That was an absolute blast to watch. I don’t think I could’ve picked a better ending to the final home game and Erick Green’s senior night. The team had fun, and it looked like the beginning of the year Hokies.
Quick thoughts: Erick had a supporting cast. Robert Brown, C.J. Barksdale, and Jarell Eddie combined for 34 points. Both Brown and Eddie drove, and the results were great. Why we didn’t try this earlier in the year, I’ll never know. Something clicked in their mind, that’s for sure.
The Hokies out-rebounded Clemson 33-21. We didn’t give them very many second chances to score.
You know, today’s game left a much better taste in my mouth than the loss to UVa. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t our rival, but I think it’s the energy I saw from the team. They refused to give up. In fact, at the lowest point of the game, they responded.
The Hokies were down 12-0 and got their first score SEVEN minutes into the game. Nothing was going right. With about 8 minutes remaining the first half, I saw the team spark and something got them going. The Hokies switched to a 2-3 zone (they ended up staying in it for the rest of the game) and became extremely active. The entire team looked determined to close the deficit and win, not just Erick Green.
On the eve of a critical Thursday night matchup with the Miami Hurricanes, questions about the Hokie offense abound. While any changes to the offensive coaching staff, and a corresponding change in philosophy, will not take place until the offseason, we have seen a radical change in Bud Foster's defensive approach that has resulted in a significantly improved pass rush and run defense over the past two weeks. That continued success will be critical to any hopes of victory against a depleted, yet talented Hurricanes offense.
A quick comparison of film from the Pitt and UNC games versus the Duke and Clemson games demonstrates two significant changes in Bud Foster's philosophy.
A New Spin on an Old Trick: 4-4 and Stopping the Run
The first was a return to the old 90's 4-4 alignment, but adjusted to fit three and four wide receiver sets. It was utilized to shore up a previously porous run defense.
We are 5 days removed from the disaster in Death Valley, and I still find myself completely at a loss for what to write. The reality is, I see lots of good things. I really do. I think about 70% of the pieces are there for this to be a great football team. No, I am not kidding. The defensive line has been turned loose two games in a row, and without having the robotic responsibility of slanting to a gap and holding the space rather than pursuing, they have looked like the dominat unit we expected in preseason; a unit that can demolish without parlor tricks. Against both Duke and Clemson, the offense moved the football when it followed a coordinated, sensible plan of attack coupled with reasonable execution. I saw terrific effort, passion, and nastiness from critical players. We have evidence this can work.
I did two things when I woke up this morning, I ate a small juice glass full of Peanut M&Ms, then rewatched the ill-fated 4th quarter double pass over, and over. I needed some sweet in my mouth before the bitterness.
That's a tough loss to swallow. Like the rest of you probably feel, I felt like we left a lot of points on the field. Tech really played as good as, or better than, Clemson in the first half, yet trailed going into the locker room. Foster's defense held Clemson to 66 plays, 295 yards, and 31 points (yes, the final score was 38-17, but I'm not counting the pick six against the defense, and another 7 of the 31 came after the game was out of reach). That was a tremendous defensive effort; better than I dreamed they could do. Bud routinely answers the bell, so I shouldn't be surprised. Ultimately the offense couldn't pace Clemson in the second half, special teams blunders, and some shoddy officiating stopped the Hokies from winning. However, officiating is part of the game, and teams that execute efficiently overcome bad calls.
The offense looked like a hot mess in the second half. I don't have the benefit of the film, so I apologize if I'm not 100% accurate here. From the live viewing, I noticed a lot more zone read than the veer from the pistol (which was so successful last week) and the tailbacks didn't make their mark inside. There were a lot of questionable play calls in the second half.
Fuck Clemson. Leave any other thoughts here.
For those of you making the trek to Clemson Saturday, safe travels and make us proud. Being that its an 8 hour trip from the DC/Metro area, 5-6 from richmond, and about 4 from Blacksburg it should be a reasonable one to attend.
The rest of us however, unable to go, feel free to share how you'll be watching this key matchup. Noon games are usually snoozers against less competition making for an acceptable day of plopping on the couch and carressing a few cold beers. Seeing as how this one won't be that easy going I feel many Hokies are gathering at either a local bar or with a spread at home.
If you have certain traditions for away games or are doing something new tomorrow let us know.