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Posted at 04:23 PM ET, 11/27/2011

On early fourth down play, London says his assistants told him it was fourth and one

Virginia Coach Mike London said Sunday that if he had it to do over again, he still would have elected to go for it on the fourth down play inside the Virginia Tech 10-yard line with just less than four minutes to play in the first quarter of Saturday’s 38-0 loss to the Hokies.

But that’s only because London said he was told by his assistants in the coaches’ box high above the field that the Cavaliers faced a fourth and one situation. The play actually was a fourth and two, according to a television replay of the sequence. The official stat sheet identified the play as a fourth and three.

“If it was it was fourth and one – and that’s what I was told – then we’re going to go for it on fourth and one,” said London, who noted he had yet to watch the game film of that particular play. “If it was fourth and three, we probably wouldn’t have went for it on fourth and three. When your best run is a power play, a downhill play, you should feel pretty good about getting that.

“Fourth and two-and-a-half, fourth and three, at that point I wouldn’t have went for it, but whatever it was, whatever it was spotted, what I was told, that’s what it was. We didn’t execute it. We didn’t get it.”

Here’s how the sequence went down: Virginia faced a third and five from the Virginia Tech 10-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Michael Rocco carried the ball and advanced it to a spot near the six-yard line. Referees spotted the ball on the seven-yard line, which meant the Cavaliers faced a fourth and two.

Granted, play-calling has to occur at a very fast rate. And a decision on whether to go for it or kick a field goal has to be made before a fourth-down play could be decided upon. So it is entirely possible that the Virginia offensive assistants in the box – running backs coach Mike Faragalli and graduate assistant Gordie Sammis, who coaches the tight ends and helps with the offensive line – saw where Rocco was halted and immediately reported that to London without waiting to see where the officials spotted the ball.

London, who said several times Sunday he was told it was fourth and one, then decided to go for it, rather than attempt what likely would have been a 24-yard field goal. The Cavaliers handed off the ball to redshirt freshman tailback Kevin Parks, and Parks was stopped short of the first down marker.

“If I had to do it over again, I’d do it over again, make the same call to try to get our guys to understand that this is what we need to do,” London said Sunday. “We need to be able to pound the ball and gain one yard.” …

Junior tailback Perry Jones entered Saturday’s game as Virginia’s second-leading receiver, having tallied 41 receptions and averaged 37.8 receiving yards per contest.

But on Saturday – for just the second time in a game this season – Jones did not catch a single pass.

London credited Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster with devising a plan to limit Jones’s effectiveness, which consisted largely of designating a Hokies defender to spy on Jones’s whereabouts on the field at all times. Jones did not have much luck running the ball, either. He gained 13 yards on six carries.

“They did a good job of just game-planning our best player,” London said. …

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tim Smith tallied two receptions for 42 yards in the first quarter Saturday, but Smith suffered a leg injury at some point before halftime. He tried to return in the second half, but, according to London, “couldn’t push off and came back out.”

Along with Smith, London said Parks and junior offensive tackle Oday Aboushi also suffered leg injuries, though theirs occurred late in the game after the score was fairly lopsided.

“At the time they were coming out, the game was – they had a comfortable lead, so it was kind of that time where we had to start playing other players,” London said. …

The Cavaliers remain a week away from learning their bowl game destination, which will give the players an opportunity to rest their bodies and the coaching staff a chance to hit the recruiting trail.

London said Sunday that he and his assistants will be on the road making in-home visits during the early part of the coming week. After they get back on campus, they will organize some developmental practices for some of the team’s younger and less experienced players.

After about three or four days of that – and once Virginia learns who its bowl game opponent will be – London said the Cavaliers will start game-planning and preparing for the upcoming game.

By  |  04:23 PM ET, 11/27/2011

Tags:  Football

 
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