I was going to write something last night, but I decided to go to bed after reading the following stats.
- Tech out gained Miami by 74 yards (421-347), and ran 24 more plays.
- Tech held the ball almost ten minutes more than Miami (34:21-25:49).
- Miami converted only 1 of 12 attempts on third down.
- Tech lost by 18 points.
Statistically dominating everywhere but the scoreboard has become and unwelcome trend. In order to get a better understanding of why we lost, I re-watched the game this morning. (The beatings will continue until morale improves, right?)
I thought the defense followed up their spectacular effort at Clemson with another terrific performance. Two special teams miscues left them to defend a short field in the first quarter, and they couldn't keep Miami out of the end zone. However, they forced 6 three-and-outs that the offense couldn't take advantage of. They dominated the second-half allowing just 10 points, 3 of which came in garbage time. It wasn't vintage Virginia Tech defense, but it was more than enough for a win.
I thought the d-line controlled the line of scrimmage. Even though they were unable to sack Morris they kept rather consistent pressure on him. Exum was targeted all night, and outside of being turned around in the end zone because of a terrific throw by Morris, and later biting on a double move, he really held his own.
It was an extremely sloppy game.
"You take four, five plays and all of a sudden that gets the game going the other way." -- Frank Beamer
I'm kind of surprised the Frankinator keeps saying this. He's coached good football teams before, those with great attention to detail, and he knows they don't make these types of mistakes. Anyway, I counted ten plays by Beamer's two units, special teams and offense, that changed the course of the game.
- The under thrown pass to Joey Phillips in the flat. Tech had driven to the cusp of the red zone before Logan Thomas tossed the pick. It's perplexing/aggravating to watch LT3 throw such a poor ball only a couple plays after zipping a ball between two defenders to Malleck for 26 yards.
- A.J. Hughes mishandled the snap, held the ball for too long (2.2 seconds according to Rece Davis), and the result was a blocked punt. Trivia time, the last time Tech blocked a kick against a 1-A team? Davon Morgan had a block against Boise State.
- Dropped ball in the end zone. Thomas' pass to Dyrell might had been a tad too high, but it hit (or went through) his hands and it's a catch you expect a seasoned senior to make. The easier throw might have been to Corey Fuller who was chilling by the back pylon.
- Duke Johnson's 81 yard kickoff return. Said Beamer, "When you've got a lane in a kickoff coverage, you stay in that lane. It's pretty simple, and we spend a lot of time on that. You just execute." Two plays later Mike James leaked out of the backfield and went 16 yards untouched into the end zone.
- Missed extra point. Sigh.
- Bad (lackadaisical) quarterback-tailback exchange between LT3 and Tony Gregory caused a fumble, but not a turnover.
- The clock management at the end of the half forced a field goal instead of another shot into the end zone. Beamer said he expected the clock to stop for a measurement and it was a miscommunication among he, his staff, and the officials.
- The fumbled snap at the tail end of the quarter from the Miami one-yard line.
- Missed 47 yard field goal. That's not a gimme, but I'm not used to Journell missing kicks.
- Thomas overthrew Joey Phillips on a 4th-and-1 early in the 4th quarter. Aside from the fact Logan has struggled to hit that throw over his entire career, the play call didn't bother me.
It's insane to think we made all of those mistakes and were down just one score midway through the fourth quarter.
The game plan to run the ball seemed like a 50-50 mix of what we've done in the past blended with what we tried implementing this season. We ran half (an educated guess) of the plays out of the I and two tight end formations, the rest were spread concepts. J.C. Coleman was the "spread back", while Holmes and Gregory mostly lined up with a fullback in the I. Coleman has been the most explosive tailback this season, one of the few big play threats on the offense. Yet, he got just 5 carries. I don't understand that. There were plays on the first couple of series that were blocked well up front. Holmes would just get stoned trying to get through the hole, then later in the game Coleman would burst through what little daylight he saw. Holmes had 8 carries, Gregory 10, and all three combined 102 yards. It was another unfocused approach.
At this point, I think the offensive coaches don't believe in the spread and they wanted something comfortable to fall back on. That is incredibly frustrating. Instead of spending the bye week perfecting a new system, they regressed.
Logan was inconsistent throwing the ball. Here are two quick freeze frames on comeback routes to wide open receivers. Knowles almost falls over trying to make the catch in the first one, while in the second Thomas hits Davis right in the chest.
That was pretty much LT3's evening, an overthrow here, a low misfire there, and then every few passes he'd launch a perfect ball that left me asking why he couldn't do that all the time. The protection started off good, but degraded as the game went on, especially later in the second-half.
We scored just 12 points against a unit that was giving up a little more than 32 a game. The only touchdown came on a great effort play by Logan. It's November, the time of year we're expected to play our best football, coming off a bye week, vying for a divisional championship, and we laid an egg.
He is correct.