Gut Reactions: Florida State

I wanted to write and post something Friday morning after I re-watched the game, but a noon checkout, ride up I-81, and a couple of runs to the train station delayed things. A warning, these are really high level thoughts, and nothing particularly intuitive. I had a 45 minute call with French while I was on the interstate, and to put it mildly, I'm really looking forward to reading his film review.

I thought that was a very entertaining football game that was defined by good football plays more than mistakes. Statistically, FSU is a top-3 team nationally, their roster is stocked with 4- and 5-star talent, and Tech hung with them the entire game. After watching Thursday, then again Friday morning, I couldn't help to think that if we played with that much intensity all season, we would have no more than two losses right now.

I thought Logan Thomas played a gutsy game. Pass protection was an issue, and he took a bunch of hits. However, he never seemed timid in the pocket, and he looked for contact running downfield. He made NFL throws, like the ones leading up to and including the touchdown toss to Corey Fuller. However, some of his decision making left me with my hands up and mouth open. His ceiling is high. This is really subjective, but he looked like more of a leader on the sideline, talking to the offensive players, keeping their heads in the game. We need him to own the team next season.

Even though they weren't super productive, having Coleman and Gregory as the two tailbacks was the right move. If Beamer Co. made that decision against Miami, then maybe it's a different game. For my money, Coleman is the only tailback that can overcome poor line play. He's really good at finding a sliver of space, and squirting through for 5 yards instead of no gain. Tony, like J.C. is a big play threat once he gets into space.

I wasn't in favor of Antone Exum moving to corner because he was such a playmaker at safety. His struggles early in the season reached a high point in FedEx against Cincinnati, Since then, he's been terrific. Teams have tried to pick on him, and for the most part he's held his own. It's fun to see a kid improve over the season.

Was it just me, or did anyone else think every blitz Foster sent hit home?

Again this week, the pressure was on the defensive line to play big. They answered the challenge against one of the better o-lines in the ACC. They neutered FSU's rush attack (14th nationally, 234.56 yards/game) and harassed EJ Manuel. They caused chaos which swung the momentum and put up points. If they did any less, we're not in that game until the end.

I'll put myself on the spot, and give a few reasons why we lost. We forced turnovers, but didn't turn them into touchdowns. The Riley interception, FSU's muffed punt return, and the safety netted just 8 points. FSU got 10 off a pick in the first quarter and Davis' fumble. If we execute in the red zone and get a touchdown following the safety, then a field goal is inconsequential and Bud has less to defend against on the final drive. Between Roberts and Davis, they had 3 drops that you'd expect redshirt seniors to haul in for big gains. FSU's d-line won the battle in the trenches, although it was more lopsided at the beginning of the game.

I'm proud of the team, and how they responded. They could have turtled and quit, but didn't. All the kids coming back next year played like there was something other than pride on the line. That's encouraging.



That game gives me hope seeing the younger players stepping up and seeing Logan develop hopefully this will pay dividends next season

A new hope

Hopefully we continue to see similar effort from the team, even though the level of competition isn't as high. We tend to play to the skill level of the opposing team... Which often ends up biting us in the ass. But as Ohio says, I'm looking forward to next season already (as I believe most of us are).


Once we get some fresh blood at running back, 'Super freak', and Roberts have gone their way,the offensive line has a new coach, we'll be fine. Coleman is very good. Don't get me wrong. But, alas: we need that back who'll get those three yards regardless of the blocking.
Thomas is ...fantastic. Those of you calling for leal are ..much brain dead. Thomas is getting ass kicked. He just needs a coupla more Fullers and Knowles.
He just needs another option. The game Tech played against FSU was great. Great defense. Typical beamer/Jerry Claiborn, feild position, defensive stands/blitzes, play for the 'last play/win'. We got the 'last play', not the win. Good play calling, Springsteen.
I think we need Billy Hite back at running back coach. Let little Beam carry the headset.

pete the beat

We need better OL play, meaning we need a new OL coach.

As I was watching yesterday's college games, I couldn't help but be envious of the way that the O-lines for teams like Notre Dame, Alabama and Texas A&M fired off the ball, hit defenders with a purpose and kept their feet moving after contact. We have seen far, far too little of that from VT this season.

We've been pretty good in pass protection, but this year's OL may just be the worst run-blocking OL of the Beamer era. If we'd have been able to establish any semblance of a running game against FSU, we'd have won the game. Our offensive line averages over 6'4" and over 300 pounds. There's absolutely no excuse for us to be as weak at run blocking as we've been this season.

Curt Newsome absolutely must go at the end of the season. I'm sure he's a very nice guy, but he's just not a good OL coach. His OLs are consistently fundamentally weak and his schemes are both too complicated and too passive. We have the size and athletic ability to field a very good run-blocking O-line. We need an "old school" OL coach who will get us back to the fundamentals and who will once again make opposing defensive fronts not want to face VT.

The last VT scoring drive.

4ish minutes to go, the play calling was heavily weighted to the pass (running game mostly stifled), but we didn't even eat the clock when it was running. Then, once we get within the 5 yard line with two minutes to go, VT runs two telegraphed, delayed runs to our small back. No PA, no quick reads. Timeout.

Everyone who has ever seen a Logan Thomas game KNOWS what's coming : the read option. And 9 times out of 10, that "option" is a delayed LT3 run. Certainly FSU knew it was coming. I knew it was coming. My 80 year old grandparents knew it was coming.

In the end, the result could have been the same, we'll never know. A touchdown would have likely led to a 2pc which could have forced FSU to go for the TD instead of dinking and dunking into FG range.

I know I'm beating a dead horse but I've officially seen enough from our offensive braintrust. I think most Hokie fans have as well.

So True

A good OC knows this, runs the same play, but with a new wrinkle. For example, run the LT3 option, Logan begins to truck forward, let Malleck slip out behind the LBs, Logan pulls up and throws an easy TD. This is the exact same play Tebow ran a couple times with great success, but we don't have Urban Meyer.

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The jump pass

I was suggesting this last year! It would be a great play to run w/LT3.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

To defend that (second to) last drive...

When we got to first down on the 14, our group said the same thing: "Don't let LT pass it." We've seen at least two brain dead interceptions in this area, the Cincy ball that bounced off the TE's hands and the "I didn't see either of those two LB'ers who could have picked it off" pass in the flat against Miami.

Also, at that point, our defense was all over Manuel. You have to give yourself worst case scenario: kick a FG and let Foster win it for you. And we had EJM on the ropes, 3rd and 10 before he gained 9 yards on a great pass over the blitzing Bruce Taylor.

Back to the offense: The first play was a 5 yard gain to JCC. He hit the hole hard and if Via had extended on the backside LB'er, JCC scores on that play. The second play, Bjoern Werner made a great play to keep JCC from bouncing it outside where he would have scored. Werner is an all american, he kept his outside leverage on Painter and pushed JCC inside.

Then, the final 3rd down play. We all knew it was coming because it was by far the play that gave us the best chance at a first down. FSU saw it coming, and defended it poorly. It was open, but Benedict on the pull ran right by Williams. Maybe Williams was shielded behind the OT/DE action, it's hard to see. To make matters worse, Benedict missed the primary block then stood by instead of hitting Hunter, his secondary option. It was Hunter who hit LT while he's held up by Williams and kept LT for falling for the FD.

It's so easy to see any set of plays as the gamechanger in a close loss. But we put ourselves in position to win by going to our best play and our best short yardage runner. It was a play we scored on easily in the 3rd QTR, but if the pulling guard doesn't block anyone, it won't work.

Really Impressed with Exum

I can't remember which game, but in one of earlier games, one of the announcers said Exum was the best corner VT has. Then, Exum was promptly burned with a long TD. Everybody was like, "really, Exum the best CB on the team? I think you mean Kyle Fuller."

Well, maybe he was foreshadowing, because Exum is now the best CB, far ahead of Fuller right now. This Exum experiment has turned out pretty good, and will make 2013 a much better defense. It just goes to show, VT has a pretty good DC and secondary coach. Likewise, Wiles is starting to get a lot more out of his D-line too. This defense, which should be mostly intact for 2013, could be ridiculous. I just wish I could see the same improvement on the offensive side...

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I cant help but think of what could've been, after seeing this game. Finally, it seemed like the defense played at the level we expected for this season. Particularly up front.

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