1. Florida State, 7-0 (1). Run the table and Seminoles are possibly in the national championship that some expected a year ago.

2. Clemson, 7-1 (2). Tigers got a whoopin’ last week by FSU but still in contention for a BCS bowl if they can win out.

3. Miami, 7-0 (3). Hurricanes can make a statement this week but we think they’re still a year away.

4. Virginia Tech, 6-2 (4). Hey, somebody’s gotta be No. 4. Don’t be surprised if Hokies lose at BC this weekend. Offense is struggling.

5. Duke, 6-2 (10). Most dramatic improvement by a team in ACC this year. Cutcliffe could be ACC Coach of the Year.

6. North Carolina, 2-5 (7). Are the Tar Heels finally starting to put it together? We say, yes.

7. Georgia Tech, 5-3 (6). Jackets were lucky they weren’t upset at UVa last weekend when they won by 10 in spite of 5 turnovers.

8. Boston College, 3-4 (5). Slipped on the road to an improving UNC, but will be dangerous at home Saturday against the Hokies.

9. Syracuse, 3-4 (8). Orangemen have had two weeks to lick their wounds from the beating at GT. Can they squeak past Wake?

10. Wake Forest, 4-4 (11). Deacons are getting better and if can upset ‘Cuse on the road, they’re within one game of becoming bowl eligible.

11. Pittsburgh, 4-3 (9). Bad loss to Navy. Panthers turn to get chewed up by Georgia Tech’s triple option.

12. Maryland, 5-3 (12). Good timing for Terps’ bye week to readjust for home stretch.

13. Virginia, 2-5 (14). Showed some life offensively last week. Could it be the Cavaliers are getting better?

14. N.C. State, 3-4 (13). Could it be the Wolfpack is getting worse? Tar Heels hope so.

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