Cavaliers Groh discusses toll of losing Print
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Tuesday, 30 September 2008 13:35
NCAAF Headline News

 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -A terrible start to the season has left Virginia fans calling for a coaching change and reminded head coach Al Groh why winning is so fulfilling.
``I'm speaking for all the coaches, myself included,'' Groh said Tuesday. ``Every week there's a tremendous amount put into this. Every week, between 90 and 100 hours, just to have the sense of satisfaction that comes from the accomplishment of the team playing well.
``So, for anybody involved who puts in that amount of time, and if you don't get any reward for it, that's a difficult end of the week. That's a difficult end of the week if you won the previous eight games. They don't count for anything that day. They really don't.''
The Cavaliers have had three difficult days in their only games against teams from the Bowl Subdivision, losing 52-7 to Southern California in the season opener, 45-10 at Connecticut and then 31-3 last Saturday at Duke, which ended a 25-game ACC losing streak.
ved Maryland on Saturday.
On message boards and talk radio programs, fans are calling for an end to the Groh era after eight years, and they're not just talking about the head coach. The meager point total has made Mike Groh, the Cavaliers' offensive coordinator, the subject of ridicule as well.
Groh, 52-40 in seven-plus seasons at Virginia, does not permit his assistant coaches to speak to the media during the season, preferring a one voice philosophy, and he said they all have the same understanding.
``That's the nature of the business,'' he said. ``It is what it is. It doesn't make any difference why it's that way. It is what it is. I think we all understand that.''
Since he arrived at his alma mater eight years ago, Groh has not commented on injuries, saying he views such talk as excuse-making. But the rules appear to have changed somewhat this year in what has been a remarkable and ongoing year of attrition for the Cavaliers.
Since they started 2008 by blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and losing 31-28 to Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl, at least nine players have left the team for non-football reasons. Among them were sophomore quarterback Jameel Sewell, in whom Groh and his staff had invested two years, and defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald, an All-ACC caliber pass rusher.
Both left for academic reasons, as did starting corner Chris Cook.
r and running back, was among those who left for health reasons, and this month sophomore quarterback Peter Lalich was dismissed from the team for legal trouble. Lalich, a heralded recruit, had started the first two games this season.
It's a situation that finds sophomore Marc Verica as the newest quarterback, one who has risen from fourth on the depth chart last season to the man trying to lead a comeback.
He drew praise after his first start at Connecticut, even though Virginia was embarrassed, and then threw four interceptions last week in the lopsided loss to the Blue Devils.
``It's unfortunate,'' Verica said of the calls for a coaching change. ``This program's done a lot of great things under coach Groh here, and for things to be down at this point, to turn your back or to get down on someone - that's not the right way to handle it.
 

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