Hall Plays Offense, But Hoos Fall Short
Nov 29, 2008
Vic Hall posted 109 yards rushing and 2 TDs on offense against Virginia Tech.
The Cavaliers finally used junior Vic Hall on offense Saturday at Virginia Tech, starting him up at quarterback in UVa's version of the "Wildcat" formation. Hall delivered a strong performance despite throwing just one pass (Virginia coach Al Groh said there were 5 or 6 passing plays in the books for Hall), not only giving the Cavaliers a spark but a chance to knock off Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Unfortunately, his 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns weren't enough as the Hokies pulled out a 17-14 win.
Virginia coach Al Groh said after the game that the Hoos needed a spark on offense so they turned to Hall, one of the state's all-time most productive high school playmakers.
"We felt that our team needed a spark, needed somebody to believe in and there's nobody on this team that the players and coaches believe in more than Vic Hall," Groh said. "He certainly confirmed that to everybody today."
Fine, I understand the logic for why the coaches finally decided to turn to Hall. But what took so long? He's someone the coaches and team believe in. A leader. A player that Clint Sintim deemed "Can't Do Wrong" Vic.
Hall had a truly incredible high school career, earning state player of the year recognition twice. In the end, Hall posted 13,770 career yards of offense, a number that set the state record and ranked fifth all-time nationally at the time. He had a state-record 104 career touchdowns, including 66 on the ground. As a senior, he posted 64 total touchdowns on the season.
But more importantly, Hall led his team to wins. Lots and lots of wins. Hall directed Gretna to state championships his junior and senior seasons with identical 14-0 records.
I ask again. What took so long?
"Whether Vic can do that on a four-month basis ... he's not a big man," Groh said. "Four months of that, who knows if he would be able to withstand it? In fact, there was one time today that we were told he wasn't available but fortunately that didn't last but for a few seconds."
So, let me get this straight. The coach who has said since day one that quarterbacks are judged on getting the ball in the end zone and leading their team to wins, shied away from playing Hall at quarterback - a guy that did nothing but get his team in the end zone and lead the way to wins the last time he played full-time quarterback - because of what might happen in terms of the physical toll it could take on the 5'9", 190-pound Hall?
It's not an overly compelling argument, but it is based in logic. It provides a glimpse into why Hall can't play full-time quarterback in Groh's mind. Even giving Groh the benefit of the doubt on the choice, however, doesn't answer the question fully. Even if you believe he couldn't take the full-time physical pounding playing quarterback, it doesn't explain why he couldn't be a part-time factor on offense.
That's why Virginia needs to begin the Charles Woodson or Champ Bailey strategy immediately. Pronto. Better yet: yesterday. Why can't Hall be a playmaking corner that moonlights on offense? Receiver, passer, runner, and trick play extraordinaire.
Don't waste the talent. If there is any player on the roster - past or present - that can handle more assignments, it's Hall. He's got a knack for getting things right, for making plays, for instinctively being at the right place at the right time. Al Groh has indicated as much virtually every time he's asked about Vic Hall. Inevitably, the answer includes words like "understands" or "flow" or "good sense."
So what are the Hoos waiting for? Careers are short. Hall can handle it. After all, everyone who ever speaks of him calls him special. The question is whether Virginia will have the courage to step outside the norm and allow him to be special and beyond in the orange and blue.
It hadn't happened with the exception of a fake field goal against Pitt, a big play against UConn, or a little something here and there. Not until Virginia Tech on Saturday. No full-time commitment to using Hall as an offensive weapon. With that said, it's clear that Groh doesn't believe Hall could be the difference-maker on an offense that has struggled mightily for three years, which, coincidentally, is the length of Vic Hall's career to date.
So you know what I'm thinking now. And you're probably thinking it too. Why not?
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