Hate Week: UVA Game Preview

Here it is. One big game that has implications on Commonwealth bragging rights, recruiting supremacy, an ACC championship, a BCS bowl, and a long shot at playing for a national championship. Any Hokie football player, whose focus is not 100% on not only winning in Charlottesville on Saturday, but making an emphatic statement of dominance, should be punched right in the dick.

From a matchup perspective, UNC provides Virginia Tech with a pretty good "scout team" look for what UVA does and does not do. UVA uses a multiple pro-set offense and a base 4-3 defense, both very similar to what we saw from UNC. I have only watched one UVA game this season (the debacle against Florida State) and I saw the following tendencies.

UVA Offense

Virginia's success and failure offensively hinges on the performance of a huge offensive line. The line, lead by mammoth (and by reputation, dumber than a coal bucket) Morgan Moses, focuses more on occupying blockers rather than strong drive blocking. They are effective at engaging and keeping their feet moving (and at least based on the Florida State game, they know how to get away with a ton of holding penalties.) The UVA offense uses a zone running scheme, with a smattering of power plays out of a one back set, usually pulling the lead side guard while blocking down at tight end. Virginia Tech's zone and seal plays are very similar. Both UVA running backs are small and get lost behind their blockers, but they run very hard. I don't see the two backs as being as shifty as the frosh from UNC. Coupled with the experience of playing against UNC last week, the defense should be well prepared to combat the UVA running game. VT must limit UVA's ability to run, because their offense is predicated on manageable down and distance that allows for screens and play action.

UVA presents a more unique challenge in the passing game. Michael Rocco does not have the arm strength of Bryn Renner, but he is much more effective moving outside of the pocket and scrambling. Both UVA running backs are used EXTENSIVELY as screen options and as primary receivers out in the pattern. Virginia Tech has not faced a team that uses their backs as receivers more than UVA. UVA has several tight ends that don't appear to be athletic, but find ways to get open, especially on deeper crossing routes that go against the flow of a passing play. UVA's split ends are big, but none present the coverage challenge that UNC's Jones and Highsmith gave the Hokies.

I thought UNC was VERY tentative in their play calling for the passing game. UVA will use misdirection and have similar looking passing plays in an attempt to subdue the Hokie pass rush, but they will look to make big plays using tight ends and running backs against our safeties. This is a HUGE game for the Hokies whip linebacker, rover, and free safety. UVA will try to get Whitley, Exum, and Fuller to bust coverages, while staying away from our corners except for short comeback routes against our field corners.

Second, the Hokies MUST not only get pressure on Rocco, but they also must contain his scramble plays, especially when Bud Foster uses the blitz to get pressure. The Hokies front four did NOTHING to rush UNC without blitzing, but the Florida State defensive line had a great deal of success chasing Rocco from the pocket or sacking him. They also drew a ton of holding calls (or would have if the officials had been inclined to throw them.) FSU failed when Rocco was able to scramble up the middle when their young defensive tackles lost gap leverage. The Hokies must pressure and contain him. If they do, the Hokies DB's should get some opportunities for some interceptions. He will make panic throws.

UVA on Defense

UVA runs a base 4-3, and they will follow UNC's pattern of "eagle-ing" their defensive tackles on the outside eye of the center. The Hokies struggled with UNC's look and athleticism. While UNC tended to "eagle" their strong side defensive tackle, UVA eagled BOTH defensive tackles much of the game against Florida State. Double eagle puts tremendous pressure on the backside guard to cut block the backside DT, wears out the center, and often causes both guards and the center to focus so much on those tackles, that the middle backer has free reign to scrape sideline to sideline. However, the vulnerability of the double-eagle look showed itself again and again. Florida State had TREMENDOUS success with inside, quick hitting power and dive plays in the center/guard gap where guards were able to cross block or combo block, sealing both the mike backer and the DT, while the playside tackle turns the 4-3 end out. Florida State gashed the UVA front.

From a personnel perspective, I don't think UVA's front 4 is as talented as UNC's. Certainly they don't match up to a Quinton Coples. However, the 3 linemen who will start in this game (Stauitz of course was hurt towards the end of the game) all have tremendous pass rush technique, and all are similar body types (6'3-6'5, 250ish.) They also use several zone blitz packages, which gave the Hokies fits against UNC. You will see defensive ends and tackles dropping up to 7 yards deep into zones. Florida State did a terrible job against the UVA pass rush, and I will have nightmares all week about Andrew Lanier and Nick Becton preventing the outside leverage pass rush of Cam Johnson. I hope we see the Hokies use Drager to his side to at least "chip" his outside shoulder on passing downs before going into the pattern.

I had a tough time getting a read on the talent level of the UVA linebackers and defensive backs. The linebackers seemed to be a scrappy bunch, but I didn't see guys making any "wow" plays. I would regard them as the weakness on the defense. The secondary is a mystery to me. Florida State had success passing, but most of it was on broken plays where EJ Manuel ran for his life away from the UVA pass rush, which broke down the secondary. Florida State didn't get much in rhythm on their regular 3-5 step drops. That could be because UVA had the receivers blanketed, or it could be that EJ Manuel doesn't see the field well. I am not sure, but it sure seems like Chase Minnefield played with Thomas Jones. He has been there FOREVER.

Hokies key to the game offensively is simple. 1) RUN THE BALL. 2) RUN THE BALL. 3) RUN THE BALL. Neutralize the pass rush by making UVA's defensive line defend the run first. The Hokie backs need to get downhill and try to take advantage of the lack of athleticism by UVA's linebackers. Play action will also help stop the pass rush, and the Hokies have used almost no play action over the last two games despite having some success running. I would LOVE to see Logan Thomas pass off the zone-option midline look. That would be a nightmare for UVA to defend.

Special Teams

The UVA punt team is AWFUL in coverage. They have a rugby style punter, so if Jayron Hosley or Kyshone Jarrett can field the punt, don't be shocked if the Hokies can break a return. Cam Johnson is outstanding at blocking field goals, so the Hokies can neutralize that by SCORING FUCKING TOUCHDOWNS until the scoreboard operator gets carpel tunnel. Let's hope the Hokies don't have to punt much.

Summary

I am going to use this section not to summarize the game, but to issue a call to arms to the Hokies players and coaches. Dominate this game, if not for you and the well being of the program, do it for me. Do it for every time a non-UVA grad runs into a UVA alum, tries to have an interesting discussion, and immediately is faced with the douchebag announcing that they are an alumnus of the University of Virginia, as if that pronouncement suddenly gives them the moral and intellectual high ground in any discussion involving issues of the day. Take away their heart early, dominate the trenches, and then come back with big plays to blow it open. Let all the Maroon clad masses occupying Scott Stadium have the opportunity to serenade the future douchebags of the Commonwealth as they exit in the middle of the 3rd quarter to enjoy a wine spritzer and discuss the fall foliage. Win this for all that is good and right about college football, hard work, consistency, strength, and precision. After all the hours I have spent writing reviews of your games, do me a solid. Kick their ass.

Comments

Perfection

Your summary is perfection! Love it and that is exactly what I want to see on Saturday!!

Much obliged. Thanks for the feedback.

Viva El Guapo

Slow clap...let's get em up!!!!

Kudos sir. Especially in the summary section.

My boss is a Hoo, and a great guy at that. However, this past season has been especially trying for me. After UVa won on Saturday, I guess he decided to become a football fan for the first time this year as evidenced by his newly purchased UVa windshirt. Sad thing is that I know when we beat the dogshit out of UVA on Saturday, he'll again become a semi-interested UVa basketball fan and not talk about football ever again, thus not giving me the satisfaction of gloating over our 8th straight against the Hoos. Yet, if the unthinkable should happen and we drop this game, I'll never hear the end of it...and I just can't take that shit.

I'm used to this kind of thing with G(i)T fans down here in ATL, but seriously, I've never had to deal with this from the UVa crowd. Ugh, the smugness is unparalleled.

Go Hokies! Play your asses off. This is both the first and last game of the season...

"You know when the Hokies say 'We are Virginia Tech' they're going to mean it."- Lee Corso

Ever since I moved to DC from Abingdon in 2004, I have dealt the self important pricks who, regardless of my ideas, intellect, or presentation, dismiss me as a bumpkin because I tend to have a bit of an accent. UVA grads have been consistently amongst the most condescending, yet often the least impressive when required to have an debate and exhibit wit. I have yet to meet one UVA graduate who I found to be the least bit pleasant in any way shape or form. The only way that I would want Virginia Tech to win more is if suddenly Washington & Lee joined UVA in some way. If that happened, I wouldn't take a leak on the grounds if the campus was on fire.

Viva El Guapo

Too funny

Could not agree more those two schools produce some of the most condescending, spoiled, little rich bitch humanoids I have ever met. The funniest thing is the wine and cheese jokes. They are so funny because they are so true.

Win one for the Beamer...

Excellent sir!!!

You won't find a better review anywhere!

One thing I noticed Saturday night; FSU got awfully close to blocking a few of those rugby punts. I know Frank hasn't been his old Kick Blocking self however, FSU figured something out and were close at least twice to blocking one. If anyone can pick up on what FSU was doing and close the deal, it's Frank!

Lets hope they can also get something in the kickoff return game. I can't remember the Hokies getting a kickoff past the 50 after so many terrific returns last year.

Viva El Guapo

3-4 offense

i think the key to the game this weekend is running a lot of 3-4 offense:

DW4 between the 20s and LT3 inside the 20 - ALL GAME LONG.

Perfect

Hopefully DMFW will have better ball security!

I think

..that DW4 should have to carry the ball around campus all the time, like Darnell Jeffereson in The Program. All the while Exum, Whitley, Fuller, and Co. try to take it away.

French started The Program references last week on twitter and that is all I have been thinking about. Serves a better purpose this week.

"Kill the quarterback.....Hit the tight end so hard his girlfriend dies....Kill EVERYBODY!" Alvin Mack

Let's Go!!

It's a great day to be a Hokie!

uva

During the college world series, uva was playing South Carolina. I was watching the game with a uva friend and a few other people who went to smaller schools, but were all cheering for uva. I was called an "asshole" by my friend for cheering against uva in that game. She claimed that she "always cheered for Tech during football season." No bitch, you go to the bars with all your Hokie friends to watch the game because a) all of your friends are Hokies or Hokie fans and b) the wahoos are too irrelevant to have a televised game. I went home that night and was venting to a fellow Hokie about my night. Apparently somebody decided we were supposed to cheer for them because they were from Virginia. We both agreed, fuck that.

When they became bowl eligible this year, I got some slight shit talking from uva people on twitter, but then they quickly went back to forgetting they had a football team. Saturday night, my twitter blew up again from my two uva friends, I guarantee neither of which watched the game. I'm sure they still don't really understand whats on the line on Saturday.

Then yesterday, @accfootballnews retweeted a post from a uva fan reminding everybody that Tech has never won a national championship "in anything." Since they care so much about irrelevant sports, i jokingly responded that our men's hammer throw and women's hurdles teams would beg to differ. I got one response back, "yeah those matter." Pot. Kettle. Black.

Bottom line, I think most of us have uva friends or at least encounter uva people on a regular basis. Most of the time they can be ok, at least tolerable, but they can also become the smuggest of the smug when thinking their little team can compete against Tech. It kills me that I am going to be out of the state for Thanksgiving, because I would definitely participate in #occupyscottstadium. I don't want to just beat them, I want to crush their dreams of competing in OUR conference and remind them that there is only ONE dominate team in this state and in the ACC. GO MOTHER F'N HOKIES!!!!!

/rant
nice breakdown of the game btw lol

twitter.com/weavez22

don't forget

our NC in Bass Fishing. Seriously. I we are supposed to be red necks, we have the title to prove it, right?

I'm a man! I'm 40!
Hokie thru and thru.

hahahaha i almost included the bass fishing championship

twitter.com/weavez22

Loved It!

One of the best things ive seen written all year. I'll play Devil's advocate for a mere second. Each fanbase DOES have level headed people annndd D bags. Our very own wahoodaddyRN has been a great sport through the season to which I have backed off ever so slightly. Nonetheless, i am sure Paris will reak to high heaven in pretentiousness. I heard adnauseum in college when home for breaks how my ceiling as a Tech Grad would be delivering pizzas. How I was some second rate citizen compared to the upper crust douches they produced. Even in high school the moment they got their acceptance letter the rift was instantaneous. God love em for being a good school in our great state, but the arrogance is unprecidented. To the point that we've had some apply to my job who are schocked they won't have their own office once accepted. Were a Fortune 200 company haha. its insane.

I want this win. BAD. Not to shut them up. Moreso to shut up everyone else out there who have ragged on our schedule and wins this year. Wins that came on the back of a new QB and much depleted Defense. Our coaching staff is the most consistent in the country. Im looking for us to further prove it.

The weather.

This will most likely be only variable that may equalize the game.

Currently, the forecast on weather.com is showing a high of 64 and partly sunny. As such, these are ideal conditions for the Hokies to gobble up some Hoos.

Keeping my eye on that one factor. Everything else, well, as long as the Hokies have kept up a good polish on their game, should fall into place.

get some dum-dums!

Weather

I believe after the freezing temps last week, the 60 degree weather should benefit us greatly.

It's a great day to be a Hokie!

Spot On

This is one of the best things written all year..I understand each college has it share of d'bag fans but nothing pisses me off more than when you hear a UVA alum saying "I'm going to be your boss" or "Why don't you go back to your farm" both of which make no sense at all. Either way I hope Frank throws his football ethics out the window on Saturday and as French put it so eloquently SCORING FUCKING TOUCHDOWNS until the scoreboard operator gets carpel tunnel. FUCK UVA

UVA: Jefferson's biggest mistake

@pbowman6

+1

"I hope Frank throws his football ethics out the window on Saturday.."

I second!

It's a great day to be a Hokie!

wasp rules

One of the best previews or write ups for this weeks game. My best friend is a Hoo for some unknown reason. All I have been hearing all year is how they are back and they are coming for respect this weekend. We have ben planning this perennial trip since August. I think the Hoos are vastly improved which is all the more reason I want DMFW and LT3 to teabag the whole cavalier defense. I think as long as we shut down the run and blitz rocco and force him into some bad decisions we should be fine. This will be a big game for the linebacker corp. Looking forward to Saturday, bragging rights for year 8. Excellent write up as usual french60 wasp. LETS GO......

Win one for the Beamer...

great write. re: uva pass d

They're definitely a scrappy bunch, but other than Minnifield making 3-4 real plays a game they don't worry me. I've seen 3 games this year, and all of Miami, Duke and FSU have had success against against their corners because of the little-to-no help over the top.

I'm definitely not advocating for a pass first offense this game, but we should do our best to expose Nicholson (nothing I love more than watching him get burned), as he is VERY green and other teams have had lots of success doing it. Look for the Hokies to really work the fade routes on him, as he is easily bate-d on pass action and rarely has over-the-top help.

...you know...
@j3ffress

The HokieBird Who Stole The ACC Champsionship

Ok, I had to do it!!

HokieBird: Pooh-pooh to the Hoos!
Narrator: ...he was gleefully gobbling.
HokieBird: The Hoos didn't go to the VT game and they're finding out now that there is no ACC Championship Game! They're just waking up after a restful slumber, I know just what they'll do. Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, then the Hoos down in Hooville will all cry, "Boo Hoo."

It's a great day to be a Hokie!

Great Post.

If there was one game this year where I wanted to see us actually carpet bomb a team, it's this one. I'm definitely tired of just hoping we "find a way to win it". That being said...

agriculture > culture. Like a boss.

Coale'd blooded

Oh Lord

UVA fans are so cute. A UVA fan on WDBJ7 just said that UVA has a chance because Virginia Tech doesn't have a good defense this year.

VT Total Defense-12th in the nation
VT Scoring Defense-10th in the nation
VT Sacks- Tied for 8th in the nation
VT Pass Efficiency Defense-8th in the nation

LOLUVA

Chris
Virginia Tech Alum '12 Marketing Management
Twitter: @cybrooks11