Thoughts on Aaron McFarling's "Time for a change at Tech" Column

Aaron McFarling wrote a fire Bryan Stinespring column without typing that f-word once. McFarling argues Stinespring should be replaced as offensive coordinator, but retained on the staff because of how well he recruits, essentially the dream scenario for most Tech fans. I don't recall any member of the local media that covers Tech writing that Stinespring needs to be replaced. So it's kind of a big deal, at least among those who let Tech football consume way too much of their life, which is all of us here.

It's a gutsy column to write. I don't know how many media sessions McFarling attends, but it's more than the zero you or I do. It's part of his job to look these coaches in the eye. He stuck his neck out, and did it in an extremely professional and respectful manner. That is commendable.

However, I don't agree with everything he said, even though I think the program needs to move in a new direction. Play calling has been a problem. Hell, I wrote way too many words about one play, but that's not really a valid criticism of Stinespring anymore. Also, consistency is good, but being loyal to a fault is bad. Both happened over Tech's remarkable 10 wins a year streak.

Either way, there really is no escaping this.

Trying to find the beat

I listened to and read quotes from all of Tech's media sessions this week. As someone on the outside of the program looking in, it's really the only way to take the pulse of the team. In my mind, the game against Duke will ultimately make or break the season, and it may say something about program's future. Our backs are firmly against the wall Saturday, and however unlikely, an ACC Championship is still within reach. It won't be, and bowl bid won't look promising, if we lose to Duke.

These are some quotes I found interesting and telling along with my thoughts.

Bud is getting the defense back to basics this week.

The early part of Virginia Tech's practice Tuesday focused all on tackling. Defenders rotated through three stations, one manned by defensive coordinator Bud Foster, one by defensive line coach Charley Wiles, one by defensive backs coach Torrian Gray.

Each had a different tackling drill -- wrapping up (Foster), shedding blocks (Wiles) and open field (Gray) -- all in an effort to correct the missed tackles and blown leverages against North Carolina last weekend.

"Normally when we do, that next game our execution and fundamentals are a lot better," Gray said.

Q&A with Pitt Blather

This week I did a Q&A with Chas of Pitt Blather, you can read my answers to his questions here. Thanks to Chas for his time.

TKP: Going into the game, the Panthers have struggled very noticeably. Not only the Thursday night loss to Cincinnati, but the opening weekend loss to Youngstown State. In your opinion, where is the fan base on this team? Have they already given up? What will the atmosphere be like when the Hokies walk into Heinz Field?

Pitt Blather: It's hard not to write off the season despite only two games in. It's one thing to lose to a 1-AA team. It's something else to have never led and lost by 14 points. Even Cal and Colorado managed to lose in squeakers to 1-AA teams this year. Pitt was just a mess. The Cinci game did little to show that this was an aberration.

I honestly don't know what kind of atmosphere will be there since I don't know how many people will show up at this point. On the one hand, it is VT and all the fond memories of the final few years of VT playing Pitt in the Big East. On the other hand, it's a nooner and a demoralized and bummed fanbase. Is it possible for a crowd atmosphere to be bitterly sarcastic? Or will that just be me?

Q&A with From The Rumble Seat

Editor's note: Brian did a Q&A with our Georgia Tech friends at From the Rumble Seat. You can read Brian's answers on their site. LilBroey700's answers to Brian's questions are below. -- Joe

TKP: One big knock on the Paul Johnson era (other than the crew neck sweat shirts and hiring Al Groh) has been the team’s lack of performance in games where the defense has had time to prepare for the triple option (primarily in bowl games, where they’re winless). Does that worry you, as Bud Foster has had months to prepare his guys for the triple option?

Derrick Hopkins Playing Soccer Is Today's Best Picture


/looks at picture

It's mostly because of the look on Skip's face; kid in a candy shop. Also, I'm picturing the girl as Tajh Boyd. Skip haters-gonna-hate-strutting his way towards wrapping her up for a sack.

There's more to it though. Derrick is one of ten students who traveled to the Dominican Republic to study abroad and help lead a youth camp this summer. As best as I can tell after reading through the Ut Prosim: Self-Motivation and Leadership Discovery class blog, the camp hosts about 64 kids and the goal is to use sports as a means to teach health education.

Clayton, Hamlette, Prince, and Tucker Will Not Return in 2012

The Frankinator released a bunch of updates on his website today regarding the future of the program.

Ju-Ju Clayton, Isaiah Hamlette, Courtney Prince and Dwight Tucker will not return to the program in 2012. Prince has one more season of eligibility and will transfer to Eastern Kentucky. Hamlette is looking to play at a I-AA school. Both have already graduated. Neither Clayton and Tucker will continue their football careers, both will graduate in May.

J.C. Coleman and Dewayne Alford will enroll in classes for the spring semester. Two other players are expected to join them. (Expect one of them to be Robert Lockhart.)

The 2012 Maroon-White Game is April 21st at 4:00 pm.

The Hokies could sign as many as 28 players in the upcoming 2012 class.

Winter Workouts begin on January 17th when the players return and run through March 12th.

Georgia transfer Brent Benedict will be a redshirt sophomore in 2012.

A projected first-team offensive line was listed as: Nick Becton, David Wang, Andrew Miller, Brent Benedict and Michael Via. Vinston Painter, Laurence Gibson Mark Shuman and Nick Acree are expected to battle for playing time as well.

These last two updates are included verbatim, read between the lines at your own risk.

Q&A with From The Rumble Seat

Thanks to our friend Winfield at From The Rumble Seat for dropping by and answering some less than insightful questions by your's truly about tonight's game. You can find my answers to his questions over at his place. Their VPI preview is well done, and is worth the read if you're left wanting to know more about what the guys across the field think about tonight.

1. Aside from the obvious, "have more points on the scoreboard at the end of the game" answer, what does Georgia Tech have to do to win this football game?

The Virginia Letters

Sitting at Virginia's football game-week press conference this afternoon, I was surprised to hear Associated Press reporter Hank Kurz ask defensive end Jake Snyder if he'd heard how U.Va. had recently sent letters to football recruits that basically said by the time they read the letter U.Va. will have already beaten Georgia Tech.

Snyder said he hadn't heard about it. I immediately went to Kurz and inquired about where he'd gotten the info about the alleged letters to recruits. He said U.Va. defensive coordinator Jim Reid told him after the Georgia Tech game the Cavaliers had sent out the letters.

Sounds like a pretty reputable source to me, but I'll try to get further confirmation. Either way, that's the kind of sexy line in a love letter to a recruit that makes a prospect take notice, especially if a program can back it up like U.Va. did with Saturday's 24-21 win against No. 12 Georgia Tech.


This isn't the first time Virginia has passed along a letter to a recruit, far from it. In fact, snail-mail communication with prospective players is a practice that began under Al Groh, and is continued by disciple Mike London. A The Key investigation has obtained copies of correspondence through the years.



You're going to have to sell yourself a little bit better son. Are you worth that scholarship? I've seen a lot of other players move better than you and they can make all the open field tackles too. How are you going to separate yourself from the pack for me?

I'm still not convinced,

Virginia Head Coach Al Groh

Hokie Tracks Are Heading to Greenville

Are you hazy on just what-in-the-hell ECU's Air Raid offense is all about? Then checkout this piece from the TKP archives.

The Air Raid aerial philosophy is like a polished playground attack. There's not an overwhelming amount of passing plays. Rather, the same plays are ran out of many different formations. It also stresses quality, through repetition at practice, over quantity. Receivers work short routes over the middle of the field and to the sidelines trying to feel out and settle in space, and there's always an option to push it deep. Simply put the receivers try to get open and make a play. How our linebackers defend the short routes is going to be something to keep an eye on.

The chillest offensive line in the country?

This isn't a new or lofty request, a bunch of SEC schools provide scooters for the players to cruise around on. I've seen Georgia and Florida players riding them first hand. I'm not sure what Jaymes means by "carts", but I can only assume it's either golf carts riding on chromed out eights, go karts, or co-eds with broad shoulders. Whatever it may be just keep in mind that recruits like shiny things.

Hokie Tracks Are Attending the Alumni Comedy Show

Jayron gets Sport Science'd

Both Appalachian State and the Hokies will rely on contributions from freshman during Saturday's game. Caleb Farris (center), Mark Leal (quarterback), Zack McCray (defensive end), Duan Perez-Means (defensive end), Luther Maddy (defensive tackle), Corey Marshall (defensive tackle), Boye Aromire (rover), Detrick Bonner (corner) are all listed as backups on Tech's two-deep. Appalachian state is starting freshman at left tackle, left guard, receiver and right defensive end. There are 290 starts among the 57 players listed on their roster, an average of 5 each. Their backup left tackle is also a freshman, his name is Shaq Counts. Finally, excerpts from the pronunciation guide, my favorite section of the game notes. Say 'em slow now: DRAY-gurr, Daddy, JARE-in Goo-VAY-uh.

David Teel chronicles the decision that led to Frank Beamer being our coach these last 25 years and not Bobby Ross.