Gut Reactions: North Carolina

Well, there really isn't much to say. A lot of the same issues that plagued Tech all season cropped up in Carolina. The defense gave up 533 yards, 366 of which came on the ground. Tech played Nickel most of the afternoon to counter UNC's spread and it allowed Giovani Bernard and A.J. Blue to run wild. Michael Cole and Detrick Bonner struggled to come up from the secondary and make tackles. Both of those guys had rough afternoons. Again the front-four, a perceived strength leading up to the season, struggled to generate a pass rush. The Hokies couldn't run the ball, again, and Logan Thomas ended up as the leading rusher with 20 of the team's 40 yards. (That's counting minus-19 yards on a botched Andrew Miller snap.) Ultimately, UNC pulled away from a back-and-forth game because they didn't settle for field goals, were able to run the ball, and made big plays. It's evident Foster doesn't have a solution for "spread" offenses with playmakers. Tech's offense isn't built to win track meets. So, it could be a long second-half of the season.

These are my thoughts in no particular order. They're gut reactions, so take them at face value.

The game looked promising after a fantastic opening drive that came off favorable field position setup by a 3-and-out and North Carolina false starts. The first offensive play was an easy throw to get Logan comfortable, misdirection to keep the defense off balance, a gutsy catch by Roberts, and the best play had the ball in his hand's on the score. Logan made the right read on the zone, the gut of the defense parted.

In an attempt to get after the quarterback, Dadi played midway through first-quarter as part of the 4 defensive end package with Gayle and Dadi at end, Marshall and J.R. Collins inside.

There were a lot of undisciplined/freshman mistakes by veteran players: Dyrell's drop wide open down the sideline, Miller's botched snap along the carpet, Logan forgetting snap count, Davis' drops to name a few.

UNC was penalized 15 times for 126 yards, and had a fumble call go against them. That game could have been much worse for the Hokies.

Demitri Knowles played his ass off. He ran hard the entire game, and made big plays when Tech needed them. Regardless of Dyrell's health (who I hope is OK), Knowles should be the starting flanker.

I'll say what Bud said last week, Antone Exum played his nuts off. UNC tried picking on him early, but he was a blanket in coverage.

The decision to go for two after the Knowles kick return was silly. It was too early in the game, and the offense was cold. It's not like they drove down the field.

I agree with Dwight here. At this point, whoever is practicing the hardest should be starting, no one should hold a job because of seniority.

I'll have to re-watch the tape to be certain, but the interior of the offensive line had a terrible outing, however the tackles played strong. That's been the theme all season. I will note Stinespring coaches the tackles, Newsome the guards and center. Caleb Farris and David Wang seem to lose a lot of one-on-one battles.

It's hard to disagree with Parker here. Logan could play a very physical game, he did last year and I still don't know why QB blast or power isn't in the playbook, but at what cost. Frankly, if he gets injured we're more fucked than we already are. Scales is a powerful runner, and probably deserves more carries. He carried out of the I today, took a cut, got down hill, gained yards. The defensive line is physical in the trenches, but I feel like Nickel is a less aggressive scheme so no one is flying around smacking players in the face.

I thought Logan played well. He missed some intermediate throws high, but boy can that kid throw a beautiful deep ball. He was done in by drops, late pressure, and lack of a running game. He's the bright spot on an otherwise dull unit and with few other threats teams are not going to let him beat them.

Be afraid of Duke, seriously. David Cutcliffe is a brilliant offensive mind and Duke has talent capable of moving the ball on this defense.

Comments

RVD in the Doghouse?

Cole had an absolutely terrible game in terms of missing tackles and blown coverages. But yet he was still kept on the field over RVD to run nickel? I'm not sure what to say about this because I specifically remember Bud yelling at him after a toss play and then don't recall seeing him on the field again. Could he be in the doghouse? Guess we'll find out sooner or later.

Other than that, this game's final score looked wayyyy closer than it should have been.

Logan 3:16

It looked like Cole was back at the safety position and they moved Jarrett into the nickel spot in that package all day.

Probably because RVD not a good man-cover guy this early in his career so they had to use safeties and so Cole had to be inserted cuz Van Dyke can't/doesn't play back there. Honestly I would have liked to see him try lol. Couldn't be any worse than Cole getting run the fuck over every play.

Also, how much are we missing Boye Aromire now? Kid left the program during training camp (was it for playing time issues or family or what?) but we sure could use him these days with the secondary depth chart so thin.

"Somebody came on the field and painted a T beside the V"

REACH FOR EXCELLENCE @goobvt_sg

Based on the two fall public scrimmages, RVD is a MUCH better cover guy than Cole or Bonner. Yes, both.

Viva El Guapo

Demitri should get the game ball. He was the most consistent player on the field and made some of the biggest plays

Too bad Corey didn't see the field until this season... He's a difference maker. Frankly a more dependable possession guy than Roberts or Davis (in other words, he's had way less drops I believe.)

Two epic goatees. Two epic coaches. Tip of the Spear and The Lunchpail. GRIMES&FOSTER.

Agree. I'm all about the good possession receivers, just need a dependable guy who can get open and always makes the catch (Danny Coale for example). Sometimes that's really all you need to move the sticks, not always about big plays.

And,

he still has that breakaway track runner speed to make a big play on occasion.

Two epic goatees. Two epic coaches. Tip of the Spear and The Lunchpail. GRIMES&FOSTER.

Fire O'Cainspring

I can't believe O'Cain and Stinespring, giving up 266 rushing yards to Gio Bernard. It's their fault, fire them now.

But seriously, this one is on the D. Offense may not have been good, but they weren't atrocious. Can't expect to win giving up that many rushing yds. At least, that's never been VT's meme.

defensively, it's 2010 all over again, and offensively i dont think we have the leadership that we had in 2010 to overcome deficiencies.

"It's worth it right? It's worth it to lay it all on the line for your brothers!"
"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster (both quotes)

Bud's defenses were fine against the spread most of last year ..

.... and have done fine against a lot of spread offense teams in the past. So I don't buy the argument that the game has somehow passed him by at all.

The problem is that our defensive linemen and linebackers, especially our defensive tackles, are simply being beaten mano a mano most of the time. They're routinely being pushed out of position and they're not getting off of blocks and making plays like they did so well last season. Until they start doing a better job of shedding blockers and penetrating, we'll continue to get gashed by opposing running backs.

On the plus side, LT returned to form today and Antone Exum played a very good game at boundary CB. UNC went after him several times today and each time he was up to the challenge.

But Curt Newsome simply has to go. I am sick and tired of watching opposing DLs and LBs slicing into our backfield virtually untouched, just as I am sick and tired of seeing VT offensive linemen stood up and pushed backwards. It's impossible to get any kind of running game going when this keeps happening.

Our guys are plenty big and, assuming that Mike Gentry hasn't forgotten how to develop guys in the gym, plenty strong. We need to find someone who can coach them into a being a good line, because Curt Newsome obviously can't. If programs like UL-Monroe can come up with offensive lines that can move around SEC defensive fronts, there's no reason whatsoever why we shouldn't be able to do so as well.

I say fire Newsome at year's end and hire UL-Monroe's OL coach!!!

Bud's defenses were fine

Bud's defenses were fine against the spread most of last year and have done fine against a lot of spread offense teams in the past. So I don't buy the argument that the game has somehow passed him by at all.

I didn't make that argument, I was speaking about this season, the only one that matters. Last year he gave college football the blueprint for beating a Denard led Michigan, stopped Clemson the first time around, but took it on the chin in the rematch.

He doesn't have the horses to go Nickel and man-up against spread teams. That showed against Cincinnati and now North Carolina. Cole has really struggled, and at this point I feel they need to look in a different direction. I'd rather see Vandyke as the nickelback. Other than that, I'm not sure what else they do except stay in base and use Vandyke in man a little more on the slot. Or, hell, like French mentioned, go ultra-agressive with more 4-4 concepts and just attack. They can't do worse in coverage.

Your best argument this season is that we held GT to < 300 yards, but then again they drove down the field late in the fourth quarter for what could have been a game winning drive. (Thanks again Tevin.)

We bottled up Bowling Green, but again "playmakers".

Everything else I agree with, especially Newsome. He's responsible for coaching two positions and it's close (running backs), but they've been the least productive on the offense this year. He doesn't have an excuse, he has his players.

Problem isn't the spread. The problem is that the spread defense needs terrific athletes in space who can also play in traffic. The Hokies secondary isn't athletic enough now, and the linebackers don't have depth, resulting in them wearing out (and Taylor isn't a good fit at backer.)

I just sent Joe a reflective piece highlighting where this problem originated. I hope it is helpful.

Viva El Guapo

Agree, the problem isn't just the spread by itself. What I said above was it's stopping spread teams, who have playmakers, with a Nickel, with Cole coming into the game. Cole is the weekspot, Bonner is another issue, and like you said it puts pressure on the entire defense.

2 years ago

when you broke the news about coming coaching moves, we had quite a discussion about O-line coaching, and I was excited thinking that Newsome was gone then.

I'm willing to cut the RBs some slack.

They're both freshmen and they're both getting better as they get more reps.

But the offensive line is mostly stacked with juniors and seniors who have all been in the program for at least three years now. There is simply no excuse for the number of busted assignments we continue to see each week as well as the lack of aggressiveness and poor technique that allows our linemen to so frequently be pushed into the backfield by opposing defenders.

Newsome must go at the end of the season. If a 6-6 or 5-7 year is the price we have to pay to get a real OL coach in the program, so be it.

Lack of a will to Win

This team is pathetic. There is a good chance that our next win won't come till November 17 against Boston College. Besides a lack of talent on both sides of the ball, and poor coaching, it seems to me that this team's biggest problem is that they just don't want it. It looked like the defense wasn't even trying in the 2nd half. WR's keep dropping passes, which comes down to a lack of focus. We should start starting younger guys who seem to have a desire to win football games because what we are doing now is not working!

WRs and TEs are still killing us

The drops are absolute drive killers. Davis had several absolutely awful ones (I think that 4th down one was the worst). One thing I'm curious about when Joe and French do film review is how well Knowles does blocking, because to echo posters above, his hands have been superb when he's seen the field. If he blocks as well as Davis/Roberts (and Christ, TRYING to block would be an improvement) there is absolutely no reason for him to not be on the field (with Corey Fuller in my opinion).

Agreed about getting Van Dyke out there, the only guy even trying to lay the hammer when he comes up in run support is Jarrett, and that's some of the time. Get fast, angry big people out there. Exum was much improved and Fuller was his typical self (I thought that 4th quarter pass interference call was a giant crock of shit). Bonner and Cole have both been liabilities, and not just today.

I'm okay with a rebuilding year every now again, but I'm worried about Duke. And that is just a terrible feeling.

I am forced to agree. By my count, Davis dropped three today ...

... Roberts dropped one (and it would have been a big gainer) and Dunn also dropped one. That's at least five drops. One of the best things about Coale and Boykin last year was that those two almost never dropped catchable passes. As you say, they are drive-killers. Add back those drops and Logan Thomas' stat line for the day would look stellar rather than just good.

The fourth down drop by Davis over the middle of a ball that hit him right in the numbers was a huge play. We were still in the game at that point and a catch there would have had us in business 1st & 10 at about the UNC 20.

Knowles is doing just fine and so is Fuller. I'd start the two of them if I were Sherman.

I highly doubt Davis will ever sniff the NFL. He's a physical freak, no doubt. But he has hands of stone and he's not a fundamentally sound WR. He doesn't come back for the ball, he catches it against his body rather than with his hands, he runs sloppy routes at times, and his blocking is spotty.

I agree with getting Van Dyke out there, but I wouldn't be too hard on Cole. He's just a redshirt freshman and he's taking his lumps right now. In an ideal world, he wouldn't even be out there this soon. I think that, in time, he's going to be a very good player for us. He's made some good plays in spots and he's certainly not afraid to lower his pads and hit somebody.

Yes, the pass interference call on Fuller in the 4th was absurd.

Don't forget...

Eric Martin had one on a key 3rd down, and I think Malleck also had a drop.

Two epic goatees. Two epic coaches. Tip of the Spear and The Lunchpail. GRIMES&FOSTER.

Re: Cole

I know, he's in the same boat as Coleman and Holmes, this is first time dealing with college level. Bonner ain't exactly a veteran either. And i don't mean to pick on him, I'm sure he's going to come good over the next few years (hopefully they all are), but right now he's looking a little overwhelmed out there. And maybe that's on the coaches for not having the experienced guys in place to take those reps. It seems like we've had several guys leave the program (Aromire, for one) who seemed like they were going to be stepping up soon but balled out when they didn't win the starting job. Silver lining, we're getting a TON of dudes back on D AND O next year AND I'm cised about some of the incoming guys as well (ahem...Kendall Fuller).

It just sucks that I'm already building up next year in my mind the first weekend of October. Anything to distract me from this season.

the talent gap at some positions is just amazing .. aside from jarrett, we have ZERO other good options at either safety position. kyle fuller has had his moments and exum is looking better but bonner and cole are both looking very silly out there. where was rvd?? why isn't he playing the nickel?? TARIQ EDWARDS!!!! PLEASE COME BACK!!!!

safety

My two cents: We have 3 great safety candidates... we just have two of them starting at corner. And doing pretty well, don't get me wrong, but I'd rather see both of them at safety if we had good enough corners to allow that.

We'll get the secondary fixed. We've got a great DB class coming in, at both corner and safety. Bonner, Manning, Cole, etc. are young and will improve. Just not deep/experienced enough to have a great year in 2012.

i'm already chalking this up to being a season where "nothing is going to go our way" .. in the cincy game, kid makes a ridiculous catch to win the game at the end. defense plays a good game, minus 4 or so broken plays that killed us.

today, offense plays well "enough" even without a running game .. but defense is terrible ..

in cincy and unc, had some of the pieces to win, just not enough

no big play makers, no lucky breaks (the only lucky breaks we've had were at the end of the gt game).

Please don't lose to Duke.

The U invented Swag, but UVA invented Smug.

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

RVD - Be careful what you ask for!!!

You all keep calling for RVD from what I saw the kick off return for TD the return man ran right by him, he dove inside and vacated his position on the 4th and 1 62 yard scoring play, he whiffed last week on 3rd and 1 to let a Cincy drive continue that resulted in a TD - he makes way
to many mistakes for the number of snaps he is in on!!!! Be careful what you ask for he may be athletic but football at this level takes a lot more than that.

To provide the counter-point to your argument against playing RVD. Look at DJ Parker's twitter comment that Joe posted above.

PLAY THE YOUNG GUYS WHO WANT IT MORE.

In a season where our depth is super thin at a lot of positions (injuries, etc.) we need to get guys on the field who are going to fly around and try to be playmakers. If that means its the Freshman then so be it. Yea they will make mistakes because they don't have all the concepts ingrained in them yet but that will come in time. It's called 'baptism by fire' and in 2 years when they are Juniors and have the experience to go along with the athletic, play-making abilities that's where all our Top 5 defenses in the past have come from.

All this seniority dictating playing time has got to stop. The players who want it and are actually capable of transforming themselves into playmakers need to be on the field.

"Somebody came on the field and painted a T beside the V"

REACH FOR EXCELLENCE @goobvt_sg

RVD

I'm pretty sure it was Cole that was out of position on that long 4th-and-1 TD.

I didn't think RVD had his best day. But Cole had a terrible day. They're both young, and they're both going to make mistakes. They both need playing time, and they'll get better. With the way they were gashing us on the ground, which is where Cole struggled the most, I would have favored RVD more... but it was pick your poison.

Cole wasn't in on the 4&1 td

someone else missed that one. No need to give him more mistakes

It was Bonner. The defensive call was an inside gap stunt, meaning each player on the line of scrimmage were assigned to dive through the inside gap from their alignment. The call tells me that they were looking for a sneak, and UNC had a perfect play called for a first down, but it should not have been a touchdown. Bonner was the end man and had to squeeze off the gap, with Taylor coming into fill, and neither did their job. RVD *almost*got back outside but didn't have an angle to beat the down block.

Viva El Guapo

Yea, Gap Responsibilities

But, is it possible to cover all the gaps and still have a safety valve? I think having all defenders within 2 yds of the line of scrimmage is asking to get a TD scored on you. Yea, you want to get a stop, but I think it's a terrible idea to not have a safety 5-7 yds off the line of scrimmage.

SCALES

Is there any real reason Scales isn't getting any playing time? I just don't see the logic there. Busts a decent run, then doesn't get another touch. Where do we go from here...???? Part of me still wants to believe the ol' Hokies will show up on November 8th mad as hell and win a football game.

when there's a hole

When the OL is opening up holes inside, Scales is a great option. But they're not doing that consistently. Yes, he had a great run that you referenced. He also had a run for no gain where the hole didn't open it up and he couldn't bounce it outside.

He was getting in for blocking duty in the second half, even when he wasn't getting carries. I think he might have gotten more carries if we weren't trying to stage a comeback and needing to air it out.

There are no holes for anyone...

...and none of these backs is remotely close to making that work.

I'm at the point where I basically stop trying to run unless it's LT. Throw it 50 times a game.

bad calls

stop complaining about the pass interference call on Fuller toward the end. I don't know what they showed on tv, but I had good seats and it sure looked like pass interference to me.

The really bad call I remember was the no-call on the obvious holding after Tyrel Wilson (if I remember correctly) was free to the QB leading up to the second UNC TD. The OLman just flat out pushed him in the back and took him down. Maybe someone can explain to me how they didn't call that.

But we didn't lose this game on blown calls, so arguing about the officiating is pointless.

Did you have the angle of seeing the Fuller "PI" from the back? Because they showed it facing them and all there was was just your general push-and-shove, no holding or knocking him off the route.

Also, I'm wondering the same thing about the holding call on the UNC TD.

I agree that we didn't lose because of the officials, but it can be a factor. Don't you recall last weekend how a phantom holding call took away what would have proved to be an important touchdown? And then on that next play, we threw an interception? Similar things could have happened in that situation.

Two epic goatees. Two epic coaches. Tip of the Spear and The Lunchpail. GRIMES&FOSTER.

No one's really been arguing over bad calls..

We deserved to lose this game because of the way we played. But on the replay of the Kyle Fuller PI call, you could see that Kyle literally barely touched the guy and the ball was virtually uncatchable.

Logan 3:16

I feel like holding is going uncalled too much.

It's happened to us a bunch this season, more than I can remember happening. It's a problem everywhere though, Björn Werner got form-tackled last night against NC State and it didn't get called. What's ironic is we're getting it both ways, like the phantom hold on Beiro.

This

I rarely complain about calls. You're always going to have bad calls in games but generally it'll balance out. I also realize the penalties for the UNC game heavily favored VT. But I feel like I am seeing holds (blatant ones) way too frequently this season, and I'm not sure why that is or why it's not being called. At the end of the day, though, if you want even a shot in the NFL as a lineman, you need to man the hell up and beat the guy in front of you, holding or not.

I know French has always talked about how Wiles doesn't teach hand techniques as effectively as he should, so it may just be that our guys this year just aren't good enough to beat their blocks (consistently) when they are held.

The Bowden Equation

At this point, it seems like Beamer is just a name. Much the same way that Bobby Bowden was at the end of his tenure. What is it going to take for someone to make a few changes around Blacksburg? The man has been a football god to the Hokies, but all good things must come to an end. If you want to keep him in the loop, then put him in charge of recruiting. Having his name associated with Virginia Tech football will always be a great benefit. But I can't be the only one who feels that his time has passed. Change is good. Turnover is needed. It's time to get some fresh blood in Lane Stadium.

At this point, I would let the current staff finish up the season. Then once the offseason hits, remove Beamer as the head coach. Possibly promote Foster, but the way his D has been playing this year doesn't give me too much confidence in him. Perhaps we just scrap the entire staff and let a new comer build his own unit. I hate to see things change, but until they do, we'll always be known as a 10 win team who doesn't belong.

Rant Hill

I have only been watching VT since 08/09 but damn this is awful. I didnt expect us to get whalloped so badly