Gut Reactions: Miami

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Missed extra point. Sigh.
  6. Bad (lackadaisical) quarterback-tailback exchange between LT3 and Tony Gregory caused a fumble, but not a turnover.
  7. 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.
  8. The fumbled snap at the tail end of the quarter from the Miami one-yard line.
  9. Missed 47 yard field goal. That's not a gimme, but I'm not used to Journell missing kicks.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

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Comments

This article should be re-named "Punch to the Gut Reactions"

Why JC hasn't had more carries, I'll never know.

Livin the Dream

Follow me @HokieBarek

This is a lot like 2003.

We have more talent than we have shown, and we didn't have the early season run to support a late season swoon.

But, sometimes, teams just don't come together. It seems to be a confluence of issues: effort, preparation & execution from players, depth issues, schemes needing updates, poor match of schemes to personnel, low confidence in schemes and some teams just flat out beating us.

In 2003, it seemed like we needed to get out of the Big East immediately, we had been solved by some teams that we had significant advantages over (BC, WVU) and other old foes (Miami, Pitt) weren't making life any easier. We went away and rebuilt ourselves the next year after falling out of relevancy.

Maybe we can do that next year, maybe we can't. The switch the the ACC brought some advantage in that teams had to figure us out all over again. Maybe the switch next year to fewer Atlantic teams will help, maybe a favorable (read: no FSU/Clem) schedule will let us regroup. Maybe a senior QB will become the leader we so desperately need.

Maybe.

2003 was followed by 2004 and 2005, both great seasons.

While we all get frustrated by Frank taking away positives from these awful games, I do think our team learns from times like these. Any team can win when they're in the zone and when everything is going their way. It's a different story when everything seems to be going against you (this year).

Clearly this season isn't as memorable as past seasons, but I'm hopeful for next season. Not to looking for a national championship, but hoping we can (at least) take back the coastal. Hoping our coaches can take a long look in the mirror and figure shit out.

Twitter me

Yep. I think we have correctable problems.

Our QB is playing poorly. He's not a bad QB. We have been weak at RB and DB, two positions we regularly excel. Our DL will likely return intact next year. With Tyler and Tariq and RVD, we'll return our LB corps. We will replace Davis' production with Coles. Malleck has shown improvement.

I took UVA's win as a good sign. They had lost 6 games in a row, pretty much having superior statistical advantages in each of the 6. Then, they pulled it together (for one game?). I think we have a game like that in the last 3, I kinda hope it isn't FSU and we play great and lose by 3.

Too Much Thinking Not Enough Playing

It appears to me most of the players are scared to make a mistake which results in tentative play and once a mistake happens they can't react/overcome it. I was taught early on in football if your going to make a mistake do it going 100 mph. The only person I see playing 100 mph all the time is JC. Football is supposed to be fun at the end of the day it is a game. Someone tell me who watched that game last night when they game was still in reach if anyone that played for the Hokies looked like the were having fun I sure did not see anyone having fun out there.

UVA: Jefferson's biggest mistake

@pbowman6

Couple observations - As

Couple observations -

As French pointed out in the Clemson tape, against spread formations Michael Cole is literally playing center field and Jarrett and Bonner are playing almost like outside linebackers in a 4-4. It's a very interesting approach - Michael Cole literally had zero tackles (I think), but it puts him in a position where he can't make too many mistakes. It has definitely worked. Just another example of Bud doing something extremely innovative in his scheme to produce a better product on the field - can we say the same for the offense?

Has any other team ever tried to hire Bryan Stinespring? Has any other team ever visited Bryan Stinespring? Offensive coaching was, is, and will continue to be a problem until something changes.

I thought the end of the first half was a major cluster F. Frank reminded me of a grandpa who forgot the rules and / or wasn't aware enough to look up at the clock. I hate to see him look like that.

As for Logan, I've seen SIGNIFICANTLY more dropped passes from this team then I've seen from any football team I've ever followed. Does that impact his accuracy? Does he take a little something off his throws or alter his trajectory because he's seen one too many passes bounce off hands, facemasks, and chests? In addition, I've seen repeated and disgusting lack of effort from our WRs on routes. Does this impact Logan's trust in the guys he's throwing to?

Something doesn't look and feel right about this team. There's something toxic out there. Maybe it's the fact that our best players (JC Coleman, Knowles, C Fuller, etc) are sitting on the bench while others ahead of them on the depth chart continue to disappoint. Maybe we have a few toxic personalities out there. Marcus Davis, based on this playing style, and what he says in interviews, seems like a "me" person if you ask me. However, he's been absolute garbage. He complains on the field about pass interference flags, literally, 75% of the time. What does he complain about in the locker room?

Frank and Clock Management

Similar situation in the Georgia Tech game for the season opener when we were driving to tie it and send it to OT. Clock was running down to under 20 seconds and Beamer was just dottering around on the sidelines looking clueless. Shane had to get his attention and tell him to call timeout. I was so frustrated by that.

I believe in the Brew Crew.

Whats on the clock....WHATS ON THE CLOCK!

I was screaming at the TV during the 10 second runoff before halftime. I thought he called a timeout, then the refs started running the clock when the ball was set.

I know, it was terrible... Couldn't believe it!

Also, Welcome to the boards!

I believe in the Brew Crew.

Believe you're right that something's not quite right. Pretty easy to blame the coaching staff for preparation, but it seems to be a bit more than that. During preparation, and at some point, after the game is underway, player leadership on the field takes an important role. We were spoiled with not only the play level, but the leadership of Tyrod and company. When the Hokies suffered 2 two tremendous losses (Boise and JMU) that team could've legitimately rolled over for the rest of the season, but it was a players' meeting with some pretty impassioned senior speeches that turned the attitude back in the right direction with 11 straight wins. Haven't heard anything like that this time around. Coaches can prep all week, but when a WR sloughs off on a block downfield, etc..., he should be hearing it from his peers as well.

HTHokie93

flabbergasted

ugh....sigh

that about sums up my feelings this year.

S L O P P Y

This game, like most others this season leave me with one word on the brain.... Sloppy, like a freshman at 2am on the first Saturday of Fall.

The preparation looks sloppy. Our players don't look ready for gameday when they take the field. The game plan is routinely sloppy and unprepared. It looks to me like we are coming into the exam without doing the prepwork. You could even say that our conditioning is sloppy with some many injuries mounting each game.

All in all, our team, planning, and performance seem sloppy. One game is a bad prep week, two games - maybe some bad breaks, but for the season to look this overall? Awfully discouraging.

In my mind, all of these issues fall in the laps of the coaches.

Logan seemed to have a lot of time in the pocket for most of the night. Good blocking by the oline for the most part. Wonder if Logan running the ball so much and getting knocked around affected his throwing at all.

It's a great day to be a Hokie!

OH NO, WE SUCK AGAIN!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4jGSvxCRp4

I've noticed for a few years that our defense doesn't wrap up on tackles, but even in 2010 it didn't hurt us like it has this year.

The offense and special teams failed miserably last night. What has been going at these practices of ours? We were told they were working on the small things. I like the rest of you, have failed to see marked improvement.

Where do we go from here? GT fired algroh their bye week, and I hardly see how axing some coaches would hurt us at this point.

But, I certainly believe Frank deserves to finish his contract out at the very least.

I support Coach Frank Beamer.

VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Hokies, Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.

The Difference Maker Stat

Red Zone Efficiency:
Miami 6 for 6: 3 TDs and 3 FGs
VT 2 for 4: 2 FGs and 2 TOs

The crazy thing is Miami didn't even do that well in the redzone. I'd take 50% TDs of an opponent, but it sure as hell beat what VT did in the endzone.

On the first interception. My biggest problem was not the under thrown ball, but the way Logan stared at Phillips from the snap until the throw. He decided to throw to him before he left the huddle. The fact that LT3 has regressed from 2011 and is not improving an iota in 2012 suggests O'Cain is failing at QB coach. I am currently dumbfounded as to how Tyrod improved each year. Maybe, O'Cain is now over his head with play design and calling that he's forgetting to get back to basics as a QB coach. Maybe Tyrod did it all himself.

My two cents

There is blame all around. The coaches for game management and play calling (specifically Offensive Play Calling).

*Side note I live in Columbus, OH and the team that will not be mentioned from here is and has been struggling on Defense and people are calling for the DC's head even though they are still undefeated. I wonder and I know this comes up alot on here how long does Bud Foster stay around? Not saying he would leave or come to the school here but with the fact of how terrible defenses are playing at non SEC powerhouse schools you have to wonder if Buds going to get a phone call from a school with competent Offensive coach staff that needs a DC to bring their defense up and is willing to spend what it takes. If I were him and had the chance to get top level talent and coach at the top I would. I know he has said that he values the loyalty that Frank has shown him but everyone has a price/limit.

The players for not making plays. LT3 with poor throws, WRs for not making catches, Backs for not breaking the first tackle or hitting the hole with authority.

I would say Exum for not being able to cover his man with out holding/interfereing with him but I believe he is stepping up and trying to fill a position that needs to be filled because he is the best player available to do it. I have alot of respect for him for doing something that wont help him get drafted but would help his team win. I know I have said critical things about him early in the season but after what he has taken on this season I take it all back.

I was talking with my father tonight who is a UVA fan and he asked me, "What happened to that white receiver who would always get you guys 7 yds, 2 ft, and 5 inches if you needed 7yds, 2ft, and 3 inches?" I told him Danny C. was with the Cowboys now and that he had been a 3 star prospect that had worked his ass off to get where he was. I realized when I said that Danny Coale made himself better because he worked his ass off and probably did more then what was expected of him. I think of the receivers we have now, not the underclassmen but the upperclassmen, and I dont see that work ethic.

I know this is long and rambling but they are my thoughts read them or dont....I feel better now

A new season...new hope

"Four or five plays..."

Frank's "Four or five plays" comment is becoming just a sad joke now. What about the other side of that? Miami could be saying "We were four or five plays away from a shut out."

Heck, take out one play - LT's 70+ yard run, and you could probably say goodbye to half of our points for the same.

That reminds me of another troubling thing about the Time of Possession stat. 34 mins to 24 mins. How long did VT's lone TD take up out of our 34 mins? 10seconds? We came close to have a 10 minute TOP disparity and scoring only two FG's.

They are also "4 or 5" plays away from losing to GT and being 3-6 right now

A couple additional points

In no particular order:

1. The play call on the overthrown 4th down pass to Philips left something to be desired. LT is right handed, so after the play fake he had his back to the receiver. He had to spin around, then instantly locate the receiver and make a throw off his back foot with a guy in his face. It isn't an impossible throw, but those are the kind of details our play design seems to ignore.

2. Why do we constantly play fake when the defense knows there's no chance of a run? We even play faked once when there was no running back. The play fake on the goal line at the end of the first half was a colossal waste of time, and may have cost us an extra chance at a TD (7-9 seconds left vs. 5) We knew there was limited time when it was called. Again, details.

3. I forgot what I was going to say here. I'm just generally extraordinarily disappointed with the offense. I am not a fire the coach type of guy and never have been, so it's especially frustrating for me that I've wanted changes since the 07 Orange Bowl and we're still dealing with this. Beamer needs to become a CEO and start making some tough decisions. Real changes on the staff, real decisions about who is going to carry the ball. Some people are going to be disappointed. This is D1 football. People are getting paid millions of dollars and going to college for free, with plenty of other perks. They can deal with it. Take your hokie club donation and give it to the university's general fund. They will put it to better use until the football staff gets the picture.

And while I'm complaining about stuff, what the hell is "hands on, minds on"? Besides being a stupid slogan, it seems like we have a different marketing campaign ever year. We're being ripped off by some ad agency. I get that the university is not run by business professionals, but maybe take a night class at Pamplin or something. This is not an efficient way to communicate with customers. Focus.

You know it's been a bad week when that other school takes care of business in Raleigh.

I support Coach Frank Beamer.

VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Hokies, Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.