A Microcosm for the true challenges within the Virginia Tech program

I just want to start by saying that I am just as pissed as you all are. We can all point to the reasons that the scoreboard said 23-3 after the Clemson game Saturday night, and I could rehash many of them. First, I want to focus on a couple of positives, and then I want to fire some howitzers.

First, I want to commend the Hopkins brothers for an absolutely stellar game at defensive tackle. For the most part, Clemson had absolutely zero inside running game thanks to the dominant performance of the two brothers. Bruce Taylor also had an outstanding game, and for the most part, the secondary (particularly Chris Hill and Jaron Hosley) played well. I was dissappointed in the lack of pass rush, but the VT style of defense is neutered in a large part by teams that use a significant amount of option, misdirection, and play action. As I noted in my comments last week, Clemson was a terrible matchup for the Hokie defense, and despite some challenges, the kids made a good showing of themselves (although the safety play, and Tariq Edwards, both did not play up to the level we saw in weeks 1-4.)

Offensively, I thought that the line had major stretches where they looked as dominant as they did all year running the football. Many of the negative running plays were due to down and distance coupled with poor play design, not a failure athletically. I thought David Wilson had his best game this season (he is still nowhere close to being Ryan Williams or Darren Evans, regardless of the numbers). And, that is about all I have.

Now for the bad and the ugly, and boy oh boy was some of it ugly. Let's start from the begining.

Develop an Identity on Offense: I know this may stun some folks, but during the game (and every game this season) at least one time I have thought to myself "damn it, I wish Ricky Bustle was still the offensive coordinator for this team." It may sound absurd, but I have found that good offensive football teams create an identity, recruit to that identity, and win/lose with that identity. The VT offensive staff has created an offense that is an amalgamation of several "flavor of the month" offenses around college football with some of Coach Beamer's holdover conservative philosophy. As result, the offense spends one series using a zone blocking scheme similar to the Washington Redskins, followed by an offensive series that runs spread/shotgun read option, followed by power I. Each "mini-system" if you will has totally different principles that have been added to the offense seemingly to maximize the talents of their best playrs. On paper, that makes total sense, but in practice, the lack of a singular philosophy creates confusion, uncertainty, and the players don't trust the offense play design in the biggest moments.

Lets make one thing clear. THIS SEASON, the playcalling is NOT the problem. Mike O'Cain has done an excellent job of adding play action, counters, option, designed QB runs, and screens into the offense. He is almost too aggressive in his playcalling, which has put the Hokie offense into tough down and distance situations, but it is a far cry from the predictable offense they exhibited during the Sean Glennon area. The problem is that they have incorporated so many different philosophies into their scheme, that the players are so-so in their execution. The best programs have a philosophy, and they recruit to it. Bud Foster does it on defense. Beamer must decide if his team is going to be a power running team, a zone blocking team, or a spread team, and recruit accordingly. Counting on having better athletes to overcome doesn't work when the other good athletes have more faith in their system (see Stanford and Clemson.)

This season, they added this zone read option to fit Wilson and Thomas. Well, run the hell out of it. Also, whatever happened to all those wonderful plans for Wilson in the passing game?

Figure out how to design a passing offense: I have seen this in other posts, but dating back to 2004, how many times have we seen the Hokie wide receivers running 3 deep routes time and again when the QB doesn't have time to throw. Coach Beamer must bring in someone who can create a passing structure that has layered routes, check downs, and then teach the quarterbacks to effectively go through progressions. Go back and watch the 2005 game against Miami, or the Orange Bowl against Kansas. The receivers are running rounded off routes, with almost no effort to use one route action to get another route open.

Make top talent play like top talent: One of the reasons that non VT alumni love the program is that the Hokies "coach kids up." Much is made of all the former walkons that have ended up as Hokie stars and NFL players. However, there is a disturbing trend of top talents underperforming, especially on the offensive line. Today, the Hokies have five 4-star offensive linemen on their roster. While Blake DeChristopher has been a solid starter,  Vinston Painter, Laurence Gibson, Ryan Shuman, and Nick Acree can not even get on the field. Only Vinston Painter is on the depth chart, and all four have been moved out of their recruited positions. I would venture to say that only Acree has been moved to his "natural" position. Meanwhile, the Hokies start two converted tight ends, a wrestler, and a lightly recruited undersized guard across their line. Am I missing something?

There could be a couple of explanations. One, the zone blocking scheme requires small, quick, offensive linemen who can get to the second level. However, they don't run that scheme all the time (especially on short yardage), and if that is their philosophy, then why waste recruiting resources to get prototypical NFL sized offensive linemen? Two, perhaps Painter, Gibson, Shuman etc are having trouble "learning the offense?" Well, that gets back to my first point. The Hokies are running at least 4 different types of blocking schemes, each which have their own techniques, line calls, and responsibilities. Alabama uses multiple formations, but their blocking techniques are the same on every play. So are Clemsons (running the spread single wing.) So are Oregons (spread.). So are Georgia Tech's (wishbone/veer.) The Hokies must figure out a way to get the most out of these talents.

Stop playing "the safe guy": The Hokies didn't play well enough to beat Clemson, but having Scott Demler continue to punt poisoned the atmosphere of the stadium and continually put the Hokie defense in a bad position on the field. I can rant and rave about how Demler should be benched, but the reality is, we have seen this in the Tech program for years. If Tech has an upperclassman and a younger player who are playing at the same level, the upper classman plays, regardless of the upside. We see it now on the offensive line. We saw it last year at defensive end and the backer position. It has been an ongoing theme. Bruce Taylor is an excellent example of a player with big time talent, who languished on the bench until injuries allowed him to get on the field. Once he got his feet wet, he FLOURISHED.

The Gap Defense: This is one area that I am very critical of Bud Foster. His gap system has two negative effects. 1, it damages recruiting. ACC coaches can walk into the homes of top notch defensive ends, tackles, and linebackers, and tell them "look, you may be a hero at Virginia Tech, but you won't learn what it take to play in the NFL." The numbers back them up. Right now, only one former Hokie is a front-seven starter in the NFL (James Anderson in Charlotte.) Guys who were Hokie stars (Jason Worilds, Darryl Tapp, Xavier Adibi) are languishing on the bench and/or have had to change position because the fundamentals taught in Foster's system do not translate to the NFL. Cody Grimm was even moved back to a safety position, even though he couldn't cover a wet fart at the whip position at Tech.

2. Some positions are so regimented that Foster doesn't adjust his personel against teams that give the Hokies a bad matchup. The Hokies were outmanned at the point of attack using their nickle package, but Jeron Gouviea Winslow wasn't enough of a factor in the running game to justify VT going to their base defense. The Hokies have two former starters in Jack Tyler and Barquell Rivers who have barely been used, and an all-world talent in Telvion Clark. Figure out a way to get them on the field.

I miss the days when the Hokies were bigger, stronger, and faster than their opponents, and dominated the line of scrimmage. Now, it seems that in some big games, Foster adjusts to the offense he is playing against instead of causing them to worry about his scheme. Against Clemson, the Hokies played zone more in the first half than they did all of the first four games. Where were the blitzes. Where were the looks with 7 and 8 in the box. Where were the zone blitzes? Where was the disruption of the Clemson play fakes? It seemed like the Hokies ran a very vanilla gameplan on D, and as result they reacted instead of dictating.

Quarterbacking: I think Logan Thomas can be a good QB, but they didn't recruit him to be a good QB. It is inexcusable that they do not  have a legitimate ACC starting QB on scholarship, ESPECIALLY since they do not have a commitment from one this year. Also, they have given him way more responsibility than any first year starting QB I can remember going back to Jim Drukenmiller. They need to simplify the game for him, get through this season, and then do some major work on his vision and fundamentals. They have put in him a position where only the VERY best can succeed, and it isn't fair to him that he now is in the crosshairs of the not so football savy Lane stadium faithful for the rest of his career.

Comments

Maybe Joel Caleb can be the QB. Logan might be. I think Mark Leal is a career backup.

Viva El Guapo

After watching him play Friday night, I hope the Hokies can land Ken Ekamen from Centerville. Very similar player to JR Collins with better upside.

Viva El Guapo

Every Hokie should print this out, put it in an envelope and mail it to the football office.

Make top talent play like top talent: One of the reasons that non VT alumni love the program is that the Hokies "coach kids up." Much is made of all the former walkons that have ended up as Hokie stars and NFL players. However, there is a disturbing trend of top talents underperforming, especially on the offensive line. Today, the Hokies have five 4-star offensive linemen on their roster. While Blake DeChristopher has been a solid starter, Vinston Painter, Laurence Gibson, Ryan Shuman, and Nick Acree can not even get on the field. Only Vinston Painter is on the depth chart, and all four have been moved out of their recruited positions. I would venture to say that only Acree has been moved to his "natural" position. Meanwhile, the Hokies start two converted tight ends, a wrestler, and a lightly recruited undersized guard across their line. Am I missing something?

Row Z forever.
@AdamAbramson

Great Post

I see and agree with everything you are saying...But I have a question for you. Do you think there needs to be a coaching staff shake up (i.e new head coach, new position coaches, new coordinators) and a new philosophy? I look at what Jim H. did to Stanford in what 3, 4 years and I think that could be a great identity for the Hokies

A new season...new hope

Offensive Coaching Staff Shakeup

I think we do need a shakeup in the coaching staff. No head coach change or anything defensively, but tear up that offensive coaching staff. I have never had faith in our offensive line, and I don't think I will until we get a new system. We definitely need some sort of identity offensively, whether it is similar to Oregon, Clemson, Georgia Tech, or anybody it just needs to be efficient, and something we can trust to pair with Bud's D in big games. Bring in a proven OC from another BCS level squad. Maybe cut Newsome and move Stiney into an o-line coach full-time.

see, I don't want Clemson, GT, or Oregon's system. There isn't anything new there. Clemson runs the single wing (out of a 3 WR look), GT runs veer blocking with the occasional trap, and Oregon runs the spread. All three styles will blow up against big time defensive lines with two gap defensive tackles.

If I had to pick a style to emmulate, it would be Wisconsin or Stanford's. They have proven that with big mass, willpower, and PRECISION, you can be a national player without neccesarily getting 5 star OL across the board. It just takes patience, player development, and making damn sure your guys do things right every day in practice. The Hokies current OL has bad habits that always come back to bite them in the ass on a big play.

1) Miller stopping his feet on contact
2) Becton playing too high or being slow on the snap count
3) Brooks not getting his head by his man on a scoop block.

etc etc etc.

Viva El Guapo

I just picked Clemson, GT, and Oregon because those 3 stick out as teams that win because of that identity. I would love to emmulate Wisconsin on offense, and it would be tough, hard-nosed like our defense. But based on our inability to recruit effectively on the o-line, I don't think it is possible (at least until o-line recruit picks up drastically).

Sadly, they have recruited effectively on OL. Vinston Painter, Blake DeChristopher, Ryan Shuman, Laurence Gibson, and Nick Acree were all high 4 star recruits, and yet only DeChristopher has become a starter. That doesn't even include Aaron Brown, who was a high four star that we stole from Ohio State, who never made it above 3rd string in Blacksburg before leaving the program with a shoulder injury. Instead, Nosal and Lainer start, and both were TWO STAR tight ends.

In fact, they recruit much better offensively in general. DJ Coles, David Wilson, Logan Thomas, and Dyrell Roberts were all four stars, to go along with all those OLs.

To give you some context, on defense there are two four star defensive player starting (Bruce Taylor and Jaron Hosley), with Chris Hill as a nickle guy. Zach McCray, Corey Marshall, and Nick Dew (who should be at rover, not whip) are backups that were four stars. Two of those three are out of position.

Viva El Guapo

I have been torn over the coaching staff for years. They are making some positive steps (Shane Beamer, Cornell Brown) and I am absolutely sure that O'Cain is an upgrade over Stinespring. I just hate the lack of identity. The Hokies were at their best when they were an I team. Yes, they struggled in the passing game, but they had maulers up front, top tailbacks, and they were good enough in play action to win a ton of games (even with so-so talent) from 94-01. Now, the linemen are not big enough to run the I (see Nosal, Lainer), not quick enough to run the zone play consistantly (Nosal/Lainer), and not consistant enough to not sabotage the occasional drive (Brooks/Becton). The offensive talent is WORLDS better now, across the board, than it was for most of the last decade. Yet, there is no attitude, and no commitment to a style of play on that side of the ball. I hate it, but if they are going to be a spread option team, then damn it, get good at it, and stick with it. If they are going to be a zone running team (which is what they are best at right now), then get some tight ends who can consistantly block and catch and sit a couple of receivers. If they are going to be an eye team, go get some mashers, put them into the Jake Grove program, and get a fullback who can lead block, run the dive, and lead on a speed option (when was the last time we saw that?) This is the same trap that Tennessee fell into. They wanted to recruit skill position guys, and as result that did more and more pass pro. In doing so, they lost their identity as a power I, run the clock out with 6 minutes left smashmouth team that won a national championship with a mediocre QB and their backup (albiet very good) tailbacks.

Defensively, I was ready for Bud Foster to leave after last season. It would have been high risk, high reward, but I am absolutely convinced that the hybrid defense has prevented the Hokies from getting better defensive line talent, and without NFL caliber defensive line talent, you resign yourself to being an ACC power instead of a national power. I realize that he makes chicken salad with garbage sometimes, but ultimately I started looking at recruiting classes. Did you know that despite the Hokies national reputation for defense, they only landed one 5 star defensive player since 2000 (Macho Harris?). They have landed very few 4 stars on DL and most have been dissapointments (Friday, N. Adibi, Acree). Jason Worilds was the exception.

Foster has also been a lousy recruiter the last couple of years. It was absolutely inexcusable that Foster did not visit Curtis Grant one time, especially when the kid was the number 1 LB in the country and he wanted to be a Hokie. Shane Beamer joining the staff finally stopped the bleeding, but this years class still doesn't have a QB (Caleb?) or a big time DT.

Viva El Guapo

Foster > just about every DC in the nation

I couldn't care less about the talent we send to the NFL in comparison to winning games. Miami has nothing to brag about except what they have in the NFL. While I would like to bring in better talent, I'd say it has just as much to do with the recruiting mentality of the entire program as it does Foster's system. If he can tweak his system to bring in better guys while maintaining its dominance, then good. But getting rid of Foster and sending our D into oblivion (where our offense resides), could signal the downfall of the program.

Foster is great, but the defense is designed to trick "dumb" teams into mistakes. The downfall of the defense is the old coaching adage "good athletes with great coaching/scheme will get beat by great athletes with great coaching/scheme every time." The Hokie dominance of the ACC since 2004 can be directly attributed to the fact that the Hokies either have better athletes than the other ACC schools, or the schools that have comparable athletes are very poorly coached (see past editions of Clemson, Miami, and Florida State.)

Without exception, whenever the Hokies defense has faced offenses with comparable athletes and well coached schemes, they have lost. (See Boise, Stanford, Cal, UNC in 09, Georgia Tech in 08). When they play teams with better athletes that are just as well coached, they look bad. (See Alabama, LSU, Miami in the early 2000's)

I would rather have Foster stay, and figure out a way to effectively recruit top notch kids that can have success in his system. The problem is that he has always refused to hit the recruiting trail hard, and he stubbornly chases after guys who can dominate UVA, but wilt against big time offensive lines. He has adjusted once. The wide tackle six brought the Hokies to national prominance, but when sophisticated passing teams like Cal took them to the woodshed, Foster changed the scheme to the current "bend but don't break" look. Can he adjust again?

Viva El Guapo

I agree with most of the stuff...

But the comments criticizing the Bud Foster D just don't seem right. We had an off year defensively last year, but since 2000 (and with only one 5 star recruit) we managed to consistently have a top 10 defense EVERY YEAR. Bud Foster isn't getting paid to prepare these players for the NFL. His job is to put the defense in a position that can help win the football game. He has done that, and as a result you can't hate on whatever type of defensive scheme he runs. The fact that he has done all this without "elite level talent" (which is really based on perception) just makes it all the more impressive, and shows that what he has done is obviously working.

As for the performance against Clemson, it was the best performance that our defense has had in over a year, and it was hands down the best thing they could have done to stop the Clemson offense. The defense was the reason we were in the game in the third quarter, and we forced Clemson to punt 9 times. I doubt many teams will be able to do that for the rest of the season. They had play makers at virtually every position and we shut virtually all of them down. Not sure why you think our performance against them was bad. We either blitz and pressure the daylight out of them and get beat a couple times on the big play, or contain them the entire game. Containing them obviously was working until the fourth quarter, when the team started to lose hope.

Logan 3:16

Over-coached O?

I agree with the point that we should try to keep a consistent look and philosophy of offense. If the coaches want flexibility with match-ups in different games then find the guys that can do best in each game plan and run that game plan. Switching up each series just to experiment and see what happens is worthless. Pick a plan and stick with it. They best offenses I've seen run most of their plays from the same formations and looks. KISS.

I too am surprised we can't recruit better defensive talent. I watch the NFL on Sundays and think about which teams those LBs and DLs played for in college and why can't we get guys like that?

Some Thoughts

The punt on 4th and 3 from the Clemson 43 down 3-10 was just too conservative for my liking. In game situations up until this point, Demler never showed he'd be able to angle a punt out of bounds, let alone kick a touchback. Why trust the kicker here? And even if we had a guy like Vinnie Burns punting it, is it worth gambling over at most 42 yards of field position instead of going for the first down... Beamer has gotten a little more aggressive in going for it on 4th downs from the goal line, but these we rarely convert these. Like Wasp alluded to above, we don't have a go to play. Ohio State had "Dave", Florida had Tebow on the QB blast, Lombardi had his sweep, we have the flavor of the month.

So, I couldn't agree more. We need a simpler system, and a core set of plays that we're confident executing at anytime against any team.

At the end of the day I still don't know why Beamer is convinced his potpourri offense will work?

Very nice read...

Today, the college observer is far more educated than has ever been, call them the Tecmo generation. Thanks EA sports we're in the game. And at times we are called spoiled for having expectations so high we almost expect to win the big game. EXCEPT we are Tech fans and that expectation is almost destroyed by what is becoming our identity. Showing up for the big game and just going through the motions like we do every saturday, except to better talent. Franks identity is conservative, make them beat you, capitalize on thier mistakes. That identity wins 10 games a season in a mediocre conference and leaves us wanting more because we want to win nationally. Why not?
In the bigger games, we are behind the eight ball before we have a chance to get it going, unless the other team throws us a bone. The bad taste in my mouth is we havent BEATEN anybody in a while, we let them beat themselves or we lay down until its too late. We have been playing comeback in almost every big game we have been in. It shouldnt be. Why did we lose saturday, because Bud's defense couldnt make the big play and turn it all around. Clemson beat us at our game, in our home and we didnt do a damn thing about it.
Dont throw Bud Foster to the wolves, he has an identity, its clear and he has been coaching up talent for years. It is still the offense that is preventing us from getting the talent, not the players but the "identity". Why have so many of techs recievers gone and made a name for themselves in the NFL and no one else? Because after college they are the only ones hungry, starved in fact. We could get better defensive talent if it wasnt the defense bailing us out. Thats a lot of pressure to put on guys that arent typically expected to score. We have always been in question of our quarterback, Tyrod had your hearts but he had his doubters too. Always worried we are going to give up the big play...our identity. Better teams dont fret over a mistake, they bounce back and sometimes they lose a game or two living that way, but when they win its because they did it when they were expected too.
Our special teams, well suck. We have been beaten by special teams more often than ever. Thats where we get behind the eight ball more often than not. Either by giving up the big play, or field position. No argument there, who would want to come to a defense that is pressed in a vice all season long, and is expected to bail the whole team out? Our identity...
Why doesnt Bud go anywhere else? Why would he? The man lives on the edge every week. He couldnt possibly be bored, he can get up eat a bowl full of broken glass, drink a glass full of kerosene and go piss hellfire and damnation on whoever whenever he wants. He hangs it out there for the world to see every week. He would be bored just about anywhere else. Is is his defense vulnurable? Sometimes, except I am pretty sure there is no perfect defense. We could put some better seats in postions but what more could you ask here? if the offense would flat go out and win games you wouldnt question Buds defense. Our identity...
Our Identity is and has been a problem. When we started winning, we stopped growing. We dont make adjustments fast enough. In this day, the fans expect instant gratification. We have been sold a box of goods thats going to be be pretty hard to return. How do you change a 10 win program? Well you could move into a new conference and then that might go away, and a new identity might emerge. It is not enough to win the ACC year end and out is it? Not unless the ACC has won 6 of the past eight. We were there in 1999. What conference were we in? Was the change good for us then? It might be time to get out...and find our identity.

Backwoods Bastard

Few counterpoints

--Seems odd criticizing the staff for installing a simple zone read play that'll take the pressure off of the passing game and take advantage of LT's talents without any serious changes to the offense.

--Tech's offensive identity is "run inside, throw off playaction." Been that way for decades. Core plays are inside/outside zone runs. Been that way for years. It's very "pro-style," actually. The zone read augments both the run and the playaction.

--Run blocking has been good despite Wilson's hijinks (like outrunning his blockers and missing holes), and despite teams not respecting LT. Coach Newsome's earned his pay this year.

--VT's run blocking schemes are zone variations that work similarly in every formation, even when it's an option or pin and pull play. A lot like Bama's, Wisconsin's, and tOSU's, actually. There's nowhere near as much variation as with Malzahn-style or flexbone offenses. The pass blocking schemes are pretty standard, too.

--I think a lot of people would be unhappy if we were getting stunted and slanted into constant three-and-outs because we were using an archaic man blocking system.

--I think most of us would've like to have had a few more "safe" players around for our last game w/ JMU.

--We miss a few 'tweener recruits and this NFL stuff starts up. Plenty of NFL teams run single-gap D's, or switch between single and two-gap, or run a hybrid that favors the single. If recruiting rankings are everything, getting McCray, Marshall, Harley, et al has to stand for something. And it's a lot harder to find good two-gap linemen.

--Of course, if a pro-style offense was the primary determinant to recruiting success, we'd have been turning away five stars on O due to filled spots.

--Saying Cody couldn't cover is like saying Tyrod couldn't scramble.

--Barquell's got a shortened quad tendon slowing him. Telvion's banged-up. Jack's a nice walk-on story. None should be starters right now. If you want to blow-up the scheme and make it a traditional 4-3, fine, Telvion could play outside....when healthy.

--Our D was on the field too long and in bad situations, so it played very well, instead of perfectly.

--LT was out of synch and inaccurate, therefore the offense was bad. Is there an in-game adjustment for that? Not really. Could he have been coached up better before the game? Probably. Are we the first team to ever have an inconsistent young QB? Probably not.

--We're having special teams problems for the first time in memory. You go this long with our great luck, you're due for an aberration.

Regarding some of your points

--Tech's offensive identity is "run inside, throw off playaction." Been that way for decades. Core plays are inside/outside zone runs. Been that way for years. It's very "pro-style," actually. The zone read augments both the run and the playaction.

Response: They have not played to that identity the last couple years. Their most effective play has been a power sweep out of an unbalanced line that "looks" like a zone play, but actually pulls linemen and works to either create a seal in the 7 gap or kick out at the 5 gap. They run the zone play more often, but less effectively, however many of the series this year have featured shotgun sweeps, counters, and delays that are totally out of character for most zone blocking schemes. Also, they have featured I formation (mostly with twins to the left side) where the line blocks with I principles (down blocking, kickout blocks, rolls, and combination blocking.) Also, the team uses I principles on goal line. As I have noted in my film reviews, the transition back and forth between I and zone blocking makes their timing on combo blocks awkward at best. Often, the double team is dominant but the combo blocker does not peel off quickly enough to get his linebacker/safety on the second level. That is a timing issue, and it comes from the changing of fundamentals mid-stream in the game.

--Run blocking has been good despite Wilson's hijinks (like outrunning his blockers and missing holes), and despite teams not respecting LT. Coach Newsome's earned his pay this year.

Response: For the most part, the run blocking has been good enough that if Ryan Williams or Darren Evans were the tailbacks, the Hokies would have run for much more yardage against the first four opponents. Still, their blocking in short yardage/goal line situations has been horrendous, and most of the breakdowns have been the result of fundamentals. As a former offensive lineman, muscle memory is key. You have to teach yourself a completely different skill set for zone blocking versus I blocking. Yet, most series the Hokies are zone blocking, then they get to a 3rd and 1 or 2nd and goal, and they change to the I. That is incredibly difficult, and you can see the "brain freeze" when their technique is poor on the goal line.

--VT's run blocking schemes are zone variations that work similarly in every formation, even when it's an option or pin and pull play. A lot like Bama's, Wisconsin's, and tOSU's, actually. There's nowhere near as much variation as with Malzahn-style or flexbone offenses. The pass blocking schemes are pretty standard, too.

Response: Watch the film closer. On many of the I formation plays as well as the one back "sweep" I mentioned earlier, they are not zone blocking. A typical look is the wing, TE, and tackle blocking down, and a guard pulling and kicking out. That isn't zone blocking. They are around 60 % zone blocking 30% pro I blocking, and 10% veer. The pass blocking schemes are standard. VT's weaknesses continue to be poor stunt pickup (see athleticism of two star linemen) and slow developing pass routes (QB has to hold onto the ball too long.)

--I think a lot of people would be unhappy if we were getting stunted and slanted into constant three-and-outs because we were using an archaic man blocking system.

Response: I am not a huge fan of the zone blocking scheme, but if they are going to run it, they need to run it all the time and recruit to it. It doesn't work when your guards and tackles get blown up.

--I think most of us would've like to have had a few more "safe" players around for our last game w/ JMU.

Response: I would have liked more talent against Alabama, LSU, etc. I am guessing that if the talent was good enough to beat them, JMU might not be such a problem.

Sarcasm aside, JMU was an abberation, and it didn't hurt that Bud Foster rolled out his worst defensive line in memory against them. Where have you gone, JC Price?

--We miss a few 'tweener recruits and this NFL stuff starts up. Plenty of NFL teams run single-gap D's, or switch between single and two-gap, or run a hybrid that favors the single. If recruiting rankings are everything, getting McCray, Marshall, Harley, et al has to stand for something. And it's a lot harder to find good two-gap linemen.

Response: Recruiting has gotten better on defense the last two seasons, but Curtis Grant should be listed with McCray, Marshall, and Harley. We will see what Kirrven does. As I noted in an above comment, getting rid of Foster would likely backfire, but he is part of the reason that the Hokies can't be a consistant national title contender. He may make chicken salad out of chicken poop, but to win the big ones, you have to cook filet mignon every now and then.

--Saying Cody couldn't cover is like saying Tyrod couldn't scramble.

Response: Again, watch the film. Cody Grimm's senior year, the only place teams had consistent success was throwing against his zone. Teams really picked on us down the seams that year. Cody made up for it with his fantastic effort and his ability to create turnovers. He was a terrific football player, but just because he was terrific doesn't mean he didn't have a weakness. Saying Cody couldn't cover is more like saying Tyrod couldn't throw three step drop timing slant/curl/out in rythmn his first three years. Which he couldn't.

--Barquell's got a shortened quad tendon slowing him. Telvion's banged-up. Jack's a nice walk-on story. None should be starters right now. If you want to blow-up the scheme and make it a traditional 4-3, fine, Telvion could play outside....when healthy.

Response: Edwards and Taylor should be starting. I would like to see Edwards at the whip. He is a good enough athleted. If Rivers could play every down, he would be my mike, and Taylor would be the backer.

--Our D was on the field too long and in bad situations, so it played very well, instead of perfectly.

Response: agreed. Most of the responsibility was on the O. But the disturbing trend of a poor pass rush in big games continues.

--LT was out of synch and inaccurate, therefore the offense was bad. Is there an in-game adjustment for that? Not really. Could he have been coached up better before the game? Probably. Are we the first team to ever have an inconsistent young QB? Probably not.

Response: Agreed, he is a work in progress. The design of the passing game didn't help him. Also, poor route running and busts made it even worse. Play design and poor route running have been problems back to the Ricky Bustle area. Watch a film of the Marcus Vick game against Miami in 05. Kansas vs Tyrod in the Orange Bowl. All the routes are deep and rounded off. The Hokie coaching staff seems to bank on the ability of the QBs to hold onto the ball longer and move around to help the receivers get open. That is poor coaching.

--We're having special teams problems for the first time in memory. You go this long with our great luck, you're due for an aberration.

Response: You can't go into a season with a guy who can't kick 35 yards. Hell, we had a guy who averaged 40 yards a kick at a podunk D3 school. If your top guy gets hurt, and this is your best option, so be it. But, Beamer has DRESSED a kid who has at least 10 yards of leg per kick more than Delmer. Anyone who has observed the team will tell you that Delmer is the lesser option, but Beamer sticks with it. To the detriment of the team.

Viva El Guapo

Identity

I agree with alot of the stuff alot of you said. In the end though our offense needs to get back to smashmouth football with a lil playaction pass and some offtackle mixed in with it, keep working that clock. I also once heard beamerball was having your best players on the field for special teams and with all due respect to Demler, that isnt him. I think our defense has played very good overall considering how long they been forced to be on the feild. Our coaching staff needs to pick it up a notch and some of our boys need to wake up and quit going through the motions. Overall though we are young and have to expect some lumps along the way.

Win one for the Beamer...