Thanks to ZachAttach7, earlier this evening I read a NFL analysis blog column by Sam Monson called Analysis Notebook posted on ProFootballFocus.Com
The subject of the article is former Hokie Duane Brown, who took the unlikely path from average tight end prospect with the Hokies, to what the author calls "the best left tackle in the NFL." His numbers don't lie, as he has only been responsible for one sack in his last 29 starts. The author focuses on the slow start Duane had to his NFL career, and how he has grown as a football player, and in doing so, Duane gave some poingiant quotes the not only reflect his growth as a football player, but also subtly damns the offensive line coaching at Virginia Tech. Note, Bryan Stinespring was his position coach in 2004 and 2005, and Curt Newsome handled the offensive line in 2006 and 2007.
How does a player with the natural ability to be the very best at perhaps the most difficult position in the NFL only make second team All-ACC with the Hokies? Perhaps Duane tells us himself with this quote:
“I didn’t understand exactly how important technique was until I started to play my rookie year... Also, film study plays a huge role in the success of a left tackle, or any position in this league. That was something else I had to learn my first couple of years.”
Stinespring is to be given credit for spotting Brown's raw ability, and Brown's athleticism, most notably his tremendously quick feet, gave him the ability to overcome his lack of fundamentals, but he was in the program for three years as an offensive lineman and "didn't understand how important technique was." I am appalled by that statement, yet shouldn't be shocked. Each offensive line under Curt Newsome, regardless of offensive production, has been woefully inept in basic blocking fundamentals. The 2012 is the most damning season, as those poor fundamentals have been merged with players who could not overcome those flaws with the raw ability of a Duane Brown.
Ultimately, defense gets the better athletes, especially on the defensive line. The only way that the offensive line wins battles game in and game out is through the use of superior technique and the advantage of play calling and snap count. Duane Brown tells us, without telling us, that Curt Newsome does not instill this attention to detail in offensive linemen, and the struggles each in the season and in preseason practice against Bud Foster's defense before cohesion arrives only confirms that notion. This season, even cohesion did not happen. On top of it, young talent like Mark Shuman and Laurence Gibson either failed to improve enough to get on the field, or for reasons that have nothing to do with talent or football productivity did not get a chance to beat out inferior players. I have my suspicions, but neither is excusable in my eyes.
I appreciate that Newsome has excellent connections in the Tidewater, and that several key recruits are tied to him, but the evidence is clear that the Hokies can not win the ACC without better offensive line play and Newsome can not deliver the element of dominance up front. Frank Beamer must realize that the rest of the ACC has caught up. Assuming Morris stays at Clemson, I'd rate Virginia Tech, once the dominant program, as the third strongest behind Florida State and Clemson, with UNC nipping at their heels with only probation delaying their accension. The time is now, not to scrap the identity of Virginia Tech football, but to return to it. Newsome is the first domino that must fall.