Pre-Shane Recruiting and the Debacle in Chapel Hill

One of the major problems with the defense is not only the lack of veteran depth in the secondary, but also a lack of veteran depth in the linebacker corps. In previous editions of French on the Bench, I have casually mentioned how the defense has been hampered terribly by horrific recruiting classes from 2008-2010 (prior to Shane Beamer's arrival.) Here is a quick breakdown of the defensive recruiting during that period.

Year Player Position Stars Result
08 Lydell Gibson LB 3 Kicked out
08 Jeron Gouveia-Winslow Whip 3 Marginal starter
08 Isaiah Hamlette DE/DT 3 3rd string/special teams
08 Antoine Hopkins DT 3 Starter/2nd string
08 Jake Johnson LB 3 Transferred
08 Joe Jones DE 2 Left the program
08 Leon McKay DE 3 Don't recall ever joining VT
08 Quillie Odom LB 4 Kicked out
08 Allan Stephens LB 3 Don't recall ever joining VT
08 Bruce Taylor LB 4 Multi-year starter
08 Eddie Whitley DB 3 Multi-year starter
08 Lorenzo Williams DB 3 Left program

Average Rivals Score: 3.08
Number of starters: 3
Number who were in program 4 years: 3
Number of DB's: 1

Year Player Position Stars Result
09 Telvion Clark LB 3 Kicked Out
09 Tariq Edwards LB 3 1 year starter
09 Antone Exum DB 3 2 year starter
09 James Gayle DE 3 2 year starter
09 James Hopper DB 2 Grad assistant
09 Jayron Hosley DB 4 NFL
09 Theo Norman DB 3 Left the program
09 DeAntre Rodes DT 3 Never joined the program
09 David Wang DT 3 Moved to offense
09 Jerrod Williams DB 4 Never joined the program
09 Tyrell Wilson DE 3 Backup/contributor
09 Duan Perez-Means DE 3 Moved to Offense
09 JR Collins (Lanford) DE NA 2 year starter

Average Rivals Score: 3.06
Number of starters: 5
Number who were in program 4 years: 5
Number of DB's: 2

Year Player Position Stars Result
10 Nick Acree DL 4 Moved to offense
10 Dietrick Bonner DB 3 Marginal starter
10 Nick Dew DB 4 Left the program
10 Kyle Fuller DB 3 3 year starter
10 Brian Laiti LB 3 Left the Program
10 Derrick Hopkins DT 3 2 year starter
10 Zach McCray DE 4 Backup
10 Justin Taylor DE 3 Scout Team
10 Chase Williams LB 3 Backup

Average Rivals Score: 3.06
Number of starters: 3
Number who were in program 3 years: 6
Number of DB's: 2

With a few exceptions, the Hokies recruited 3-star or less talent, and the number of marginal players or players who left the program is startling. Until Donaldven Manning last season, the Hokies had barely developed enough defensive back recruits to field a secondary, and many talented players were moved away from safety to the whip wasteland.

Even more serious, the Hokies have a major dearth of veteran talent at mike and backer. Bruce Taylor, Tariq Edwards, and Chase Williams (Tyler was a preferred walk-on) are the only players from this three year recruiting period. In 2010, linebacker was a major focus of the staff. However, Bud Foster looked past consensus top linebacker Curtis Grant, a lifelong Hokie fan playing at a Hokie pipeline in Hermitage. (I heard rumors about Grant wanting some incentives for coming to VT, so perhaps a blessing in disguise.) Foster passed on Grant, and devoted resources to recruiting Stephone Anthony and Travis Hughes, both of whom seemed to be great fits in the Foster defense. Anthony signed with Clemson, Hughes signed with UNC, and both have made huge plays that contributed to Hokie losses over the last calendar year.

Now the talent gap has finally caught up. The Hokies have some young talent, but most of it is unpolished or at a position where they have depth (defensive line). Last year's DB class has promise, but prior classes (Bonner, Cole, RVD, Aromire, etc...) have washed out, outgrew the position, or just are not ACC-caliber starters. The lack of linebacker depth forced a worn out Jack Tyler and Bruce Taylor to play every snap today, and the defensive line had to be oversensitive to play fakes because of the poor run support of the secondary, which froze the pass rush.

This season has now become about next year. The Hokies have limited options in the secondary and fewer at mike and backer, but the trigger needs to be pulled on some changes. First, the Hokies need to figure out a way to get Bruce Taylor and Jack Tyler some rest. They can do it, and perhaps match up a little better against the spread by using Ronny Vandyke and JGW at backer and rotating Taylor & Tyler at mike on third downs. Second, at this point it is clear that Bonner and Cole will always be liabilities. They may get better, but neither have ACC starter athleticism and that isn't going to change. Cole would be better suited as a whip/special teams guy, and Bonner as a back up corner. If they feel that Manning can be a contributor, let him make mistakes and get him snaps. Figure out if Tookes and Frye can play. Spend the time and resources teaching them how to contribute next year, because even if the offense plays lights out and the defensive line starts killing the QB, any decent passing offense that can mix in the run will ultimately shred this defense. Besides the front-four, they just don't have the horses, and even with a few very promising guys, the best position on defense (line) doesn't seem to have that superstar who can wreck a gameplan by himself.

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Comments

Thank you so much for this post. This post so full of truth. And the truth can hurt sometimes.

I believe in the Brew Crew.

This day seemed like it was coming

I was hoping the less than stellar recruiting of that period could be overcome, but it is now showing. I think it is on both sides of the ball. Is this a rebuilding year or the start of a trend?

#Hokies

Only time will tell. Unfortunately.

I believe in the Brew Crew.

Link with April Tragedy

Did it occur to anyone that the recruiting drop-off and the drop-outs happened the first few years after the April 2007 event? That would mean we are holding the coaches responsible for something they couldn't control. I could easily see recruits and their parents deciding to choose a different school at that time due to fears. I wonder if other schools use that against us in the recruiting wars? Are we seeing a lingering effect of the tragedy?

#Hokies

That would be a really disrespectful move of other programs to use that against us... I would be pretty upset about it if this was actually the case.

I believe in the Brew Crew.

Lanford Collins = JR Collins

And remember he lost weight during the offseason because he didn't want to play inside.

However, I agree that we play backups to get them more experience now. Although I doubt that the coaches are going to resign to that decision just yet... Which is both frustrating and understandable at the same time.

Maybe once a few more L's are experienced and we don't have a shot at "winning our side" (Beamer-speak), we'll go to this strategy. Could prove useful. Because who's our first opponent next season?

Oh yeah. I remember. Some team called the Crimson Tide?

I believe in the Brew Crew.

My question

Can we hold in-season tryouts and still have a better team place by the team we play FSU? Personally, I want to see that upset. It may be a long shot, but it is Thurs night Blacksburg. If the coaches are sure that some of the young guys are better than the veterens then change them now and run with it. If they are on the fence about it, I say go with consistency. We have already complained about not having a consistent #1 RB so far this season. I'm scared to see that same philosophy with half the defense.

I know I'm beating a dead horse and that we promised him a shot at) but trey edmunds would better help this team in the long run at LB. With harris coming in and williams the following year, we'll be fine at)..doesn't seem like this is gonna happen though so hopefully he turns out to be something special there

What makes you so sure it's not gonna happen?

I haven't heard or read anything that would indicate that Edmunds is definitely pegged for RB no matter what.

I agree with you and think that, with all the other good RBs we're going to have, he would probably help the team more ... and get more PT for himself ... at LB. But they'll put them all out on the field in the spring and let them compete.

If he can clearly distinguish himself as one of our 2 best RBs and we can be sure that he's going to get a lot of reps there, fine. Keep him at RB.

But if he's caught up in the muddle behind our 2 best guys (who I'm thinking are going to be Coleman and Harris), then I think you'll see him move to LB where he can either start or be a primary backup immediately.

He is redshirting and playing running back on the scout team instead of redshirting and learning the linebacker position so he could hit the ground running in the spring. That is enough of a red flag for me.

Viva El Guapo

Didn't know that.

I agree that sure makes it sound like they're looking at him as a RB first. But maybe that's simply what he wants to be doing, or maybe they just need him as a RB on the scout team more than they need him as a LB.

From what I've heard, part of the reason why he's in Blacksburg is because he's redshirting and/or getting a shot at tailback.

I'd love to see him on the field, but understand if the coaches are honoring a recruiting promise.

And the reason he would want to stay at running back is simple. Hokie running backs get to the NFL. With the exception of two whips (Anderson and Grimm) Hokie linebackers don't get a sniff. Trey's dad was an NFL player, so he knows that Trey NFL chances would be hindered by playing in Foster's system, but I am not sure sitting out when he is clearly better than the other running back options is making him happy right now. I sure wouldn't be.

Viva El Guapo

I don't think LB was our biggest problem yesterday. Did you see how bad our DT's were getting pushed around all game? It was pathetic. The linebackers looked like they were over-pursuing everything because they knew the d-line wasn't going to help them out at all. I can't believe our d-line is so bad, it's time to start playing guys based on effort instead of skill, maybe that'll wake everyone up.

Rip his freaking head off!

Derrick Hopkins has been one of the major dissappointments on this season. DHop, Kyle Fuller, and Logan Thomas have all seen their level of play drop this season and they can not win if two out of those three have a bad game.

Viva El Guapo

Definitely have to agree. The DL has been a huge disappointment.

While I agree with French's take on our LB recruiting from 2008-2010, the biggest problem that we had against both Pitt and UNC was that our DLs were being pushed out of their assigned gaps with ease.

Our DL was supposed to be the deepest, most talented unit on the team this year. They have regressed significantly from last year, along with the play of our supposedly all-ACC caliber center and, until yesterday at least, our QB.

I have no clue what's happened to the Hopkins brothers, Maddy, Gayle et al, but Charley Wiles needs to get it figured out ASAP or else we'll quite likely lose to Duke too.

I want to see more Kris Harley. That energy after he got the tipped interception last weekend was inspiring. If he brings that energy and fire in practice, then we need to put is ass in the game (and quite possibly on the 1-line on the 2-deep).

I want to see more Corey Moore "Murder Eyes"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVbQ3idN7jU

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

REACH FOR EXCELLENCE @goobvt_sg

Can we just play the scout team versus Duke? Yeah we will lose but hell we might lose anyway..and it would be a wake up call to everyone...

I don't think this situation needs wholesale message changes. Desperation is a stinky cologne, and the kids won't respond to it. What they do need to do is identify where players are only serving as caretakers, and determine if some of the players behind them can contribute long term. If they can't, some deadwood needs to get cut, and they need to target more defensive recruits. Athletic incoming freshmen like David Prince would be directed towards playing defense.

I also agree that Edmunds should at least be practicing on defense. The redshirt, coupled with additional recruits for next year like Harris and Reid mean he is needed on defense. Linebackers are hard to find in next year's recruits, meaning that Deon Clarke is the only viable long term prospect in the system.

Viva El Guapo

Well, if you count Trey Edmunds as a LB ...

... we signed at least 4 LBs in last year's class:

Trey Edmunds
Deon Clarke
Dahman McKinnon
Devin Van Dyke

... and maybe a 5th in Jerome Wright as well if you want to count him as a LB.

This year, we've got commitments from Jamieon Moss, Andrew Motu'apuaka, and perhaps Holland Fisher as well, depending on how much he fills out once he gets to college (he's 6'2", 200 now).

So I don't think the cupboard is quite as bare as you're making it out to be.

McKinnon and Van Dyke are whips. Clarke, Trimble, and Williams are the the stock, and Clarke is the only one who has the athleticism of a starting caliber middle backer. Edmunds can be number two. For every three star that becomes a big time player, you have 10 that end up as deadwood. Get enough elite talent, and the odds swing back. It is no accident that the elite defenses came from a time where VT was getting top notch DB and linebacker recruits (Hall/Adibi).

Viva El Guapo

Hall/Adibi

Were they from FL? Also was alot of the elite talent from a few years ago also from FL? Not saying that is anything I just want to know for my personal understanding of College Football recuiting.

A new season...new hope

Virginia

Vince Hall came from Chesapeake (Western Branch) and Xavier Adibi from Hampton (Phoebus).

"Got time. OHH a receiver wide open it's Royal!"

Thank you

Thanks for the reply

A new season...new hope

I know Dahman McKinnon was specifically recruited to be the Whip for his class, but I remember him playing safety either in the spring or August. He's listed as an OLB now, but just something to keep an eye on.

they wanted

to see if he could make the switch. they want to find out if both he and rvd can be on the field together.

I think "athleticism" is overrated for a Mike LB.

At the Mike spot, having good instincts re: pursuit angles, making the right reads, and being a sure tackler are much more important. Vince Hall was one of the best Mikes we've ever had here and he wasn't a great "athlete" by any means in terms of his 40 time or standing jump. Also, at only 6'0", he wasn't that big. Jack Tyler is an excellent Mike LB, although to be sure, in this era of spread offenses, you probably do want someone who's a little better in pass coverage.

I agree that Clarke is probably the Mike LB of the future. But it certainly wouldn't surprise me to see one of the other guys end up at Mike or Backer as well. These kids are gonna get stronger and heavier once they get into Gentry's program. They may not be through growing vertically either.

And your comment about "For every one 3-star player that ends up as a star, you have 10 that end up as deadwood." simply isn't accurate, at least as far as VT is concerned. Chris Coleman did a detailed analysis a couple of years ago comparing the contributions made by VT's 3-star recruits from 2000 to 2010 as compared to the 4-star recruits. The results? There was basically no difference at all between the two groups. Sure, we've had a lot of 4-star recruits who became great players for us, but we've also had plenty of 4-star busts too.

He never mentioned 4star recruits at all

Just the hit/miss ratio of 3 star recruits

True, but it's pretty obvious that's what he was talking about.

He brought up the allegedly poor success rate of 3-star players in the context of VT needing to recruit more players rated higher than 3 stars. Since 5-star players are pretty rare, he obviously had to be talking mainly about 4-star players.

My point was simple. Over that 3 year window, the Hokies failed to land big time defensive recruits, and so many of the 3 star talents either washed out, left the program, or didn't amount to anything but scout team material that they are now completely lacking in depth.

I have always contended that the gap defense hampers recruiting for defensive line and linebackers because the system is completely different from what is utilized in the NFL, and the numbers play it out. James Anderson is the only NFL starter from VT playing in the front seven. Darryl Tapp has been a career backup. Jason Worilds had to change positions and has never adjusted. Xavier Adibi continues to be a guy cut in training camp. Vince Hall didn't even get a look. Cody Grimm was moved to safety. Jonathan Lewis got a sniff. The fundamentals are that different, and don't think for a second that Mike London, Dabo Sweeny, and Larry Fedora are not using that information for every recruiting visit.

That being said, the Hokies always managed to land or develop quality defensive backs. I have no clue why they hit such a lull.

The next two defensive classes are absolutely critical, and getting top end talent like Fuller, Fisher, and Teller are good starts, but long term getting top end talent and getting good depth will be critical, especially handling spread attacks which require superior athleticism and one on one tackling in space.

Viva El Guapo

A lot of DEs become OLBs

when joining a team running a 3-4. As a Redskins fan, I know both Kerrigan and Orakpo were both DEs in college, and now both are starting OLBs.

Jason Worilds seems to be doing fairly well in the Steelers system. He may be a starter/key reserve for years to come. So, I think he's actually an example of a success, not a failure.

I think the lack of success of NFL caliber D-linemen and linebackers has more to do with size. VT typically employs undersized but quick linemen and backers, which typically don't have as much success in the NFL. Darryll Tapp, Corey Moore, and Cody Grimm are prime examples who are extremely athletic but just don't have the size to be elite at their positions. If VT gets LBs with size and quickness, NFL scouts will recognize that, regardless of defensive scheme.

ILB

Don't think Bruce will be able to make it in the NFL, coming out of the VT system? And I hear Worilds is doing pretty well, but they've got a good set of starting LBs, and then he was injured all preseason. His time is coming.

I wonder if we can take recruiting stars with a bigger grain of salt than usual when it comes to our LB recruits. As someone else pointed out, we want smaller, faster guys at LB than most teams. Smaller, faster guys are less likely to be 4* LB recruits precisely because they are undersized.

No he didn't

With all due respect, this board has succeeded by having a very different tone than TSL and the other Hokie boards. A lot of people come here because of that.

Very Much Appreciated

Having insightful, flame free, and pleasant discourse is one of the main goals of the site. We also try to provide great analysis, want to remain free, and have some fun and make jokes too. I've always said the people posting here make the community, and it's true.

I appreciate Hokiestud's opinions/thoughts, and truly enjoy the back-and-forth, and I don't want to speak for myself, but whatever I say is at face value, I don't imply anything.

Van Dyke

isn't DVD slated for backer?

yes.

DVD is projected as a Backer/Mike, not Whip.

Flowers, Harris, Chancellor, Carmichael, Whitley, Hosley, Fuller, Exum

I would respectfully disagree about Cole.

I think that it's too early to form a final judgment about him yet and my guess is that, in the long run, he's going to be a very good player for us.

He's being thrown to the wolves right now as a redshirt freshman and, like any freshman, he's making his share of mistakes as he adjusts to the college game. But he's also made some good plays for us and he's clearly not afraid of contact.

The best thing that could happen to help our pass defense would be for the defensive line to start generating a pass rush and getting to the QB every now and then. Renner basically had all day to sit back in the pocket yesterday and pick out his receivers. You give any good QB with good receivers a clean pocket on play after play and you're gonna give up some yardage no matter how good your secondary is.

james farrow

He was class of 2011, but it really seems to hurt now that James Farrow transfered in Feb for 'playing time'. He probably could have gotten a lot of playing time at this point.

The word was that Farrow transferred because ...

... he wants to pursue a rap music career and he thinks that his odds of him getting noticed in Southern California are better than in Blacksburg, which is probably true.

But yeah, whatever the reason he sure would have come in handy this year.

the irony was exploding out of my tv when hughes outmuscled holmes and just took the ball out of his arms. you're not in the valley district anymore michael.

"I promise you I will keep getting back up as long as you keep pushing forward." -Michael Brewer
"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

Recruiting Question

I have some general questions about recruiting:
1. Has most of it been focused on the Offensive side of the ball?
2. What are our "pipeline" states? (I know VA but what else)
3. How does the football talent in VA measure up to the rest of the country? (I know FL, CA, and TX are the big three as far as High School football where does VA match up)
4. I know at one point we were Recruiting in FL but decide to pull out and focus our efforts farther North except for one High School. Does anyone know why we pulled out of FL?
5. Why are other school more successful in recruiting top talent away from VA? ( Obiviously I know a choice between Alabama, OSU, LSU, insert elite college program name and VT wouldnt be a choice in my mind as a HS kid but why do FSU, Clemson, and teams around our calibre seem to be able to do it. ( I know this is a very difficult question to answer and there may be too many different answers to put in a reply. I am asking just to see if anyone has insight.)
6. What has Shane done differently that wasnt being done before?

French I remember you had a post about defensive recruiting saying something to the effect that because Bud runs a Hybrid scheme that does not translate to the NFL other coaches use that against us. Do we have a similar issue on offense?
Thanks

A new season...new hope

Good stuff

Our recruiting practices in general would make for a great post later on by some of the resident football geniuses here...

Bleacher report ranked VA as ninth best "hotbed" for high school football recruiting

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1269478-the-25-best-recruiting-hotbed...

We lose top talent in VA because we lose football games (and I'm not talking about this season, I'm referring more to the big games that we consistently lose). Obviously, coaches, playing time, redshirt or not, distance, etc all go into a kids' decision, but no matter how you slice it, when you lose football games, you lose football players.

I can't tell you the insider details on Shane's recruiting techniques and I don't think anybody on this site can (if you can please share), but I think two things help us/Shane recruit better. (1) He's younger than the rest of our staff so he can relate to these young guys a little better, and (2) He has SEC bloodlines. He's been with more that one SEC program so he's learned from the best, a couple of times.

Kendall Fuller - future Thorpe winner
(STOP CRYING ABOUT DOWNVOTES)

Thanks for the reply and answering some of my questions

A new season...new hope

I will try to address these these the best I can at the end of the season after national signing day. They are good questions.

Thanks

I look forward to see that post

A new season...new hope

Sportsfans, this is what Attrition looks like

VT is in serious trouble. Losing to Duke is a serious possibility this year.

It's all about The VPISU
VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Also go Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.

Also add in Dominique Patterson. Switched around from LB to RB, then left team

Isn't another major problem the types of defensive recruits we target to play LB? It seems like almost everyone out of HS gets slated to play rover or whip, being around 6'0 and 200 lbs. We can't seem to target many guys who have the size, let alone the instincts, to play the MLB or ILB spots early.

How much of it is offenses just being way ahead...

...of defenses right now? We're not the only defense struggling. UNCs offense is good. Duke, Clemson, Miami, FSU....even BC. That's just our schedule, the B12, P12......jeez.

Who wants conference player of the week honors?? Just come play against VT and you shall receive.

Kudos to French

on another excellent analysis! Really dude, you should be on TV or radio. Congrats on the mention in Bitter's blog, too!

I think as french points out, this shows why so many college teams are only a few sub-par recruiting years away from mediocrity. Complacency breeds mediocrity. I just posted on the "What do you want out of this season" post some thoughts on recruiting (copied here), not totally restricted to defense, but overall.

I think one thing we need to do is re-assess our recruiting philosophy as well. I know we have some speed guys, but we need to recruit speed on both sides of the ball for every position. Think DE's like Jadevon Clowney. O-linemen the size of houses that can move. Running backs that pack some punch (we've had a few of those, and may already have some in-house as redshirts) TE's who can run, catch AND knock sombody's head off. (While we're on blocking, in my mind the first two priorities of a WR should be to 1. catch the ball when it's thrown to you, and 2. hit someone really, really hard when it isn't. Our guys haven't really done either this year, so it kind of grates on me.) Speed kills in any sport, but perhaps more so in football than any other game. Let's go get more.

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

Can you post the link to that mention? I'm interested in reading the article.

I believe in the Brew Crew.

the post is on tkp

under that title.

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

Thanks

I believe in the Brew Crew.

That's all well and good to say that, but every team wants ...

... to recruit guys with size and speed who can also knock somebody's head off and there just aren't enough to go around.

I see our problems as being more mental than physical, although I will also agree with French that we do have some personnel deficiencies in the secondary that are being exploited, primarily because of youth and the fact that we're having to play certain guys out of position. But if you just look at the heights, weights and 40 times of our starters, you'd certainly think that we should be playing better than we are.

Likewise, I don't think that the problem along the OL is that we don't have guys that can move. On the contrary, I think we probably have as mobile an OL as we've ever had before. The difference is that they're being asked to take very long blocking angles and they seem to be getting too easily confused about who's supposed to be doing what, at least in the running game. (They're actually pretty good in pass protection.) I blame that on their coaching staff. They're also using poor technique and getting pushed into the backfield far too often. I blame that on the coaching staff too.

The main thing is that we've lost the edge we used to have. You are 100% right about Marcus Davis and Dyrell Roberts pussying out on their blocking assignments and dogging their routes when they aren't the primary receiver on the play. I think that's symptomatic of the entire program right now. We'd gotten to the point where we took 10-win seasons and ACC championship game appearances for granted, both players and fans.

Most people don't realize that there is a very fine line ...

... between being very good and being mediocre at this level. VT has been on the good side of that line for a long time now, which is why that streak of 8 consecutive 10-win seasons was and is remarkable. But it appears that we've now lost that edge and have drifted down to the mediocre side of that proverbial line.

I think that recruiting misses have had something to do with it and that we're short of quality depth at certian positions, meaning that we're having to play some guys earlier than we'd like.

But I think a bigger problem, quite frankly, is that we've lost the toughness that we used to have. I look at our D-line and I see a big, strong, fast and deep group that, with the exception of the ACC championship game in Charlotte, pretty much shut down everyone they played last year. How is it that the same group of guys, a year more experienced, can now be pushed around so easily by the likes of Pitt and UNC?

On the offensive side of the ball, I see a big, strong and experienced offensive line that spends far too much time moving backwards or wandering around aimlessly looking for someone to hit. Sure, our two senior receivers have been disappointments so far (neither one is a natural receiver) and our RBs are rookies who are still developing. But once again, the biggest problem with our offense seems to be inexplicably poor play along the offensive line, including the tight ends.

I'm willing to give Bud Foster and Charley Wiles the benefit of the doubt. They've more than earned their stripes in the past and I'm confident they'll get things straightened out. But Curt Newsome simply has to go. The product that he's putting out on the field is much poorer than he should be producing, given what he has to work with, and in my opinion it's never going to get any better.

Watching the film for the last 24 hours, between the guards and the tight ends Saturday, we are lucky they got a first down. Reddick, Sylvester, and the rest of the front 7 completely outclassed the guards, center, and tight ends.

Viva El Guapo

Curt Newsome coached positions: 100% failure rate.

Eric Martin is just not good.

He can't block and he can't catch. Other than that, he's fine.

Ryan Malleck is only marginally better at this point but I think he can improve. I'd prefer seeing him get 80% of the reps at TE from here on out.

I'd also like to see more of Redman. I'm sure Martin is a good kid and I'm sorry to be so negative on him, but he's just never going to get any better and I'm tired of seeing him pushed two yards into the backfield or getting smoked in pass protection by faster defensive ends and LBs.

At this point

we should just send an extra OL in the TE spot and go "heavy" with our line. It's not like we have gotten any offensive production out of the TEs anyway. Add inconsistent blocking that has contributed to failure to open any kind of holes, not sure of the ROI of our TE group thus far. I'm not sure how much of a departure from our scheme this would require (French would) or who would even play here (Gibson would be the tits, though). Becton and Painter have been bright spots, adding another big boy on the outside might open up running lanes on the edge, which would divert opponents from destroying our interior linemen hopefully.

Honestly, I would like to see Duan Perez-Means get a look. He certainly looked good catching the ball in fall camp. Ultimately, Malleck is the guy, but if they don't trust him to block, and Martin can't block, then just go with Dunn and force the safeties to respect him up the seam. Logan's play fakes must get better, because they are getting ignored about half the time now. Even the Davis TD, Logan fakes to mid-air.

Viva El Guapo

Any one know the "official" OL grade-outs for the UNC game?

for that matter

... does anyone know the official grades and number of plays for the BG and Cincy games? I'm not surprised this info hasn't gone up on hokiesports.com for the UNC game yet, but I haven't been able to find it for BG or Cincy either. Are they no longer going to post that, or are they posting it somewhere differently from where it was before (the notebook)?

interesting to see that, no idea how awful our defensive recruiting has been