A Critical Win: UNC Film Review

I'll start this week's film review with an admission. I did not watch the Hokies beat the Tar Heels live. I listened to the game on AM radio as I took my family to the Outer Banks for a week of fishing and boiled shrimp. As I listened to Bill Roth's and Mike Burnop's call, I felt many of the same emotions that HokieNation was feeling on Saturday: elation as the offense clicked on all cylinders early; hint of worry as the defense didn't seem quite as dominant as expected against a quarterback making his first start; frustration with the Hokies inability to ice the football game in the 3rd quarter as well as the lack of rushing yards. I went to the film to look for answers, at the same time, when I reviewed my Twitter timeline after enjoying a good dinner in Kitty Hawk, I was surprised at how dissatisfied many seemed to be with the win. UNC beat the stuffing out of the Hokies last season, and to turn around and get a convincing win after the physical pounding of the Georgia Tech game makes this a huge victory. Yes, there is room for improvement, but the film clearly indicates that Virginia Tech dominated this football game and the coaching staff and the fan base should be thrilled with how the team continues to improve.

Blocking and the Running Game: Stats Do Lie

A quick look at the stat sheet, the Hokies only netted 48 yards on 34 carries for a putrid 1.4 yards per carry. As a result, the natives got restless, and I read numerous complaints about the offensive line. I expected the film to reflect a major regression by the offensive line, but instead I quickly saw that the Virginia Tech offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. Based on my rewatch, there were only three complete busts from the offensive line through the entire game (one on pass protection) and when keyed in on individual matchups, every Hokie offensive lineman was physically dominant.

So, why only 48 net yards? As most commentators noted, UNC's entire defensive concept was built around stopping the running game, especially when Scot Loeffler started calling the game more conservatively in the 2nd half. UNC's initial alignment featured six and seven men in the box versus the Hokies spread, however before the snap corners and safeties were jumping into the box. Except on 3rd-and-longs, almost every Virginia Tech offensive play was contested against a minimum of 8 (and often 9) men in the box. The Hokies strongest running plays for much of the season feature influence blocking (where an offensive lineman's movement is used as a false key for a defender, causing them to anticipate a different play and vacate the location where the ball is actually going) and when a defense uses blitzes to account for areas of the field rather than reading keys, those plays do not work as well.

Here's an example of a well blocked play that wasn't successful because of a run blitz where the defenders are not reading keys. On a second and five, the Hokies run the inverted veer.

00:15:32–00:15:45

On the true inverted veer, the tight end (aligned flexed to the right) takes an outside step, called a veer release. The purpose of the veer release is to force the defensive end to also step wide in order to avoid being sealed inside. Kalvin Cline takes his outside step, however the defensive end is not reading him. He crashes through his inside shoulder, and gets up field far enough so that if Logan gives to Edmunds on the sweep action, he will be there waiting. Logan correctly reads sweep.

To the inside, the UNC strong safety blitzes and heads straight to the hole for the quarterback. Again, the Hokies system counts on that safety playing more outside-in, which allows Cline a better angle to seal him off his veer release. Instead, the safety doesn't widen out, and Cline has a poor angle to make the block.

The rest of the play is perfect. The strong side of the offensive line seals the defense inside. Caleb Farris pulls from his left guard spot through the bubble created on the right side and is in position to seal the middle linebacker inside. Remove the blitzing safety and there's a huge hole. UNC's defensive coordinator happened to make the correct call for this play. If that safety comes up to fill, rather than a pre-determined blitz, this is a big play. Cline wasn't to blame. He executed his technique and gave appropriate effort, but the veer release influence block effectively took him out of position to make the block that would have sprung the play. That is football. Sometimes the defense guesses right.

Also, as result of Sam Rogers' injured ankle, Scot Loeffler was forced to use some personnel groupings in the second half which limited his ability to execute the game plan that worked so well in the first half. Jerome Wright got work at fullback and made two plays in the passing game, but after only playing tailback in high school Wright isn't much of a blocker. Loeffler rarely used Wright on running downs, which limited running formations to two tight-end sets with Cline and Redman. This narrowed the playbook.

Furthermore, after watching the film, I have drawn the conclusion that the greatest strength of the Scot Loeffler offense is also one of the reasons that the running backs have struggled a bit. As Mason discussed well, each week the running game has transformed. Against Alabama we saw a ton of veer and option from the spread and pistol. Against Western Carolina, we saw the pro set and the basic zone stretch offense. Against East Carolina we saw more veer from the spread, and against Marshall the Hokies used the trapping tight end on those read option plays. Against Georgia Tech, the Hokies ran inverted veer almost exclusively. This week, the Hokies used similar formations, but instead of zone blocking or trapping with the tight end, Virginia Tech ran the power play from the pistol and spread extensively, down blocking to the play side and then pulling the guard on the opposite side around and leading up on a linebacker.

As a defensive coordinator, it must be a nightmare to gameplan against a running game that completely changes identity each week, but there is a negative impact on the offense as well. Impressively, despite using numerous different techniques (a pet peeve of mine), the offensive line is doing a spectacular job of successfully executing all of these different schemes. However, the film showed that the running backs left a ton of yardage on the field while repeatedly missing large holes. That suggests to me that perhaps the ever-changing offense isn't giving the Hokies inexperienced running backs an opportunity to develop a rhythm and get a feel for where holes are going to develop.

Make no mistake; there were numerous opportunities for big plays. Let's take a look at the power concept that Loeffler incorporated early and often against the Tar Heels.

This power play is similar to the old Dallas Cowboys power lead that paved the way to the Hall of Fame for Emmitt Smith, where the Dallas offensive line blocked down, the fullback kicked out the end, and the guard on the back side pulled and lead through on a linebacker. This uses the same concept from the spread. The blockers on the play side block down, and the back side (left) guard pulls and leads through.

00:00:07–00:00:12

Here, the Hokies have an effective gain on the opening offensive play, but Trey Edmunds could have made a more explosive play. Let's freeze the film.

Edmunds takes the conservative approach and hits the safer interior hole. But, Edmunds should be reading and cutting off of Caleb Farris' lead block on the linebacker. Farris' head is on the outside shoulder, so Edmund's cut should be to the outside. Also, the closest unblocked defender is closer to the inside hole, and there is much more room for an explosive play to the outside.

This happened several times with both Edmunds and Coleman. Both seemed impatient and tried to get up field quickly without seeing where the hole developed. On the first play of the critical drive following the Kyle Fuller interception, Edmunds again missed a nice hole.

00:19:22–00:19:29

The Hokies run their read option with the tight end trap block. Edmunds follows the tight end like a lead play, but the tight end wham usually creates a counter action where the hole develops away from the trap block. Several of Edmund's biggest runs, including the critical long run against Marshall, came when he bent the run back, but he missed an opportunity here.

Freezing the film a huge hole opens up to the left.

David Wang has sealed the defensive tackle to the right. Both linebackers have over pursued to the right. Caleb Farris and Jonathan McLaughlin have sealed to the outside on the left, creating a huge cutback lane. But, Edmunds goes to the right, right into the teeth of another UNC corner blitz.

The Little Things: Execution at Critical Moments

Those three third quarter three-and-outs that kept the Tar Heels in a game that they had been dominated in were frustrating. Those three drives were derailed by three poor center-quarterback exchanges, and Logan Thomas made his only really poor read in the passing game by throwing to Willie Byrn short of the first down marker when Kalvin Cline was wide open on a delay route at the sticks to his right.

As discussed earlier, UNC's defensive coordinator also demonstrated good instincts and dialed up the correct blitzes to stop a couple of critical runs. With a noon kick off, warm humid weather conditions, and battered legs from the Georgia Tech game, the Hokie defense began to show signs of wear and tear in the third quarter.

Kyle Fuller's 4th down interception gave the Hokie offensive one last chance to ice the game, and Virginia Tech responded with an excellent drive. Logan Thomas engineered a 40-yard drive that didn't result in a score, but drained almost 7 minutes off the clock. The drive gave the defense an opportunity to rest, and even if Switzer doesn't muff the punt, the Hokies essentially won the game with that drive. After the muff, Loeffler finally demonstrated the attitude of dominance that I have been so eager to see from this offense. Loeffler called power leads from the ace (one back) formation with the left guard pulling to the right on six consecutive plays, then finished the touchdown drive with a lead play back to the weak side. The Hokie offense basically telegraphed where they were running, and moved the chains (don't point out the facemasking penalty, as Edmunds gets the first down if defender doesn't grab the facemask) on their way to a touchdown. It was football at its brutal, bloody, and simple best.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. UNC's defensive line was not a particularly strong unit, so you expect the Hokie offensive line to get movement up front. There are still some struggles on blocks from the tight end's and fullbacks. I continue to worry about pass protection against quality speed rushers (although Benedict and McLaughlin, the latter played his best game as a Hokie, only allowed one sack.) But, at this point in the season, I am very pleased with how well the Hokies are blocking.

Continued Redemption of Logan Thomas, Passing from the Inverted Veer, and Real Pass Structure

Logan Thomas struggled early in the season, but he has flourished as his receivers developed. His pocket presence has improved significantly (note two beautiful throws after moving up in the pocket to avoid pass rush on 3rd down). Logan has been much more accurate, and his big arm allows the Hokies to attack the wide side of the field with deep out routes, which opens up throwing lanes on the inside.

Logan also has open receivers to throw to. Perhaps even more than game planning, Scot Loeffler's most impressive trait is developing a passing structure that uses play-action and influence (or "rub") routes to get his receivers, who have struggled getting separation, open on a regular basis.

Mason discussed how Loeffler incorporated play-action off of the inverted veer running action that we all know too well. This is a VERY welcome addition to the offense (and one that is two years too late.) Opposing defenses have started to load up on the inverted veer. The Tar Heels devoted multiple defenders to stopping Logan Thomas on the dive, and always sent at least one (and sometimes two defenders) wide to stop the sweep. That leaves 5 defenders to cover the rest of the field, opening up all kinds of possibilities from play-action.

Let's take a look at the Hokies first touchdown drive. Logan Thomas has a solid rush to convert a 3rd-and-2 (included on the film clip) and then Thomas lines the Hokies in a similar formation and uses the same run action on first down.

00:03:34–00:03:51

UNC checks to a cover-2, which allows both the slot defender and the corner to the play side to force the sweep action, and both linebackers are fixated on Thomas. This leaves one deep safety, and if both receivers attack vertically, the safety has to choose one, leaving someone wide open. Loeffler calls a go route for Knowles, and runs a deep out by Byrn in the slot.

Freezing the shot, you notice that the safety is in serious trouble. Both UNC defenders aligned on the receivers crash on the run. Byrn and Knowles are both streaking towards the lone safety.

The safety takes the deepest threat, leaving Byrn all by himself on the deep out. Thomas has the big arm to make the long throw, and the offensive line gives Logan plenty of time to execute the fake and get rest to throw.

Play-action off the inverted veer also worked against man coverage. Here, Loeffler uses the hint of a pick play to open Josh Stanford on a deep slant.

00:04:57–00:05:06

Without UNC in man coverage, the safeties and linebackers must attack the line of scrimmage quickly to stop the inverted veer. Byrn and Stanford both show option stalk, then Byrn works to the outside (appearing as if he may possibly pick the corner covering Stanford.) Stanford then changes gears and slants to the inside. Logan gets pressured from the back side, but steps into the pocket to make a pretty throw to Stanford.

For far too long, the Hokies passing game structure made no sense. Receivers relied almost exclusively on individual timing routes or scramble drills to make plays. How often in 2012 did we see Logan's first read as a 7 yard curl to the right, with his second read being a 7 yard curl to the middle? By the time he checked off the first receiver, the second receiver had finished his break and was no longer open. Passing plays were not set up in a logical way where one route was used to take a defender out of the spot where they wanted to go with the football, and the timing of those plays didn't result in receivers being ready or open to make the catch when Logan went to his second read. This went on for years, making the Hokies way too reliant on their quarterbacks making "Superman" plays in scramble situations to move the chains.

Scot Loeffler has been a breath of fresh air. Pass routes are complementary, and Thomas has reads where defenders have to choose between two receivers to cover. No matter which read the defender makes, someone will be open. Boise State tortured the Hokies with similar concepts in 2010, and it feels so good to finally see route structure create the same opportunities for Hokie receivers now.

Let's take a look at the first D.J. Coles touchdown. UNC shows zone at the snap.

00:06:08–00:06:15

Coles is aligned in the slot. At the snap Coles leaks to the outside of the slot defender, who has a safety helping deep to the outside. That defender can't let Coles undercut him with the slant route. The Hokies have Kalvin Cline delay into the left flat, and the slot defender (with Coles no longer a threat on the slant as result of his outside release) bites on Cline. Coles bends his route back to the inside and Thomas makes the easy throw and catch with the passing lane vacated by the slot defender in the zone.

This all seems so simple, but the same route last year doesn't have the tight end leaking out. With that defense, the slot defender would be looking into the backfield and would likely follow Logan's eyes to the football. I'd expect the same throw to result in an interception. (I can't see it on film, but I'd bet that Logan gave a little head fake towards Cline to get that slot defender to bite just enough.)

All in all, I regard this as the most satisfying win of the season so far. UNC's offense presented the worst matchup for the Hokies of all the remaining opponents on the schedule, and the noon kick coupled with UNC's poor performance against East Carolina set up a scenario ripe for the Hokies to overlook the Tar Heels. Instead of playing poorly, the Hokie offense had their best performance of the season. Every skill position player contributed in the passing game, making Virginia Tech challenging to defend, and the offensive line continues to execute the game plan effectively. The defense bent, but didn't break, and continued to help Virginia Tech win the turnover battle. If Coach Beamer can shore up the punt return, kickoff return, and field goal teams, the Hokies appear to be headed to a showdown with Miami with the Coastal Division title at stake. Pitt, who has won four straight versus Frank Beamer, looms as the potential spoiler to a great season. After the embarrassment at Heinz Field last year, motivation should not be much of a factor.

Comments

For far too long, the Hokies passing game structure made no sense...making the Hokies way too reliant on their quarterbacks making "Superman" plays in scramble situations to move the chains

Oh God this is so true.

The mobile QB was the crutch that hid so many flaws.

Great analysis from both of you. I rewatched the every play last night and was shocked at the sheer efficiency from mid 1st QTR to halftime. We seem to be derailing ourselves with one bad QTR every game, with many of them being the 3rd QTR or 1st QTR.

Stiney was Mike London before Mike London- great recruiter, good person but awful X's and O's.

I shutter at this comparison. Stiney was and still is a solid position coach. IMO the best analogy to Position Coach/Coordinator/Head Coach is a Mechanic/Engineer/Manager. Just because someone is a good mechanic doesn't mean they can design a car. Just because someone can design a car doesn't mean they can manage a team. Dabo was a good position coach, and has proven to be a solid CEO for clemson, but was (rightfully so) never a coordinator.

All I'm trying to say is, please don't confuse Stiney (who isn't an X's/O's guy, but was placed in a position he wasn't qualified for and has since taken a demotion to help his team) with someone who saves timeouts to ice kickers as many times as possible.

Twitter me

Well, for all you know Mike London may have been a good position coach (and he probably was, or he never would have made it this far). The same mechanic/engineer/coach analogy works for him too. Though, I'd at least expect Stiney to know that he needs all 3 time outs to effectively ice a kicker...

I say Artisan/Architect/Visionary, but this is a great insight.
Wow, TKP is awesome and educational in so many ways. What a great community we have here.

What's Important Now?
The Lunchpail. The Hammer. BeamerBall.
Deal some damage boys

And I wondered why Tyrod got drafted in the 6th round...

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

Love the OBX! Was there a few weeks ago. Hope you had a great time. I had to miss two games for that trip.
Thanks for the write up as always!

@AMB4VT

It's nice to take trips in the "off" season (if you can) to avoid all the summer commotion and maybe get a few deals. I remember having days off work in the spring in Charleston and being able to hit the beach at 10 am on a Thursday...talk about completely different atmosphere with school still in session.

Oh yeah....its SO much cheaper this time of year. Esp if you are renting a house. We got a house for $795/week that rents for $1,500/week in the "IN" season. And the house was HUGE!! So yeah totally worth waiting for the off season in my opinion.

@AMB4VT

i was one of those frustrated watching the game live when we couldnt get anything going. thank you for these write ups cause they seriously ease my fears about our offense. i really just want to see a run game dominate with assistance from the pass, but if defenses are going to stack the box and make us win with the pass logan has shown he can do it.

i wonder when we will have another 1000 yard rusher. i thought trey may do it after the alabama game but defenses have made it damn near impossible to run

tyrod did it mikey! tyrod did it!

I'm glad too that there are reasons. I honestly feel that Trey passes the eye test and is a legitimate baller.

Edmunds is like that fantasy RB that you just have to keep starting and wait for his big game (IMO). Teams are selling out on the run and we are having no trouble in the air. I am actually thankful teams did this, since my biggest fear was beating teams through the air, and now we have chemistry and great WR development. The day is soon coming where teams will respect the pass and the RB's will be explosive...when that day comes, I would expect to see a 35-45 point game from the hokies. Hopefully that day, is just 4 days away.

I don't know...kind of getting tired of using the opposing defensive scheme as a crutch for our fledgling run game. We should be able to impose our will no matter what the defense does. At what point do we hold our backs responsible...or even Shane, who I'm not yet sold on for our RB coach.

I love the tickle of Dickel in my belly

Remember our offensive staff was handed an Oline and backs that they didn't pick. It will take a few years before we can "impose our will no matter what the defense does."

Although I agree. Not yet sold on Shane as a running backs coach.

Twitter me

Valid point

I love the tickle of Dickel in my belly

Yep.
If we can hold onto the current staff/philosophies for a few years, then we can actually develop an offensive 'system' at VT, and had reactions to opponent's defensive adjustments.
Just look at Paul Johnson-his system serves him well, and he knows just how to adjust based upon the opponents. (But having his players execute like he wants them to is another issue.)

I think we have that at VT on defense. Foster for the most part has his players and can get them to buy into his adjustments.
Imagine the possibilities......

Great column once again, French. Your work should be required reading for all VT football fans.

I'm happy to learn that our problems in the running game seem to lie more with our young RBs not hitting the proper hole or making the proper read than with our OL being simply physically overwhelmed at the point of attack. The former is fixable and should improve with time. The latter probably isn't, at least not for this year.

How typical is it for a running back to develop vision and patience, or is that something that a player just kind of has and is difficult for a coaching staff to teach them those skills

Virginia Tech '12
Go Hokies and Philly Sports

It is coachable, but the difficulty lies within the player learning this. Look at the Redskins (apologies for this constant reference, but this is the only team I focus on as much as the Hokies)...Alfred Morris comes out of no where (FAU) but shows extreme patience, ball security, and enough explosiveness in a zone blocking scheme to warrant his 1600 yard season. Roy Helu, however, is speedy, shifty, and doesn't always wait for the blocks to set up. This leads to short yardage on what could be huge gains. Helu has made leaps in learning to be patient, but still has a bit of a struggle.

Considering Helu is a pro, and edmunds is not, I would say Edmunds can definitely learn it--and learn it well. Just takes time and a lot of hard work, which I don't think he is afraid of doing. Edmunds seems very coachable.

Yea I figured they got Morris because his running style(patience ect) fit their scheme, and as you said some RB's its a struggle, thats why I didn't know if for most people it developed in college or if he doesn't have good vision by now is it gonna be like pulling teeth and just hope his physical tools dominate

Virginia Tech '12
Go Hokies and Philly Sports

The "vision" that everybody talks about for tailbacks has little to do with eyes and more to do with setting up blocks and making the correct reads, just like a QB read. When things are moving quickly and they're concentrating on securing the ball, sometimes the tailback makes a bad read. The more time spent running a scheme, the better "vision" a RB is going to have. I have faith that this will get corrected as the season goes on. You can see how much work the offense has put in, and its really starting to pay off.

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

Tailbacks run with their eyes, both pre- and post-snap. As French noted above, the difference between a 6 yard play and a 15 yard play is as simple as Edmunds seeing which side of the defender the blocker has his head on. Same type of deal for Mangus on that wide run against GT he should have cut up. You read where your guy is blocking their guy and make your cut to keep the blocker between you and the defender.

Point of all this: I agree that it takes a lot of setting up blocks, etc. but don't discount the value of the tailback seeing where the hole is/will be and getting there.

David Wilson was MUCH better his last two seasons- so the former it would seem.

hearing all the praise of the new coaches reminds me of getting that first really hot girlfriend.

I can't relate to this. ALL of my girlfriends have been really hot.

A few of them may have felt this way about me, though.

Well played

#noshame

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

I'm getting seriously addicted to your post-game write-ups! Well done - I look forward to your next analysis!

I think you've earned this French:

We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

I would bludgeon small children for that after fishing in a 25mph NE wind off the pier for six hours this morning just to get skunked

Viva El Guapo

I'm actually on #TeamCake but given his lack of ability to watch the game live, poor fishing conditions, and he was STILL dedicated to doing the analysis, I put my sword down and could only muster this as a peace offering.

We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

I have a good feeling that Pitt is going to be seriously focusing their defense on stopping our passing game. After 2 games in a row where Logan Thomas beat the opponent through the air they have to be watching film working on a strategy.

After reading both film reviews this week I feel very confident that they are sitting down at this very moment scratching their heads and realizing that 6 days just doesn't seem like enough time to plan for Virginia Tech's offense. Feels amazing to say that.

I am always drunk when I make my videos.

After their game against FSU, they have really had to concentrate on pass defense. There was nobody covering those FSU receivers.

Except that they will have 13 days....

yep. Still not enough.

I am always drunk when I make my videos.

Was at the game Saturday, and I watched Edmunds ALOT. Dude is probably one of the best pass blocking backs the Hokies have ever had...especially as a r-Freshie. Kid seems to just like hitting people, and he has excellent aim. Rarely see him whiff on a block.

This is an interesting advantage, because it will become hard to guess whether he's in the game to pass protect or bust one up the middle.

And I notice in French's analysis that JC is in there on the deep out completion on first down. JC is seen as bad in pass protection, so UNC expects run based on formation and personnel. Loeffler is using their preparation to fool defenses, just like he did in the run game against Alabama.
The beauty of this complexity is when the QB understands all these formations and their counters, and can switch the play pre (and even post) snap based on his reads. Then we're in for a real treat.

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

The first play where the IV got stuffed I believe was the result of a numbers game between Logan and the UNC D. LT3 sees that there's only 6 defenders in the box with 6 guys to block them. He audibles to the IV, UNC sees that too and they call a run blitz because they think that they're gonna get taken advantage of. The SS comes up in run support as a result and makes a good play. The play-action of that play (especially seeing a guard pull) is freaking beautiful.

I agree with everything you said and I'm looking forward to what this team when the offense keeps on clicking. Also pie > cake but I like both ;)

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

These developments in the passing game are very encouraging. Damn shame Malleck got hurt right before the opener. He'll be a weapon along with KC next season, for sure.

It's always a great day to be a Hokie

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

We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

Two tight end sets with Knowles and Byrn/Stanford on the outside and Trey in the backfield? Defenses won't know what to do. Two capable flankers- one speedy and the other a great route runner with some wheels, two athletic tight ends who are decent blockers, a pretty good o-line and a potential all-ACC running back? They won't know where the threat is coming from.

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

Anyone that is very worried about the running backs, just watch Trey Edmunds on those last half dozen carries before the final touchdown. It will come.

For those of you worried about the offense as a whole, here is the reality. The talent level on offense isn't anywhere close to to as talented as the 2011 team. However, the wins have come because the scheme and fundamentals are worlds better. I am not sure if anyone currently on the offense would have started over anyone on the 2011 (perhaps McLaughlin over Lanier?), but they are much more enjoyable to evaluate on film because play in and play out the execution is much better.

Viva El Guapo

I have noticed the RBs, particularly Edmunds missing some holes. To me, 75% of the time it looks like he just runs straight up the backs of the OL. Everything gets bunched up, because he is missing reads. The fact is, if he makes 2-3 more "good" reads a game, the whole complexion and rushing output would improve tremendously, imo...

"The talent level on offense isn't anywhere close to as talented as the 2011 team."

That's a very telling comment French. I hope that with player development and recruiting that we see the talent level improve in 2014 and beyond. It is very comforting to know that at least at the coaching positions, a major talent upgrade has already occurred.

VTCC '86 Delta Derelicts, Honduras Hokie

Wow... I never really thought about it like that. Its also a depressing shocker. Similar to a question asked right before the Alabama game "who from Tech would start on Bama?"

Here's a shot at it though;
I think Trey would replace Josh Oglesby (still not a starter)
Kalvin Cline (maybe?)
Sam Rogers (maybe?)

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Rogers would be my first choice. Cline isn't beating out Drager.

Viva El Guapo

drager bomb?

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

What's the TKP preference, beer or red bull?

RIP Stick it In

But Logan started in 2011... Are you saying there's more than one Logan Thomas? And This one wouldn't start over 2011 Logan?

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

(I can't see it on film, but I'd bet that Logan gave a little head fake towards Cline to get that slot defender to bite just enough.)

It is a shoulder shrug during his drop back. Bounce, bounce, shrug - then the throw over the top. His footwork, has greatly improved, and that little move right there is all Lefty's doing. LOVE it. That is the type of stuff I see Peyton do all the time.

Fortune Favors the Bold

French, stellar as usual. It's nice to have someone break down game film for us who knows what he's talking about! Kind of like a reassuring security blanket

Question in the form of a fantasy; how feasible is this scenario: Miami game, Tech is down by 4 in the 4th qtr; we have the ball on the 19 yard line, 3rd and 8; Tech lines up with an inverted veer look, Coleman motions across LT's face, Logan pulls the ball, takes a step toward the line. Miami LB's crash the line for the run (they've been waiting for this play because they've seen it before), LT pulls up, and tosses the Tebow jump pass to Coles across the middle, who cuts it upfield for the score. Do you think Loeffler has this play in our playbook?

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

I am not sure. If I am Miami up by more than a field goal, the down and distance is 3rd and more than 4, and Coles is lined up as the HBack, I completely ignore any inverted veer run action and sit on Coles. He isn't as great blocker inside, and since the Alabama game when he lines up as a HBack or wing, it has been a pass every time.

Now 3rd and 3 from the 5 and Cline at TE? I bet he has that in the playbook.

Viva El Guapo

It's just a thought....as much as LT's run killed them in 2011 (and to an extent with the long TD last year), I think they're going to be very attentive to him in the run game. What better way than to use our own QB as a run decoy, and throw against our tendencies.

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

Noticed something interesting on the first D.J. Coles touchdown... Joel Caleb was the the Wide Receiver at the top of the screen. Wonder if they're trying him out at wide out again

Go Tech

He was aligned split out wide on several plays. I didn't see him targeted though.

Viva El Guapo

Bitter commented that Caleb looked good in practice this week .... "Velcro hands" or something like that.

Great post- extremely informative as always. In addition to the lack of patience you noted with respect to the backs, I thought, on a few plays, I've noticed Edmunds giving a slight hesitation before hitting interior holes (wherein the hole begins to close). I think this can also be chalked up to inexperience- the game is perhaps moving just a bit too fast for him so far (i.e. a hell of alot faster than in highschool games). With the inexperience of our backs in mind, any thought to simplifying the running game just slightly, or do you think it's better to stay the course and continue to coach them up? Also, how was the fishing?

Still down here but this offshore low pressure system has us in 30 mph NE winds and 7 foot waves. 10 ounces of weight isn't holding. Around 11 or 12 red drum (40-50 inch fish) were landed on Sunday-Tuesday but I did not get any runs. When the water was fishable, I caught a decent number of bluefish, spot, and a mixed bag of tiny croakers, gray trout, and sand perch.

Viva El Guapo

Sheesh- not many days when fishing was good enough to make me throw a 10. Hope that wind lays down for you. I'll be down in a month for my group's annual surf-fishing (beer-drinking) expedition. Good to hear there are some sizeable drum around already- might be a sign of a good fall. Bill and Mike on fuzzy am radio on Hatteras Point, for me, is comparable to Hokies live in Lane...

Since French seems to be currently distracted by fish, I'll address the first part of your post for now. I've noticed that too, and it seems to be in stark contrast to what I saw against Alabama. Against the Tide, I noticed Trey hitting holes like they had personally wronged him and exploding through gaps and through contact. He certainly does seem a little more tentative now and I'm not sure why. Maybe an increased playbook load is tying up his feet? Maybe he's just struggling with reads/footwork out of certain formations? Guess we'll just have to see how he progresses through the season.

Take into account he is also physically beat up. They used him as a sledgehammer over the first few games and he had not faced game contact in over a year (and that contact was against Single A VHSL competition.)

Viva El Guapo

french fishes?! you sound weather savy good sir

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Just for laughs, thought everyone would appreciate this guy's input on b/r:
Seriously

It's always a great day to be a Hokie

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

Sigh. Some people just don't get it. Loeffler is an almost infinite improvement over O'Cainspring. I see improvements from both the line and the overall play almost every week. The running game isn't there yet, but the opposing DC's just seem to keep thinking that Logan passing game is a fluke and selling out to slow down or stop the run.

Un. Believable. I re-read that, hoping I could find some hint of sarcastica in there, but really dont think it's there. The post starts with "Fire Grimes". That's all you need to read to figure out whether there's going to be any usefull insights in there. The best is the part about "BTW, don't we at least have a big lineman or linebacker we can give the ball to...." That was generally the plan when I played football in the back yard at 6yrs old- give the ball to the biggest kid all the time- they wont be able to tackle him. Genius. Why dont they just try that???

Yeah I wanted to believe he wasn't being serious.

It's always a great day to be a Hokie

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

I skipped to the end fully expecting to read:

By now you realize I am speaking ironically and have nothing but great things to say about what you do.
Frank Beamer, Do not change a thing.

Signed,
Peter Griffin
Dictated but not read.

Remember that hipsters have a monopoly on irony, and are too-cool for football.

lol hipsters

It's always a great day to be a Hokie

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

Lol, this sounds like the idiot that sits behind me in section 3...

When I travel up to Madison Square Garden for Rangers games, there are always about 300 large men spread throughout the arena who do nothing but yell "shoot the puck" every time a defenseman has the puck on a power play, and yells "HIT SOMEBODY" every second the other team has possession.

Viva El Guapo

Every hockey team has those fans. They are also usually too inebriated to realize that the team has the man advantage and therefore has time to set up on the PP...

Logan 3:16

wait a second before you poo-poo this savant....but....

manbearpig as short yardage back. I'm just saying....

I assume you saw ManBearPig trying to run back the ball against Marshall? You want that speed carrying the ball?

VTCC '86 Delta Derelicts, Honduras Hokie

just on the goal line

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

If last season was 2011, he'd have a point. But it sounds like he was in a coma for 2012...

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

Correct me if I'm wrong but after the play, EVERYBODY stands around.

Sometimes the idea that everyone on Earth isn't a Hokie fan is ludicrous to me. But if that were true there'd be an awful lot of idiots rooting for us.

That's the part that keeps me from thinking he was serious.

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

Someone should invite phil trigg to TKP, where he can learn something.

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

I'm assuming this guy wrote to Weaver about no Thursday night games as well...

What is Phil Trigg was Coach Stinespring?

“I hope that they’re not going to have big eyes and pee down their legs so to speak,” -- Bud Foster

I think that's the only possible explanation

Sorry, but I remain very peevish about the running game. While French may have said the line did their job, I am not seeing the push that we saw in Alabama where Edmunds and the linemen were pushing the pile. Granted, that may be attributed to injuries, Edmunds being beat up, and the scheme of opposing defenses hell-bent on stopping the run.

The other teams seem to be copying Bud Foster's strategy of stopping the run first and daring the team to pass, which Logan is doing with a high rate of success.

Switching to another topic, I really think that Bryn running the underneath route is money every time. He seem to find the first down marker every time he runs that route except one where he dropped it (and was pissed about it).

That play call where Loeffler called a pass from the Hokies' end zone was ballsy that paid off. I was expecting either a dive or a Logan Thomas' keeper, but that caught me off guard. I think it caught UNC off-guard as well.

Loeffler is clearly the better OC than Stinespring was, but I am still bummed about the 3rd quarter.

I support Logan Thomas and make no apologies for it.

I think one of the other blog posts shows where things seem to be with running and what the line is doing. It doesn't seem, sometimes, that the line is doing well for rushing, but much like the passing game, if the RB doesn't see the hole, or is slow in getting to it, it's not going to work out.

While at the game against UNC on Saturday, I noticed at least 5 times where there was a huge hole opened up, or opening up to one side of the line where the RB went the opposite direction. One or two plays that could have been huge have just had a defender playing VERY well where they just get enough on the RB to make him fall down where a huge run would have been wonderful.

There were a couple passing plays too, that could have been larger in YAC if the receiver read the blocks better. One I can think of in particular, the play was sealed to the inside leaving running room on the outside, but the receiver went inside where the defender was able to break the block and get him.

So, it's been a bit rough, but, someone's going to "get it" sooner or later, and just amaze.

As I read and study these, I rediscover the advanced state of football ignorance jammed between my ears.

Can one of you fine gentleman point me at a few titles that provide an education from all angles that can help transform my skull from something that currently just performs as a place to hang my hair and move it towards an understanding of what is happening on the field?

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

http://smartfootball.blogspot.com/

I started reading smartfootball before he moved over to smartfootball.com. Literally, at least half of everything I've learned about football has come from that site. If you scroll down on the right hand side, it'll say "blog archive" and you can read pretty much every article from that old site.

A Smoked turkey leg to you, sir.

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

Have we seen or heard enough to say that if defenses "figure it out" and the scheme becomes ineffective (say a course of two or three games, or seasons - like special teams), is Loeffler willing or able to make large scale changes (like Bud Foster)? Or will we become stuck in the new identity? Too soon to look the gift HOAT in the mouth?

Considering next year we're pretty much guaranteed to have a much different type of QB than we do now, I think Loeffler is gonna have to change stuff up regardless.

Lefty's said many times he's not set on passing or running; he'll do whatever we need to do to win.

My guess is next couple years, (when we have experienced backs but inexperienced QBs) we'll wind up running the ball a lot. When Edmonds and JCC leave, and we bucky/ford have two years under their belt, we'll be more pass happy. Of course, not only is this all speculation, but the equation is not that simple, there are other things that must be factored in.

Twitter me

is "Lefty" actually left handed?? I've been wondering this for some time and haven't been able to figure it out. Somebody please shed some light on this. Thanks! :D

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

I'm sure it's just a nickname.

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

Given that our offensive sets seem to vary from week to week, I don't think Loeffler is set on anything.

Speaking of "Lefty Leofller" why do we run to the left so much, actually almost exclusively? I would think this is a tendency opposing defenses pick up on. If it is a run, the defensive left side could almost always crash right and most always be closer to the ball. I would think this would really work against the offense. I really like what Loeffler is doing with the offense as a whole though. Good balance of running and passing. But again the running is always to our left side.

THe other issue I think we can improve on is how about some gadget plays? Screens, counters, end-around, bootleg, etc.... We don't do hardly any of that.

Not sure the exact reason, but here's my take. Which way we run strongly depends on where we are on the field. In general though, I think the reason we like to run left is because we have Farris and McLaughlin holding down that side of the line and can have Miller pull to make a block and a hole. Just my opinion on why the left side is probably more appealing.

It just so happens, we run to the side with the cheerleaders.
I say put the cheerleaders past the endzone.

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.