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Groh: Play-calling Is Overrated

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

Dave Glenn and Staff, ACC Sports Journal
April 7, 2003 CHARLOTTESVILLE — One question surrounding Virginia's football program will not be answered this spring: Who's going to call the plays? There is a temptation to say that's the biggest question coach Al Groh needs to answer before next season, but Groh doesn't look at it that way. He said recently that play-calling is overrated, at least when compared to execution. He also puts a high premium on player acquisition, or recruiting, and would freely admit that great calls are useless if they are executed by mediocre players.

Nevertheless, many observers will be watching to see how much the Cavaliers miss Bill Musgrave, their two-year offensive coordinator, who resigned Jan. 20 to take the same position with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Musgrave regularly confused opposing defenses with his calls, including numerous trick plays, and was particularly adept in the red zone. That was one reason UVa was able to finish 9-5 despite an inability to make field goals for most of the season.

To replace Musgrave, Groh promoted 33-year-old Ron Prince, the Cavaliers' offensive line coach for Groh's two seasons. Prince, the first African-American to serve as an offensive or defensive coordinator for the Cavaliers, will retain his responsibility for the offensive line. Groh said a decision on how the plays will be called will not be made until spring practice is completed.

At least one reason for promoting from within was a desire to elevate former NFL offensive lineman Andy Heck to full-time status. Heck, praised for his on-campus recruiting, coached the tight ends last year but also helped Prince with the rest of the offensive line.

The new quarterbacks coach was a natural, Groh's 31-year-old son, Mike. The younger Groh, who quarterbacked consecutive nine-win UVa teams in 1994-95, has coached wide receivers for the past two years and will continue to have responsibility for that position.

Former All-America safety Anthony Poindexter, a graduate assistant in the strength-and-conditioning program last year, has assumed on-field coaching duties and will help Groh with the wideouts.