|"It is the most important victory of my career." -- Head Coach Dick Voris, after the
Hoos’ 15-12 victory over Duke on September 27, 1958. Voris finished his UVA career
with a record of 1-29.
|"We've stopped recruiting young men who want to come here to be students first and
athletes second." -- Former Virginia head coach Sonny Randle, describing his strategy
for turning around UVA's football program
|"As the score mounted, to 20-0 and finally 26-0, his movements slowed. With two
minutes to go and South Carolina threatening once more, Voris stood behind several
rows of substitutes, staring at his shoes." -- Sports Illustrated, describing Coach Voris’
stellar coaching performance during the Hoos’ 26-0 loss to South Carolina in 1960
|"Really, Texas wasn't as good as I thought they'd be." -- Ted Manly, Virginia's
freshman quarterback, after Texas had spanked the Hoos 68-0
|www.hoosfootball.com is not affiliated with or endorsed by the University of Virginia.
|All photographs on this site are the property of the respective copyright owners. They
are presented here solely for educational and/or editorial purposes and may not be
reproduced for any other purpose.
|Copyright © 2008 www.hoosfootball.com All Rights Reserved
I've managed to rope another one of my college friends into contributing content to
my site (at no charge, of course). By way of background, if I was handing out
superlatives to my college buddies, my friend Brian would definitely win "most
likely to engage in a Lewis Black-like diatribe." (My buddy T-Bird would win "least
likely to hold his liquor." But that's a separate issue.) Anyway, without further ado, I
present you with the first of (hopefully) a series of "Brian's Rants."
Some people would say that it's not necessary to get worked up about a two-point
conversion decision that did not play a role in the outcome of a game. Since none of
these people would be reading this site, I'll give you a bit of advice: These people
should not be trusted.
Anyone who does not understand the fundamental need to deconstruct nonsensical
coaching decisions – no matter how little impact they may have had on the result –
knows nothing about being a sports fan. They are either former Soviet agents sent to
live among us in sleeper cells within the U.S. in advance of a multifront invasion, or
they are aliens masquerading as humans. Either way, I'd recommend caution.
With that out of the way, let's get back to the main point: deconstructing the decision
not to go for a two-point conversion in the 4th quarter of UVA's 16-3 victory over UNC. A
successful two-point conversion would have given the Hoos a full two-touchdown lead
at 17-3. But more importantly, there was really no downside to going for two. In
practical terms, the difference between the 16-3 lead we had as a result of the
successful extra point and the 15-3 lead we would have had if a two-point try failed is
According to Zach Berman of the Washington Post, Coach Al Groh addressed the
decision in a press conference on Sunday night. Let's take a look Al's explanation:
|UVA Football - Random Musings|
I'm going to follow the model provided by cryptanalysts, who, when presented with the
task of deciphering messages that are particularly difficult to decode, begin by
breaking the message down into component parts. Or at least I assume they do. I
don't know a damn thing about cryptanalysis.
"Just to get all the points that we could and make sure that the other would have to
have two scores. "
We were already up 12, so unless Al is aware of some football rule that I don't know
about, it was going to take two scores to catch up regardless.
"If they scored 14 points, they were still going to have more than us,"
Well, 14 is more than 12, which is what we had after the touchdown and what we
would continue to have if we failed on the 2-pt. conversion. And 14 is more than 13,
which is what we had after kicking the extra point. But 14 is actually not more than 14,
which is what we would have had after a successful two-point conversion. I'm not sure
why he would bring this up since it demonstrates that his decision made no sense
and certainly does so much more succinctly than I'm doing here.
… but if they were only going to score 10, they weren't going to have more than us.
So, at the very least, we had safeguarded that fact.'"
I think we have found the key to unlocking the decision-making process at work here.
Why would Al be touting the fact that we had "safeguarded" the fact that we were up by
more than 10 after the PAT, when we were already up by 12 before the PAT? The only
explanation I can think of is that he considered the decision a success because we
didn't give up two points on our PAT or two-point conversion attempt, which would have
cut the lead to 15-5.
Now, I realize we've looked pretty incompetent this year, but I still think the chances of
turning the ball over on the two-point attempt and allowing UNC to return it 98 yards to
get two points of their own are pretty slim, especially since we clearly would have been
running yet another f***ing QB keeper of some sort. Furthermore, are the chances of
giving up a 98 yard turnover on a two-point conversion attempt really that much higher
than having an extra point blocked and returned for two points? And are the chances of
either high enough that it makes sense to kick a meaningless extra point rather than try
to get a 14 point lead?
So the fear of UNC scoring two points on our two point conversion is one possible, but
unpersuasive, explanation for the choice. The other –- which I find more plausible -- is
that Coach Groh had lost his laminated When-To-Go-For-Two chart down the front of
his pants when tucking in his sweatshirt, and just couldn't bring himself to say , "Yeah,
it probably would have made sense to go for two, but I didn't think of it at the time. Oh,
and blowing a promising freshman kicker's redshirt to kick the unnecessary extra point
probably didn't make a lot of sense either."
"Just to get all the points that we could and make sure that the other would have
to have two scores. If they scored 14 points, they were still going to have more
than us, but if they were only going to scoring 10, they weren't going to have more
than us. So, at the very least, we had safeguarded that fact."
Vol. 1: Extra Pointless